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Old 12-07-2010, 04:10 PM   #8691 (permalink)
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Inception

How to summarize the impression I got from this film? Too much plot, not enough immersion. And that's a damn shame in a film about dreams. Although I generally like Nolan films, I've always had a bit of a problem with his overstating things, like he has to explain everything just in case we didn't get it. Too much telling, not enough showing. I understand that need in big blockbuster movies like Inception or The Dark Knight, they have to appeal to a wide audience. But Nolan wants his blockbusters to be smart and deep, or better yet, to appear way smarter than they actually are. He somehow manages to juggle between these two qualities, entertainment and 'deeper' themes, in The Dark Knight and make an overall exciting film, at least. I'm sure such iconic characters like Batman and Joker and the everlasting fight between good and evil has something to do with it.

But when he places his complicated plot into the world of dreams, the gap between the mere blockbuster entertainment and the need to dig deeper becomes painfully apparent. Needless to say, the latter suffers greatly. I would've liked this film better if it were straight up action film, because what's the point in placing the story in dreams if you're not going to explore them in all their spontaneity and unpredictability. I understand that dreams in Inception are fabricated, but it says in the film itself that they come with a baggage, the subconsciousness. That's something that cannot be controlled and brings the sense of chaos, none of which can be felt in Inception. Everything is perfectly planned and constructed in Nolan dream world, he's the perfect architect, and when something 'unexpected' happens (usually involving Mal) it's so obvious and within the rules of the game Nolan sets up, that it becomes predictable very quickly. It actually hit me that Nolan dreams are more like video games.

So, this weight the film is supposed to carry and a complicated plot (and Nolan sure loves it) suffocate the fun element of an essentially action film and in the end this film is neither fun nor deep. This is the first Nolan film to disappoint me.
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:13 PM   #8692 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dankrsta View Post


Inception

How to summarize the impression I got from this film? Too much plot, not enough immersion. And that's a damn shame in a film about dreams. Although I generally like Nolan films, I've always had a bit of a problem with his overstating things, like he has to explain everything just in case we didn't get it. Too much telling, not enough showing. I understand that need in big blockbuster movies like Inception or The Dark Knight, they have to appeal to a wide audience. But Nolan wants his blockbusters to be smart and deep, or better yet, to appear way smarter than they actually are. He somehow manages to juggle between these two qualities, entertainment and 'deeper' themes, in The Dark Knight and make an overall exciting film, at least. I'm sure such iconic characters like Batman and Joker and the everlasting fight between good and evil has something to do with it.

But when he places his complicated plot into the world of dreams, the gap between the mere blockbuster entertainment and the need to dig deeper becomes painfully apparent. Needless to say, the latter suffers greatly. I would've liked this film better if it were straight up action film, because what's the point in placing the story in dreams if you're not going to explore them in all their spontaneity and unpredictability. I understand that dreams in Inception are fabricated, but it says in the film itself that they come with a baggage, the subconsciousness. That's something that cannot be controlled and brings the sense of chaos, none of which can be felt in Inception. Everything is perfectly planned and constructed in Nolan dream world, he's the perfect architect, and when something 'unexpected' happens (usually involving Mal) it's so obvious and within the rules of the game Nolan sets up, that it becomes predictable very quickly. It actually hit me that Nolan dreams are more like video games.

So, this weight the film is supposed to carry and a complicated plot (and Nolan sure loves it) suffocate the fun element of an essentially action film and in the end this film is neither fun nor deep. This is the first Nolan film to disappoint me.
Are you saying there was too much exposition in this film? I didn't find that to be the case. I thought it has the necessary amount to keep it comprehensible.
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:16 PM   #8693 (permalink)
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I don't think Inception was a film for the arthouse community, I think it was just a summer blockbuster with more depth than the usual big summer films that come out.
I think the narrative is great myself, he could've gone the Lynch route and explained very little to absolutely nothing and let the viewer gather their own conclusions but because of the scale of the film, he couldn't afford to do that.
I think he got a nice balance, I think The Prestige was similar.
It could have been a mindfuck if Nolan decided to leave out the explanation but I think he's a brilliant storyteller.
He made the audience aware of what was going on, yet it still confused some idiots.
I loved Inception, really great cast and fusion of genres.
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:48 PM   #8694 (permalink)
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Oooh, a discussion!

My impression is that he didn't find the balance, like for example in The Prestige. I've never expected him to go the Lynch route, he's not that kind of a director. I think ideas presented in Inception would've worked better in a smaller film like Memento and The Prestige to an extent, so that film doesn't have to struggle with what it wants to be: a fun action blockbuster or an exploration of dreams and subconsciousness. These two just doesn't mash well together. Just imagine Memento as a blockbuster.

Btw, the comparison of Nolan and Lynch is an interesting one, as I find them to stand completely opposite of each other. But, I'll explain that tomorrow as it's really late.
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:03 PM   #8695 (permalink)
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I only watched Inception myself for the first time last night and I do agree with Dankstra on a lot of points.

I absolutely commend a director working within a hugely commercial arena wanting to add gravitas to a film but stripped down I found the film an action film in disguise and less about psychological machinations and more about the spectacle and although it was a film with great visuals I didn't find a huge amount to actually get me thinking as there is always the excuse that 'it's just a dream' thrown at me.

It is a very good film but it could have been absolutely superb if it remained oblique enough- as dreams often are.
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:10 PM   #8696 (permalink)
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I don't think it was a film for the arthouse community, I don't think it was a film for people who want to see a film to think about the ideas presented.
I think it was an ambitious film and because it was a film on such a grand scale, if Nolan made it too oblique I think it would have flopped financially (maybe not critically) and I don't think he could take that risk but I think it remains ambiguous enough for it not to be a typical run of the mill film.
I don't think it was a film meant to be overly thought provoking, I just think it was a summer blockbuster that had more ambition and substance than a lot of other blockbusters. I think if you're looking for your mind to be tested you're going to be disappointed, but if you're looking to be enthralled by a brilliant action/heist/thriller then you've watched the right film.

I can see why people think it folds in on itself due to it's ambition, but IMO Nolan manages to pull it off.
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:31 PM   #8697 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by TheCunningStunt View Post
I don't think it was a film for the arthouse community, I don't think it was a film for people who want to see a film to think about the ideas presented.
I think it was an ambitious film and because it was a film on such a grand scale, if Nolan made it too oblique I think it would have flopped financially (maybe not critically) and I don't think he could take that risk but I think it remains ambiguous enough for it not to be a typical run of the mill film.
I don't think it was a film meant to be overly thought provoking, I just think it was a summer blockbuster that had more ambition and substance than a lot of other blockbusters. I think if you're looking for your mind to be tested you're going to be disappointed, but if you're looking to be enthralled by a brilliant action/heist/thriller then you've watched the right film.

I can see why people think it folds in on itself due to it's ambition, but IMO Nolan manages to pull it off.
This is the crux though. I agree on many points you mention but it is one of those films that balances on the perch of deep thinking and mainstream entertainment and I would have preferred it to be a low budget film personally and explore many more themes. I mean; they all got into people dreams very easily which was never fully explored and instead just stated as a silver suitcase that you can hook up too.

I guess I am looking too much into it but if a film like Primer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primer_(film) that cost just $7,000 makes my mind scramble whilst dealing with issues out of my usual remit, then a film that cost good knows how much more (at least $70 million) should do a better job (even though the comparisons are scant regarding plots).
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:57 PM   #8698 (permalink)
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From what I saw of Primer, it had my head in knots.
Which reminds me, I need to watch it again because I didn't manage to finish it.
It seemed like it was overly complicated, which doesn't make for a bad film nor does it make for a good film. I think Inception was what it was and Nolan HAD TO tell the story the way he did because of the audience he was catering for, I think there's a little something in Inception for everyone.

Just because Inception wasn't a total mind fuck and the narrative was straight forward, I.E everything was explained to you I don't think it takes anything away from the film. If I want a mindfuck I'll go elsewhere. I consider Inception a favourite of mine, I think come 2020 we'll look back and Inception will be on a lot of top 10 of the decade lists.

The last film I saw:


Absolutely brilliant.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:04 PM   #8699 (permalink)
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^ What was it?
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:34 PM   #8700 (permalink)
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Oh sorry, I didn't realise it didn't have the English name on the poster.

A Bittersweet Life.
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