Sunday, 8 August 2010

Daydream Believer [Review: Inception]

Inception is good, hard speculative fiction in the sense of gedanken-experiment. It revolves around a single, simple concept - shared dreaming - and the plot of the film introduces and explores the practical, philosophical and moral questions thrown up by this concept.

While the idea is straightforward, the plot is not: as the climax approaches, the heist-movie team of nöonauts* are travelling through different dreams simultaneously while trying to pull off their audacious and precisely timed plan. Director Christopher Nolan and editor Lee Smith, who also worked together on The Prestige, have once again delivered a complex plot that remains easy to follow - a number of cinematic devices, including the different colour themes and styles for each layer of reality, help with this. However where The Prestige is perfectly edited, Inception is close to perfect but slightly too long, and as a result a few scenes gain a comic edge that may not have been intended.

Casting is great whether you are a fan of Mr. DiCaprio or not - like many heist movies this is very much an ensemble piece. I was particularly pleased to see Ellen Page, the star of Juno, in a major role - an arrogant and talented architecture student and far from your typical action heroine.

Previous films such as The Cell, The Matrix, eXistenZ have explored similar ideas to Inception - travelling either into the minds of other people or into cyberspace. A common idea is that when you die, or are killed in such a state, you also die in real life. There's no obvious reason for this so I was pleased to see that Inception takes a different and more intelligent tack. Here, if you die in your sleep, you just wake up - however it turns out there are other, more plausible ways for dreaming to be dangerous.

*The term nöonaut for a dream traveller is not used in Inception but in Black Brillion and Matt Hughes' other novels and short stories of The Times Before The End Times, in which characters explore the collective unconscious and do battle with archetypal foes.

11 comments:

C.Bosco said...

Interesting points; I'm planning out a post about this too, but I've been trying to take a different route. The film is not without its flaws, but not in a way that is too damaging to find something worthwhile in it.

Just have to see where I last placed Ariadne's thread now.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

If you find your thread leads you out of the labyrinth then I look forward to reading your thoughts. I think there's a lot more to say - flawed or not it's a thought-provoking piece.

Dyeve said...

Leonardo DiCaprio has appeared in several memorable films, I’v noticed lately and I think „Inception” could be the culmination of a series of films, being the kind of film that I think it will be hard to forget. Another reason for this, is the attention that was paid to detail. Nothing was left to chance and with the exception of the final scenes, not ever put your question: "Yes, why is this so?". Everything is very convincing and any anomaly that we would seem illogical, given a context in world of cinema.

And then, besides all logic, science and visual hand, there are the emotional component of the film, which gives a new dimension (as if there was need ...). You feel like everything is combined in a perfect whole, in a film, which after almost 3 hours tends to be as credible as reality. And the real challenge comes in the last hour, which happens so many things that I would be impossible to summarize them to you. :P


As I told someone from BC, well don't be surprised if the "Inception" will earn all received technical Oscars and nominations for Best Picture and Best Directing..Best Actor..all he can tale,I BET on this!

Dyeve said...

*take

Bluesfrau said...

Nice review! I still got to write me own... Inception comes close to my own experiences. Just that there are no machines needed (which is the aspect I'll critique).

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Dyeve: please, you don't need to sit on the fence - did you like the film?

Bluesfrau: it's good to hear from you, I look forward to reading your take on this film and your own experiences.

sofia gian said...

hmmmm, I disagree about casting! I'm not in it!

Dyeve said...

Plss.. .. next time .. let me sit perched even in trees as I did when I was little .. if I like it - or even on your car .. ( I promise not to scratch it ..: P) but it’s just about my choice ...
...and YES!!! - I liked the movie very much .. (if you don’t understand this from my comment...) probably that’s why I was so turned on... when I commented..excuse me.....

Off topic: I found this interesting ..if you have time watch it ..!
„Sheena Iyengar on the art of choosing”
Enjoy!

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/924

Sci-Fi Gene said...

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Sci-Fi Gene said...

Sofia: seconded! but you have to meet them at least halfway - did you audition ;) still looking forward to that blockbuster premiere one day.

Dyeve - "sitting on the fence" English phrase meaning not deciding one way or the other. And yes I did get how much you loved the film ♥ Thanks for the link :)

Dyeve said...

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"Me Talk Pretty One Day!" :))))