So, I finally saw Inception. It’s something that had been on the ‘to do’ list but I hadn’t really gotten around to it until I rented it from iTunes… to use up some of the credit I got for Christmas. I’m actually rather proud of myself – I managed to avoid learning anything significant about it at all before seeing it, apart from the odd vague concepts and one parody. That’s probably why it took me so long to see it mind – I wasn’t caught up in the hype and so I wasn’t that bothered whether I saw it or not.
I’m glad I did though – The underlying concept behind Inception is fascinating. As a film, it’s ok. Quite good, but not amazing, but the ending for me was weak… almost disappointing. Now, for those readers who follow my Twitter, many of the arguments here you might have already read, so I apologise.
I think the ultimate thought that I have regarding Inception is indeed one of near-disappointment. Considering this is a film that involves Mind-Thieves, Dreams within dreams, complex plans… Reality itself, it’s almost too ‘simple’ for it to end with nobody dead and with everything going according to plan. Again, giving the aforementioned facts, I’m also surprised that the best they could do as far as an antagonist is concerned is some pent up guilt. Considering this was supposed to be a ‘Thriller’, I was disappointed at the lack of a decent twist, or a back-stab, or nothing being what it seemed (apart from the obvious fact that most of it was spent in a dream world).
Coming back to DeCaprio’s Wife – in which the revelation that she committed suicide due to DeCaprio accidentally causing her to think that even Reality wasn’t ‘real’, wasn’t really a surprise at all. Tragic, sure, but not really a twist… and Mals motives for being that antagonist aren’t always made clear. For most of the film, she merely represents DeCaprio’s guilt that he can’t keep contained and so ends up messing anything up. There’s nothing really sinister about it, and as a ‘villain’ she’s again rather simple.
I think the biggest and only real ‘disappointment’ of the film though was the final shot, where DeCaprio is finally reunited with his children and so he does his test to make sure he’s awake. However, before he can see the result he’s distracted, and before the audience can find out the result, the film cuts. It’s an almost condescending parting shot that basically says “ooo, maybe it’s all still a dream!”. The problem with that is that at no point what-so-ever is it even hinted that DeCaprio’s idea of reality – the one his children inhabit, the one his father-in-law is in – could possibly be a dream.
In fact, DeCaprio’s is firmly established as having a surprising strong grasp on what ‘Reality’ is considering everything he’s been through, and considering what he does for a living. That’s why he’s never convinced that his wife does anything other than commit suicide, instead of ‘waking up’ as she insisted she was doing. His grasp on what was ‘real’ was firm, and so that shot at the end does nothing for the story or the film. As I said, a bit of a cheap shot at the audience, and even Michael Caine said “[The spinning top] drops at the end, that’s when I come back on. If I’m there it’s real, because I’m never in the dream. I’m the guy who invented the dream.”
Still, as I said at the beginning, it’s still a good film, and definitely worth watching at least once. Marco said “yeah it’s an odd film. It’s not particularly a good film, but as an exploration of reality in cinematic form? Amazing.” I’d disagree with him, because as a prominent dream researcher pointed out, Nolan did not get every detail accurate regarding dreams, but films which do tend to have illogical, rambling, disjointed plots which wouldn’t make for a great thriller.
Again, I think my only wish was that they’d maybe pushed this concept further, see what they could have done with it… and maybe had a death or two along the way. The audience needs to be kept on their toes, after all.
Until next time.