Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nog Is Three Levels Down With Nolan's Inception! (No Major Spoilers, but Still You Should View Before Reading!).

While I fully agree with all the critics who are saying that one probably shouldn't levy a final verdict on Nolan's Inception without a second viewing, that doesn't mean I can't go ahead and write about it prior to seeing it again! First off, it's certainly the most fun I've had at the multiplex this year. If it's not as "perfect" as Toy Story 3 (and it probably isn't), I give it the edge for the complexity (and fun!) of its vision...not to mention, in IMAX, an aural and visual experience so intense as to be nearly overwhelming. My gut reaction is that I'll be more critical of the action-scenes the second time around. While Levitt's zero-gravity hallway fight scene may be an instant classic, some of the gun-battles--fighting a "militarized subconcious," no less!--are likely to grow a little tedious on repeat viewings. Inception is wildly complex in its ideas but (mostly) not off-putting in its execution (though I suspect the repeat business here will come mainly from sci-fi geeks, not from action it too "smart" to be a major blockbuster? discuss!) Nolan attaches the basic format of the heist film (assembling the team, committing the heist) to the film's sci-fi conceits (dream-raiders who steal or implant information, the latter called "inception"), and leads viewers into a remarkably constructed (and outrageously lengthy) final action set piece that occurs on three (really, four?) levels of dreaming. The cast is all-around solid (I'm increasingly liking Leo's performances of late...and JGL's cool quotient is ever-increasing), but my initial thought is that the film could use a more solid emotional core. While it's always involving, it's only sporadically moving, and the already controversial final shot threatens to jettison emotional connection in favor of one final mindfuck which is wonderfully fun to debate but arguably unecessary. Go see it, for goodness' sake!


  1. I don't know...

    I just don't think Christopher Nolen's movies are to my taste. I liked this movie well enough; I thought it was a good movie, even. But I kinda feel the same way about INCEPTION as I did about BATMAN: ambivalent.

    I actually thought the movie dragged at times. It was WAAAAY to long. I wanted it to end about halfway through it... and if all i can think about during a movie is "when is this going to end?," that's not a good sign.

    Visually cool, though. I kinda wish I would've seen it in IMAX.

  2. There's about forty minutes or more of this film that I really. . .enjoyed. Sincerely. Which is more than I can say for any other Christopher Nolan film I've experienced. At times, I even thought I was witnessing something very special at the movies. Nog, I agree that one needs to see it a second time, but I gotta say: finally I think it becomes too. . .too much. Too much about twists and turns and complication. I don't know. Sometimes these narratives are too cerebral for my liking. Haha. I do think that the emotional impact gets lost in all the noise and labyrinthian plot devices -- as though this is somehow a substitute for heart, soul, mood. . .tenderness. . . . . .visual poetry. . .

    But I actually liked it. And I do want to see it again. I'm just annoyed by certain. . .shall we say. . .trendy aspects of this film. But some of it is quite marvelous.

    I will say this, though: Thank God Ellen Page showed up when she did -- I was so unimpressed with the first twenty minutes, I nearly walked out. But Page makes this movie work, as far as I'm concerned.

  3. Beth, I suppose that's definitely NOT a good sign if you wanted it to end before the dream-heist!

    Yeah, Matthew, somehow I'm always willing to give in to Nolan's twisty films even when they do sacrifice heart in favor of narrative shenanigans.

    I liked Page too, but she's been criticized a lot as just being there to explain shit to us. (but SOMEONE has to do it!).

  4. Well, that was another thing I didn't like: all the conversations and Q&A sessions -- they were not subtle at all. They were completely in service of explanation, which felt cheap and silly.

    Haha -- yesterday I got to work at 5 AM, and I wasn't clocked in but maybe four minutes before I nearly go into a fight with some of the overnight stockers who had seen and LOVED this movie. It was hilarious. . .but kinda scary, because some of them are rough and could have easily kicked my ass. . .

    (Commence zero gravity fight in grocery store.)