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.
This article was first posted on December 5, 2012