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Inception, which cost $150-million-plus US to make, earned a healthy $76 million US at the box office world wide during its opening weekend, proving that epic and sci-fi aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive in the movie industry. It’s both a tremendously challenging and tremendously rewarding movie, the type that will have audiences talking—and debating—long after the credits roll. The director and scriptwriter is Christopher Nolan—a blockbuster auteur who has made bigness his medium.

Born in 1970, British director Christopher Nolan began making movies the age of seven with his father’s Super-8mm camera. While studying English Literature at University College London, Nolan discovered the two loves of his life—his long-time producing partner and wife Emma Thomas, and cinematic storytelling. “While I was making films with the college film society, I started thinking about the narrative freedoms that authors had enjoyed for centuries and it seemed to me that filmmakers should enjoy these freedoms as well.”

For a decade, Nolan has built a body of work out of how we define our identity and our reality: the self-created memory of Memento; the existential magic trick at the climax of The Prestige; Batman’s surrender to what people need to believe in The Dark Knight. Inception finds him again in that familiar territory—and the result is something almost as thrilling to contemplate as it is to watch. The film is about the world of dreams, and its possible applications in certain circumstances. “I wanted to do this for a very long time; it’s something I’ve thought about off and on since I was sixteen,” remarked Nolan. “I wrote the first draft of this script seven or eight years ago but it goes back much further, this idea of approaching dreams and the dream life as another state of reality.”

There is a sense of déjà vu associated with the picture as Cobb (the name of the hero) is also the name of the pivotal apartment burglar in Nolan’s feature debut Following (1998), and some of the filming took place at the architectural school located at Christopher Nolan’s alma mater, University College London. Influenced by Dark City (1998), The Matrix (1999), The Thirteenth Floor (1999), and Memento (2000), all of which explored the concept “that the world around you might not be real”, Nolan creatively struggled with the screenplay over a ten-year period.

The solution arrived when Leonardo DiCaprio attached himself to the production. “I’ve incorporated a huge number of his ideas,” said the director. “Leo’s very analytical, particularly from the character point of view, but also on how the entire story is going to function and relate to his character… I think it’s improved the project enormously. The emotional life of the character now drives the story more than it did before.”

Impressed with Christopher Nolan’s previous films, especially Insomnia (2002) and Memento, Leonardo DiCaprio was a willing collaborator. “Complex and ambiguous are the perfect way to describe the story,” said DiCaprio. “And it’s going to be a challenge to ultimately pull it off. But that is what Chris Nolan specializes in. He has been able to convey really complex narratives that work on a multitude of different layers simultaneously… and make it entertaining and engaging throughout.” Pressed to explain the project, Nolan replied, “The film deals with levels of reality, and perceptions of reality which is something I’m very interested in. It’s an action film set in a contemporary world but with a slight science fiction bent to it.”

Contemplating what drew him to the story in the first place, Nolan observed, “I always find myself gravitating to the analogy of a maze. Think of film noir and if you picture the story as a maze, you don’t want to be hanging above the maze watching the characters make the wrong choices, because it’s frustrating. You actually want to be in the maze with them, making the turns at their side, that keeps it more exciting.”

These should be enough for any movie-lover to ask for—but Nolan gives us more. The emotional weight he adds to Cobb’s tale pushes Inception to another level, one in which questions the way we shape our reality balance the excitement.

Here is an overview of the science that informed the idea behind the movie.

The major plot in this movie is heavily reliant on the notion that two or more people can share the same dream. While this is indeed uncommon, it’s not impossible. Identical twins have reported being able to share dreams, and they are not the only ones capable of the feat. Long-married couples can do it too, as can people who have gone through shattering experiences together. Researchers believe that these events are what allow the individuals to meet each other in a common dream, by priming their brains for the job.

Another central point in “Inception” is that ideas can be stolen from a person’s unconscious mind during dreams. Here is where the shared dream comes in. A team of specialists called “extractors” goes into the mind of a target, and then attempt to recover the idea. Sleep scientists say that this is entirely true, although the experience is extremely personal for each individual. That is to say, daily experiences are indeed included in what people dream, but they associate with already-existing ideas and thoughts in patterns that are unique, like fingerprints.

The third plot device is the job a team of extractors (led by Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb) needs to do. They are given the task of implementing a dream into the mind of a target, rather than extract information that is already there. In sleep science, this is something that can be done on a regular basis, and the mechanism for it is extremely simple. Say, for instance, that you need to take an important decision, but find it hard to decide on a solution. If you want the answer to come from a dream, simply write down all other problems that are bugging you the night before you go to sleep.

Scientists explain that this will help the brain give you the answer you are looking for, in the sense that it will not have to process the excess information too. This will in turn give it ample opportunity to dream about the problem you want the answer to. In the end, a large part of the seemingly-science-fiction plot devices we’ve seen in Inception could seem to be a stretch, but in reality they are far from it. However, it’s doubtful that we’ll encounter real-life extractors any time soon.
Inception is sure to set the benchmark for science fiction and action movies to follow, and puts Christopher Nolan and his stars on a pedestal for movie creativity and greatness.

healthy 〈口〉相当多的,相当大的

epic 史诗式电影,多为耗资巨大、场面壮观的电影巨作,有着广泛的社会历史背景,情节跨度大,题材广泛,如电影《乱世佳人》(Gone with the Wind)、《勇敢的心》(Brave Heart)等

credit (电影的)片尾字幕,摄制人员名单

blockbuster 流行大片

auteur (具有自己独特风格的)导演

Super-8mm 一种家用摄影机的胶片格式

University College London 伦敦大学学院,创建于1826年,英格兰最古老的大学之一

déjà vu 似曾经历的错觉

Leonardo DiCaprio 莱昂纳多•迪卡普里奥,美国演员,电影《盗梦空间》的男主角,因主演电影《泰坦尼克号》而广为人知,曾两度获奥斯卡最佳男主角提名

pull it off 〈口〉做成,成功

bent 倾向

film noir 黑色电影,法国批评家将犯罪片和匪帮片归结为黑色电影类型,因为起初法国的犯罪小说大都是黑色封面。黑色电影大多兼有侦探、匪帮、城市戏剧影片的风格,其背后潜伏着股悲观的黑色的暗流

inform 渗透入,赋特征于

feat 行为,技艺

stretch 过度的使用,滥用,歪曲

pedestal (尤指作为偶像崇拜的)显要地位

2011-01-04 21:53 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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