Sunday, July 25, 2010

Movie Review -- INCEPTION

I like MovieBob over at Escape to the Movies, although I did not agree with his review of Avatar (I prefer Red Letter Media's take on that film). I liked what he had to say about Inception, and I do not think it is way too twisty and cerebral for most Americans.

Inception is about dreams and reality. But, when you get right down to it, what it is really about is just reality. What is reality? Its a sort of existential thriller that excites the viewer while prompting him or her to think, much like The Matrix did.

It's also a deep exploration of psychological trauma, and what sort of things can surface in our psyche because we have difficulty dealing with them. Christopher Nolan (director) not only puts on a show in which the viewer must question what is real and what is illusion/dream, but also explore the subconscious. This is a movie that is full of incredible action scenes, great character development, and an exciting and absorbing plot.

I don't want to give much of this movie away, but I'll say it's certainly worth your $8 for the ticket. I'd even like to go see it again. It was that good, and I rarely want to fork over the cash for the same movie ticket twice. This film, written, produced, and directed by Nolan, is an excellent example of character arcing and storytelling. For example, I was quite surprised by how excellently the script develops Cobb's (DiCaprio) motivation, trauma, and resolution. There is very little info-dumping--instead the movie takes you on a brief, tantalizing tour through Cobb's psyche at one point, before revealing all of the secrets, and even then, it does not reveal everything. This constant sense of development makes Cobb an incredibly real and sympathetic character throughout the film.

The timing of the film's opening is tricky. At first, I thought Nolan was jumping back-and-forth through different time-periods (past, present, and future), but I caught on within a few minutes as the film progressed. It's not above the audience's head--you should be able to figure out what's going on rather quickly, and any remaining information that the viewer requires is delivered through natural dialogue as Cobb instructs one of his future partners. What might be above the audience's head is the very last seconds, where the screen goes black right before we find out if it's a dream or if it's real (watch very, very carefully and you'll understand what I mean--it's not cut-and-dry at all).

This is an excellent film that is well-worth seeing in the theaters. It's a great example of what I think of as fine cinema. I was extremely impressed by Nolan, especially after the great job he did with the latest two Batman films. Nolan is quickly becoming one of my favorite directors.

Style A
Substance A+
Overall A


Chris Cesarano said...

Honestly, I prefer Nolan's original work over the Batman films. While I still love Batman Begins, The Prestige is definitely a better flick in my mind. The Dark Knight is inferior to both.

I recently watched Memento, which I believe is the film that got him noticed, and I think Christopher Nolan and his brother love making films that keep you wondering the whole time. The Batman flicks were pretty straight forward in the end considering the intended audience and subject matter, but Memento, Prestige and what I've seen of Inception all lend to the audience wondering what is going on until the big reveal at the end.

And Memento's reveal is fantastic for a film that runs backwards, meaning you technically already know how it ends. Until you realize, well, you DON'T know how it ends.

As for MovieBob, I'd say my biggest disagreement with him was Book of Eli, but that's mostly because he went to a Catholic School and that tends to make a horrible person out of you. He was right in that Avatar is a fun film, but for folks like us, it's going to be garbage because we know just what it is.

I hope to see Inception this weekend. I have a feeling that this, Predators and Scott Pilgrim will be the major geek movies of the summer. The Expendables should be, but it's been poorly advertised and is releasing on the same day as Scott Pilgrim and Eat, Pray, Love. Still, there's a chance Scott Pilgrim will beat the shitty chick-flick at the Box Office, and that would be reward enough.

Dave Cesarano said...

I think that Dark Knight is an incredible movie, but there's lots of debate, and Hoover doesn't like Nolan's take on the Batman franchise. As for Memento, I honestly can't sit through it again, now that I know everything. Kind of ruins the film for me. But you're right, it's still a great movie. I chalk it up to having a personal problem.

As for Scott Pilgrim, I doubt it will release in Korea, so I'm likely to see The Expendables instead, just out of necessity.