Leo makes it into the list twice but this time keeps his head. As the inquisitive Ariadne (Ellen Page) sneaks into Cobb’s (Di Caprio) subconscious, she only realises the gravity of her actions as she gradually tumbles down the rabbit hole of Cobb’s most secret thoughts partitioned only by the rickety elevator. As it descends, we join Ariadne as she whisks pasts his locker of dreams: from the hallway, past the train track and into the fatal room where Mal (Marion Cotillard) unknowingly left Cobb’s side. 

Ariadne enters and is confronted by a haunting representation of the hero’s deceased wife. As Mal approaches  with a broken wine glass and a steely gaze, we are already too aware of her ability to shatter the unconscious lives of anyone daring enough to interfere with her false existence. Cobb enters and rushes Ariadne back into the lift while sending a desperate promise to return to Mal.

Cotillard’s performance is astonishing and the final image of this scene as she glares up at the pair with lifeless eyes as they disappear is horrifying.




Film’s most relentless heroine has already faced off against a hoard of outer spaces finest and now, as she tries to save her surrogate ‘Newt’ she is chased down by the queen alien. With her flamethrower/grenade launcher in one hand and a child in the other, it looks as if Ripley is home and dry as she enters the lift and slowly climbs to the top where her carriage awaits. But she didn’t count on the alien’s dexterity as it follows the pair up in the adjacent shaft. 

With Lance Henriksen’s Bishop nowhere in sight, Ripley has no choice but to face off against her merciless foe. Luckily there is a big metal alien grabber just out of shot and Ripley is grade ‘excellent’ at manoeuvring it. The shot which stays with you is undoubtedly the snarling alien as it advances from darkness through the smoke filled elevator.


The Two Which Didn’t Quite Make It to the Top Floor…

Die Hard 

Just missing out on a spot as it is not strictly in the actual elevator (although McClane struggles to elude the mini room for the best part of four films), the action hero who set the bar is on the run from the bad guys, this time via an empty shaft. Using his gun as a wedge and lowering himself down by the gun-strap, McClane attempts to shimmy into the next crawl shaft. 

Cut to the strap giving way and McClane edging painfully slow towards his temporary goal, the suspense becomes unbearable as we hastily switch between the weakening buckle and John’s desperate grimace. Never fear; it all ends well and McClane dusts himself off and takes a deep breath before ‘offing’ a few more Europeans.


Terminator  2: Judgement Day 

Just one part of what is essentially a feature length chase scene, the freshly acquainted trio are subjected to the T1000’s punishment for not giving in. The renegade world saviours to-be have to dodge a 6ft knife as their predator’s poly-alloy arm morphs into the stabbing weapon and slices through the  elevator ceiling, threatening the swift disposal of their craniums. The real tension is in the hospital chase prior to this scene, meaning Cameron’s epic just misses the grade. 


Images courtesy of Die Hard, Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Inception


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