Looks like I won’t get to all the Oscar nominees before Sunday. What a shame. Next on the list is Christopher Nolan’s Inception, one of the most talked-about movies of the year.
Let me say right off the bat that I liked Inception. I really appreciate it when filmmakers put effort into summer blockbusters. After all, movies like the Lord of the Rings and the Matrix proved that just because it’s an action movie, it doesn’t have to be mindless tripe. It’s plain that Christopher Nolan really cared about Inception, and the positive response, both critical and commercial, that this movie has received proves that audiences may actually want more in their action movies than explosions and a poorly-clad Megan Fox.
However, though I did like Inception, I have to say this movie had its flaws. Pretty big ones. I give credit to Christopher Nolan for coming up with one of the most inventive and innovative ideas for a movie in recent years, but at times his vision is perhaps too complex. The first fifty minutes of this movie are almost entirely exposition. The audience is told, in great, painful detail how the process of dream infiltration works, and though it sounds cool for the first ten minutes, you end up wishing this movie would show more and tell less. How about some action? Some character development? You’ll have to wait a long time—too long a time—for much of that. Most of the characters are flat and unmemorable, which is disappointing in a heist film with such a big ensemble cast. I have to wonder why they even bothered getting people like Ellen Page for this movie. Anyone could have played the role of—whatever her character’s name was.
There are only two characters in the film with any depth to them. The first is Dominic Cobb, palyed by Leonardo di Caprio. Those who have seen Shutter Island might notice that DiCaprio is playing the exact same character as he was in that movie—a mysterious man haunted by the death of his wife who is losing his touch with reality. The second character is Robert Fischer, the heir to some sort of energy monopoly, played by Cillian Murphy It is Fischer’s head that Cobb and the others must break into. Admittedly, the drama surrounding these two characters is well thought out, well executed, and emotionally involving. But the film’s emotional moments sometimes get lost due to Nolan’s seeming preoccupation with concepts and ideas.
Still, Inception manages to overcome its slow start, and redeems itself with a riveting, imaginative, and absorbing second half, which is still at times confusing and riddled with a few plot holes. If they can dream up grenade launchers on the fly, why don’t they just dream up impenetrable bullet-proof armor? Because the action scenes wouldn’t be as exciting, that’s why. And exciting is what the last hour of Inception is. The movie finally turns into the awe-inspiring spectacle promised by the trailers. In my opinion, it just took too long a time to get there.