The scene that is going to be analyzing in this part is the scene in the second dimension of the dream. In the other word, the scene in the hotel or Arther’s dream. Mise-en-scene will covered many details in the shot for example, setting, lighting, character casts with their performance style, costume and make up, and the props that is using in the shot. This analysis will involve only the part where all of characters are in the same room, before they are going down into the deeper dream. Cobb is disguising as Mr.Charlse, the man as told as “Specialize in Subconscious Security” (Nolan), projected from Fischer’s imagination in order to protect Fischer from the dream terrorist. Cobb makes Fischer believes that his uncle, Browning, is manipulating all the kidnap scene in the earlier dream in order to steal the number combination from Fischer’s subconscious.
Therefore, at this point that Fischer trusts Cobb and thinks his uncle is betraying him, he will helps Cobb and others gets into his own subconscious, as he understands as Browning’s, and find out the truth, or as we know, the inception Cobb tries to implant in Fischer’s mind. ’He’s going to help us break into his own subconscious’ – Arther” (Nolan). When Browning and Fischer falls asleep, everyone in the room start preparing their own work, to sleep and go down to another dimension. In this scene right before it cut and jump deeper into Eames’ dream, Cobb sees the curtain in the hotel room and he reminisce back to the day his wife, Mal, suicide. Firstly, mise-en-scene is the composition of all elements placed in the shot.
According to James Monaco, American film critic and educator, “The codes of mise-en-scene are the tools with which filmmaker alters and modifies our reading of the shot. ” (Monaco). It has various elements combine for instance, sets, props, costumes, lighting, performance includes blocking, make up, casting and performance style. To give another word, mise-en-scene is everything we can observe in the shot. Secondly, getting into the analysis of mise-en-scene in this scene. The setting is placed in the hotel room, with a king sized bed and other furniture that characters and props are being placed on to.
The set is not overly decorated as to keep dreams close to reality, it rather be keeping as plain as it can as a hotel. Getting into the details, the room they are in is the room 528, which is informed to be right on top of the room 491. Talking about dreams vs. reality, mostly in hotel or even normal residences, the room that is under another should be the same number. For example, the room 528 should be above the room 428, but in dreams, anything can happen. This number is used because in the dreams, they wanted to repeat this combination, 528491 as much as possible.
This combination first came from Fischer’s quick thought while he was forced to say some numbers in the kidnapping scene and later on, the other character will keep feeding the information of this number into Fischer so he will actually believes that it is really the safe’s security code. Furthermore, the lighting in the room is a normal studio light which gives the feeling of warmth with the tone. Lightning is not specific to any actor, it shines in general that we can see things in the scene.
Except when one actor has the line, the other will have a little shade to be darker as we can concentrate to the one who is currently speaking. Setting and atmosphere in dreams can obviously be designed as any possible way according to dream creator’s imagination. But to keep the difference between dreams and reality close, for the audience and the victim to be mesmerized, it is invented to be simple. Next, it is about the casts and performing styles. Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCarprio, is a very responsible man, caring of his family and friends, risk taker but bounded with the past.
In this part that Cobb pretends to be a man named Mr. Charles, he is also a responsible guy, determine, protective, persuasive and believable. The scene where Cobb tells Fischer that Browning is lying, he look deep into Fischer’s eyes in order to convinces and his facial expression of certainty can persuade Fischer to believe him. On in other hand, Cobb always got distracted from his past while in dreams, he will whether sees the projection of his children or in this scene, the curtain that makes him think of the day his wife kill herself.
Cobb sees the room’s curtain and connects it to the flowing curtain in the hotel room where Mal jump out of the window to commit a suicide. His eyes show the surprised feeling at first and then becomes confused. He shows his worry through the look on his face, after that, he shakes all the puzzle of and continues his work. In this part, Ariadne, played by Ellen Page, is showing the confusing face. Ariadne is a witty girl, follow things up really fast but at the moment, she lost.
She’s sitting on a chair, look up with the curious eyes sking question, by her facial expression, we can obviously see the questioning look. The facial expression of both Cobb and Ariadne can easily be read by the audience because they both show it out clearly. For the additional or unique body language and gesture, there’s not much in this scene as they all are busy preparing the work. Each characters either doing their own job or helping other to fall asleep so there is no extra body language happens. Moreoever, another element in mise-en-scene is costume and make up. Setting is in the hotel, as they all are looking very formal.
All of the characters are wearing a polite costume as the suits or the business type of outfit. Fischer and Browning, as a business elites, they always appear in the formal costume. Mr. Charlse (Cobb) and his team should look really formal, credible and professional so they are wearing the suits adjusting with each characteristic. Cobb, Saito, and Arther are in the suit with the necktie and Eames styled in a little less formal one. Ariadne is also in the middle length skirt, woman suit top with her hair tide up and the formal, natural make up.
This scene is the only scene that Ariadne has her hair up do because, according to Nolan, later on the scene, there will be the zero-gravity sequence and they wouldn’t have to think of how her hair will flow. (Nolan). All the costume and make up are designed to be as close to the reality as possible to sustain the feeling of reality even they’re in the imagination. Lastly, another important part of mise-en-scene, is the props. It this scene we can see a bed, that Fischer lays down after he sleep, chairs where Browning and Ariadne sits on, the flowing curtain and the sleeping machine.
Bed and chairs are the normal elements to have in the scene placed in a room. The flowing curtain as we see is not actually the real curtain of that hotel room. This room probably has a curtain but according to the other scenes, that flowing, white curtain is the same one as the curtain in another hotel where Cobb’s wife, Mal, suicides. It is the motion of the curtain Cobb sees in the past, appears again in this scene, showing that how he loses focus between dream and reality, and that normal object can reminds him of the tragic in his life.
Moreover, the sleeping machine or “The Portable Automated Somnacin IntraVenous (PASIV)” (Nolan), this machine comes in the silver bag with a lot of function inside. We can see this silver bag earlier in many scenes when they trying to get into the dreams, they pull out the wire from the bag and operate it to fall asleep. This PASIV machine plays a very active part, as a prop, in this film as they all need it in order to get into the dream. Overall, the mise-en-scene contains much information even in one short shot as explained.
It involves the setting, where everything happens and setting can influences many other mise-en-scene elements such as costumes, make up, light and props. Also, mise-en-scene engages the casts and their performing styles as well. Every detail in the shot combines and works together in order to create the perfect scenario. Indeed, it all has to cooperate itself and able to give meaning to the audience correctly. To be able to make the flawless scene, all the small elements in mise-en-scene has to be carefully chosen and combined. Consequently, in order to construct the great movie, all of film essentials must collaborate well too.