Finally, after long months of waiting and teasing trailers, "Inception" arrives in theaters TODAY. By many accounts -- certainly my own, if nothing else -- this is his finest work to date. Yes, even better than "The Dark Knight."
Hearing writer/director Christopher Nolan talk about it, this has been a natural progression for him. "To be honest, I've been very fortunate in my career in many ways, but very much in the way in which I've been able to build one film to the next," he told MTV's Josh Horowitz at the recent "Inception" press junket. "I started with the smallest possible scale film, 'Following,' which I made with friends on weekends... just us doing it. [Then] 'Memento,' which had a real budget and a real cast and everything."
"I sort of gradually built on that. What I've tried to do with every new film is I've tried to challenge myself. I don't want to do the same thing again, I don't want to do something I know I can do. I want to try to do something that builds on what I've learned but takes it someplace new."
"Inception" is definitely "someplace new." Exploring dreams in movies is almost as old as the craft itself, but Nolan's specific vision presented in his latest effort is almost overwhelmingly fresh and original. It's one of those rare movies that demands repeat viewing, not because you don't understand it the first time around but rather because each viewing peels back an entirely new, previously unnoticed layer.
It really seems as though Nolan is most pleased with this latest release out of everything he's done. More than that, the typically humble filmmaker sees in "Inception" a model for what he'd like to see more of at the movies. Indeed, there is something undeniably different about it, something that sets the movie apart. It is at once enormously complex and an easy watch.
"Of the films that I've worked on, ['Inception'] is probably the first one that... hasn't shrunk," he explained. "Normally you get to a point where you've worked on [a movie] for so long, you've seen it so many times... there's a point where it becomes something less than what you thought it was. I think 'Inception' resists that, and I think partly it's because the world of human mind, the idea that you can kind of go anywhere in this story, means that its limitations are hard to get a hold of. It kind of lives outside the movie in a way. I think that's fun. I think that's what Hollywood blockbusters should be trying to do."