Sunday, November 7, 2010

Inception (2010)

Movie quotes:
Cobb: For this to work, we'd have to buy off the pilots...
Arthur: And we'd have to buy off the flight attendants...
Saito: I bought the airline.
[Everybody turns and stares at him. Saito just shrugs]
Saito: It seemed neater.

At a glance:
An imaginative core concept is weakened by the need for endless exposition and stock Hollywood action sequences

Our review (with spoilers):
Around 87 percent of the registered critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave a favorable review to Inception. They didn’t have a problem with the endless exposition necessary to explain the rules of its singular dream universe – and that’s great. I wish I felt that way too and had enjoyed this dream more. I wanted to love this film, since it was directed by Christopher Nolan (who has helmed some of my most favorite films like Batman Begins and The Prestige), but I just could not connect to the emotions of the narrative.

The story in brief: Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a professional dream extractor: one who enters and navigates the dreams of another to find valuable secrets. Due to a personal tragedy, he has been separated from his children. To get back together with them, he must do one last big extraction, so he assembles a crack team. This is a trendy, diversified cast: Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and even Pete Poslethwaite (in a small role). It is DiCaprio’s emotional journey that must carry the film, and for me, I find his acting shallow.

There is an endless parade of exposition in the film; characters are constantly having conversations merely for the purpose of outlining this alternative universe for the audience. A little exposition is often necessary in fantasy / sci-fi, but in this film it is used throughout its lengthy running time of 2 ½ hours. Nolan tries to jazz all this talk up with a lingering bass beat in the background, but you can’t fool me.

Rating: 1 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"The dream logic of Inception -- which deals, like Nolan's far more intriguing Memento, with the architecture of memory and the nature of reality -- is stymied by a clunking script, crammed with expository exchanges and urgent blather."
- Steven Rea (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Mixes arcane talk about dreams with traditional action sequences resulting in strange and ineffective hybrid."
- Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat (Spirituality and Practice)

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