Inception is a big budget sci-fi film by Christopher Nolan who did The Dark Knight recently. It’s getting quite some acclaim. I saw it on Saturday with the other moose, the knifeman, and the enigmatic B. We spanned the whole range of opinions: one liked it, one didn’t like it, one thought it was okay, and one was unable to decide.
Here are some bullet points.
- I was the one who liked it. I did. About halfway through I realized I was having a good time.
- I’ve had several conversations about Neuromancer in the last week. Inception felt like that – dense, global, informed by Noir, a heist story that turns on the specific nature and limitations of a distinctive technology.
- But not really that dense. It felt very straightforward to me – if you keep up with the technology explanations, then the whole thing runs with no real deviations or surprises.
- (If you keep up with the technology – and here let’s pause and acknowledge the most extreme case of infodumping I’ve seen in any medium for quite a long time. Characters keep stopping and explaining at length this or that aspect of the tech. Not even remotely elegant.)
- Some viewers have constructed elaborate theories about what was really going on, analysing looks between characters and specific cuts halfway through the film to argue this or that theory. That’s cool if you like that stuff, but I don’t think there was anything in the film that demands it. The straightforward explanation is never undermined or challenged. There’s no reason to think that it’s anything but exactly what it seems to be.
- It’s a heist movie with nearly the entire focus on the procedural aspects of the job. It was a bit like CSI crossed with the A-Team. I enjoyed it for that reason, I think.
- The zero-g stuff was wonderful.
- The psychology stuff – not so wonderful. Inception, the process of putting an idea into someone’s head so they think it’s their own? Far from being an ultimate, feared challenge requiring future!tech and extreme risk-taking by our band of outlaws, inception is performed on all of us every day by advertisers. Dude.
I liked it. Don’t think I’ll watch it ever again, though. I’ll give it about a 3.5 out of 5, which is pretty good really, but not at all a classic.
Enthusiasts might want to read the preview comic, written by Chris Nolan.