The Wachowskis revolutionised the action film with The Matrix, introducing us to the notion of “bullet time” – a slow-motion visual-effects technique that has been copied by just about everyone since – which allowed them to craft what is easily one of the best action films ever made. It’s a high-wire, barmy, ridiculous action film that’s got countless iconic moments (such as the famous lobby shoot-out), and even if it borrows a lot from its foreign forebears, it’s still something quite unlike what most audiences anywhere have ever seen before.
Inception is directed with somewhat more restraint by Christopher Nolan; the premise and its delivery is mind-boggling but in a less gung-ho way. The epitome of this arrives as Cobb’s team seek to perform the Inception, resulting in a climactic action scene that fleets between several dream levels at once, requiring Nolan to have a firm grasp on various competing, concurrent narratives that are also taking place at different speeds. For even the most skilled directors, it would be a massive headache, yet Nolan manages to make it seem so effortless.
Again, The Wachowskis do a wonderful job directing the Hell out of The Matrix, but it’s Nolan’s approach that just feels so fresh and original, not especially derived from anyone before him.
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