Inception....a terrific psychological movie!
Unlike other blockbuster opening weekends when I stay clear of movie theaters, I paid my $10 to go see the new movie "Inception" and was gratified and intrigued. The movie offers a plethora of symbolism and psychological themes and offers the moviegoer a view of reality we all have enjoyed: dreaming.
I have studied dreams for years, reading everything I could get my hands on to work with the images and messages they tell us. I have reflected on lucid dreaming and how we can change our dreams if we are in the midst of them and become uncomfortable. I have led dream groups where people keep logs of their dreams and we discuss the messages for the dreamer that are most appropriate for their experiences.
The movie starts out with no titles, no opening fanfare and hooks the viewer immediately in the story. I loved this aspect right off, as it starts the film this way for varied reasons. One of the aspects in the film is the labyrinthine puzzles of our mind, and also that we never remember the beginning of the dreams we have. Water symbolism (deep consciousness) and psychological "projections" also figure importantly into the film as the demons that work against us in our reality. What is reality after all? Are dreams as long as they seem to be or are they very condensed vignettes that only take short periods of time in the awakened world we inhabit.
Leo DiCaprio offers a terrific and believable flawed character for us to dismantle. His stature in the movie community has shown this young man had matured and is a force to be reckoned with in the film community. Leo comes across of late as one of the great character actors of the 1940's, a Robert Mitchum-type smoky character. Of the film DiCaprio states: “It’s a highly ambitious film and it works on four different states of the subconscious mind. It’s like a domino with each one affecting the other." He also indicated that the director made the entire film one of detective work for the actors involved, asking them to find meaning in the piece as it unfolded. This clearly makes it a much more valuable experience for the actors involved in the story.
The director, Christopher Nolan, who is also known for the more recent "Dark Knight" and the awesome 2000 released movie "Memento" wrote the screenplay and clearly had a wonderful vision of how the mind creates. If thoughts create our reality, then it is clear they influence our dream stat as well. As I watched the movie I could not help but wonder if the rest of the audience could see the multi-layered meaning laden throughout the film. Making movies that are Blockbusters and also address such deeply psychological truths embedded are an undertaking many others have tried and failed miserably in doing.
My daughter felt the movie was a combination of three movie types we have seen in the past" The Matrix, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Vanilla Sky....with action and adventure thrown in for good measure. I wholeheartedly agree. And on its own merits, it is not necessarily a movie one can figure out quickly, which makes it much more fun to watch!
As a film student and instructor I am never surprised with the reactions of the endings of films by moviegoers. According to one report the ending of the film is an object of bafflement for many viewers who leave the theater confused and surprised. Reportedly, Twitter users have demanded an explanation for the ending of the movie. Those on the social networking group found the movie to be “Boggling”, “Genius” and “Frustrating”. Perhaps they are so busy texting during the movie, (like the gal next to my daughter was) that they missed the entire gist of the film! If we want good quality, reflective and enticing movies to be made, we need to open our minds to new ideas and new ways of learning. Nolan offers us a new window into a new kind of movie but am frustrated with the idea that people want immediate answers without reflecting upon something themselves first. This is the reason we are given only mediocre movies that seek to entertain us without any substance for thought.
Go with an open mind and enjoy...make up your own mind without needing any answers...choose ambiguity if necessary!