Holy Cast List Batman!

The Dark Knight Rises is the third and supposed final film in the Nolan-Batman saga, and while the cast list was announced quite some time ago theres still a couple mysteries surrounding who’s gonna be who.

I’ll start with what has been confirmed and what many of you probably know: Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman are all back reprising their roles from the previous films. But all that’s boring. The fun stuff here is that the villains are going to be Bane played by Tom Hardy and Selina Kyle (or Catwoman as you might know her) played by Anne Hathaway. I find it interesting that Nolan chose these two villains as he has generally picked the baddies that don’t have super powers, Ra’s Al Ghul being the only exception as in the comics he is immortal. However, even with that Nolan was able to manipulate it in a way so that Ra’s was no longer a single, immortal entity but rather a  title that is inherited with the passing of the former so that there will always be a Ra’s Al Ghul. Crafty Bastard.

Lil' somethin like dis

I’m not sure what Nolan-y twists are going to be present for Bane and Catwoman, although since Tom Hardy is going to take on the role as the venomed up behemoth I’d have to assume that they’re going to portray him closer to the comic incarnation, wherein he is extremely intelligent and devious, as opposed to the Batman & Robin mind-less, wrecking ball adaptation. He was also the first villain to severely cripple the Bat by breaking his spine…over his knee. That better be in there.

Adding Catwoman into the mix should bring a great dynamic as I’m sure Nolan is going to play with the love/hate relationship she and Batsie have. Serving as a both a new love interest and enemy should make for a compelling plot. Hopefully.

The most recent news surrounding the bat-flick is the involvement of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (JGL, Jiggle, Jigglets, what have you) and the possible inclusion of Marion Cotillard. Deadline reports that Jiggle will be in the film when Nolan starts production, although it is still unsure who he will be playing. There are rumors circulating around that he’ll take on Alberto Falcone, son of the mob boss Carmine Falcone from Batman Begins, although there have been no confirmations one way or another. There’s even been talk about him being some sort of Robin figure, although I’m not sure that’s necessarily the road this film would go down. Regardless,  I love me some Jigglin’ so I don’t particularly care who he’ll be playing.

The involvement of Marion Cotillard is a little bit suspect still, but it was reported last week by the French newspaper Le Fiargo that she will be joining the cast. This has yet to be confirmed or denied but there’s already rumor spreading that she’ll be playing Talia Al Ghul, daughter of Ra’s mentioned above. If we accept both this and Jiggle playing Carmine’s son, that means a whole crap-load of familial ties to deal with and sift through during the plot, which in turn can only mean a Batman film leaning on the lengthy side. But really, does anybody have a problem with that?

Rumors, rumors, rumors. All I know is this cast is looking more and more like Inception by the minute. Now all we have to do is wait for an announcement about Leo signing on for Calendar Man. If only. If only…

I'm the King of the World!

Mind-Heist Madness

Inception

Written and directed by Chris Nolan. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, and Michael Caine. Released 2010

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” So says David H. Everett and Inception agrees to the fullest, by constructing a world where dream and reality collide to the point where it becomes nearly impossible to distinguish the two.

Inception, at its very basic level, is a heist film, except instead of robbing a bank or jewelry store the characters break into a subject’s subconscious via dreams and their big pay-off is information. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are specialists in “extraction”, breaking into someone’s mind and taking whatever information they’re hiding. However this can only be accomplished when the subject and extractors are sedated and hooked up to a “sleep machine” of sorts (similar to “jacking into” the Matrix) allowing for multiple layers of dreams to be created (dreaming within a dream).

Cobb and Arthur are eventually hired to do the opposite of extraction: “inception”, which is planting an idea deeply enough into the subconscious of a target, so that they wake up thinking the idea was theirs, allowing you to plant any idea (sinister or benign) without a trace. They plan on doing this by creating a triple layered dream (dreaming within a dream within a dream, get it?) and so they set out to recruit a team and plan their attack for this widely considered impossible feat.

Chris Nolan has apparently been working on this script for the past ten years, and it’s obvious. The film knows all of its rules and lays them out clearly within the first hour, but as is the case with any movie that takes such pains to set everything up, there’s gotta be some sort of monkey wrench thrown into the machine to complicate matters. Inception makes damn sure of that by throwing in triple-layer dreams where time and gravity exist at different levels and you can fight off security guards in a constantly rotating hotel hallway (which was the coolest scene in the entire movie) and plots twists and revelations that are so simple yet when discovered they’re exhilarating. What makes this film so stunning is the way Nolan weaves all the complex layers of the plot into a seamless narrative that’s simple to follow. He doesn’t hold your hand and walk you through it, but simply lays out the information and trusts that you’ll know what to do.

It gets even crazier than this.

In addition to the spot-on storytelling, the film looks spectacular. The CGI isn’t too over powering, which is impressive considering the amount of crazy cities-folding-on-top-of-each-other action that looks like it was ripped straight out of a bad acid trip. Nolan actually opted out of using CGI for any scenes that he could, for instance the hotel sequence which I briefly mentioned above was shot on a set that simply rotated along its axis. Using more traditional techniques in place of CGI adds believability to what is happening on-screen, making the visuals all the more impressive.

Of course all the sharp visuals don’t mean a thing if the cast doesn’t deliver, and luckily for us every actor on board slips straight into their characters adding a level of believability and emotional connection to this reality-bending drama. Leo plays a man who is packing some serious skeletons in his closet. The mental exhaustion he has starts to manifest itself physically as the movie carries on and he gives off an impression of a man who is barely able to keep his world together brilliantly.

Ellen Page plays Ariadne “the architect” who is in charge of constructing the dream world of the subject in the form of a giant labyrinth. She does a fine job playing a curious college student drawn into such a dangerous task and her relationship with Leo (as she becomes the only one to discover the reason why he is so tortured) is great. Marion Cotillard gives off an eerie performance of Cobb’s wife that fits so well later in the movie as further revelations of her character are made and the rest of the cast are all outstanding in their supporting roles. I particularly enjoyed Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s portrayal of Cobb’s suave partner, Arthur, as he delivers the perfect amount of humor and bad-assery.

From excellent storytelling and breath-taking visuals to a first-rate cast, Inception has all the ingredients of a great film and pulls them together to make one of the best examples of world building all summer. You’ll enjoy every minute of this film and I guarantee that after the credits roll you’ll want to see it again.