Inception (2010) Directed by Christopher Nolan
I am an avid dreamer. I remember fragments of my dreams every morning. Sometimes I know during the dream that I am dreaming, but I tell myself: lets watch this one more, it's fun. My dreams are always populated by people I know, situations close to my awake reality. It has happened that events in dreams influence how I perceive others or what I think has happened with them. Distinction between dream and reality has blurred.
Despite Inception being cinematically rather uninventive, I was fascinated by the concept of theft while dreaming. To elevate the human sleeping and dreaming state into an important maker of our conscious reality is an inspiring idea, it makes Inception watchable for me.
Unfortunately, Inception was also an over-long, cold and cynical action blockbuster. It's full of the kinds of gestures and repetitions that usually annoy and bore me (stiff character development, clichéd motivations for actions and too much violence). I found Nolan's previous film The Dark Knight tedious and angering in its negativity towards humanity, some of that same general grayness is present here too.
Although the subject matter of controlled dreaming was the essence of this film, some of the ideas presented during it were a little too simplistic: for example the notion that incepting an idea into a person's mind in their sleep (or when they are not conscious of it) is difficult. This claim seems a bit laborious and forced, when we know that the 20th century was defined by a constant stream of incepting ideas into conscious and awake people's heads through advertising. It isn't that difficult, so just stop sleepwalking Leo!
I've always been envious of people who can remember their dreams. For me the nights' sleep is always nothing more than a feeling of what I dreamt about. Something may come back to me during the morning but generally I don't remember any dreams. Then I hear people go into long details about their dreams. It sounds like having access to another world. Of this I'm envious. I'll just have to hang on to my waking dreams.
Nolan's picture deals with the premise of accessing people's minds through their dreams so that important information can be garnered. Its kind of like a heist concept, stealing people's secrets from their subconscious. The picture is loaded with effect heavy scenes. Buildings crumble, cities are built instantly, roads turn upside down, people walk on ceilings. This is fine for awhile (and certainly you feel the effects on the big screen), but the trick is repeated constantly through out the film, so you feel a little worn down by the CGI. Still, some scenes are impressive, even if you have seen a lot of the imagery in other movies (The Matrix, Kubrick pictures etc).
But Leonardo DiCaprio as the (anti) hero Cobb is a little flabby. Maybe he saves his best work for Scorsese. You don't really emphasize with Cobb in the way that you would even cheer Nolan's resurrected, dark Batman. Inception is also overlong, has Nolan forgotten how to edit? This film was quite boring at times, dull even. Interest could have been held if we'd got a real examination of dreaming and it's effects on our subconscious. A film about alternative dream like states running parallel with our waking states would have been interesting. This is not that film.
Despite lots of faults, Inception does entertain as well. Just don't expect anything too deep. Along side the sometimes Bond-like action this picture has a sentimental streak. Taking into account Nolan's past work, this is a disappointment. Finally, the concept of Inception is often more impressive than the actual results of the film itself. A great, weightier picture awaits on this subject. Has someone got David Lynch's number?