Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Director: Christopher Nolan
My espionage movie fetish has me on the edge of my seat waiting for the latest James Bond film (‘No Time To Die’) to finally be released in Sydney. To fill the growing chasm caused by this Hollywood deprivation I celebrated the 10-year anniversary of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’. Is it really 10 years? This film hasn’t aged a scrap though the same can’t be said for its lead Leonardo Dicaprio. Leo, where for art those chiselled cheekbones of Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’?
‘Inception’ is one of the most clever Sci-Fi heists to date. It puts the human back into hacking – nothing faceless or as tawdry as stealing bank account details or identities. ‘Inception’ is the tale of hacking into human dreams and using the manipulation of the victim’s free-form imagination to find out deep rooted secrets that can be used more advantageously than any string of numbers.
However, there is a pitfall (of course) and that is that the psychological intruder may lose his or her grasp on reality – to become forever lost in a maze of dream-worlds where time becomes distorted and one’s own deep-rooted memories and/or regrets can also come back to haunt. A bit like going into Sci-Fi deep space and finding a seductive hell that you can’t leave … without your worst fears.
Such a fabulous story – layer upon layer of plots and subplots packed into a clever psychological heist framework of dream-stealers and idea-implanters that creates a whole new mindscape for political espionage.
And that human element is the cherry of this unbelievably clever movie? The gorgeous head of Cillian Murphy in which we have been playing has been trained as the soul inheritor of a humongously wealthy and powerful family to avert such psychological takeovers, and his undriven imagination starts fighting back as our intruding dream-hijackers try to plant the ‘idea’ that will secure ‘home’.
At its most basic psychological level – the victim is led through multiple layers of deep dreaming so that he can rewrite an incident of guilt and confusion in his past … and that ‘rewrite’ fortunately aligns with getting our intruders out of their own personal cages … politically, financially and personally. At its most viscerally ghoulish, it is a expose of how those that we have loved and feel that we have wronged or hurt can be used by our subconscious to torture us in ways that no one else could imagine.
Which leads me to my new obsession, Christopher Nolan’s new unreleased film ‘Tenet’. I’ve only seen the shorts but it appears to be a little like ‘Inception’ in reverse. While in ‘Inception’ the present subconscious is being fiddled for future outcomes, in ‘Tenet’, the future will be played in reverse and intervention will be for present outcomes. All too confusing?? Maybe, but completely intriguing. I’m wondering how Nolan will pull it off.
My other obsession this week is war. Sorry, bit of a downer, but I can’t let it go on the 75th Anniversary of the Australian Forces in the Second World War. We all know that we are presently in a 21st-century style Cold War (“Russia (and China) are you listening?”) that is ever and increasingly sophisticated as our technological-dependencies evolve ... but what of ‘hot’ war? Increasing inequality makes me think civil wars based on poverty that start with rioting and looting are more than likely, particularly as the economic casualties of COVID-19 become more apparent. I also feel that nations, including major ones, know that they have a lot more to fear if their extended populations decide to rise up against inequality domestically, and would much prefer to redirect their populations’ anger into Government led face-offs with other nations. We are privileged to live in Australia where our welfare system safeguards against extreme poverty and our gun laws prohibit a degree of escalated violence. Unfortunately, many nations in the remaining world do not enjoy these safe-guards.
Maybe I watch too many movies or am caught in a dream-like state with my worst fears … or just maybe I acknowledge the collective force of people wanting to feed family and self in economies of scarcity :)
Watch 'Inception' now: