Saturday, July 17, 2010

Inception Review

Inception is about a man who has been separated from his (young) kids for years and his quest to reunite with them. That is largely what separates Inception from Nolan's earlier efforts, e.g. The Prestige, Momento. This movie has an emotional core and characters you care about, not one of Nolan's hallmarks.

The movie, as a whole, however, is essential Nolan. The editing is tight and the pacing is guided by a deft touch reminiscent of The Dark Knight and most comparable to Terminator 2. The movie speaks to standard Nolan-type psycho-fare: the complexity and nature of ideas, dreaming and some metaphysical crock, and most importantly a platitude about about living for the future, not in the past.

Still, while Inception is a psychological thriller, the emphasis is firmly on the later. There's more action in the film that the original Star Wars trilogy, countless explosions, and a length chase scene for good measure. Several dozen people die, buildings collapse, there's some fistcuffs with a twist, and even a brief touch of romance in the thick of things. Also, notably, most of the film looks real. While computer-generated imagery was surely important, it takes a backseat in all but a few shots. Indeed, the raw feel of the film reminded me more of Indiana Jones than The Matrix, the later of which is the benchmark for films like this that try to walk a fine line between popular appeal and courting sophomoric critics.

Based on, Inception succeeded in convincing critics that it's a "smart" film. But as I've noted in the past, anyone with an IQ > 110 isn't going to get an intellectual hard on at the theater. I prefer to think that the (if you haven't seen prepare yourself for this) supposed ambiguity of the ending is just a bone throw to hipsters, not a meaningful point for discussion. If you watch carefully that seems to be Nolan's intent. The film ends the way it should, resolving the central conflict, albeit with some philosophical flourish thrown in to ensure critics left happy. (Predictably, a few used it as an opportunity to show they're better than you.)

Inception, despite being the biggest thrill of the year, has it's flaws. It leaves a little too much hanging when it hits it's climax. Nolan then tries to wrap things up quick, but it leaves you feeling both a bit shafted on the story and like the film was a bit anticlimactic. They also showed off the biggest explosion in the trailer, which is never acceptable.

In the film, inception is about planting an idea. But you have to be careful about how you plant the idea for it to grow and take hold. We'll have to see if Nolan successful pulled off inception with this film, planting a seed in Hollywood that says you can fill a film with gratuitous violence without crowding the appearance of erudition out.

Another good review.

No comments:

Post a Comment