In his latest film,Christopher Nolan,director of The Dark Knight,has dreamed up a mystery no one knows much about
Nearly everything in Christopher Nolan s world is more than it appears to be. In his hands his 2000 feature Memento became not only a taut thriller with a catchy psychological gimmick but also a calling card to a career of cinematic independence. His most recent film,The Dark Knight was also a meditation on heroism and terrorism which in 2008 earned the all-time highest domestic gross for a motion picture not made by James Cameron. Yet for all the fanfare that will accompany Nolans new film,Inception,most of its intended viewers will know almost nothing about it. At Nolans preference,trailers for Inception have shown little more than snippets of its star,Leonardo DiCaprio,and a nattily attired supporting cast in slow-motion action sequences. The fantastical quality of these disconnected moments and their vaguely modern settings is the revelation that they are taking place inside a dream.
When somebodys spent years making a film and spent massive amounts of money then you want to see something extremely ambitious in every sense, Nolan said. In Inception,DiCaprio plays Cobb,the leader of a group of extractors,people who are able to participate in and shape the dreams of others. With these skills,extractors can teach clients how to safeguard secrets locked away in their subconscious,or how to steal them from unfortified minds. Cobb assembles his team and designs an intricate mind heist that leads them through layers of dreams within dreams,and to a mysterious woman ( Marion Cotillard ) from Cobbs past. Creating the films multiple valences of reality took seven months of principal photography at an estimated cost of $160 million. As soon as youre talking about dreams, he added,the potential of the human mind is infinite. It has to feel like you could go absolutely anywhere by the end of the film. And it has to work on a massive scale.
Having yearned from an early age to make it big,Nolan became more committed to his elusive goal and cognizant of how rare these opportunities would be.
Those expectations have been inflated by Christopher Nolans intricately woven thrillers like Insomnia and The Prestige ,but mostly by the runaway success of his superhero films Batman Begins and The Dark Knight ,which earned more than $1 billion worldwide. The crucial breakthrough to completing his Inception script was considering what could happen if multiple people could share the same dream. Once you remove the privacy, Nolan said,youve created an infinite number of alternative universes in which people can meaningfully interact,with validity,with weight,with dramatic consequences.
For the Inception cast,the intricate screenplay Nolan wrote was tantalising but at times perplexing. It was a very well written,comprehensive script, DiCaprio said,but you really had to have Chris in person,to try to articulate some of the things that have been swirling around his head for the last eight years. In discussing Inception,Nolan often became bogged down in long asides as he explained the intricate rules he devised for its dream world.
Its really,at its core,a big action heist movie,and its a movie that doesnt try to bamboozle the audience continuously, he said. Nolan took encouragement from the tradition of hit fantasy movies,from Star Wars to the Lord Of The Rings trilogy,that hinted at vaster realities than the films could fully detail. In particular,he said,the 1999 mind bender The Matrix showed how a mass audience could embrace a massively complex philosophical concept in some sense.