My favorite movie critic, David Thomson, has a great piece on Christopher Nolan's latest blockbuster, Inception. Key bit:
It’s true that Leonardo DiCaprio’s Mr. Cobb has a wound and a loss, plus a destiny we want to see fulfilled, but they are borne lightly, as if to say, well, an actor needs a character and a situation, so let it be this—it’s like choosing the top hat, the dog, or the boot in Monopoly. You get attached enough to the plucky stance of the dog for a couple of hours, but you could as easily have admired the splendor of the pocket battleship. Of course, this detachability in feelings and needs is very fair to the relaxed and rootless air of dreaming—that aspect of experience (so like the movies) where we learn that the show is everything, so long as it doesn’t matter so much that you start taking it seriously and believing it’s Life. The deepest link between film and dream is that we are safe in our dark, no matter that the bright hurtling locomotive (the screen) comes so close.
If you want a measure of the film’s wit, of its tongue- in-cheek delicacy, just notice how the intrigue is all achieved in the first-class cabin of a long-distance air flight. No matter the dream’s turmoil, these people are cushioned and placed in the most artful bed-seat, gently mulling over the flight’s choices—the game hen in cilantro aspic, or the chilled lobster DeMille. There may not be such a dish, except in dream, but I name it to hark back to the impassioned vulgarity, the urge to see new things, that inspired that pioneer filmmaker.