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9.20.2010

Inception

Inception (2010), the closest thing we've had to a summer blockbuster, is a pretty good film. My wife and I had our anniversary dinner on Friday and I mentioned to the waitress that we were heading out to see the film.

"It's good. I've seen it twice," she responded. I'm always interested in stories that create this sort of passionate audience response.

And to tell you the truth, I'd like to watch it again soon as well--just not for ten clams.

Inception is stunning visually. It's well played and I love Chris Nolan's approach to the feel of the film. The overbearing strings in the score dictate the tempo and set the tone. This is a heavy film, and one I hope will improve with time (I watched The Matrix the other day and it was just laughable).

Leo DiCaprio is an excellent actor. From the underrated The Beach to What's Eating Gilbert Grape and The Basketball Diaries and Blood Diamond and Gangs of New York and even Shutter Island, he's proven to be an excellent chameleon. It's nice to see some strong actors taking on speculative films, that's for sure.

But I wasn't even sure what Ellen Page's role was in this other than to be the decoder for the audience. "Hey, we'll cast Juno in the film and we can have Arthur and Cobb explain everything to her! The audience won't even see how lazy we are?"

Honestly, the film could have left more to the imagination. I like the subtle approach to the technology itself--two little pin pricks on the wrist and a little case with a button in the middle. Bam! I like that they didn't go CSI on us and show us what it was like to be a molecule barrelling through the bloodstream and into the brain of the sleeping mind. I'm glad the world-building was simple and didn't go all Pandora on us. That simplistic repetition of the various homes the Cobbs had lived in was, I think, a heart-breaking touch.

But I also have to say that I agree with many of the critical comments on the longish running time of this one. I think it would have been better had it wrapped up in two hours. Less explanation, more narrative...

Still, it's an intriguing and ambitious bit of film making that was worth a trip to the theater. I'd give it a B- with the caveat that I think I might like it much better after another viewing.

Next up in the queu will be Devil. I hear all the noise about MNS as a storyteller, but I'm just not buying it. I like a lot of his stuff and I want to give this one a shot...

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