I wrote a post a few weeks ago about why people, critics especially, should take care not to dismiss films simply because they don’t “get” them. I made a few bold statements about the film Inception, and what the critical reaction to it was shaping up to be. I don’t regret them, but I may have to retract them. I understood Inception‘s plot perfectly. There wasn’t a single moment where I was confused or baffled by what I was watching. And yes, taking some critical suggestions, I saw it twice.
Christopher Nolan is a spectacular director, and I love most of his work heartily, Batman Begins being the exception. Most of the time, his films are fascinating and engaging. I’ve never seen a film that had me working my brain more than Memento. That’s what I didn’t like about Batman Begins. I just wasn’t intrigued by it, the characters didn’t interest me past the surface. The Dark Knight fixed that. While most of the characters weren’t very complex, aside from the villains, it was still entertaining to watch. After most of Nolan’s films, I ran to a computer, or a phone, or whoever was sitting next to me for two hours to engage in immediate discussion about what I had just seen. So, what shocked me about Inception was how little it moved me.
Don’t get me wrong, Inception is a spectacular film. And I won’t say that the film was all spectacle, as so many have. I found DiCaprio’s character, Cobb, to be intriguing, and I liked the pace at which we found out his backstory. It allowed me to sit in the theater the second time around and discover new motives for his actions. In that way, the film was wholly satisfying. On the other hand, not a lot happens in Inception. Cobb assembles his team of soon-to-be A-Listers, they pull the caper, and…that’s it. The movie’s over. I want to spend more time with these characters outside of “Creating the Plan” montages and shooting at bad guys. These characters deserved a longer, meatier movie. Maybe a nice long novel.
However, I can’t complain too much, because I did enjoy the last 90 minutes of the film. It consisted of wall-to-wall Awesome™, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Even the first act, which consisted of wall-to-wall exposition, was fun, if for nothing more than watching our main characters do physics-defying things. As soon as I began to grow weary of it, the plot kicks into gear. That plot, involving our heroes venturing into a corporate heir’s mind in order to plant an idea, where they would typically steal one, is all fine and good, but it would have been better if this had been a sequel. Our characters apparently break a lot of their own rules, but it would have been more interesting to watch them do that if the rules had been set up over an entire prior film. Unfortunately, making a prequel to the film would be redundant, as we already know that the rules can be broken.
There’s nothing technically wrong with Inception. I enjoyed watching it, and I was interested in what was going to happen next. It just didn’t engross me like I hoped that it would. The film is very good, and it’s worth watching. I sincerely hope that you enjoy it.