Inception: When Dreaming is Bad for You

inception-filmDear Reader, I regretfully must inform you that Christopher Nolan's bombastic Inception has enough startling footage with which to edit 30 exquisitely enticing trailers, but not enough to compose one comprehensible movie from.

So what is the most anticipated film of the summer like? If you recall the scene in Dahmer (2002) where Jeremy Renner as the deranged killer drills holes into his victims' heads, you'll know what watching this Freudian claptrap of a thriller is like.

You'll sit in your seat, possibly with overly salted popcorn, and immediately become bewildered. But then you'll tell yourself the creative force behind Following (1998) and Memento (2000) is always in control. Of course you'll soon know what's happening. But a half hour later exasperation will start settling in over you like a cup of cherry Jell-o firming up in your fridge. Then another 20 minutes will pass, and you'll start feeling like Timothy Leary's severed, cryogenically preserved head. Will there be any relief arriving at all?

Suddenly you'll realize there is no hope when one character asks, "Whose subconscious are we going into?" and another admits she doesn't know what's going on either.

Inception's plot, you see, is about the possibility of remolding a person's mind by subverting his dreams. And sometimes to execute this task, you must enter a dream within a dream that is within another dream. And within this dream within a dream within a dream, you can bring a gang of friends along with you. And on this nightmare journey, people who don't really exist will attack you and your pals because they know you all don’t belong in this other person's dream. And as these folks turn on you, there are a lot of guns blasting away, speedy car races, and buildings disintegrating, but little sex. No sex in a dream?

What's more confusing is that Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Dom Cobb, seems to be an extension of his deranged Teddy Daniels of Shutter Island (2010). You see, his "deceased" wife keeps popping up and his faceless children are not within his reach, and certain people think he’s a murderer, and . . .

Then there's the great Japanese actor Ken Watanabe as Saito, an ambitious executive, whom we first meet as an old man, then as a much younger man. But whatever age he is, you can’t make out 90% of what he is saying.

As for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, one of American greatest young actors, here as Arthur, Dom Cobb's sidekick, a piece of cardboard could have nearly given the same performance.

And Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard? She walks about to Piaf music. Mr. Nolan, please don’t remind us of better films.

Only Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, and Michael Caine survive Lee Smith’s breakneck editing. Unlike with Christopher Rouse's brilliantly seamless, razor-sharp cutting about for The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), the splicing here is haphazard and exasperating.

All of which brings us to an anonymous quote: "The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don't know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened."

The main problem with Inception is that it’s soulless. - Brandon Judell

brandon.jpg

Mr. Judell is featured in the forthcoming documentary Activist: The Times of Vito Russo and has been edited out of Rosa von Praunheim's New York Memories. In the fall, he'll be teaching "American Jewish Theater" and "Theater into Film" at The City College of New York. He has written on film for The Village Voice, indieWire.com, The New York Daily News, and The Advocate, and is anthologized in Cynthia Fuchs's Spike Lee Interviews (University Press of Mississippi).

Maybe you were tired

I completely disagree with Brandon Judell's review. I suppose if a person was very tired, on mind altering drugs or heavy distracted (or a combination of any of them) could miss the original plot and execution of this film. In a movie industry that worships the sequel and formalistic stories it was a refreshing to watch an something new and that made me think.

Why is everyone fighting til

Why is everyone fighting til the end over a movie?

It's like it's a piece of propaganda or something.
By cinematic means, and story, it just wasn't good.

Hypocritical Swill

This review reeks of pretentious garbage. The author, Judell, tries to give the reader the impression that the movie is some pseudo-philosophical/psychological calamity, specifically by refering to it as a 'Freudian claptrap'. Any first year psychology student (currently completing my masters) will tell you this has nothing to do with Freudian theory - given that the concept of the subconscious is not limited to Freud.

From that back fire alone, as it is in the first paragraph, you should be able to deduct that the rest of the review tries to dismiss the film as a 'try hard' philosophical film, but that's a more accurate description of this review.

I AGREE WITH BRANDON

Every word is TRUE! Couldn't agree more.

a few questions

Does anyone here know why saito was old at the end and cobb was young? Cobb was already in limbo looking for fisher before saito died in the higher level. Why was it that when cobb revealed to mal at the end that they had grown old together in limbo, they were young again when they killed themselves on the train track? Why does anyone think the ending is good? The spinning top is clearly slowing down at the end and is almost ready to topple over - Nolan had it cut too late in my opinion. There are many other flaws and inconsistencies that I'll point out later

a few questions

Does anyone here know why saito was old at the end and cobb was young? Cobb was already in limbo looking for fisher before saito died in the higher level. Why was it that when cobb revealed to mal at the end that they had grown old together in limbo, they were young again when they killed themselves on the train track? Why does anyone think the ending is good? The spinning top is clearly slowing down at the end and is almost ready to topple over - Nolan had it cut too late in my opinion. There are many other flaws and inconsistencies that I'll point out later

Why couldn't the men with

Why couldn't the men with guns use any type of shield or weapon? Dom and his crew already knew they were in a dream.

Why is it so definite that limbo is really where it s? If the movie wants to make you feel like you have no grasp on reality, wouldn't limbo have ti opposite effect? I think it's the concept's assurity of themselves that make this flick almost arrogant with a need to somehow be sci-fi.

In a plot sense why did the Japanese man suddenly turn faithful?

The problem I had was I felt like I was just expected to go with the flow to often. Like Nolan was saying, this is how it is and Im right. The movie to me sounded like a science lesson fet atleast half, but te lecture wAs coming from a creationist.

Who was driving the train

Who was driving the train that killed them? That would mean that he would either have control of limbo or that limbo is something entirely different then nolan puts forth.

Like a lot of movies, the holes are there. But with a concept like this a new set of rules could have been put in place to stop these holes.
The movie represented our world, that was the point. Nolan didn't try to create a world where this kinda story could make sense. And that was his fatal flaw. That is what took it from being a sci-fi. What is so cool about lucid dreaming reality? Thefact that you can find out someones life plans? Or change their life plans? To me that is not sci-fi. That is a hidden political agenda, developed into a purely corporate one. That being said, Nolan cleary had no intention of creating a world, but that in turn is what makes the story implausible. He felt that creating dreams in order to extract or implant information would override that he had to make the
technology, concept, and story plausible. But it did not.
And I'm convinced those who say if you didn't like it, you didn't get it, didn't get it themselves. It is just another hollywood blockbuster thatwasall beautified by action sequences and "creative" story to decieved people into believing It is a real work of art.

It is like the Matrix, but

It is like the Matrix, but you would have expected it to come out 20 years ago.

The concept of the Matrix allows anything to happen in the man made world, that is the point. Inception follows that same basis about dreams, with certain rules. But the reason why many think that is stupid is because a) the movie itself mirrored/ was our reality, yet there was no explanation on how we had created this advanced technology, you know without creating anything else that spectacular
b) with that beig said, the concept itself would have to reflect that or it opens up a hole in the story. You get a real life feel to it and then a batshit theory of lucid dreaming. While that may make it a sci-fi, it loosely steps out of the definition of he genre into fantasy.

Nolan created this movie to give a theory of lucid dreaming. But I do not need explanation to make sense of the theory of the movie or story, I got it all, I need explanation that justifies the concept. Until that happened, which it didn't, the movie was uninjoyable.

It is not about being unimaginative, it is about justifying a wild imagination. It is hard to watch a movie when the main idea measured against the time, place and technology does not pan out.

Obviously people will say that the point of sci-fi is to create an idea that advances humanity or changes it's course. But these stories have to be created sighing reason, not to our world, but the movie's world.

There was a disconnect, and the reason why many people enjoye he movie was because they looked overthe disconnect. I didn't want to know how it was happening, I got that. I didn't even want to know why. I just didn't really have a care fer the rest of the story once I realized how shakey the concept was. And that it became apparent that Nolan wasn't going to adhere to the rules of his concept.

I love how everyone is quick

I love how everyone is quick to call someone a moron, and not point out why the movie is good. Meanwhile everyone saying it's horrible has a multitude of reasons.

Oh and no one is saying it's bad because they didn't understand it. They are saying that it is bad because he concept and story goes off on a tangent, or is just boring as hell.

And atleast Dicaprio had a sense of character in Shutter Island.

I read someone saying the "twist" ending was lazy writing". I agree. But I'm sad to say it was worse then that. It threw an out of whack movie further off of it's axis.

Come on people, man up. Stop saying it was a brliant movie because yer wet at the thighs over "dreamscapes" that sadly and seemingly mirror reality. Tell us why it was so good.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.