By Leo Owen
Director/Writer: Christopher Nolan
Release Date: December 6 2010
DVD and Blu-ray release date: November 6 2010
Studio: Warner Home Video
Number of discs: Available as a solo DVD or Triple Play Blu-ray, DVD and Digital
Price: From £9.99-£14.99
Running Time: 148 mins
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, Pete Postlethwaite, Michael Caine, Lukas Haas
Christopher Nolan is the Director and Writer of some of the best films of the last decade (The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Batman Begins, Insomnia, Momento) so it’s no surprise his latest epic project, Inception, has been long awaited. The secrecy shrouding Inception, only heightened media interest and spawned a whole array of theories. Watching Inception, it all becomes clear why Nolan took years to realise this long-running idea and obsession.
In many ways, Inception’s long-running-time is necessary to give audiences enough time to adjust to the confusing concept the film is based around. Dreams expert, Cobb, acts as our teacher, explaining to other characters in order to help us understand. In dream-states, thoughts are apparently vulnerable to theft but it is possible to teach someone to have their defences up, even in sleep. It is also possible to construct dreams within dreams and killing someone in a dream will merely wake them up, although pain is just as much in the mind as a result of a physical act.
Cobb and his highly-skilled gang require a dreamer to “build” a world and a subject to fill it with their subconscious. Once these conditions are met, they can infiltrate the dream and extract and steal contracted information. Five minutes in the real world is an hour in dream-time, allowing the team long enough to complete each mission. As dreamscapes feel so real, team members take personal “totems” with them to root themselves in some sort of reality and ensure they realise they have filtrated someone else’s dream. Head spinning yet?
Blamed for his wife’s death, Cobb is a wanted man and exiled from his own children. When business tycoon, Saito (Ken Watanabe), offers him a deal in order for him to safely return home, he agrees to attempt Inception – the planting of an idea in someone’s head. Unfortunately his own complex past history almost compromises the mission. Ever warning and mysterious, speaking from personal experience Cobb talks of “The idea [being] the most resilient parasite – the smallest seed of an idea can grow and destroy us.”
Amid an exceptionally strong talented cast of big and growing names, DiCaprio plays the lead, Cobb, a guilt-ridden grief-stricken character of complexities. His background explores the blurring of reality and the terrifying concept of dreams becoming more desirable than the daily grind. Constantly haunted by his dead wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard), Cobb occasionally finds it difficult to differentiate between fiction and reality, having to force himself to remember how the idea of death as a means of escape “grew in her like a cancer”; Mal, like others, entered the dream state “to be woken up” – the dream became a reality.
Visually beautiful and mesmerising, Inception is ambitious in its scope, concept and cinematography. Although on the surface Inception is the story of one man’s fight to be reunited with his children, it also plays with the occasional irrational and paranoid fear of: “What if it’s all a dream and how can I tell when I’m asleep or waking”; Like the Inception process, to believe in its central premise, requires a “leap of faith”. Through Saito, Cobb and Mal, the possibility of living alternative lives, starting over and extending life, albeit it in a dream world, is also explored. Like this review, confusing it is, but well worth the mental grapple. Depending on the degree of your apres-viewing headache, Inception is possibly the film of the decade.
DVD Special Features
- The Inception of Inception
- The Japanese Castle: The Dream is Collapsing
- Constructing Paradoxical Architecture
- The Freight Train
Blu-ray Triple Play Special Features
- Extraction Mode – Infiltrate the dreamscape of “Inception” – with this in-movie experience – to learn how Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio and the rest of the cast and crew designed and achieved the movies signature moments.
- Dreams: Cinema of the subconscious – Taking some of the most fascinating and cutting-edge dream research to-date on lucid dreaming, top scientists make the case that the dream world is not an altered state of consciousness, but a fully functional parallel reality.
- Inception: The Cobol Job – Now in full animation and motion, check out this comic prologue to see how Cobb, Arthur, and Nash came to be enlisted by Cobol Engineering and perform an extraction on Saito.
- 5.1 Inception soundtrack – Composer Hans Zimmer teams up once again with Director Christopher Nolan to create the soundtrack for “Inception”. Enjoy this feature in full 5.1 surround.
- Conceptual Art Gallery
- Promotional Art Archive
- Inception Trailers
- Inception TV Spots
- Via BD-Live – Project Somnacin: Confidential Files – Get access to the highly secure files that reveal the inception of the dream-share technology.
By Leo Owen
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Laeta Kalogridis
Release Date: August 2 2010
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
Number of discs: 1
Price: From £9.99
Running Time: 133 mins
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, John Carroll Lynch, Elias Koteas
Before Shutter Island even appeared on mainstream release, Scorsese cleverly played with viewers by using the trailer to trick them into expecting a straight-forward horror film and luring them into a false comfort zone of misplaced preconceived notions.
On the surface Shutter Island is about US Marshall Teddy Daniel’s investigation of missing patient, Rachel (Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson) at Ashecliff mental asylum on Shutter Island. Armed with his own agenda, Teddy’s investigation is not so straight-forward – Teddy seeks another patient, Andrew Laeddis, the man who burnt down his home and in doing so, killed his wife, Dolores (Michelle Williams).
Having previously met an ex-Ashecliff inmate and with the knowledge that the asylum is funded by The House of American Activities Committee, Teddy suspects the clinically insane are being used as guinea pigs for mind experiments and decides to blow Ashecliff’s cover and save all the human lab rats. As Teddy and his partner Chuck, try to find all the missing pieces of the jigsaw, Teddy becomes increasingly obsessed with uncovering the truth of the identity of the 67th patient and exploring the infamous ward C.
When the back-up generator fails in the storm, the whole electrical system fries and with the chaos this brings, Teddy is finally able to explore the lighthouse. Positioned at the bottom of a craggy cliff face covered in poison ivy on a rocky islet surrounded by a security fence and monitored by a guard, the lighthouse is where Teddy believes they open up patients’ brains, performing brain surgery to create the “ghosts” to go out into the world and do things sane men would never do. And all protected by the notion that: “People tell the world that you are crazy and any protest to the contrary just proves otherwise.”
Long before the credits start to roll, Shutter Island morphs from a crime thriller with horrific undertones into a mind-bending ingenious piece of psychological trickery. Its challenging plot line weaves between the past, present, future, make believe and down right delusional.
Shutter Island is located in the middle of the ocean accessible only by a limited ferry service the government control. After two days of its claustrophobic isolation and punishing climate, Teddy starts to get horrific migraines; begins to mistrust and doubt his partner’s intentions; is haunted by the voices of ghosts telling him he “should have saved [them]” re-setting “like a tape playing” and is tortured by traumatic visions of concentration camp mass exterminations and piles of frozen corpses.
Abound with disturbing flashbacks and haunting dream sequences and full of intrigue, Shutter Island is bleak and dire, questioning moral order, the definition of sanity, what makes the individual and the value of man. DiCaprio creates a range in Teddy’s character, successfully depicting the “tough guy” veneer for this troubled soul, while Ben Kingsley makes a mildly humorous humane Doctor Cawley and Mark Ruffalo plays the sympathetic partner.
An expertly executed psychological masterpiece to make you question your own sanity, Shutter Island sits proudly among Scorsese’s impressive body of varied and always captivating work. Testimony to his range as director, Scorsese explores the horror/thriller genre with gravitas, leaving us to ponder if it “ would be worse, to live as a monster or to die as a good man?”
- Behind the Shutters
- Into the Lighthouse
By Katherine Romero
Unbeknown to us, a sequel to the hugely successful Titanic has been filmed and now the trailer has been released for our very eyes.
The trailer is quick to remind us that it is not a joke, which is always a sure sign that the film is complete rubbish.
The premise is that 100 years after passengers set sail on the Titanic, passengers aboard a ship taking the same route are about to suffer the same fate as an iceberg is hurled at the boat.
Funnily enough, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and James Cameron didn’t sign on for this.
Quite possible the most pointless remake we have seen. No surprise, it’s a straight to DVD release. Whereas Titanic tried to recreate the real events of real people, this film tries to depict the Titanic as some sort of ghost ship, set to kill anyone who dares take the same route. Offensive and insensitive but it has to be seen to be believed. Watch the trailer here and let us know what you think.
By Bridget Barrett
Written & Directed by Christopher Nolan
Dreams are powerful, lucid dreaming is even more profound, Christopher Nolan’s has created an amazing journey with Inception. It pushes all the right buttons for an action packed film noir style emphatic movie. Leonardo Di Caprio, Joseph Gordon, Ellen Page and Marion Cotiland to name few of the outstanding cast that do justice to this outstanding sci-fi film.
Dominic Cobb- Leonardo Dicaprio is an expert in his field, able to infiltrate people’s minds and extract important information as a con artist whilst they dream. Gathering the information they need is done with precision within a dream state world. But the dream world can become confused with reality, a surreal state that existed for his wife- Mal- Marion Cotiland which had severe consequences.
It’s corporate espionage at its best, DiCaprio – Dom Cobb is a slick businessman that must complete one last job before returning home. He has to influence the dreams and actually alter people’s sub conscious to change the decision and shape the future. Nolan’s produces surrealism by layering one dream on top of another (a dream within a dream) and a memory backlog for Cobb.
The heist team that is put together by Dom Cobb take on a big job and have to extract the information from the mark Cillain Murphy and Robert Fischer without being caught, but even in a controlled dreamed world things don’t always go to plan! With buildings folding on themselves and Ariadne – Ellen Page the young trainee architect pulling mirror doors shut then touching them so they shatter to reveal a more familiar surroundings that has painful backdrop memory for Cobb, is not only clever but plays with the human mind.
The film moves on to other spell binding cinematic wizardry, fights on ceilings and the team in dream like state suspended in the air in a hotel room; buildings folding onto themselves like a box and moving cars and pedestrians don’t fall down, people are actually walking up a vertical wall. With its stylish locations- Los Angeles, the snowed bound Alps and a strong storyline, bridges and stairways that have a life of their own, and an elevator that takes the characters Dom and Ariadne back to Cobb’s own dream when reaching each floor- states that anything possible in a dream-right!
With the strange imagery and the trickery with the law of physics, gravity and space it’s all mind blowing special effects, that is just breathtaking. The tension builds at a nice pace as the main narrative interweaves with sub plots and memory overload but it keeps you guessing right until the very end.
Why? Because the truth and illusion element of what’s real and what is really part of the dream world is what actually makes this movie so great.
By Nicholas Deigman
Dir: Martin Scorsese Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams
US Marshall Ted Daniels (DiCaprio) has his head “halfway down the toilet bowl” for the duration of his stormy trip to Shutter Island, a dark and jagged outcrop off the coast of Boston, home to the infamous Ashcliffe Asylum for the Criminally Insane. Unfortunately for Daniels, his headaches are only just beginning…
Daniels has been called in to investigate the disappearance of a patient, Rachel Solando, and is joined by new recruit Chuck Aule (Ruffalo). But Professor Cawley (Kingsley) and his subordinates make life extremely complicated for the Marshalls, and Ted soon decides there is no point in continuing without the help of the FBI. But when a destructive hurricane strikes the coast, Ted and Chuck are stranded on the island; surrounded by rats, the criminally insane, and the morally questionable staff.
It is at this point that Ted finally confesses to Chuck why he really came to the island: Andrew Laeddis, the man who set fire to Ted’s house and killed his beloved wife, Dolores, is being held in the high-security ‘Ward C’. While checking out Laeddis, Ted also discovered a high-reaching conspiracy involving barbaric, government-run experiments in mind control conducted on Ashcliffe inmates. Suddenly a much more terrifying possibility becomes all too real… what if Ted has been lured to the island because of the threat he poses to Cawley’s experiments? And how can Ted prove his own sanity if Cawley tells the world he has lost it?
This is an unapologetically melodramatic and lugubrious take on the ‘psychological thriller’ genre, but it is also eerie and gruesome. As the classic, Soviet-styled, minimalist credits and the bombastic orchestral overture ebb away, we find Ted talking to himself in the style of a 1950s anti-hero (“It’s just the sea… just a whole lotta sea”) and stumbling through a galley filled with rusty manacles hanging from the ceiling to reach Chuck on the deck.
These early scenes –filled with jump cuts, still frames, and moaning, creaking, marine noises – also employ a purposefully obvious use of back-projection, and one of the most exhausting and pompous scores since Howard Hawkes set down his camera. There is humour, but there is also an assurance that we are watching one of the masters of the homage creating a truly ‘classic’ piece of filmmaking.
The swirling storm clouds and jagged shards of rock erupting from the ocean bed convey one very simple message from the outset: the hospital might not be a ‘prison’… but the island is. Within this dank world, however, Scorsese is not scared to bring his love of vibrant colours and purposeful production design. The hospital itself, save for the menacing ‘Ward C’, is a charming community of red brick buildings and colonial gardens; Ted and Chuck’s ties are ludicrous; the wardens uniforms resemble Gestapo regalia; and the small graveyard is straight out of a Hammer film. There is an easy comparison to be made to ‘The Wicker Man’ in all this, and Scorsese does not make those comparisons any harder to draw up.
‘Shutter Island’ is a perfect example of why Scorsese will remain underappreciated by the vast herds of cinemagoers less cine-literate than himself. It would have been so easy to strip Dennis Lehane’s novel of it’s knowing genre conventions and subtle humour, and create a brooding and edgy ‘neo-noir’ that had audiences and critics cooing throughout the festival season. But instead, Scorsese has created an uneasy hybrid of ‘Douglas-Sirk-melodrama’ and ‘Stanley-Kubrick-horror’.
Leonardo DiCaprio is engrossing as the browbeaten Marshall. His Boston accent remains faultless, and is here imbued with a sharp 50’s twang made dull by years of drinking. His well-practiced ‘grimacing-while-choking-back-tears’ face – which served him so well during his dalliance with the greatest romantic tragedy ever told, not to mention during the tale of a certain hubristic cruise liner – is once again affecting and powerful. DiCaprio has rarely put a foot wrong in his career, and his partnership with Scorsese is fast becoming the stuff that legends are made of.
This is not an easy film to enjoy unless you have a soft spot for the melodramatic thrillers and films Noir of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Scorsese has created a wonderful, personal take on a ‘classic’ style of cinematic storytelling; and while ‘Shutter Island’ may lack the pace and raw modernity of recent neo-noirs, it makes up for it in zeal and self-confidence.
To read more from Nicholas Deigman go to www.t5m.com/nicholas-deigman