Review by Rachel Friedlander
Filmmakers have found a new way to get rich without bumping ticket prices. Instead, they’ve created a movie that is so densely crammed with information and complexity that moviegoers need two screenings just to fully grasp the plot.
The story follows Dom Cobb, a master in his profession of extraction. To perform his job, Cobb delves into the subconscious of others as they sleep in order to learn of their hidden secrets. But when his mind tricks turn him into a suspected criminal, Cobb must perform one final job: inception. This seemingly impossible task involves planting, not stealing, an idea deep within the recesses of one’s mind. In order to accomplish this, Cobb must recruit an eccentric team of subconscious soldiers before the line between reality and fantasy disappears.
Inception, directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight), has employed quite the motley cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Lukas Haas, Michael Caine, Tom Berenger, and Marion Cotillard. With these names, all the bases are covered. Whether cerebral, emotional, artistic, foreign or thriller film lover, young and old alike will each find a face they recognize, a reason to watch.
If none of these were a draw, Christopher Nolan’s reputation precedes him. But this time, instead of capes and Batmobiles, Nolan attempts to attract by combining Oceans 11 or Italian Job with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Unfortunately, despite its lengthy cast list, Inception lacks the group chemistry that was evident in both Oceans 11 and Italian Job, and much of the emotion that was portrayed in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
But what it failed to do in comparison with others is balanced by how it managed to stand out. The complexity of the concept matched with well-executed effects produced impressive results. If your head isn’t reeling by the time the credits roll, it certainly will during the ensuing discussions the film produces. But the intricacy is executed skillfully—Nolan expects much of his audience, but when we follow faithfully, everything makes sense by the end.
Yet even if one grasps the concept, Inception provides no hard and fast answers. It simply raises questions. At one point in the film, Cobb says, “What’s the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules.” Yet this very concept, though it may sound impressively dramatic in a movie trailer, proposes that human minds are swayed by any thought that enters their brains. What a pathetic view of our generation.
Everyday, each human on this planet is barraged by things we would rather not hear, or things we shouldn’t see. This world is perpetually attempting to influence us in one way or another, and thoughts, both positive and negative, continuously enter our brains. Yet we are able, and even more, responsible, to maintain our filter, to shut out what doesn’t belong.
Rabbi Ben Zoma said in the Talmud, “Who is mighty? He who subdues his passions.” True, it is not always easy to tame the beast of temptation, but it is this control that separates us from the animals. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, another Jewish teacher understood this struggle. Paul says: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” He, like any of us, was constantly coaxed by the ways of those around him.
Jesus was no exception. When He walked on this earth in human form, He endured every form of temptation. And, as Hebrews 2:18 states, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Through Him, we have the strength to battle unsavory ideas, to prevent them from infecting our mind.
But because there is no perfect human, sometimes these thoughts take seed in our minds, growing into full-fledged sin. Even then, there is hope. Because Jesus died for our many mistakes, He paid the penalty for when our mind becomes intoxicated with deadly, fruitless ideas. And that is no dream—it’s reality.