“You mustn’t be afraid to dream bigger, darling.” Inception (2010)
*CAUTION! There may be spoilers. But none of this post probably makes sense anyway so you will be none the wiser*
So, Inception. The film hailed before release as being Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece. A film described by many critics as astounding, astonishing, and so complex in its structure that only multiple viewings would lead to an understanding. Almost every reviewer seemed to be down on their knees and sucking furiously at the cock of Lord Nolan. Everyone and their dog loves the hell out of it.
Me? While I enjoyed the ride, I’m not ready to work my full magic on the frenulum of Nolan yet. Maybe lap at the balls and tip a little, but I’m not up for the whole thrusting shaft.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like Inception.
The plotline was – unlike I’d been led to believe – quite easy to follow. The effects and visuals were pretty God damn stunning. Hans Zimmer’s score was amazing. Two and a half hours went by in no time at all. Inception was a slick, nicely executed viewing experience – I just feel it didn’t live up to the tag of astonishing or astounding. Great, maybe.
The dream within a dream, within a dream concept, is a good one that may be have been done before, but isn’t everything derivative of something? Does anything completely original even exist these days? Its what is done with these influences that matters. Nolan succeeds in some respects, but fails in others. In terms of individual scenes, Inception can be viewed as something truly beautiful, but taken as a whole, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something missing. Sean Witzke nailed it on his blog as being “a heist movie aching for a villain.” I’m paraphrasing here, so you should really just head over and read what this guy has to say. He makes way more sense than someone like me ever could.
Back onto individual scenes, the opening gambit of Saito’s (Ken Watanabe) dream, crashing into the dream world of Nash (Lukas Haas) makes for an amazing sequence. This is where I would start unzipping Nolan’s flies…
Cupping the balls comes with some other gorgeous set pieces, most notably Ariadne’s (Ellen Page) first dalliance with the architecture of dreams. I’m a sucker for beautiful visuals, especially on a big screen. I’ll overlook underdeveloped characterisation for that, Nolan, I really will. I’m almost ready to overlook blatant non-use of the talents of Cillian Murphy. Casting is usually where Christopher Nolan is king. He seems to be able to get anyone to sign on for the smallest of parts – Pete Postlethwaite’s two minute wonder, a couple of lines for Tom Berenger…there’s a tiny part for Michael Caine, but then I think he’d pretty much do anything for Nolan, including maybe painting himself gold then proceeding to dance naked in the woods. Sorry, I think I’ve just let my subconscious spill over there.
Leonardo DiCaprio is on fine form, with the exception of the scene outside a Parisian Café where I’m convinced he morphed into Jack Nicholson mode. Nolan has given me a new perspective on Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who has gone from Third Rock/indie romantic comedy boy to smooth criminal. There are some sexy moves on that suave bastard. Tom Hardy is a revelation and steals the whole thing. Having only seen him previously in a couple of films and TV dramas – most notably his graphically violent, coked-up role in Martina Cole’s “The Take” – this guy just keeps rocketing skywards in my opinion. Marion Cotillard is rather one dimensional, but then she is supposed to be, and Ellen Page does well with what she is given.
My Nolan history reads as follows:
I loved Memento. I found its structure, and narrative compelling. I liked that a simple idea could lead to such a tightly constructed film.
I found Insomnia enjoyable, but still prefer Erik Skjoldbjaerg’s original – maybe due to the amount of nights I spent with it keeping me company ten years ago. I suffered bad insomnia, rented this due to the title, and watched on repeat for months. Al Pacino would never have been able to live up to Stellan Skarsgard for me. Purely a personal thing.
I loved The Prestige. Purists of Christopher Priest’s novel may have abhorred the departure from the original ending, but having read and enjoyed the book, I liked what Nolan did with it. The continuing displays of one-upmanship and deception – the pairing of Bale and Jackman worked well.
His Batman movies, I enjoyed. I don’t rave over them the way some do, but I liked their exploration of darker territory in the franchise. I usually find merits in all of the Batman films – no matter who is directing – as they all seem to focus on different areas, and have differing styles. Not one, in my opinion anyway, has been a complete failure, though I still hold Tim Burton’s Batman outings in higher regard than Christopher Nolan’s. I can hear the screams of “Oh my God, that bitch knows nothing!” already, and to that I say who cares. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Shit, that’s right – this is the internet. Difference of opinion is no longer allowed.
When you show dislike of something others love, you are WRONG. You are an uneducated simpleton who just doesn’t get what the creator was trying to achieve, cannot appreciate true art, or worse – you think it’s beneath you.
Conversely, when you like something others hate? You are WRONG. You are an uneducated simpleton who has missed all the obvious flaws, cannot appreciate true art, and are equated with the lowest rung of the ladder in evolutionary terms.
No one can win in the world of the internet.
Except maybe Christopher Nolan.
The mood so far seems to be if you don’t think Inception is the film of 2010, you are wrong.
Internet hype surrounding Inception may have led in part to its success.
The rumours and secrecy surrounding Inception, it’s convoluted plot, and strict privacy on set, started nearly a year before release. Everyone has been waiting on this film since last Summer.
The seed, if you will, was planted in our minds to take root so that by the time of release Inception would already be thought of as a great film. Or is that just a conspiracy theory too far?
The marketing of the film has been very clever, guaranteeing full screenings, sparking conversation and debate – the best publicity there is. It’s almost as if THIS has been Christopher Nolan’s master stroke. Invading our minds pre-release with the concept of a puzzle to be solved where there is no puzzle.
That’s not to criticise Inception as a film, more the marketing. The hype.
I looked forward to it, but I wasn’t let down, as this year more than any, I have learned to ignore the hype. I’m still learning to ignore the internet, more often than not because I am singled out as being wrong. Because having opinions doesn’t seem to be widely allowed.
I still admire Nolan as a film maker, and Inception is deserving of a little perineum massage, if not a full level blow job. Maybe once he heads back to Christopher Priest territory and tackles The Affirmation, or The Dream Archipelago, I’ll be on my knees till they fucking break. Never read either? Start with The Affirmation. I don’t know why, but I’ve always said he’s the man for the job where that fictional world is concerned. Still reigns as one of my favourite books, and sometimes – not always – I put faith in my subconscious. I’m still convinced he can do it proud.
As to the question of the spinning top? I have no need to know the answer. I like a bit of ambiguity.
Reality is never what we think it to be. Who knows what is real and what isn’t? Would your subconscious trick you even if you had something to hang on to? Would your dice be loaded, or your top be felled by your own mind? Who knows, who cares? When you’re happy you go with it.
But then what do I know? I spent too much of my youth reading Dick, Leary, Anton Wilson and McKenna with a lot of grass. My take on reality is fucked. Jesus, I still think I come from Sirius when I wake up at the wrong time during a dream.