Rating – ****

I didn’t want to write a review of Inception after my first viewing. But two weeks later and straight after the second, in Imax no less, all of Nolan’s ideas, the booming operatic score and the often breathtaking images have crystallised in my mind. Was my opinion planted there by Dom Cobb? Quite possibly.

This is a world where your ideas and secrets can be stolen by an individual secretly entering your subconscious. It poses a tantalising question, why not plant an idea there instead? By now you’ll probably have heard that Inception is “clever”. This is true, and at times it may be slightly guilty of wallowing in self satisfaction. Fortunately, being “clever” isn’t all that’s going on here. It’s the human touches which define this deeply layered labyrinth of cortex-massaging cerebral espionage. It never implodes up it’s own arse the way The Science of Sleep did, for example. Although it has to be said, Gondry’s film created a far more accurate depiction of how weird real dreams are. In Nolan’s world the characters all look impeccably cool and it’s left to the streets, vehicles and staircases around them to behave all trippy. I don’t know about you, but if one of my random dreams was actually put up on screen, Leo and the gang would probably be dragging themselves along the floor by their nostrils, sliding through a sea of raspberry flavoured marmite, playing the banjo with their toes and singing pop goes the weasel in reverse the whole time. Yeah, I’d like to see you stay focused on your mission in one of my dreams Dicaprio! The logic in the film does seem slightly contradictory too. Many aspects are explained in rigorous detail via scenes of pure (almost clumsy?) exposition. Yet the technology behind much of this is left totally unexplained. Take Ellen Page’s Ariadne, she’s the dream architect, she must build the world the mission will take place in. She has a workshop, we see a few of her sketches and scale models. But how do her designs end up in the dream? Does she use 3D software? Is it generated entirely from memory? If so, she must be concentrating bloody hard, very tricky when there’s a freight train tearing up the pavement, or so I would imagine. I’m not that bothered by things like this, I love movie logic and I embrace pure escapism. It just seems a bit odd coming from such a focused filmmaker.

The acting is strong throughout. Dicaprio creates a believably tortured yet determined hero in Dom Cobb. The entire cast is superb, though perhaps Tom Hardy manages to steal the show? He brings mischievous panache to his quick witted and rebellious character Eames. This is a man who clearly loves to indulge in theatricality, even some occasional cross dressing… well, sort of.

Christopher Nolan is a director who fuses two normally conflicting sensibilities, the “Kubrickian” auteur, and the Spielbergian crowd pleaser, into one harmonious whole. Spielberg himself has pulled off this trick many times too…. but hey, it’s still a decent analogy. You can tell that Nolan is a fanboy at heart, part of him probably just wanted to shoot a cool action scene with guys fighting on the ceiling. But he’s smart enough to bring more to the table, he crafts impeccably paced and intelligent thrillers around those mainstream urges. Inception bursts onto the cinematic landscape as a fully formed instant science fiction classic. If I’ve sounded too harsh it’s purely because this is a damn good film and a little nitpicking won’t harm it. Will any film like this ever send a shiver down my spine again? I mean one so deep it bathes every nerve ending in the glow of pure awe, the way that the original Matrix did. Or how about that first time The Pixies posed the question “Where is my mind?” as the end credits of Fight Club rolled? I fear that those days are lost forever, I think my 14 year old brain just soaked up happiness much more efficiently than the crusty 25 year old sponge that rattles around my skull these days. Still, Inception comes close, damn close. There is still hope; after all, “You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling”.


~ by thewholebuffalo on July 30, 2010.

5 Responses to “Inception”

  1. I loved it, don’t get me wrong I just feel I wont go back and watch it in the cinema again, I think I’ve seen it at its peak (Imax) so I shall keenly await the Bluray…

  2. yay! I totally agree:) not quite flawless but that doesn’t matter cause it’s a great original cinematic experience. tom hardy for supporting actor oscar methinks?

  3. Fred pointed out that the dreams are controlled by the Architect so thats why they aren’t as random as you’ve described.

    I was thinking too , if you where in a dream you ouldn’t just be sitting in a cafe.

    Have you seen Paprika?

    If you like the idea of going into a surreal dream check it out.

  4. But thier not dreams. They make the victim think it is a dream and they sometimes refer to it as a dream but its a drug induced shared conscious thing designed by militrary to train operatives without having to kill each other or people which I think is the reason the dreams are so realistic and there’s lots of guns and fighting. But I love how open this film is to interpretation.

  5. i love this movie i can’t wait untill it comes out on tv on dierctv cable.

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