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Inception

July 29, 2010

Very mild spoilers


I’m reluctant to attempt a proper review of Inception in the manner that I’ve been reviewing films here thus far for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there are likely countless reviews of this flick out there right now; in the blogosphere, on legitimate movie sites, in the arts sections of broadsheets, etc. Granted, that hasn’t stopped me before but when combined with my second reason, it led me to opt against taking the necessary time and effort; the second reason being that I think I was unable to do anything but love this film because I harboured a significant predetermined bias toward it. I was sold on the teaser alone and by “sold” I mean I was made a shiny-eyed, zealous convert. How could I not be? A caper/heist flick that takes place inside multi-layered, shared dreams subject to the mishaps of dream logic. A very promising cast (that exceeded expectations), that wonderfully ominous score. By the time this film came rolling up I was like one of those Twilight fans, delirious with credulity and moistening my panties with anticipation. So I don’t want to try and break this film down just to spend three of four paragraphs working out different ways to say that I thought it was great. Instead, I’ll throw out some passing musings and leave it at that.

Comparisons to The Matrix are going to be unavoidable, especially given both the basic premise of the film and the prominence of the set-piece in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt is ‘flying around’ in a hotel corridor.* That said, such comparisons are not entirely unfair. Inception feels like a successor to The Matrix, in terms of precisely what an audience can expect to get from big-budget Hollywood blockbusters. Both are films that use their special effects to compliment the ideas and concepts they are pushing rather than just gratuitously spray the screen with CGI like so much digital jizz.

The cast is excellent. I particularly like the way it is comprised of awesome young actors that deserve far more recognition and older veterans that deserve to be forcibly reintroduced into the public consciousness. Tom fucking Berenger is in this beast! Also, when Chris Nolan makes a film, he gets on the phone and calls Michael Caine and you just can’t argue with that. My interest was piqued by the presence of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Cillian Murphy and as good as their performances were, it was Brit actor Tom Hardy that really delivered in the end. In such an ensemble piece, with each performer contributing something special with their characters, it was Hardy that brought a certain swing and panache to the proceedings. That’s not to overlook the talents of all the players here from an engaging Ellen Page to the lethal charisma of Ken Watanabe. DiCaprio in the lead is as dependable as ever but, as has been interestingly noticed elsewhere, this is his third straight consecutive role where he’s played a guy with serious wife issues.

With Inception, Chris Nolan has successfully pulled off the trick of reminding a broad audience that they can be engaged and blown away by a big-budget mainstream movie that is nonetheless a personal, original work. Given the recent slew of utterly awful event movies, it’s a wonder he was ever granted the opportunity to make this film at all. No doubt, putting out a Batman movie that grossed nearly a billion dollars obviously helped. I’ve always enjoyed Nolan’s movies but have stopped short of finding them incredible until now. I know the fanboys went apeshit for his Batman films but, although they’re fun and hugely enjoyable, both have their flaws. Inception is his masterpiece, easily. I’m going to have to get my repeat viewings in and it will be a delight to do so. The film is not as complicated as it may initially appear; it’s just information-heavy and doles out a lot of exposition. With that out of the way after the first viewing I’m aiming to focus more on the characters on the second go. I may even attempt a proper examination here once I’ve moved past the post-coital bliss stage that it has me in right now.

(*Those who have already seen Inception will know this is a poor way to describe what’s happening in that scene but I felt it would be a spoiler too far to be more precise.)

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4 comments

  1. “Digital jazz” is a good term! Did you coin it? Anyways I’m likely to use it again somewhere.

    And I enjoyed your review — another friend of mine had a similar take on its success. It’s like, Inception is wildly original and intelligent. Even if it’s not perfect it’s still got something on practically any other movie made on the same scale, which are generally speaking sequels, prequels, or based on comic books or cartoons.

    One thing I’d add to the merits of this movie is that the special effects are extremely inventive and I believe depended on more than a roomful of geeks on computers to realize. There are some scale models and stunts that (as was discussed in The Good The Bad The Weird) succeed in raising the stakes a bit by giving viewers something more believable and ‘real’ to get their adrenaline pumping over.


  2. I actually said “digital jizz” as in jism, the product of wank.


  3. Oops. I miss-read. I am familiar with jizz. How foolish of me. I guess I was thinking of a visual style that was kind of thrown together. Like, “Who knows what will happen? We’re just jamming here.”

    My low opinion of jazz has betrayed me.


  4. Ha, feel free to use “digital jazz”. After all, you coined it.

    I was just being crude and flippant.



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