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Slowpoke Goes to the Movies

February 14, 2011

Recently, I’ve had the feeling that the Internet has started to assume that everyone has seen Inception or is not interested in seeing it, and so talks about it without spoiler warnings. Since the vibe on the wire (yes, I’m roleplaying a technologically inept cyberpunk author circa 1940; thanks for noticing) seemed to be that it was one of those movies where knowing the end would taint the virginal viewing, I felt the time had come for me to partake in this recent pop cultural hullabaloo.

So I went to my favourite video store and acquired a copy.

I was slightly disappointed by it.

Don’t get me wrong. It was a very good movie. Plenty things to like. No dead moments (although the hotel/snow chase thing got a bit “oh; still doing that I see”-y) and above all no annoying explanations about who people where or how things worked. The short little bit where Arthur stole a kiss from Ariadne was a nice touch too.

And the special effects were very nice indeed; weightlessness looked fairly realistic (as far as I am capable of judging), neat little things like mirrors being in “impossible” angles to the camera, the city curling and folding, Escher stairs and so on. The only place I half-cringed at was the part right after Ariadne folded the dream city and the street bent at a straight angle upwards. The transition when they were walking from the “floor street” to the “wall street” looked a bit off; they looked very much computer made.

What did disappoint me was the clash between my expectations and the reality (ahaha). It might just have been my misreading it all, but I had received the impression that it would be a very complex puzzle. I heard tell of people rewatching it to see “clues”. Nolan himself even said that was intentional; that people would want to see it again. The sense of some major mindfuck of a movie was therefore not too distant a prospect.

Perhaps I missed something, but it sure wasn’t very hard to understand what was going on at any particular time. I would have expected a lot more confusion (both to us and to the characters) as to what was real and what was dream. The only way that really happened was the (from what I understand) intentionally ambiguous ending and the squintingly suspicious part of my mind constantly questioning which dream level was the first level.

Because I have begun to ponder the name of the film itself.

In the movie, “Inception” is the act of putting an idea so deep inside someone’s mind that they think they came up with it themselves. There are several instances of it, but the one Cobb put into his wife’s head to make her want to escape limbo is probably the one they mean, since it’s the source of his mind ghosts and the conflict in need of resolving.

But there are others.

For a bit I pondered whether Cobb ever even had had a wife; if it wasn’t just a notion brought on by inception. But then I remembered someone else in the team telling Ariadne that she had been a lovely person. So she wasn’t all in Cobb’s mind.

But I do still wonder if Cobb’s proposing to his wife was a product of inception. He said he had a dream about them living out their lives together (or something like that; I’ll have to rewatch it to be sure). Sounds suspicious if you ask me.

In conclusion; quite a flawless movie, my own experience clouded by preconceptions of mindfuckery where no mindfuckery was to be found.

Jolly good. But typing this makes me realise I should probably rewatch it after all.

Confound these ponies Nolan!

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One Comment
  1. hails permalink

    Simply put, there is no way to be sure what is a dream and what is not; whether Cobb was married or not, whether the whole heist actually happened, whether the whole movie was someone’s dream… that’s the main point of the movie. Everything else is just for teh lulz IMO.

    Funny, this “disappointment” of yours is exactly how I felt after watching Fight Club expecting some jaw-dropping twist ending and figuring it out after the first sex scene between Norton and Helena Whatsherface. This, coupled with the fact that the whole movie was too male-centric for my tastes, kinda ruined it for me.

    But I digress. Regarding the whole “people watching it for clues” issue, I think people were looking for clues as to whether Cobb is still dreaming at the end of the movie (the answer to the “totem teasing”, as I like to call it). As I understand, they tried analyzing the soundtrack, what the two kids were wearing, whether they were played by the same actors and who knows what else; until Nolan came out and told them to stop wasting their time because the movie is INTENDED to end ambiguously and there is no right or wrong answer. In other words, there are no clues in the movie, just OCD fans.

    And finally, I think the title refers to the idea of inception in general, not to a specific inception in the movie. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s intentionally ambiguous, as if the movie didn’t have enough ambiguity already.

    Glad you finally watched it :p

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