With a week of processing this movie under my belt, I think I am ready to write about what I saw. I think. What do I know? I liked it, and I think I liked it a whole lot. I appreciated the way that the audience was dropped into the middle of the action and was expected to keep up- there was something Darwinian about the way the movie worked.
But now that a week has passed, and most people who were excited about the movie have already seen it and have formulated their own opinions, I find myself irritated at both the lovers and the haters of Inception. Actually, I haven’t heard any haters (except Rex Reed- seriously, Google that guy’s review of this movie!), but the people who think the movie is overrated. For some reason that I can’t figure out, it raises my ire to hear anyone’s opinion on this movie.
Why is that? I don’t feel particularly protective of it one way or another. I am more in the “Great” than the “Overrated” camp, but either way, when a movie like this is discussed, it tends to bring out the pretentious in people. I’m sure I will be guilty of that myself in this review, but whatever, I can be self-loathing if I want to be.
Because Inception is pretty heady, and the detractors that say “It’s not that smart; it’s just a glossed-up heist movie” are wrong. It is a heist movie, but its a GREAT heist movie with endless twists and zero double-crosses (I think). Don’t all heist movies have at least one double-cross from a team member? I liked that this heist went about as well as it could, but the weaknesses of the main character (LDi) are what cause the operation to go south.
It is also one of the most inventively put-together movies you’ll see. Christopher Nolan does that in his movies- think of Memento or The Prestige. Half (or more) of the fun of those is trying to put together the story that is unfolding, and it always works, at least for me. Inceptionworks like that scene in Silence of the Lambs, where you realize that the FBI guys are breaking in to the wrong house, and it is Starling who is arriving at Buffalo Bill’s house alone. Remember that? Jonathan Demme pulled a fast one on the audience, and because of the way it was edited, it fooled us and never cheated.
All of Inception seems to work like that. Because you are dropped into the action right away, it takes a bit of time for you to get your bearings and a repeat viewing might help understand some of the things that got by you in the beginning (I want to go back and figure out what was going on with Lucas Haas myself). But I think a re-watch, which most people say is a necessity, is more of a luxury. I would like to see it again, but not because I didn’t understand crucial stuff. I just want to be able to relax my focus just a tad so I can enjoy some of the other pleasures of the movie that may have been overlooked because of the laser-focus concentration it required on the first watch.
So… Inception is really good, maybe great. It is neck-and-neck withToy Story 3 as the best of the summer, but we’ll see what a rag-tag group of mercenaries called The Expendables have to say about that.