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Wednesday, July 21, 2010


As is usually the case with new movies/books/albums/concerts or any form of artwork I get exposed to, my brain starts rolling. In this case the inspiration happens to be Christopher Nolan's film "Inception."

{{following post contains SPOILERS so if you'd rather not have this fantastic movie ruined, STOP READING HERE}}

Now, I've been a fan of Nolan since 2000's "Memento," which still ranks as one of my favorite mind-bending movies. And 99% of people are familiar with his work, "The Dark Knight." If you're not, stop reading and go get familiar with it now. Then, go see "Inception."

Though I was expecting my perception of reality (as defined in the movie) to be tweaked (as it was in "The Matrix"), that wasn't necessarily the case. The cast (which is fantastic, every role is spot on) lays out the rules and the consequences of breaking them. Then they go about the business of applying said rules to get their results, and breaking them with disastrous effects.

While "Inception" is nearly three hours long, the pacing is perfect. It's taut throughout, a big part of that due to its layers and depth and usage of perceived time (brilliant). Visually, it's stunning. Not "Avatar" stunning, because of 3D technology or the latest in computer generated graphics. It's beautiful because it feels real. The sets are solid and highly interactive while accomplishing things that have never been seen in quite this way (Joseph Gordon Levitt's fight scene is epic).

Now, a few little nitpicks:
- the score: while incredibly moving, it overpowered some scenes and dialogue was almost unintelligible.
- Ken Watanabe: great actor, but better suited for limited English lines. His dialogue gets lost in his bass, mumbling accent.

On to the good stuff, the brain candy:

Peter Hall at Cinematical wraps it up better than I could, but I'll give you my interpretation.

I believe the whole movie is a glimpse of Cobb's dream state. The rules that are laid down are for the projections or other cast members, but Cobb continually breaks all of them. The scheme is always run by him and, invariably, ruined by his own lack of control over his subconscious. How does Mal keep creeping in if it's not Cobb's overall dream to begin with? There are no long lost loves or daddy issues or past regrets creeping in from any other character. With the exception of Cobb, they have no depth at all. Why? Because they are infinitely small portions of his own consciousness. They're archetypes, defined by their names and titles.

I could go on and on, but I'd rather have a discussion about it. And truthfully I'd like to see it again (without a handrail obscuring part of my view...I mean honestly? Sold out on a Monday night?)

Things to watch for:
the kids...are they exactly the same at the end as they are throughout the movie?
the totems...if the rules Cobb establishes are important, why doesn't he have his OWN totem, rather than Mal's? Keep an eye on his wedding band!
the escalation...things get crazier the further we go and we're told that it's because Fisher/Fischer's mind has been trained to defend itself. But Arthur never knew that. The whole crew never knew that. However, Cobb's mind knows that the rest of the crew is there to keep him in the dream/game, and can go after Cobb as a way to wake him up. However, since one cannot truly die in one's own dream, Cobb's projections can't force himself to wake up. There we have our paradox, as is so nicely threaded into the story.

So much to discuss! So much more to watch! Highly recommended, please check it out so I have someone to talk to!


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