The creation of a character, a couple; a feeling, a frame; a narrative, a novelty; a relationship, a romance; a moment, a mystery. Have no doubt about it, filmmaking is creation, no matter the size of the budget or scope.
But there are very few filmmakers with the knowledge, the willpower, and the vision to create a world. We all remember the first time we stepped into the galaxy far, far away that George Lucas took us to in “Star Wars.” Recent examples include The Wachowski Brothers leading us into the world of “The Matrix,” Peter Jackson lifting Middle Earth off the page and displaying it before our very own eyes in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and, very recently, James Cameron giving us a crystal-clear, in-our-face look at Pandora in “Avatar.”
And now, with the release of “Inception,” we can officially add Christopher Nolan to that impressive list of filmmakers. He unravels before our very own eyes what he envisions to be the world of the dream. It’s an incredibly complex world, governed by a set of rules that have graver implications that we could ever imagine. Only he holds the keys to unlocking the secrets of his creation, and he tantalizingly dangles them before our eyes.
Yet he also challenges us to use just the sight of them to figure it out for ourselves. I have no doubt he left us clues throughout the movie, but it’s not possible to catch them your first time. You are simply too awe-struck by what’s on the screen, too busy puzzling out the intricacies of the plot, and too preoccupied trying to stay ahead of Nolan to go a layer deeper. And to go that extra mile, to find what’s really bubbling under the surface of “Inception,” you will have already dug to a great depth. Some people won’t even be willing to go that far, and they will feel left in the dust by the movie, like a kindergartener sitting in a calculus class. But Nolan doesn’t design it for those people, making it an even sweeter treat for those willing to take their mind on a journey it won’t always understand.