My Inception Mini-Review



Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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12 Responses

  1. Avatar LawMonkey says:

    Within the internal logic of the Inception-verse, #2 is answered at least in part by the fact that these are not freely constructed dreamscapes. Rather, they’re carefully sculpted labyrinths, designed with a specific (and extremely sinister, when you actually sit back to think about it) goal in mind. Of course, I suppose you could engineer a dreamscape to look like a a Dali painting, but there are a few lines early on, during Ariadne’s instruction, explaining that the dream needs to be kept realistic to stop the dreamer from realizing what’s going on, either consciously or subconsciously.

    FWIW, I don’t necessarily find that satisfying–I wanted to see some truly psychedelic worlds created. I also would’ve liked to have seen the team, or at least Ariadne and Cobb, make use of their ability to shape the world on the fly, even if it was in subtle ways. The film seemed to set this up with the early sequences–the folding city, the mirror hallway–but other than the stair loop, Nolan seems to have been content to let these particular Chekov’s guns lie back in the first act. But within the four corners of the film, there are at least reasons offered for our disappointment.Report

    • Avatar Will says:

      @LawMonkey, Right, it feels as if the rules of the dreamworld were constructed with spiffy-looking gunfights and not much else in mind. I mean, Nolan could have created any rule-based framework for Inception – it is, after all, his movie.

      But yeah, I agree that the movie itself is internally consistent.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    One of the things that always bugs me is the whole “just turn your brain off and enjoy the movie!” thing.

    Not because there aren’t movies where that’s appropriate (see, for example, The A-Team) but because the majority of such movies have me asking “How dumb, exactly, do you think I am?”

    The answer quickly comes: “Pretty Friggin’!”

    This dampens my enthusiasm.

    A sufficiently enthusiastic movie can then go on to make up for this dampening (see, again, The A-Team) but, for the most part, most movies don’t reach the enjoyment level of candy.

    This movie, at least, answers the “how dumb do you think I am?” question with “oh, I totally respect you… now will you turn your brain off?”.

    So it’s got that going for it.

    Stuff that I liked: The weightless portion of the movie in the hotel *FELT* like a dream. This sequence alone made the movie worth seeing, in my opinion. The ticking clock that was the van. Leo’s speech to his wife.

    Stuff that I didn’t like: After all that talk about the importance of an architect, they sure didn’t take advantage of having one. Well, except in the hotel for that one scene. Remember when the guy with the funny accent said “you’ve got to dream bigger” and pulled out a grenade launcher? How come that was the only time that anybody actually dreamed bigger?

    At the end of the day, however, I have but one test for whether a movie is really good: At any point in the film, did I think about my butt?

    Am I uncomfortable? Am I shifting in my chair? Am I thinking “I can’t wait to stretch my legs”?

    If I make it from trailers to credits without thinking about my butt, It’s a good movie.

    This movie passes the butt test.

    But you may want to turn your brain off.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Oh, another thing I liked: they didn’t get into the whole “you can’t read in dreams” thing.

      That always ticks me off.

      (Seriously, I’ve had entire dreams that took place sitting and typing into a green-on-black VAX machine.)Report

  3. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    Oh shit, I never remember my dreams.
    However, the film had possibilities quickly destroyed by a writer, director, and actor so totally secular that when they hoped to explore the transcendent side of the tension of existence, could do no better than create the idea that a young man actually loved a young woman so much he and she were willing to do really hard stuff.
    It’s a dead give away that everytime they wanted to explicate the existential tensional of being in a ‘dream’ reality (or was it a second reality?) the background music would surge louder and louder and the actor(s) would slip into whisper mode-thereby inhibiting my ability to hear what the hell they were saying.
    With that said, I liked the film, and don’t resent paying the God-awful fee to get in (the wife and I snuck in our own JU-JU bees). However, if they’d gotten the dude who wrote The Book of Eli, the director of that film, and Denzel they’d have had a blockbuster….DeCaprio wasn’t to bad this time, though!Report

  4. Avatar JosephFM says:

    Nolan is no Satoshi Kon, this is for sure, and Inception is no Paprika or Paranoia Agent, but I don’t think I need it to be.

    BTW, Bob, the brothers who did The Book of Eli are currently attached to a live action remake of Akira.Report

  5. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    Joseph FM, my missus is going to have coffee with a kid who’s studying film in college to discuss this one and Eli…for fun. I want you to give me a list, if you will, of films, foreign or domestic, that ask significant questions and freely engage in adult drama…I don’t need to watch people doing the nasty or the slaughter of untold tens but something that actually tells a story and I’m not afraid of the “G” wordl.
    Also, what is “Akira” a Japanese film? About what?Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      @Bob Cheeks, Bob, did you watch A Serious Man? I think you’d like it actually- the story seemed to be based on the Job story and asked fairly profound questions about individual man’s relation to the divine without answering them in an especially secular way. I was sort of surprised by this one.Report

      • Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

        @Rufus F., Thanks for the recommendation, I’m going to put it on my Netflix list…we’re currently doing the Germans now, I’ve got Reni’s Nurenburg on the let me know of other films!Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. says:

          @Bob Cheeks, You’ve likely seen it already, but you’d likely appreciate Carl Theodor Dreyer’s film “Ordet” from 1955. It’s about a family torn apart by differences of faith and brought together by a miracle. It’s also an excellent film.Report

  6. Avatar E.C. Gach says:

    It’s always hard to judge movies. I’m curious what criteria people feel should be used in making the assessment. For instance I feel like a movie such as Inception can’t be faulted for not living up to other people’s hopes. A reoccurring criticism (noted here and many other places) seems to be that, “the movie didn’t do this” or ” it wasn’t such and such” or “I wanted the dream sequences to be like X, Y, and Z.”

    And while part of me respects that line of thought, feeling that way many times myself, I often want to respond with, “Well make your own movie and you can do all that stuff then.” This was Nolan’s film, he wanted to do the dream sequences the way he did them, after all it film was an “actioner” so fair warning was made abundant, and so rather than critique the film for not being what a certain viewer would have preferred or done his or herself, feels quite unjust.

    Inception is internally consistent, and succeeds in what it sets out to accomplish, as far as I can tell. And that is how I think any movie has to be judged, in part, by what it sets out to do and whether that is accomplished. We can argue about what Inception was aiming for, and whether it hit the mark, but I’m tired of hearing critics and fellow movie-goers alike complain that the movie didn’t do things how they wanted/had hoped they’d be done.Report