Saturday, September 4, 2010


I finally saw Inception this week. Though it was not exactly what I had hoped it would be, it definitely left me in awe, especially in regards to Chris Nolan's mastery-- mainly in the construction of the story, regardless of the deft filmmaking. How did he manage to think up something like that, let alone present it in such a logical, easy-to-follow way (well, relatively easy to follow. i'm not sure I took in certain meanings and rules about the constructs of the dreams-- my ADD once again distracted me-- but I followed the plot, the levels of subconsciousness, very easily). I have further thoughts on the matter, but concisely:

did not like:
As amazing as the movie was, I was hoping the worlds would be more as they were presented in the kick-ass trailer-- dark and crazy weird. More stuff like the train appearing in the middle of the street, the non-gravity level, feeling a true, creepy threat from Mal and Cobb's subconcious. I understand and appreciate that Nolan made an artistic decision to create the dreams/subconscious as LOGICALLY as possible, having each make as much sense in reference to its surroundings as possible. No appearance of giant dinos, or Harrison Ford playing the ukulele or anything like that. And this actually makes sense too, because as Cobb says when explaining it all to Ellen Page, dreams make perfect sense when you're experiencing them. it's only when you wake up that you realize that something was weird (ALTHOUGH on that same subject, Saito knew something was amiss during Cobb's "audition" at the beginning-- the carpet wasn't right. so, HM). ANYWAY. I get Nolan's decision to make things as he did, however I just wanted something darker, creepier. I read somewhere that he originally imagined the film as more of a horror, and then later crafted it into a heist picture. I would've liked a little more horror, please.

[basically, i think i would have liked it if it were more like the trailer:

My main beef with the film: Incredible a spectacle as it is, you have to have emotional resonance in a movie like this. The Cobb/Mal love story/tragedy was not solid. Marion Whatsherface is a great actress, and DiCaprio can do anything as far as I'm concerned, but I did not buy their chemistry in this film at all. Their story is revealed well, I think, but it somehow missed the mark, and quite simply it needed to be the heart of the film since it is DiCaprio's motivation, it is supposed to be HIS heart and guilt we are descending into. And we do tap into that guilt, DiCaprio does the best he can. But still, we can't get the guilt without the tragedy, and we can't have the tragedy without the romance! So maybe there should have been some more of them together before everything went wrong, perhaps her suicide scene should have been better, the scene where he finally confronts her in "limbo" definitely should have been stronger and more clear-- done well, this scene should have caused emotion in me, but it really didn't. It's supposed to be Cobb's catharsis, but it missed the mark, damn.nation.

I also found Cobb's rescue of Saito a little underwhelming.

Also, I didn't care for the 3rd level of Fisher's subconscious-- the snow fortress setting paled in comparison to the gorgeousness of the previous locations and reminded me of a bad videogame. I didn't like looking at it and felt spoiled by the other elegant sets.


Ellen Paige. She's the only young actress that I actually really like, and she's really good in this-- I think the way in which she relates to Cobb is much more compelling than most of the other relationships. The scene where she is playing around with the architecture in Cobb's dream is fantastic (mirror doors! i want 'em).

Joseph-Gordon Levitt. I was mostly just so happy that he was cast in this movie-- he's incredibly talented and I'm glad to see him in the big movies now, even if his character didn't have that much depth and the slicked-back hair was just way annoying. He does get the best scene in the film though, which is the anti-gravity dream. As my friend pointed out, he's incredibly graceful and fun to watch in that sequence. There's one part where he's going down the hall and there's a jolt and he springs towards the ceiling with his hands flying, and there's something gorgeous about it. Couldn't say why.

Cillian Murphy as Fisher-- where Mal and Cobb got the emotional compound wrong, Cillian Murphy got it right. There should have been more of him in this movie-- his scene of catharsis was 10 times more moving than anything else that occurred, and even with his limited screentime he managed to really impress me, as usual. Dammit, Cillian, you gorgeous Irishman with your crazy sad eyes.

Also, of course, there are some killer visuals in this film-- I think the water pipes bursting in the first of Saito's dreams as DiCaprio just stands there, as well as the train were my favorite eye candy moments.

Also, I really loved the end of the film, ambiguous as it is, which opens up the movie to theories and dissection of plot holes and whatnot. I haven't built mine yet, though it does seem to me that he made it into reality (or he's reentered the endless cycle of self-deception, which seems to be more in keeping with Nolan's style, ala Memento) -- but the point is that by the end DiCaprio is happy. His totem has become the faces of his children, and though he spins the top and we cut away before it continues to spin or falters-- the point is that he WALKS AWAY. He may or may not be a part of "reality" however he has reached the point of it no longer mattering. He has found his way "home" one way or another-- by way of catharsis. His Mal issues are over, regardless of whether or not he is in any kind of a dream state. Whatever reality he is in, he has accepted it.

It'd be interesting to see how his dreamworld might be interpreted-- is the whole thing his own massive dream? It is somehow his own inception-- making peace with Mal? Or is it as it appears to us until the end-- does he wind up staying in limbo? Is he in someone else's subconscious? Is he in Mal's? I don't buy into any of that, but it would be cool to hear a defense of any of those. I don't like the idea of his perpetual limbo, but I was on guard throughout the film for the revelation that certain things were taking place in other people's subconsciouses-- like Mal's or Saito's or something. Or perhaps Fisher having the power to turn it around and hop into one of their heads, thus their losing him (also, how can Paige keep up with them, staying in Fisher's subconscious? She's trained as an architect.... ehm, wouldn't Fisher have almost as much power as she? Is it just becaus they're all so aware that it's a dream?)

I will say this-- the experience definitely made me want to revist The Matrix, which I think, regardless of Keanu, will always be my favorite mind-bender. Plus, pleather. Did anyone in Inception wear shiny pleather? No.


  1. This is why Inception should have been a tv show because it had a lot of good ideas that could have been explored in more depth and there were a lot of characters that needed more emotional depth (which is one of the reasons that I sometimes want to think it was all a dream -- or a portrayal of a dream based memory -- because it eases the fact that there was hardly any character development at all).

    But I agree with your thoughts. I'm so glad you were able to see it finally...though I wish we could have seen it together, like the old days (a la The Holiday).

  2. that's something i thought of, too- Mal especially is lacking depth, but as he says at the end his mind couldn't possibly reconstruct all of her flaws and details etc etc. I felt like that could be a allusion to ALL of the characters in the film (except for Murphy, strangely, who had a tiny amount of screentime but seemed really solid to me).

    i know!! ahh! the Holiday was on TV the other day and I was so happy to see it. I really do love that movie.