Sunday, 19 September 2010

Inception

The idea at the heart of Inception - that what we think is reality might not be reality - is interesting, but the film about that has been glued onto a movie that wants to be part of the Bourne series and then the whole thing has been put together by someone with a huge budget and a very good special effects machine. Just to make sure we get our money's worth, every possible feature of that contraption is demonstrated during the course of the narrative - the manufacturers could use it as a sales video. The trouble is all those dazzling visuals interrupt the flow of any thought. Complexity is thrown away in favour of chase scenes in markets in Mombasa and on remote ski slopes. Michael Caine makes a cameo appearance as a genial professor - though what he is professor of is unclear (architecture possibly). The film is so long that even the makers must have realised they'd gone overboard - perhaps as a consequence they dispensed with credits at the start. It reminded me, strangely, of Artificial Intelligence - both films take a fascinating concept and then, as if afraid of it, proceed to go on and on and on, bombarding us with expensive imagery but no content to speak of. Both films, if my memory of Artificial Intelligence is correct, involve cars underwater too. The characterisation in Inception is almost non-existent, which makes it very hard for the viewer to feel involved. Eames comes closest to being anything more than a gadget for providing information about the inception process, but that is not saying much. Each time there was an attempt to build tension, I found myself wondering why I should care. At the end, it is not entirely clear whether the outcome for the main character has been good. The trouble is, despite my great fondness for Leonardo di Caprio who plays the central figure,  it didn't matter to me either way. After two and a half hours, I just wanted to go home.

4 comments:

  1. I'm remembering the line about how they wanted to have a traditional house and a flash modern steel and glass skyscraper, so they had both. It seemed like it might be the director's personal dilemma that he thought he'd throw in. Do you remember that?

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  2. I felt like that watching The Reluctant Infidel today.... if I hadn't been sitting in the middle of the row I would have walked out

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  3. Polly - yes, I do remember that, but my mind just snagged on wondering why they had such bad taste, wanting a steel and glass crummy modern one and then sticking that nice old one that was her childhood home in the middle of all those towers, when it was crying out for trees and meadows. The film was really such a muddle. It annoys me how many good things there might have been in there. Eames in the bar in Mombasa was an attractive figure though, didn't you think?
    Nurse - I'm glad you told me. Did you laugh at all? I've heard David Baddiel, who wrote it, on BBC Radio 4, and he once said something that I thought was the most dreadful thing I've ever heard offered up as comedy, (still makes me shudder, just thinking about it) so I had been dithering about whether to go. I don't totally dislike Omid Djilali or whatever his name is (the lead guy), but I think if you're a "multicultural" comedian over there (there's Lenny Henry and Shappi Khorsandi as well) you don't actually have to be as good as you might if you didn't have the ethnic boat to ride on.

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  4. I think I laughed twice. Most of the time I was cringing and there were a couple of scenes that were absolutely excruciating. Richard Schiff is really the only good thing about it.

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