Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Inception review

I can see why there's a mixed response to the film Inception. It deals with the blurring of lines between the dream world and the real world, the conscious and subconscious; it throws the viewer into these worlds and tries to pose deep philosophical questions. Except it doesn't.

It's a standard three act play - here are the characters, here are the characters doing things, here are the characters wrapping everything up; even the initial framing device is as old a concept as the structure. Not once is the audience left to try and puzzle things out, exposition is given at every turn. Oh sure there are a few twists, but these are still explained within the movie itself - if you've been paying attention at no point should anyone watching this film think "What just happened?".

So what gives? Well with the subject matter you might except a deep and complex movie and you don't get one. So you may start to look for subtext and the thing about subtext is that once you start looking it can always be found. On the other hand if you go in expecting a simple disengage-brain shooter you are indeed going to leave wondering "what the hell was going on?".

Inception firmly straddles the middle ground - it's not so deep that you need to assess every gesture, every syllable; yet at the same time you can't just passively watch it.

So the most important question - is it any good? Yes, yes it is. Sure the script can be a little clunky at times with that exposition being wedged in there, but you have both developing characters and a developing plot that truly makes you want to discover what happens next. The CGI blends with the story and it even manages to use the last refuge of slo-mo in places where it makes sense to exist.

Well acted, well-directed, good story; what more could you want?