Comparison of Inception and Sunset Boulevard

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The Sunset Boulevard is a classic movie showing the rise of a character from the shimmers of lost hope by pretending to be someone he is not to make it in the movie industry. Joe is a screenwriter who gets a second chance after meeting Norma who is a fallen movie star seeking redemption, and she sees it after meeting Joe who she asks help from to give an opinion on the new script she has written. The movie is not entirely different from the movie Inception whose main character is Leonardo DiCaprio, and the main theme is on corporate espionage through penetration of people’s dreams. To portray the similarities and differences between the two movies the essay will give a full account of the characteristics of the two films about the cinematography, setting, sets, and techniques employed in the movie.

The film industry has observed an expansion of the graphic quality as a result of an improvement in technology. The inclusion of color in film can mainly be attributed to technological expansion. In the film Sunset Boulevard, the pictures are in black and white but employ horizontal and vertical lines. The images can be seen in a balanced perspective, and the director uses some German-expressionistic elements, where the films the characters from a distance showing an oblique vertical and horizontal line as in the case where they showcase Norma’s house where she has a conservation with Joe. There are many horizontal and vertical lines used here. The same can be spotted in the film Inception where the director shows many vertical, horizontal lines when Leonardo is touching the totem when traveling in someone’s thought and dreams. Lines are also visible when the director is using a special effect to create a limbo effect outside the streets of Los Angeles as the characters are trying to steal information from the tycoon.

The two films also show a dream within a dream theme that is employed by the two movie plots. The present movie industry has observed an increase in the complexity of the themes that are addressed based on the shift of the audience towards the younger generation. For instance, when the movie Sunset Boulevard is starting, it starts with the character Joe dead in a pool as the movie begins with a flashback effect that gives us the full story of the events that occurred that would have possibly lead to his death. In Inception, once the protagonists can infiltrate the antagonist’s company, they give a full account of the events that happened that led to the success of their plan. The costumes used by the characters of the movie are also dark in color to give the films a different outlook when displaying the images. The directors of the two films use crucial low lighting in the film, and this effect creates shadows in the films. This is evident in Sunset Boulevard where Joe and Norma are having a dance during New Year’s Eve. The items present in Norma’s apartment are dimly lit. Another example is when Joe gets to know max is spying on him and finds him waiting for him at the garage. There is a shadow of Joe forecasted on the walls of the garage.  In the film Inception lighting of this kind is seen when the Japanese soldiers are questioning Leonardo at the beginning of the film. It is also evident when he talks of survival to the woman as they prepare themselves to take a risky jump.

Another similarity can be spotted in the intricate plot of the two films. Noirs films are characterized by complex plots that require the audience to follow the plot step by step otherwise the audience can easily get lost. In Nolan’s film, it also presents a complex plot where the characters are employing company espionage through penetrating people’s thoughts and dreams through a totem.  The plot is complicated, and audience often would get lost trying to interpret the meaning of the film or getting to understand what has happened in a particular scene.

Both films also show symbolism in the items they display. For example, in Sunset Boulevard, the film shows max using a white telephone which at that time it showed people who were poor while the black phones showed people who were well off in society. It also indicates Norma’s hair band that represents queen status. In the film Inception, the totem is a symbol of change and hope. As it offers the characters in the film a chance to mend their wrongs and a chance to enjoy privileges they never experienced.

Despite so many similarities, the films also show a contrast when it comes to visual effects. Visual effects have been identified to reduce the theoretical context of different movies in the contemporary world. The film Inception employs the use of computer graphics to display the visual effects in the film. This creates a sense of fiction when it comes to the film. While in the movie Sunset Boulevard, it has no special effects such as the manipulation of images using the computer displaying a sense of realism in the film.

The films also have different genres in them particularly due to the evolving movie culture in the modern world. Inception, for instance, shows a science fiction theme, heist film, and film noir. While the movie Sunset Boulevard shows a romance, tragedy, film noir and deception film. This is mainly brought by the characters and plot of the two films. Inception shows these genres when they plot to steal from the tycoon when they use the totem to enter into the dreams of other people and film noir when the characters are under investigation by different authorities and when it shows Leonardo’s romance in the movie.

From the discussion, it is evident that the comparison of the two films shows the evolution of the film industry over the past decades. The two films are significant works in the film industry, and through their comparisons, upcoming directors and actors can learn from the two. Conclusively a comparison of the two films will help in identifying the gaps present in the film industries since yesteryears and the current change in the film industry as they are two works of different centuries.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Burke, Liam. The comic book film adaptation: exploring modern Hollywood’s leading genre. Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2015.
  2. Dunne, Michael. American film musical themes and forms. McFarland, 2016.
  3. Hofmann, Sarah. “Elements of Film Noir and its Implementation in the Contemporary TV-Series” True Detective”.” (2015).
  4. Lopate, Phillip. 2008. American Movie Critics. New York: Library of America.
  5. Van Tran, Dang, and Esther Zheng. “Video entertainment picture quality adjustment.” U.S. Patent 8,643,662, issued February 4, 2014.
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