The characters in the film fall into a dream within a dream.
Christopher Nollan starts from scratch (like Piaf, whose song sounds like a refrain in the film) and … wins. Oscar for Best Cinematography (Walter Pfister), Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing. Cash receipts from the rental of the film alone are over 800 million dollars.
Perhaps it was from this work that the director’s creative style finally took shape – a colorful story about the fantastic worlds of multi-layered illusions. His heroes are desperate travelers in time and space, real Odysseys of the future, easily and without a shadow of a doubt, moving into this future, even if it is just a dream or a game of someone else’s subconscious. The appearance of these projections is limited only by the sleepers’ own imagination. In this world, they will have to fight for their happiness with other people’s unfriendly ghosts, for real, and not lose loved ones and friends in a dream. Nollan even created a special vocabulary for this new world. Familiar words: architect, implementation, ejection, extractor, conductor, object and a number of others – acquire a special meaning and a new meaning. Actually, the director had time for this, he hatched his idea for more than ten years!
So that the travelers do not go astray, Nollan gives them a guide – a talented young architect Ariadne (Ellen Page), who is able to lead the heroes out of any labyrinth of the Minotaur. But it does not appear immediately, but only when the main character Dominic Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), whose profession is industrial espionage (extracting the necessary information directly from the victim’s subconscious), as a result of an unsuccessful operation, loses his former architect Nash (Lukas Haas). Cobb, in need of a new architect, has signed on to a dangerous contract to bring him back to the children left in the care of his grandparents Miles (Michael Caine) after the suicide of their mother and wife, Dominique Mael (Marion Cotillard).
But no one leaves just like that in the projections of Christopher Nollan! Mal becomes Cobb’s obsession, appearing in every level of his subconscious. The complex of guilt before the dead wife makes the protagonist again and again reproduce the painful illusion. Further, according to Freud, as in a textbook: the transfer of negativity from the experienced tragedy to the projection of Mel. As a result, a beautiful sad image becomes evil, vengeful, like a fury, and sometimes just bitchy. She constantly harms, interferes and intrigues all members of the criminal gang led by her ex-husband.
Dominic and his friend and accomplice Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) work out the details of the operation. It differs from the previous ones in complexity and multilevelness. If earlier criminals stole secrets from sleeping businessmen, now they, on the contrary, will have to introduce an unusual thought into the brain of the victim. Saito (Ken Watanabe), who ordered the crime, dreams of destroying the empire of a rival, Maurice Fisher (Pete Postlethwaite), who is dying. It was decided to act through his son Robert Michael Fisher (blue-eyed angel Cillian Murphy), who should head his father’s company from day to day.
In the process of preparing a crime, Eames (Tom Hardy) and Yusuf (Dilip Rao) join the gang. The first is a skilled pickpocket and a talented impersonator, able to take on any disguise, from a sexy blonde in a hotel lobby to the brutal Peter Browning (Tom Berenger) – “Fischer Sr.’s right hand, Fisher Jr.’s godfather.” The second is a chemist, compiler of sleeping substances and poisons.
All. The team has been recruited. The operation begins! From this point on, the viewer must be extremely attentive. The Chip Walk is cancelled. There is a risk of losing the thread of Ariadne’s story. The structured Japanese even added the numbers and names of the sleep levels to the release version of the movie.
All the actors are placed on the plane, where Fischer Jr. is mixed with sleeping pills in a drink. Everyone falls asleep and gets:
- To the first level of sleep, moderated by Yusuf. The team kidnaps Robert and stuffs him into a van. Having created a stressful situation for the heir to Fisher’s empire, the criminals, through manipulative techniques, hope to sow the idea of renunciation of the inheritance in his brain. The victim’s subconscious sends projections of commandos to help destroy the kidnappers. They escape in the van, where they cross…
- To the second level of the dream that Arthur has. The action moves to a stylish hotel with a classic interior. Fisher is again manipulated using the Browning projection. However, here, too, attackers fail. They have to lure the victim further…
- On the third level – visions in the action genre from Eames. Before us is a snowy landscape, as if a Bond film crew had just left here, and the same “torn” style of editing – cutting from all episodes of the adventure. It seems that Fischer finally managed to imbue the idea of destroying his father’s empire. Everyone, as they say, it’s time to dump. In order to painlessly leave this psychedelic matryoshka doll, the heroes will have to release simultaneously on all floors of the subconscious. They practically manage to synchronize everything that happens, despite the difference in the perception of time in different locations. Only the wounded Saito got stuck. Mel “kidnapped” him. Cobb decides to go even lower…
- In psychological perversions of his relationship with his ex-wife. He risks staying forever in limbo, but he cannot leave the customer, because he promised him “just one call” that could help him reunite with his children.
Limbo is in Catholicism a place for souls who do not deserve to be thrown into hell, but paradise is also inaccessible to them. However, this is not purgatory in the general Christian sense. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, limbo is the first circle of hell, where the souls of unbaptized babies, poets, doctors, philosophers and other atheists and doubters are.
Nollan’s limb is a place of eternal refuge for travelers through someone else’s subconscious. Only a few, the most powerful extractors, can escape from there. For example, Cobb has been there twice. The rethinking and use of theological concepts speaks to Nollan’s profound classical education. You don’t see that with Tarantino.
Life after the premiere
Immediately after the appearance of messages about the release of the picture on the screens, its creators launched a viral advertisement on the Internet. Its echoes are found there to this day. Further more. You can already find fan clubs on the web that use the vocabulary from the movie.
There is and is supported by the on-line game “Start”. The financial success of the project pushes Warner Bros to create a sequel. Most of the performers in the contract include a possible continuation of work on this topic.
Obviously, the brainchild of Christopher Nollan has every chance to push the “Matrix”, filmed in the last century. In the new century, the place of the best cinematic dystopia is still free.