Inception (2010)

And so we come screaming back into modernity… did I say modernity? Actually, Inception is built on one of the older plots, one we’ve seen a number of times in film noir especially, i.e. the One Last Job cliche, just gussied up with admittedly new and interesting clothing. Not actually knowing much about the plot before watching the film, I was slightly surprised to see it was so basically old-fashioned. It’s a heist film at heart; the difference between it and, say, The Killing, of course, is that in this film the thing being heisted (“extracted” in the film’s terminology) is information, stolen directly from the human mind. It’s not quite the same as stealing money from a racetrack. But not only can information be extracted, ideas can also be implanted. This is the One Last Job that Leonardo Di Caprio’s character takes on, hired by a corporate boss to “incept” an idea in the mind of a competitor. Along with the oddly old-fashioned plot outline, I was also a bit surprised to find the film was markedly less confusing than I’d expected it to be for some reason… I was thinking it’d be something like Primer with an actual budget, but it came over in pretty straightforward fashion to me; Nolan is careful enough with his storytelling and visuals to clearly delineate each layer of the dream world(s) in which the story unfolds. I can appreciate the argument that Nolan doesn’t go far enough in depicting his dreams, that they’re too literal and normal (I have some fucked up ones myself, including one the other night that David Lynch might’ve envied), but on the whole I must admit to being impressed by the extent to which Inception lived up to its hype for me; it’s the sort of big fucking blockbuster I can almost forgive Hollywood for. Hell, I didn’t even think it was too long at 148 minutes, and THAT’s a rare thing these days…

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