Obligatory SPOILER alert – if you haven’t seen the movie then avoid this post.
Find me one good line in Inception, one profound, well written thought, and I’ll go watch it again.
Some examples of lines that are not well written: “Who’d want to be stuck in a dream for 10 years?”, “Thank you for not asking if I did it”, “The team needs someone who will understand what you’re struggling with”, “Don’t lose yourself”.
I rolled my eyes so many times that I started to get a headache. The ideas were not new, the setting for this audience member was not particularly amazing and the dialogue was appalling. The use of so many famous actors became tedious although I enjoyed the surprise revelation of the last big name at the end.
Australian citizens with American accents don’t seem quite fitting unless they’re there to tell us something. The nod to Rupert Murdoch and his son’s empire building / destruction was vapid at best.
The dialogue was poor and the idea that a young girl who looks 15 could suddenly provide all the answers that the rest of them had never seen before was frankly insulting. Another eye rolling moment was the name ‘Ariadne’ which is a reference to King Minos daughter in ancient Greek mythology. She helped a lover escape from a maze by giving him a ball of red wool. This is why we get all the maze references in the movie although they fail to live up to much.
The movie was tedious and obvious in its execution and as patronising and slow as the comic books that writer and director Nolan is probably more used to reading these days. The Batman movies weren’t quite left behind and Cillian Murphy, who played the Scarecrow, was given the junior tycoon role as Fischer jr. However, no real effort was made to give depth to the characters apart from Cobb and some story line was given to Fischer. Tom Hardy did a great job playing Eames but there really wasn’t that much to do. The rest were spouting lines that were either there to tell the audience what was going to happen or to help explain the new technology that was being used in the film.
I hate to use the word spoiler because I thought the ending was the only one possible and the hints about what it might be were given within about 15 minutes.
From Descartes to Joss Whedon there have been some great ways of examining the realities which we navigate and the socially constructed worlds we live in. Some have masterfully pointed at the weakening concepts and perceptions engineered by others: see the lies about Iraq and the WMDs, Orwell’s 1984 which is far more applicable to the Western world rather than to the USSR he was talking about. The constant illusions we accept or disregard can range from societal ills to personal breakdowns. The Matrix took the former idea to the big screen in a brilliant new way and the corridor scene in Inception was probably better than the scenes it copied.
However the big notion that Inception was meant to represent got lost somewhere in the detail and the bad writing. There wasn’t one end to wait for, but three or four, and that was two or three more than I cared about. The suggestion of schizophrenia was a good one and the grief from losing a loved one can no doubt be overwhelming. However, the personal conquest for the main character was not enough of a challenge to keep this film going.
Ideas from lucid dreaming sounded familiar (giving yourself a way of identifying reality etc) and the planting of ideas such as Derren Brown talks about meant that much of the movie wasn’t really surprising. The creativity shined through at times but even that fizzled out more often than not. I didn’t particularly like Inception and I’ve seen the idea done better by others, namely Joss Whedon. However teenage boys seem to love it (9.6 on IMDB) so who knows.