pen rainbow

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Monday—The Movie Corner

★  ★  ★  ★ ★  
(2010) Written & Directed by Christopher Nolan

This reality-bending, psychological thriller is even more fun after the movie is over!  

Inception starring Leonardo DeCaprio

I loved this movie when I saw it.  I loved it even more an hour afterwards!  Now, I'm kind of obsessed with it.    

Man, it is DEEP.  Like a deep, dreamless sleep.  Like washing up on the shores of your subconcious—deep.  Like a shot of Propofol—deep.  In the movie, they call this level of unconsciousness "limbo."  And, it's even more fun when you watch it with someone else.  

The discussion that will erupt afterwards (and it will, so plan on it) is totally worth having because this movie grabs you by the prefrontal cortex—the part of your brain that tries to make sense of things—and spins it like a top.  It makes you think, and after it's all over, the movie slowly begins to make sense, in excrutiating increments of understanding as details start to emerge, and your mind gleefully stitches them together.

It is a cinematic adventure that will stretch your imagination and leave you feeling like Robert Langdon from The Da Vinci Code (2006).  Watch for clues. (<--That's a clue...Hans Zimmer, who wrote the score for this movie, also wrote the score for The Da Vinci Code.)  Pay attention to every word.  Pay attention to the music.    

This movie won 4 Academy Awards for cinematography, sound editing, sound mixing, and visual effects.  It was nominated for art direction, best music written for a movie, best picture, and best writing for an original screenplay.    

Leonardo DiCaprio is utterly riveting as the main character, Dom Cobb.  You may recognize Joseph Gordon-Levitt from his TV role as Tommy Solomon on 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN.  You'll also recognize Lukas Haas, who starred as the startling little Amish boy in WITNESS.  

The character, Eames, played by British actor, Tom Hardy, stands out as a loyal street soldier who is low on IQ, but high on EQ.  Ellen Page, as the young and brilliant architect, is perfectly cast against the otherwise all-male, older team members.  Veteran actors Ken Watanabe and Michael Caine round out the stellar cast.

Back to the music.  I'm obsessed with this movie because of its depth and its layers of real and implied meaning.  Prolific, German-born composer, Hans Zimmer, received the Oscar this year for the musical score of INCEPTION.  The music was never intended to be enigmatic, although like pretty much everything else in the movie, it was constructed out of parts taken from something else.  What am I babbling about?  Stay with me...

The music was designed to cue the viewers whenever the characters were moving to another level of consciousness.  That in itself is not that significant or unusual.  Music is frequently used to signal events in movies, like scary music right before the ax murderer jumps out of the closet.  It's not quite that simple in this movie.

What is going on here is that the score of the movie was built on a single beat consisting of 2 notes from the classical French song by Édith Piaf entitled, "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien."  That very same song is used throughout the movie to wake up the dreamers.  Pretty cool, huh?  A song within a score constructed from the song.  It's a musical Möbias strip, a song scored on a Penrose staircase.  What's even cooler is that the original Piaf song when played at a slower speed sounds just like the repetitive measures of Zimmer's score...(original YouTube upload by camiam321)

What we have, my friends, is what this movie is all about:  layers upon layers of discovery...and a real kick!