Friday, July 23, 2010

"Inception": Christopher Nolan had a dream

If you have not heard of the blockbuster thriller that garnered over $100 million in its first week, I hope it's because you've been doing something more important like plugging an oil leak in the gulf.

There's been a lot said on Inception this past week, from mostly positive reviews to an overwhelming barrage of various theories on how deep the dream actually goes. As my editor at the Junior Varsity so eloquently stated before we started a round table that'll run next week, “let's move past whether we liked it or not, or whether it met our expectations or not, or JESUS CHRIST whether or not Cobb was dreaming the whole time, and talk about something productive.” If your interest hasn't been piqued by the 'buuum'bastic trailers or the national conversation, nothing I say here will sway you.

Inception, a story of psychological thieves who invade dreams, is a well-executed and intelligent thriller. I'll leave it at that, because, honestly, everything that can be said about this film, in one form or another, already has been said.

TOO MUCH: Ridiculous character names: Ellen Page as Ariadne, the mythological princess that guided Theseus out of the Minotaur's labyrinth; Tom Hardy as Eames, which is one 'e' too many and one 'dr' short of being “Dreams”; Marion Cotillard as Mal, ostensibly the film's only villain whose name means “evil” in Latin...

COULD HAVE USED MORE: Joseph Gordon-Levitt fighting Astaire-style in the hotel. I could watch an entire movie of that alone. Stuff like the train in LA happening in other dream levels.

FILM SNOB NOTE: All of Nolan's films feature important hand held objects and dead/tragic females. DiCaprio plays master mind thief Cobb, which is the name of the thief in Nolan's debut feature Following. The hallways in the hotel were made in a giant rolling tube. Nolan famously doesn't like using a lot of CGI, and decided against making Inception 3D after the fact, like the much-derided Clash of the Titans. The "kick" song, "Non, je ne regrette rien," is a standard by Edith Piaf, the portrayal of whom earned Cotillard an Oscar.

IHYFM RATING: FOUR out of FIVE MEHS. Despite some minor flaws, it's a well-told thriller that's one hell of a lot of fun.

IF YOU SAID THIS WAS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE, I'D THINK: I successfully planted the idea when you were taking a nap.


  1. Maybe this will interest you?

  2. Woah, and I thought I was a pretentious asshole.

    Thanks for the share - some good points - and I saw a similar dismantling of the first minute of the film on David Bordwell's blog as well that made a very good case for Nolan's tendency to over-direct, visually speaking.

    Yup, arguments could be made against the logic and execution of Inception, and although I probably wouldn't sing its praises ten years from now, I stand by my sentiment that it was one of the most enjoyable movies of last summer.