Sunday, 18 July 2010


So it's 2.15am and there's no way I'm going to bed without gathering my thoughts after seeing Inception. Much like a dream, I already feel my thoughts slipping away.

If you haven't seen Inception yet my advice to you would be to go in blind. I'd seen so many trailers, clips, and reviews that I knew half of the tricks already. In fact, if you're reading this and haven't seen it, I'd suggest you stop right now. Although I will try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible.

Once you look past all the baffling concepts of shared dreamspace and aggressive subconsciousness (you'll see what I mean), the narrative is a simple one. Dom Cobb (Dicaprio) must lead a team of dream experts on one last job if he has any chance of seeing his family again. It's not really a massive departure from his previous film, Shutter Island (in fact the final scenes are eerily similar), but he does a good job of being the emotional anchor for the film. The other characters are merely there to support DiCaprio, as they lack any such depth in their backstories. Not to say they don't do a great job of providing the film with comedy and charm (Levitt and Page are particularly noteworthy), but this isn't their movie. The only disappointment was the wasted talent of Cillian Murphy, whose character was nothing more than a walking suit.

To be honest, reviewing Inception feels like reviewing a dream. It really depends on how much you accepted the 'reality' at the time. This may be the biggest problem with the film. Accepting the numerous and ambiguous rules that the film throws at you with such lightning pace is not an easy task. Nolan brushes past some of the most complex notions with just a simple line of dialogue and expects the audience to come along for the ride (or, as a repeated line suggests, a leap of faith). The one logic I found hardest to accept was the idea of limbo; I won't go into detail, but it is the sole reason why there is any sense of drama in the film. When this isn't believable the whole film comes crashing down much like its decomposing dreamscapes. Luckily, the film is so well written, directed, and acted that you can't help but completely immerse yourself in Nolan's lavish vision.

One thing is for sure; the film looks fantastic. The dream concept allow Nolan's amazing knack for set pieces reach a whole new level of choreographed action scenes and surreal landscapes. I would loved to have seen the production team's faces when they were told they needed Joseph Gordon Levitt in an anti-gravity gun fight set in a hotel lobby. Just like seeing The Matrix for the first time, there were literally moments when my jaw hit the floor and my childish wonder took hold of me. This is an obvious testament to what a saving grace Nolan is to the Hollywood machine, as he redefines the rules of the 'Summer Blockbuster'.

And that's exactly what it is: an amazing summer blockbuster. Not a masterpiece. The logic behind the film simply lacks any sort of depth to be considered philosophical. Don't get me wrong, it's thought provoking, but not in the same way as Memento or The Prestige really challenged ideas of morality and existentialism. However the spectacle detracts from these flaws with such grace that you won't mind. I have never seen 3 different action scenes taking place all at once feel so naturally blended.

I'd need to see this film again if I was to decide on any sort of score. All I know is, it is the best way to kill 2 and a half hours this summer.

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