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Inception

Christopher Nolan is Stanley Kubrick meets The Wachowski Brothers, not as good as the former but better than the latter, and with Inception he has made a film that prompts slightly giddy but not entirely frivolous assertions of a ‘saviour of British cinema’ ilk.

The basic story is simple enough: Di Caprio ventures into the dreamscapes of others to ‘extract’ information from their subconscious. He is exiled from his former existence for reasons not initially explicit – and he is given the opportunity to perform an ‘inception’ (the planting of an idea designed to alter wakeful decisions) to reclaim his life.

Much tricky ‘is he awake or isn’t he?’ curiousness aside, the film is enjoyable, on one level, as a series of action-sequences, for those that don’t want to have their minds twisted: simply switch off and inhabit the weird excitement. If you want to try and engage with the film as it ravels its plot extrapolations, expect plot holes and much demands on suspension of disbelief: it’s certainly worth succumbing. Trying to fathom the dimensions, plummets from one dream to another, switches in perspective, feasibility of narrative joins and overriding swish mindwarping is great fun, as long as you’re prepared to be at least slightly lost and askew at points.

Visually it is, now and again, gasp-inducing. Entire sections of living, breathing city are cut away and re-positioned as if by a sandpit God having a slightly inappropriate meddle. Ruined, neglected skyscrapers relinquish chunks into crashing waves amidst a fairly spectacular dreamscape rendition. And there’s always Marion Cottilard.

Cottilard forms part of a pretty great cast that includes a Garfield-languid Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, an increasingly impressive DiCaprio and someone wearing a Tom Berenger mask. DiCaprio wins.

Of course, the film poses the inevitable questions about the (dubious) sophistry of film, the role of the viewer as complicit in fantasy, the lot of the conjurer of same fictional worlds. These facets do add depth to the film, although even without them it’s a reality-ripping ride of exhilarating proportions with the feel of a really good Bond film on acid nightmares. 

As for the ending: all I can say is the following. At the screening I attended, it was met with a collection of post-coital-sounding ‘Ahhhhhh!’s.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Mary Gilbert
    August 28, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Wondered when you were going to get round to Inception. I didn’t like it as much as my husband and a male friend because basically I was too lazy ( or dim) to work my way back through all the layers. This meant I was even tempted to rest my eyes at some points. I love the visual possibilities of cinema though and there were some amazing images – particularly the crumbling flats on the empty beach ( a bit like Le Touquet in winter). In the end though I didn’t think there were quite enough ooh aah visual moments for me and that many of the best ones had already been revealed in the trailers. Incidentally, I saw a trailer for The Killer Inside Me which has been released here and I will allow that it does look incredibly stylish.
    I saw Forman’s Taking Off in Paris recently – a terrifically groovy hit in the early 70’s and I thought it had aged pretty well though the audition scene in the beginning had lost its impact in this post X Factor world ( and the idea was also nicked in The Commitments). My daughter was amazed that people had to look for a public phone when they wanted to contact someone! At the risk of condemning myself as incurably middle aged and middle class I enjoyed the cosy world of Tamara Drewe too. Very amusing and `so British’ as the French love to say.
    Off to see a French thriller now where a group of people are abandoned in the jungle and have to fight their way to safety being attacked all the while by anacondas and other savage cliches. Apparently a big hit here and a riposte to all that American twaddle …..

  2. September 2, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    No, I totally understand your wanting to rest your eyes. I do think that there’s at least two ways to watch this, and one can easily accommodate switching-off from time-to-time, absolutely. I had a look at Le Touquet, wasn’t sure of the reference (could it be a travelling performance artist troupe with Betgman-esque proclivities – no!) – looks marvellous!!

    There were less visual humdingers than I had been led to believe to be fair. And I can’t say I remember which ones hummed or dinged right now, apart from the ones just mentioned!

    Forman: that’s a film I need to watch. Although I did re-watch One Flew Over recently and found it quite annoying. It’s me, isn’t it…?

    The Killer Inside Me is indeed very stylish, but also ages well in the mind. Alas…

    Tamara Drewe: you are not the first to mention that, not by any stretch. I will watch that asap.

    What’s that thriller called if you don’t mind my asking?

  3. Mary Gilbert
    September 3, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    The thriller is called `600 kilos d’or pur’. Cannot yet comment on it as in the end we decided to see another thriller called Crime d’amour and will see 600 kilos next week. Crime d’amour stars Kistin Scott Thomas playing an ice bitch who is CEO of some unspecified but apparently high powered multi national. For some reason she grooms and then torments a pliant blonde subordinate – a teasing bit of lesbo sub text with shared lipsticks and the gift of a floaty scarf included….. Kirstin’s then murdered etc etc. It was laughably bad , the forensics after the murder so utterly cack handed that it would have British audiences hooting in the aisles should it ever make it to the UK.
    As for le Touquet. I’ve stayed there overnight several times before crossing at Calais. The three mile beach is spookily empty in the winter as are all the ugly decaying modern blocks of flats fronting `le large’. The old, playful, seaside houses were razed in the 60’s and 70’s and this soulless ghost town is what has replaced it. It has an atmosphere like no other

  4. September 3, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Kristin Scott Thomas – over here she seems to have arrived definitively as some kind of channel-straddling uber-sophisticate, flitting from hither to thon, slipping in and out of effortless believabilty as both a French ice-bitch and an English inscrutably elegant cold-fish. So it’s heartening to see her impossible-to-maintain position show signs of wearing thin I must say.

    It sounds like a wonderful setting for a film. Perhaps a post-Larsson Noomi Rapace could be wandering around there in the future. I must go there and have a wander around, it sounds like my kind of place!

    Incidentally, I recently spent time in a place in France called Leymen. I know France is a huge place but do you know of it? Right near Basel. It’s one of those places that, in theory, are delightful pastoral settings of infinite quietude etc but, for me, just seemed to be life at a pace and volume of zero. I think it must be someone else’s cup of tea, that, as much as I did like it there.

  5. Mary Gilbert
    September 5, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Now Lee, I’m not too sure about your geography but isn’t Basel in Switzerland? I couldn’t find either Leymen or Basel in our `routes de France ‘ guide so maybe they’re just over the border? Either way I’m sure the scenery was, as you say, delightfully pastoral. I don’t know East France at all – it’s area we keep meaning to visit if we can find the time to drag ourslves away from all the verdant loveliness of western Brittany. You’ll see why I liked Tamara Drewe. I have to admit our village ( 500 inhabitants) probably comes under your `pace and volume of zero’ category though having lived in Brighton for 30 years I’d had quite enough of frantic hipness. In fact there’s heaps going on here though it’s true my urban offspring find the bucolic pleasures pall after a few days. Still with English TV – French TV is beyond dreadful – the internet and subscriptions to various UK journals I don’t feel too out of the loop just restfully on the sidelines.
    I didn’t see The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet’s Nest because it was dubbed – something I’m not keen on but I’ll go and see it if it comes around again. If you ever get to Le Touquet I can recommend the Ibis hotel which is right on the beach – cheap and with a fantastic swimming pool.

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