Last weekend I went and saw Inception and mentioned it on passing on Facebook. One of my friends said I should write a review about it. I was hesitant because I'm quite rusty on the writing movie review front. Plus, I figured a movie like that might prove a bit challenging to try and sum up.
Except, the more I thought about it, the more obvious it seemed to me. Inception is a good movie, but it's certainly nothing stellar. It's not the greatest movie of the 21st century so far. I doubt it will end up as the best movie of this year. Hell, it's not even the best thing Christopher Nolan has directed recently; The Dark Knight is a vastly superior movie.
At it's heart, Inception is a caper movie. Instead of stealing something, they're trying to plant something. Instead of gold or top secret documents, it's an idea. The rules are perhaps more elaborate and sci-fi, but there are always rules when running this kind of caper. They're nice twists, but Inception isn't The Sting, The Usual Suspects, Inside Man or even the under-appreciated Heist starring Gene Hackman that came out in 2001. Part of the fun of a good caper movie is trying to figure out what the players are up to. You know more than their mark, but not everything. So when it all comes together, there still should be some surprise and delight that you were kind of swindled along the way.
But that never happens with Inception. You know what they're going to do the whole way pretty much. Oh sure, there are complications, but that's to be expected. But there aren't many surprises. And honestly, if you can't see the twist coming at the end, then you're a touch stunned.
Which I understand is the natural state to be in while sitting in a cinema, especially during the summer months. So yes, there is some thinking required here, and yes, you can have some discussions about the nature of reality and all, but I don't think this movie ought to be generating epic philosophical discussions or anything.
I remember when Duplicity, the Clive Owen/Julia Roberts caper movie from last year, came out and some people complained that it was too complicated. Really. Look, if you couldn't follow that movie, then you've gone from sitting slightly slack jawed in a movie theatre straight on to persistent vegetative state. Get someone to slap an EKG on you to make sure you're not brain dead. That movie was dead simple to follow. This one isn't much of a challenge either if you're paying any attention at all.
It might seem like I'm hating on Inception and I'm really not. For what it is, it's pretty good. It's a good summer action flick that's certainly smarter than normal. Great visuals and good acting, although I agree with some of the criticism about it being emotionally cold. The Dark Knight, even though it was just a comic book movie, had a lot more emotion to it than this movie. It's a fine movie, but let's try not to make it into the second coming, shall we?
Oh, and the twist at the end? Total Recall did it 20 years ago and it was annoying then and time has not diminished how annoying that kind of ending is. And that's all I'll say about it.
1. On the back of a broken dream - Flogging Molly
2. House of smoke and mirrors - Matthew Good*
3. Please please please - Fiona Apple
4. This town - Blue Rodeo
5. Jacob's ladder (live) - Bruce Springsteen