Inception (2010)

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I spent the first hour and a half of this movie terribly proud of myself for understanding what was going on. Then, I must have been put into a trance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt's fancy pants, because I suddenly realized I had no f***king idea what was happening. and worse than that, I realized I'd totally stopped giving a crap. This movie looks impressive & feels smart, but I fear I need a semester-long class in order to understand it (if, indeed, it can be understood...I'm willing to call a Donnie Darko on this one & claim that even the people involved don't get it). If you kept up with this movie, I commend you... and I'll pay you the price of a movie ticket to write this review for me.


A confession: I often spend a large portion of action movies confused. I've never been very good at telling one character from another when their distinctive characteristics are things like "He killed that one guy" or "He has the white gun". Inception took my inability to keep up with an action/rule heavy storyline, slapped it in the face a few times, force-fed it a lot of fact-heavy exposition, slapped it in the face a few more times, paraded handsome actors around in expensive tuxedos, and then was all like, "Well, did you get it?". No. I didn't get it at all. So, I watched it a couple more times, which speaks volumes for a movie I initially left the theater saying "Fuck. That. Film.", and I started to get it. Did I get all of it? No. But the real question is "Was there something to get, or was this movie just hiding under the guise that there was a lot to get despite just being a lot of explosions and stuff?" And I know the answer now. Inception is a very, very smart movie... and there's a lot to get out of it.

And I should get it... any movie that requires more than 3 viewings to simply understand what is happening on screen, and how the story has gotten us here, has got some serious "splainin to do." In this case, however, I'd rather just be confused than listen to Ellen Page ramble on for the more than 30 minutes that she already does, filling us in on how the machine that is Inception works. So, I apologize, dear reader, if my plot summary for this film, is lacking. I'd probably be better suited to write this review immediately after a 4th viewing, but I'm not sure that's going to happen any time soon, although it will happen again, because I really do like this film... I just suspect I'm far too inept to really get it. This guy's dad dies, and a team of people are hired to go into his dreams and recover a safe code that they suspect he knows so that they can access something in the safe. In hindsight, I don't remember what that thing is... but it's probably really important. So they make the dead man's son go to sleep and then they also go to sleep and they get the code. There are lots of cool visual effects in the dreams. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a character named Cobb who's kind of heading the mission, but he gets lost in the dream world and finds his dead wife, and keeps going and visiting her and getting really sad. Sometimes they spin this weird top like device for fun. In reality, while everyone's dreaming, this guy is driving them all around in a car, and people are trying to kill everyone in the car. Joseph Gordon-Levitt engages in this awesome fight in a hotel while he's dressed in an awesome tux. He looks really good. And then for some reason, everyone travels to a sub-arctic climate and fights people. I mean, that's what it's about. That's what happens. And other stuff I've forgotten.

I guess what makes this film great, besides how visually stunning it is (and it is so stunning) is that everyone in the film seems to know what they're talking about, and that makes me feel like this would all make sense if I were paying better attention. I admire movies that drag the audience into an entirely new world and then expect us to just kind of catch up. Most superhero movies do it well (we live in a world where superheroes exist, okay?) and some dramas do too (The Science of Sleep comes to mind). If I were to take the time to draw up a chart or something and map out what happens in this movie, no doubt, it would be brilliant and look like some sort of mathematical equation. I like that Christopher Nolan isn't afraid to make that movie... weird spinning top things and all.


The Sexiest Cast of the Year Award goes to...

A remarkable and complex film, Inception is a brilliant ride into dream-within-a-dream espionage. Exhilarating from beginning to end, one can't tear away from this movie, and you better not too. With such an intricate script, it is easy to get lost (a second viewing is highly recommended). With so much going on, Hans Zimmer's score pounds away upping the tension. Now, ordinarily I adore a heavy-handed epic score, but in this case it has a dizzying effect. Zimmer's hard, pulsing rhythms create so much tension, that it becomes hard to focus on everything else. The score along with the directing slightly veer this picture away from being the complete and artistic film it ought to be and put it into a more summer blockbuster action film category. Even within this genre, it shines brightly in a year full of great cinema. A great adventure, a beautiful picture, and a mind f***, Inception is Chris Nolan's best work to date (and I LOVED Memento)