Inception has a scene-by-scene shooting script available in a book format that movie wankers might enjoy. You can’t tire yourself reading, refuting, discussing the film though. Look up threads on the internet. Surely, some nerd in the Netherlands is still digging up holes in the picture’s plot.
In the script, director Christopher Nolan sits in conversation with his brother Jonathan. At the end of the interview, it occurs to both, or at least to Christopher, that everything he’d been creating in Inception — the giant, complex architecture of dreams (or an unreal world), putting words and ideas into people’s mouths, perceiving it at the same time, relates absolutely to the process of filmmaking itself. Any film.
In the movie, actor Leonardo DiCaprio plays a thief whose expertise lies in penetrating and stealing from an individual’s sub-conscious mind. His last job is to plant an idea inside a corporate head. He puts together a talented group. This heist-movie aspect, where specialists temporarily team up for a common goal, Nolan realises, is how movies get made as well.
This moment of epiphany may sound belated. It doesn’t help to know that in Inception, not only are you deliriously diving from one layer of dream to another, the movie — mythmaking exercises as they all are — is a dream to begin with. You can tell why the stunning concept works cinematically at every level.
Nolan first thought of the idea in college. He used to be up until four in the morning, but would always wake up in time to catch the free breakfast at nine. He’d then rush back again for a couple of hours’ sleep. In that precious, discombobulated sleep, he discovered, he’d have active dreams. And when you realised you were dreaming, he says, you could control that dream. Fair.
What Nolan also evidently did after college is crack a new code for massively scaled event pictures. Special effects and sheer splendour would always be there in his movies. He made complexity a part of big-ticket entertainment.
Nolan makes millions feel clever for having got the film first (The Prestige, Memento). These people make others watch it again, just so we’re all in on the game. Serious cult status and crazy commercial success aren’t known to be friendly neighbours. That is how Batman was reborn (The Dark Knight).
Unfortunately, Oscars’ old men prefer something more real. Inception’s picked up eight Academy nominations — none for Nolan. He needn’t lose sleep. Some things are just not worth the frikin’ dream.