Friday, August 13, 2010
I have friends and family who like this movie, INCEPTION, and ones who don't.
I was knocked out by Chris Nolan's first film, MOMENTO, feeling that in his direction and screenplay he had found a unique way to tell a story, and given over a century of movies it ain't easy to come up with an original story and way of putting it together, or even, as in the case of MOMENTO, if not totally original, close enough.
I couldn't wait to see what he'd do next. But, I was disappointed in his second movie, INSOMNIA, maybe because he didn't write it and I wasn't crazy about the casting (whereas MOMENTO had seemed brilliantly cast), but then I liked BATMAN BEGINS well enough, though Nolan didn't write it, and I didn't like THE DARK KNIGHT which he had more of a hand in.
So I didn't know what to expect from INCEPTION, which is his baby pretty much all the way. It's another MOMENTO-like script in which you get dizzy trying to keep all the elements of the plot in your head in order to "get" the eventual resolution. And it too is a story unlike almost any other movie you've ever seen.
Not that the basic plot points of MOMENTO and INCEPTION are totally original, but the way they're pieced together is. But another thing they have in common, as do all his movies is what's missing—a deep emotional connection with the characters and story.
His movies certainly make me feel the tension inherent in all of their pacing and plot lines, and intellectually INCEPTION satisfied my taste for original ideas no matter how far fetched or silly or gratuitously violent etc. I actually laughed out loud a few times because some plot twists were so satisfying, especially the way the terrific cast (underused in some cases, e.g. Michael Caine) made them believable despite their being often pretty silly in that fantasy/sci-fi way. But a spurt of delight at some fun story line surprise was about the only emotional connection I had with the film.
I was mentally engaged by the effort to follow the maze, or rather multiple mazes of the plot, and struck by the actors and set designers and CGI artists doing a great job of making that seem important but I had no emotional stake in the underlying relationship story and what was at stake in it.
And that's too bad. At least for me. Because otherwise it was a pretty good ride. But the attempt at some deep psychological insight and conclusion was more or less wasted because for my taste it never paid off on that level. Which may be why some lost interest in the multiple plot twists halfway through the movie and never regained it. I only lost interest when it was over.