Note: this piece contains massive SPOILERS so if you don’t want to know anything about the film, do not read further. Again, SPOILERS BELOW. You’ve been warned.
In Empire‘s latest print edition, they’ve done a massive profile on “Inception” revealing more details about the plot and Christopher Nolan’s inspirations for the film. In case you’re playing catch-up, “Inception” is an “existential heist thriller” that takes place in world where people can enter your dreams to both steal and implant ideas. It’s certainly one of the highest concept summer blockbusters ever to hit theaters, and despite it’s massive budget and all star cast, Nolan very nearly considered making a smaller-scale version of the film years ago. Nolan notes that had he done “Inception” after “Insomnia” it would have been the “$30 million dollar version,” and would have been a stripped-down thriller instead of a full-on action movie.
“And that never worked for me,” he told Empire. “It took me a long time to figure out why, but what I realized is incredibly simple: as soon as you say the film is about dreams, it has to be on the grandest scale possible or you’re not addressing it correctly. Because what’s fascinating about the potential of the human mind is that it’s infinite and infinitesimal.”
In the Empire story, more puzzle pieces of the plot are revealed, so here’s out latest take on what it all could mean: Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) specializes in the secretive art of constructing and entering dreams in order to extract information. He is given an intriguing proposition: take a job where he won’t extract anything, but rather, insert an idea. Then things become complicated. DiCaprio’s character presents himself to Cillian Murphy’s business magnate character as an expert in “subconscious security, the ultimate in corporate espionage.” In truth, Cobb has been hired by rival of Murphy’s character (Ken Watanabe) to insert an idea. That job also somehow offers DiCaprio’s dream thief character some kind of personal redemption connected to the fate of his wife (Marion Cotillard). And it’s pretty clear from some of these photos and the Japanese trailer that while DiCaprio and Watanabe are allies at first, somewhere along the lines, they become foes (a double cross? That’s our guess).
Another potential hint lies in Ellen Page’s architecture character, and “assistant” to Cobb, the aptly named Ariadne, who was you might remember from your school days, is the girl in Greek mythology who aids Theseus’ escape from the Minotaur’s labyrinth. We think her “assistant” role will be more than she bargained for and more than what we have been led to believe thus far.
As Nolan has mentioned, he finds tremendous value in populating his cast with big names and recognizable faces, even in what may seem as small or unimportant roles. This time around, the director has populated his cast when an incredible array of international stars led by Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio and Nolan met in the past for other roles, but Empire doesn’t learn which (evidently DiCaprio didn’t bite and wasn’t as interested in whatever he was offered). Clearly Nolan has a lot of respect for the actor which must earn points with film snobs who aren’t totally convinced of his abilities as an actor yet.
“I’ve met with him a bunch of times,” Nolan said. “I was never able to convince him in the past, but just his initial take on scripts is fascinating to engage with.” In describing the project it’s quite plainly easy to see what attracted DiCaprio this time around: “It reminded me of ‘Insomnia’ and ‘Memento,’ but on steroids.” Damn.
As for Nolan, for him the film represents a different sort of movie, one that is bit more timeless in style rather than radically contemporary. “This is absolutely my Bond film,” Nolan remarked. “I’ve been plundering ruthlessly from the Bond movies in everything I’ve done, forever. They’re a huge influence on me.”
When the interviewer points out that the footage he has seen reminds him of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” Nolan heartily agrees. “I think, ‘Her Majesty’ Secret Service’ would be my favorite Bond. It’s a hell of a movie, it holds up very well. What I liked about it that we’ve tried to emulate in this film is there’s a tremendous balance of action, scale, and romanticism and tragedy and emotion. Of all the Bond films, it’s by far the most emotional. There’s a love story and Inception is kind of a love story as well as anything else. I’m going soft in my old age.” And no, you’re not reading that wrong, “Inception” is very much a love story too with Marion Cotillard’s character, the wife of DiCaprio’s Cobb, playing more a central key to the plot that has been suggested in the trailers.
We don’t think we need to remind you that “Inception” opens on July 16th. A featurette that is playing in front of trailers in theaters has hit the web, but is being aggressively pulled down by Warner Bros. so enjoy it while you still can. You can read our further details, clues and analysis about the film here, here and here. More images from Empire below.