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Inception

Posted in FILM by Laura H on July 17, 2010

I’d been wanting to watch Inception pretty much since it was announced. Not only I’m a big sci-fi fan, but I also love Christopher Nolan‘s films. I think he’s one of the best directors around. I love everything about his films: the way they look, the way they feel and, most importantly, what they tell. I love how they tend to be incredibly long. Just like I love how his smart thrillers usually talk about so many more things than they seem to do. You just have to look for them.

So yeah, Inception was out today and I’ve just seen it… and I must confess I have (mild) mixed feelings about it. Personally, I have found the first 45  minutes unnecessarily confusing. It takes a while until you know what’s going on, and then it turns out to be really simple. This first part of the movie is supposed to be what sets you up, what tells you what’s going to happen, what lays the film’s universe rules so that you can understand the second part (The Dream). However, The Dream itself explains its rules better than this long introduction which just makes you feel slightly frustrated.

The good thing about this is that the film gets better (something quite unusual in Hollywood). In fact, once you’re inside The Dream, Inception becomes an amazingly fascinating and intelligent movie. It’s so well built (and arquitecture is really important in here… no matter how weak the foundations may be), so well acted, so beautifully crafted. Pure cinema magic.

I’ve always loved how Nolan’s films are photographed. They look very austere, even if they’re big on special effects. And this is no exception: the chases, the fights, the imaginary places,… they are all visually innovative, yet strangely familiar. Just like a dream.

The soundtrack also helps build the film’s tense atmosphere. Scored by Nolan’s regular Hans Zimmer (and with Johnny Marr as guest guitarist), it might resemble previous director-composer collaborations, but still works so well.

Little can be said about the cast. There are so many good actors in here that it’s ridiculous. From Nolan’s favourite Michael Caine and the gorgeous Cillian Murphy (who also repeats with the director) to indie starts Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon Lewitt. And then you have Leonardo DiCaprio, who just gets better and better.

Story-wise, the movie is full of layers. Yes, it is a sci-fi thriller that talks about stealing from dreams… and implementing ideas on dreams. But it also explores so many other things, especially feelings (guilt) and what strong power they have in our subconscious. Still, I think the first part of the script could have been resolved in a better way. Inception was written by Nolan himself and I tend to think that his best films are those written by his brother.

However, Inception is an extraordinary piece of clever filmmaking. In fact, I have the feeling that it’s the kind of movie that stays with you for a while, just like it’s the kind of movie that might need a second viewing. At least I want to see it again.

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3 Responses

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  1. Claudia said, on July 17, 2010 at 4:25 am

    I CAN’T WAIT TILL TOMORROW. OMG, I wanna see it so badly I’m afraid of my expectations. I’ll keep you posted.

  2. Sebastian said, on July 17, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Hey nice to see you in the theather! Here is my comment on the film.
    Be aware: some SPOILER here, don’t read further if you haven’t seen it 😉

    I would say it’s alltogether the best film I’ve seen since a long time! You are right the beginning was very confusing but that is in the tradition of older Nolan films, i.e. Memento – not very accessible in the first place! I absolutely loved Memento, it was my favourite film for a long time and Inception reminded me a lot of the film that is in my opinion Nolan’s Opus Magnum to date.
    But I think the story had some logical wholes – I didn’t understand why they would be stuck when that one guy would die in the dream?!?!That was really just some pointless dramatical artifice. Also I didn’t understand the conditions when you are stuck in an infinite dream. Think I have to watch it again.
    Also the character of the girl, the architect, completely lost relevance after the middle of the film, think there’s really some lost potential. I have the feeling that she was just the pretty girl that was required to be added to the cast. (again the female character in Memento has a much stronger role in the story)
    Also I think the ending was too conclusive for my taste! Seen better endings in Nolan films (see Memento) haha 🙂
    I just checked, Memento was actually written by his brother (also The Prestige and The Dark Knight). Inception was solely written by Christopher. If Chris ever aims to top Memento, he should rely on his brother’s writing skills 😉 (just seening, Jonathan is actually writing the new Batman film then.. should be a good one again 😉

    but alltogether, Inception is a mindblowing experience!

    ciao
    -Seb.

  3. becarefuldarlingyoumightfall said, on July 17, 2010 at 11:26 am

    @ Claudia: yes, let me know what you think about it once you’ve seen it!

    @Seb: I kind of agree. I know that Nolan’s films tend kick off by confusing the audience, but in this case it didn’t seem as something as under control as it usually is. I think the problem is the logical holes you mention. The film’s a bit of a cheater and its universe is not really that coherent. And I’ve always thought of Nolan as someone really tight when it comes to constructing worlds within his movies. Same thing with the relationships within the characters, I didn’t think they were that well taken care of in here, it all seemed a little too casual. Apart from this I think there are many ideas in the movie (like the concept of the maze) that had a lot of potential and that could have been developed more.

    I know what you mean about ‘Memento’, it’s the first Nolan I saw and a film that I really love. I understand the connections between it and Inception, but I don’t think I would compare them as for me they are quite different. Personally, ‘The Dark Knight’ is my fave Nolan film (probably followed by ‘The Prestige’, which for some reason I adore). But yes, the three of them were written by Jonathan, which just confirms what I mentioned in my review 🙂


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