The rants and raves of a teenage cinephile who is just a little bit obsessed with Catherine O'Hara and Hayao Miyazaki.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Long-Delayed Review of Inception

Okay, so I know everyone is SO over Inception. After all, it is very "July", and people have moved on to bigger and better things. But! I've only just now gotten the enthusiasm to organize up my thoughts about it, and so I felt it was worth it to write them down. You all know what Inception is about and who is in it, so let's just dive right in.

"Inception" is a very, very entertaining movie. It's a perfect summer movie - fast paced, action packed but intelligent enough for discerning viewers, and very interesting. Not only that, but it provides a discussion topic for countless conversations post-view. The acting is quite good (more on that in a bit) and, for all the hype, it did not disappoint.

However, Inception is nowhere near the mind-blowing movie that I thought it would be. To be honest, while I know that everyone is disputing what exactly happened (including myself), I feel like the movie was just a bit too up front with all of the information. One viewing is perfectly sufficient to grasp every bit of information needed to propose an interpretation of the film. For a movie about dreams, it was unsatisfyingly grounded.

On that note, I felt that the visuals were restrained. There were some fantastic moments (the slow motion, the exploding stuff with Ariadne, and the rotating hallway for example), but overall, everything was very bland to look at. Perhaps Christopher Nolan was going for a bleak look, but the whites, grays and blacks that permeated the color scheme just got so tedious after a while. Ellen Page's red sweater thing was like a breath of fresh air in the gloomy movie.

And, since the movie is about dreams, one could hope that the dreams were more creatively constructed visually. A dream-centric movie like "Paprika" (which I could not help but compare this to) which is simply visually brilliant, makes even the best visual creations in Inception look unoriginal. On the other hand, I can see why Christopher Nolan did that - it's the human architects who are constructing the dreams, they wouldn't bother to make them look fanciful, right?

On the acting front, Leo DiCaprio was absolutely fine in his role. He actually managed to make this crazy-man different from his Shutter Island persona, which I was quite happy to see. Just having Ellen Page and JGL on screen made me light up, even though they had very little to do. Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy really shined in surprisingly juicy roles. Best in show goes to Marion Cotillard, who simply stole every scene that she was in with a primal, emotional power. My favorite scene in the movie was probably the one where Ariadne and Mal have the showdown in the abandoned hotel room. So intense!

So, okay. I know I just ripped on the movie like crazy but I really did like it, and it's one of the better ones I've seen so far this year. It's still remarkably intelligent and so well layered - I'm still trying to figure out. It's not my favorite Nolan film, and I feel it pales in comparison to The Dark Knight especially, but perhaps the reason I'm being so harsh on this poor movie is because (A) I'm instinctively nonconformist, and (B) I keep comparing it to better films ("Paprika" and "Dark Knight" especially).

Well, there you have it. Great summer movie, very intelligent, though it felt a bit too restrained at times. Marion Cotillard FTW!!!



  1. It looks good, but I'll most likely rent it. But really strong writeup though! Though I don't get when you say that the movie only needs one viewing because it puts it's info to upfront?

  2. The best, most believable entry to date in an inherently imaginative genre. Excellent cast.

  3. Well, it's hard to go wrong with such a cast...

    But so many plotholes. I tried not to overanalyze it, but holy shit.

    Awesome hallway fight scene, I know everyone talks about it, but it's just so amazing...

  4. 7/10 sounds about right. As you said, nowhere near as mind boggling as it should be. So much exposition and rules to explain that it saps the movie of its energy. The story is fairly complex and Nolan tries to pass it out as meaningful depth, something that the movie doesn't have. Ultimately though, still a very summer blockbuster, just nothing more.


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