« Romancing The Stone: Long Lost Love | Main | Romancing The Stone: I'm doing Girls! »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Cobb actually does mention that this is the one last job he needs to do before he can get reunited with his children.

Nolan has perfected the art of convincing people that his movies are better/more important than they actually are.

The "Now getting shot DOES matter" exposition got laughs and groans of weariness in my screening.

"Because if you can swallow that scene--which lasts maybe two minutes but contains more exposition than any other half hour of the film--then yes, you're going to like this thing just fine."

I was mainly indifferent to that scene and was just like, 'Eh, I'll go along with it; the filmmakers had to put some obstacles in there somewhere, and you can't have death be all willy-nilly.' So ultimately I liked it more than you.

But the last shot in the movie? Oh my God, that was totally groanworthy.

Ah, the last shot: wow. That felt like a Brett Ratner kind of decision.

I am really, really glad you watch these types of POS movies so I don't have to.

I think it all worked best as a direct sequel to Shutter Island.

I think this is a slightly disingenuous review; the technical skill needed for the "look" of the movie is enough to give it a worth checking out pass. Anyone interested in the kind of heist movie/lone man pulp that this traffics in is going to get a lot out of it, at least in some way. And someone will put this on a festival bill with Avatar/Shutter Island/Limits of Control, all movies about lonely men in fiction suits, and wonder what the hell we were all doing round the year 2010.

Also, the video game comments are spot on and you're right about the score, they should have gone with Vangelis.

So whats it like single white female-ing me, nrh?

(I didn't see it yet but "disengenuous"? Fool, please.)

Every time people bring up SHUTTER ISLAND with regards this film, a little bit more of my anticipation dies. That film brought the suck and had Ben Kingsley explain it on a big blackboard.

See, I always thought I was single white femaling Matt Zoller Seitz, but what do I know. Or do you have that one covered?

But to actually talk about the movie, I think a lot of the reviews - both positive and negative - have been ignoring large parts of the movie in order to strengthen their point. Like this one gives short shrift to the visuals and spends more time attacking Straw Man Leo than might be warranted. It might be a little unfair to bring that criticism here rather than elsewhere, but something about the media climate right now is making it really hard to talk about this movie ambivalently, which is what it deserves.

i'm totally, completely ambivalent.

i could respond by saying that there's as many sentences praising the visuals as there are bitchin' bout Leo (two), but i think it might be more prudent to admit that I just don't care enough about Inception to mount any arguments about it beyond what it's in the original post. Regarding your ambivalent remark--i don't really disagree with that. I've had my say about Inception, I can't imagine why I would ever feel the need to talk or think about it again. It's a closed loop.

One other thing though: I think it's pretty ridiculous for me to provide a "check it out anyway, because" disclaimer when talking about my own reactions to a film--i'm sure I can trust anybody reading these posts to figure out for themselves how to spend their money and time.

I liked it. The hotel fight was amazing, the ski-action was pretty good, and that sequence of Ellen Page (miscast!) running around in Leonardo Dicaprio's mind-house was pretty awesome. And yeah: 500 Days of Summer was pretty awesome in that movie, and with no discernible character to work with, too.

And I guess I thought it was a cool thing, how it changed the rules on the audience-- I like how the audience spends the entire first half struggling to learn these rules and then the second half is just anarchy. That's actually what I like about heist movies generally, that part. Also: I didn't care about the silly rules much to begin with.

My friend and I both had that Modern Warfare reaction, but... If that movie recreated anything, is about anything, I don't think it's dreams-- at least, my dreams aren't like that-- as much as that feeling of being up all night playing a videogame and kind of how you lose track of yourself in that. Which-- is a weird thing for a movie to be about, but...

There were clunker scenes and clunker moments along the way (I thought he whiffed the finale with the wife), that "all the rules are different" scene is a mess, there's oodles of little stuff that there's no pay-off on (I was weirdly invested in Ellen Page's totem), and there was definitely a lot of silly overhyping going on to those early reviews (a movie about how much a man loves his wife getting comparisons to Kubrick???).

but-- you know, I wasn't that into Dark Knight, Batman Begins, The Prestige, or Insomnia, so this is the most I've liked a Chris Nolan movie since Memento. So for me, I'd be happier if he goes more this way in the future than that other stuff he's done...

Also, I think the movie was better with that last shot than it would have been without it, if it were just the happy ending.

Actually, I'm guessing Inception should provide for some interesting comparison with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World once its out, in that both are working pretty specifically with gaming tropes as metaphors for personal development (presuming the Scott Pilgrim movie retains that aspect of the comics, which I'm thinking it will).

I think Nolan's take is a little more oblique, and a lot more cynical - it's not even just that the snow level operates exactly like a first person shooter (kinda blah action in there, I thought; I was disappointed so much space was given over to that, especially in that it's cross-cut with the superior hotel stuff), or that it's called a 'level' and stuff, but that the mechanics of building the dream maps are total game design stuff, down to the recurring motif of safes as objectives, like they've got programming limitations to abide by. They DON'T, I don't think, but that stuff's contextualized as necessary to making their missions work; it's building all-consuming, interactive narratives as something just as good as real-world personal development, to the point where the totally empty, fake accomplishment of doing something in a game becomes exactly as psychologically valid as accomplishing something substantive with other people, because 'people' as you know them are inevitably colored by your subjective impressions/prejudices of them...

I don't think the movie went anywhere super-interesting with it; I mean, as a theme it's one billion percent more interesting than Avatar's treatment of similar stuff, but it's a work of ideas that eventually tosses way too much emphasis on under-developed characters - like, did anyone care in the slightest about Ken Watanabe's journey of personal development, even though it's positioned as one of the big revelatory stingers toward the end of the movie? I agree that the stuff with the wife didn't work at the end either, although I do like the idea of a big sci-fi/action movie's primary antagonist being the hero's guilt-soaked impression of another person... I just wish it built up to something better than inevitable catharses among thin character types.

I agree with Jog as far as it being pretty great if viewed as a sequel to Shutter Island.

Overall, I thought the movie was just aight at best. I wasn't mad I watched it, but I liked that I only spent six bucks, instead of going for the 3D IMAX whatever whatever. Though I've got to say, the snow level? That's Goldeneye, my friends. The van chase was totally Modern Warfare, though.

I found Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, and Ken Watanabe so much more interesting than everyone else. I feel like there was more there that got left on the cutting room floor. They had all of the pizazz, all of the style, and all of the cool stuff I expected to see in this flick. The rest of the movie... didn't.

And when the one dude was like "Dream bigger" and pulls out a grenade launcher-- great! Why not have somebody magic up some lightweight bulletproof vests or lasers or poison gas or something. The rules don't work.

i haven't seen the movie yet but man, this review and ensuing thread is completely the opposite of what i've been following about Inception on other sites like CHUD.com or other random blog reviews, who made the movie out to be one of the best films ever made. i'm not much of a fan of Nolan's work but i'm interested to see this, especially with all the hoopla about it. thanks for keeping things down to earth as always, Tucker, i always dig your write-ups.

"I feel like there was more there that got left on the cutting room floor."
Maybe (probably) I'm being generous, but to me it felt like stuff was getting left on the cutting room floor all over the place, and that's why the "rules" were outright nonsense (instead of just slightly).

I'm with Abhay on the last shot, but then I liked it in X-Men 3 too: the timing of that smash-cut to credits was literally the only moment I enjoyed in that movie.

I didn't think of Goldeneye and I haven't played Modern Warfare, but when Leo and Ellen scope out the base with the rifle? Metal Gear Solid.

3rd Brick I Hate About You is sex. I was terrified he was gonna go turncoat.

I kept waiting for Lukas Haas to return as Waingro.

This was one of those movies that doesn't really work as a movie, but it's still full of interesting stuff!

Like the idea of time dilation at deeper levels of dreaming, or totems for validating reality, or the idea of being trapped in a dream for eternity driving you mad. I feel like the metaphor for death as a dream from which you never awaken is kind of rarely explored. (Please correct me if I'm not thinking of obvious examples!) Or that sort of programming metaphor (code/data) where the architect creates the dream, but the subject populates it with NPCs. Love that!

I couldn't believe how many times they cut back to that fucking van falling in the river. You can't really get away with that dude.

But even now I want to see it again - they were definitely bullshitting it with the rules, but I was really diggin the rules they were comin up with.

What a bland fantasy too - it only really got to be somebody's crazy ass dream when they went to Modern Warfare 2 Snow Level (good call on Goldeneye/MGS too). Like where's the kink? Where's the animus? Tucker nailed it with "Could have used some fucking." Like with all the options of what a dreamscape could be - why are we just on the cover of a modest mouse album?

I have a feeling he was more into making another movie with an interesting structure or really the story had an interesting structure) and everything else sort of got neglected - especially DiCaprio, who is clearly just lost in the wilderness and falling back on old tricks.

You're an idiot.

No joke, this is the best takedown of the film I've read and what's wrong with it. It reminds me a lot of the final seasons of Lost, where a bunch of narrative dead ends and vague stakes are just handwaved away by a goopy "happy" ending. The difference is you only have to deal with pissing away two and a half hours of your life, instead of six years.

Yeah, there was some rushed ass shit in that movie. But I liked how they used all the usual cop-outs as the central tenants of their plot.

-a literal deus ex machina in mal
-"it was all a dream" being the very point, and hinted as the twist of the whole movie.

I wouldn't say you're an idiot, just kind of an asshole.

You are setting yourself up for a life filled with disappointment when you pick apart art with this level of contempt. The fact that you are finding fault with the logic of a movie about dreams, with a science fiction element involving transporting multiple consciousnesses into a person's dream using nothing equipment carried around in a small suitcase... I really feel you're missing the forest for the trees in an bad way.

That a movie should ratchet up the stakes as it progresses, this is a weakness? The factor of death in dreams never contradicts itself. In the deeper dreams later on, they still do not die, the danger lies in their not waking up and being forced to perceive decades of dream life. I'll concur that the question of ones insanity after such an ordeal is not as clear cut, but again, this is not verifiable science. Considering once again the subject matter, and the flights of what is by current science pure fancy, I think it is impressively consistent. Even your last gripe about Cobb's body being left in the river at the end is the means by which he follows Saito to the limbo of the deeper dreams.

Clearly, I liked it and you (and apparently most of the commenters) did not. This is the way of things. So be it.

One last thought.

Grant Morrison recently said in an interview "We've already got the real world. Why would you want fiction to be like the real world? Fiction can do anything, so why do people always want to say, 'Let's ground this' or 'Let's make this realistic.' You can't make it realistic because it's not." I suppose you could argue that this opposes Nolan's take on Batman and even elements of this movie (as, on second reading, I note you did.) but I interpret it as fiction should be feeling and meaning, and not about hard, irrefutable consistency.

Have I told you lately how much I love this blog? This isn't just because you left me a nice comment on Facebook. Okay, maybe it is. And maybe I'm just back on this page hoping that you and Abhay and Jog will just keep posting back and forth and I'll always have something to read.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo