Monday, July 19, 2010
I actually tried to write something up about Inception last night and even posted it but decided to take it down and try again. This movie excited and flummoxed me so much that I wasn't really putting together the most coherent sentences or paragraph. If you wanted to mention that I rarely put together coherent sentences anyway, please keep it to yourself. I thought maybe I would try it again in list form:
1) Christopher Nolan, right now, is the most interesting "blockbuster" director out there. Bar none. Nolan has a unique talent for melding spectacle with big ideas . And judging by this particular foray, just give him the next Bond movie, let him write and direct it and you'll have the best Bond movie in years. And thats not even based on the snow fortress sequence, I base that on the chase sequence in...what? Morocco, I want to say, but I might be wrong. Heck, Nolan could make Leonardo Dicaprio the next Bond and it might still be exciting. Yeah, I have drunk the Kool-Aid on Nolan thoroughly, because I think he brings the goods, his writing his excellent, although not perfect, there are times when he leaves loose threads, and the plot threatens to buckle the whole endeavor but it never quite does. He might have, once again, turned in one of the best movies of the year.
2) If I gave out letter grades I would give this endeavor an A-, I think it is just shy of a homerun, but besides a few minor quibbles, one being that sometimes the visual imagery doesn't quite-QUITE-keep up with the ideas he is putting out there.
3) That being said, I do like the idea that Nolan made something that is original, ambitious, and, most of all, made for adults. He thrusts us into this world with a minimal amount of handholding. There are a few things in there-the device maybe that connects the sleeping people and enables the person to jump into their dreams is one that pops into my head-that might have benefited from maybe a little exposition, but, again, it doesn't sink the whole thing at all. I mean we are dealing with dreamworlds on top of dreamworlds. And I think in the end everything ties together pretty well-or does it!?
4) That ending-really the whole movie is immune to an instant reaction. Rarely has a big film like this going to start so many conversations and interpretations. Leave it to my teenage nephew on my ride home from the theater to say it in the best way: "You could interpret the ending either way and it would still work." And thats true. Smart kid.
5) I mean it is a completely ridiculous idea- "dream heists"? It shouldn't end up working so well. I do like from a writing standpoint that Nolan can take old tropes (one last job, putting a crew together) and put them in service of something much twistier and new.
6) Even after I watched the movie I couldn't help but wonder if Nolan's seed of an idea for this movie (besides James Bond) was planted by watched Dreamscape and thats not a criticism. That movie was awesome, and Nolan took an idea (people invading other people's dreams) and ran with it. I'm not sure if thats true but I definitely kept thinking about Dreamscape afterwards-only in that they are similarly, sort of, themed.
7) For the most part, it looks really amazing.
8) The cast is uniformly good. I never expect too much from Leonardo Dicaprio, but I thought he did an admirable job here. I feel like he has been getting better, but I could be deluding myself. I particularly enjoyed Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy, but everyone was good. Ellen Page usually annoys the crap out of me, but even here she was good. Or didn't annoy me-which is really something. My goodness, Nolan populated his cast with pretty people.
9) Hans Zimmer's score is really remarkable.
10) I have to mention especially Joseph Gordon-Levitt floating around (and fighting) weightless in the hotel was an pretty awesome sequence. The whole thing was great, but that fight was especially great.
11) I meant to to go only to 10 but I thought of this as well: I like how Nolan constructed specific rules/"logic" for the dreamworlds and stuck to them.
12) AGH! I can't stop. I also have disagree with people who thought there was no real emotion to the movie. I think the movie had a very real emotional core. I do think despite all the beautiful people it lacked a certain sexuality, but not a genuine core of emotion. Whether you thought it was too overwrought, I didn't, but I could see an argument for it.
13) Oh yeah: Tom Berenger!
Interesting sidenote: well, interesting only to me really, in the trailers before the movie, a good portion of them were movies that I would actually see. Thats pretty rare too.