Can Someone Please Explain Inception to Me?

inc 03509 Can Someone Please Explain Inception to Me?

At the movies, incomprehensible gibberish has become a way of life, but it usually takes time before it’s clear that a movie really stinks. Inception, Christopher Nolan’s latest assault on rational coherence, wastes no time. It cuts straight to the chase that leads to the junkpile without passing go, although before it drags its sorry butt to a merciful finale, you’ll be desperately in need of a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

Writer-director Nolan is an elegant Hollywood hack from London whose movies are a colossal waste of time, money and I.Q. points. “Elegant” because his work always has a crisp use of color, shading and shadows, and “hack” because he always takes an expensive germ of an idea, reduces it to a series of cheap gimmicks and shreds it through a Cuisinart until it looks and sounds like every other incoherent empty B-movie made by people who haven’t got a clue about plot, character development or narrative trajectory. Like other Christopher Nolan head scratchers-the brainless Memento, the perilously inert Insomnia, the contrived illusionist thriller The Prestige, the idiotic Batman Begins and the mechanical, maniacally baffling and laughably overrated The Dark Knight-this latest deadly exercise in smart-aleck filmmaking without purpose from Mr. Nolan’s scrambled eggs for brains makes no sense whatsoever. Is it clear that I have consistently hated his movies without exception, and I have yet to see one of them that makes one lick of sense. It’s difficult to believe he didn’t also write, direct and produce the unthinkable Synecdoche, New York. But as usual, like bottom feeder Charlie Kaufman, Mr. Nolan’s reputation as an arrogant maverick draws a first-rate cast of players, none of whom have an inkling of what they’re doing or what this movie is about in the first place, and all of whom have been seen to better advantage elsewhere. Especially Leonardo DiCaprio, who remains one of the screen’s most gullible talents. After his recent debacle in Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese’s dopey insane-asylum bomb, one hoped for something more substantial from the easily misled Leo, not another deranged turkey like Inception. He should have stayed in bed.

I’d like to tell you just how bad Inception really is, but since it is barely even remotely lucid, no sane description is possible. Let’s see. It opens with crashing waves on a beach. In the middle of a July heat wave, I wanted to jump in, but the thrill didn’t last. Cut to the battered face of Leo, looking like a 14-year-old washed ashore facedown from a toy sailboat. He has come from another location conjured up in a dream, and is fond of muttering jabberwocky like “I am the most skilled extractor of dreams.” In other words, he can close his eyes, enter somebody else’s dreams with his pock-marked baby face and blow up China. The excellent Marion Cotillard, who has spiraled a long way down from her Oscar-winning role as Edith Piaf, growing a wart in the center of her forehead in the bargain, is the ghost of his ex-wife. Leo lives in a state of guilt for her death. He is also a thief, plowing his way through dark kitchens waving guns with silencers to relieve locked safes of their contents. Living in a continual dream state, he wants only to get home to his father (Michael Caine in a walk-on of fewer than a dozen lines) and two kids, but first he must, according to the production notes, “extract valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state when the mind is at its most vulnerable.” To this end, Mr. Nolan works in something about the world of corporate espionage that turns Leo into an international fugitive. Now, Leo and his team of special “extractors” must achieve “inception”-meaning that instead of stealing dreams, they must plant some. If you’re still awake, you’re one step ahead of me. I dozed off ages ago.

Policed around the globe by anonymous forces, Leo is aided by a pretty college student (Ellen Page from Juno) with a kinetic knowledge of dream therapy who acts as a “brain architect” (whatever that is); a loyal assistant (a big waste of charismatic Joseph-Gordon Levitt) who floats through space without gravity; a two-fisted barfly (Tom Hardy from Guy Ritchie’s abysmal RocknRolla); and assorted villains who sometimes double as saints (Tom Berenger, Cillian Murphy and Japan’s Ken Watanabe from The Last Samurai). The script is gibberish: “We extracted every bit of information you had in there.” “This isn’t gonna work-wake him up!” “I’m not in your dream-you’re in mine!” Every new dream brings to life a new picture postcard. One minute they’re flying over Manhattan (“Our ride’s on the roof!”). The next, they’re heading for Buenos Aires by helicopter. In Mumbai, they join people sleeping on cots in a sort of opium den where the patients pay to wake up. “I’m getting off in Kyoto,” says Leo, leaving the bullet train, and I wanted to shout, “Take me with you-and the movie, too!” In Christopher Nolan movies, I never know whether he’s going to find an ending or not, but I never have any problem finding the exit.

Through the use of computer-generated effects, buildings fold like cardboard containers, cars drive upside down and the only way you can wake up within the dream is death. None of this prattling drivel adds up to one iota of cogent or convincing logic. You never know who anyone is, what their goals are, who they work for or what they’re doing. Since there’s nothing to act, the cast doesn’t even bother. It’s the easiest kind of movie to make, because all you have to do is strike poses and change expressions. It all culminates on skis in the middle of a blizzard, as Leo is pursued by machine-gun-equipped snowmobiles, but you don’t even know who’s driving them. I have no idea what the market is for this jabbering twaddle-probably people who fritter away their time playing video games, which I’m willing to bet pretty much describes Christopher Nolan. He labors over turning out arty horror films and sci-fi action thrillers with pretensions to alternate reality, but he’s clueless about how to deal with reality, honest emotions or relevant issues.

Inception is the kind of pretentious perplexity in which one or two reels could be mischievously transposed, or even projected backward, and nobody would know the difference. It’s pretty much what we’ve come to expect from summer movies in general and Christopher Nolan movies in particular, but I keep wondering: Can he do anything of more lasting value? He’s got vision, but creating jigsaw puzzles nobody can figure out and using actors as puppets who say idiotic things, dwarfed by sets like sliding Tinker Toys, doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment to me.

rreed@observer.com

 

 

INCEPTION
Running time 148 minutes
Written and Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe

1 Eyeball out of 4

eyeball Can Someone Please Explain Inception to Me?

 

Comments

  1. Jihong Tsang says:

    It wasn’t exactly a difficult film to get lol, are you just so emotional about it because you cannot understand it?

  2. Bellend says:

    The thing I most hate about inception is that people who like it think they are fucking clever for understanding it: everyone understands it, but those who don’t like it find it derivative, shallow and unbearably pretentious.

  3. bellend says:

    “You missed the point of the film”–would you care to say what the fuck it is?

  4. Herp says:

    Inception was a great film – I just love how everything pieces together at the end – it’s not like some deep, “oh my life has changed” movie – it’s just a story. And a dang good one at that. I don’t get how people don’t understand the story either – it’s not hard to follow.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Jeez, I usually feel that critics should be allowed to express their own opinion, but this review is basically saying just “I didn’t get it”

  6. Anonymous says:

    Jeez, I usually feel that critics should be allowed to express their own opinion, but this review is basically saying just “I didn’t get it”

  7. really? come on says:

    This moron just gave “Horrible Bosses” a 3/4
    Just goes to show what sort of movies his infantile mind can grasp

  8. Incepticon says:

    You poor guy… someone has been spiking your drink every time you go in for a Christopher Nolan movie. Are you sure you don’t feel more and more retarded everyday? C-meth can do that to you.

  9. Nolanman says:

    Did Nolan have and affair with your wife and mother at the same time. Only that could your blind hate for the guy…

  10. Stonewallandreedsuck says:

    listen to Hi Stone wall

  11. Yourearetard says:

    you are a retard, retard.

  12. Jboy928 says:

    i liked it and thought it was challenging to follow which made it interesting and watchable again to really see if you can figure it out and fyi go to hollywood and do it better or shut the fuck up

  13. Austenlennox says:

    Thank you for articulating what I and millions of others couldn’t otherwise.

  14. Dude, you missed the entire fucking point. You keep asking for some kind of emotional fix, but THERE IS NONE. It’s a MENTAL fix. The movie makes you think.

    You, however, refused to think and try to grasp this movie. I agree, it may have some holes, but for the MOST part, the movie takes you on a mental ride of not knowing which level of the 3.5 levels of dreams in the movie that you’re on. It’s interesting, it’s suspensful, those are you emotions. Nobody gives a shit about leonardo’s character in this movie because its not about him, its about the god damn inception, and to answer your question,

    The whole movie was a dreamy, surreal trip (kind of like tripping on acid). It does not make you feel, it makes you think…  and in the end, there’s a god damn twist. The whole point is a psychological trip about how one small thought (theres someone behind me), can escalate into a lifetime of fear and seclusion…

    THATS the point you dumb fuck, and why dont you hate michael bay instead of nolan? at least nolan tries…

    1. At the beginning of the film, after the first job Cobb’s team tries
      to pull on Saito, we see Cobb sitting in his hotel room alone, spinning
      the top and watching it intently, gun in hand. This is a guy who is
      ready to blow his brains out if the top keeps spinning, in order to
      “wake himself up.” That’s how obsessed and paranoid he’s become.
      Throughout the film, Cobb continues to obsess about spinning the top
      and verifying reality – however, at the end of movie, he spins the top
      and walks away from it before he can verify if it stops
      spinning or not. His kids come running in and Cobb couldn’t care less
      about about the top or “true reality” or extraction/inception anymore.
      He just wants to be with his children, in whatever place he can be
      with them. That emotional connection and desire is “reality” enough
      for him.

      In the end, Cobb walking away from the top is a statement in itself
      that also completes the arc of his character. In a way, the movie is
      its own maze designed to plant a simple little idea in the viewer’s
      mind: “reality” is a relative concept.i copy pasted that so if yo uwant the full explanation just google the above ^

  15. Some Guy says:

    This has got to be the worst review I have ever read. This seams like the reviewer has some sort of issue with the director and cast verses the actual movie and the statement it makes. There was absolutely no need to hate on Nolan’s previous films in a review about an entirely new concept this lesser minded reviewer obviously couldn’t understand or just didn’t want to.

    I hope this guy was fired.

  16. WK says:

    Sir, I think you are simply complaining that you didn’t get it, which isn’t very professional at all (nor is complaining about warts on actors’ faces). Your logic of  “if it doesn’t make sense to me it must be bad” itself doesn’t make any sense – my parents can’t use a computer properly, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. No wonder you didn’t understand the film –  I don’t think you were paying attention at all –  you say that they’re “flying over Manhattan”, “heading for Buenos Aires” and “In Mumbai” – it’s funny because they didn’t go to any of those places ever in the movie.  And I hope sir that you understand that your opinion on both this and Nolan’s previous films – there’s a reason The Dark Knight was glorified to the point where you believe it is “overrated” –  although you are entitled to it, is obviously not shared by the majority of those in your industry – and I think everyone else mostly thinks you’re a bit of a prick.

    1. Bistoux says:

      Well, I did not get it either. Because there is nothing to get. And it was boring…
      And the fact that The Dark Knight was a good movie does not change the fact that Inception is boring.

      If you liked it, fine, but do not jump at the throat of people who did not like it.

      1. Andrew says:

        If you didn’t like it, fine, but do not jump at the throats of people who did like it.

      2. Willis says:

        He didn’t jump at the throats of people who did like it.

      3. Sephiroth says:

        That’s not the point. It’s a horribly written article full of hypocrisy and Ad Hominem.  Even scarier is that people defend him.

    2. Super-cereal says:

      It’s sad when people don’t “get” certain movies they push it off to say it must be the movie that is stupid and not them (as the case of Reed).

  17. j9j9j9j9 says:

    You know man. You just don’t get it! I read your article: lol. What you got is a fixation with Nolan. Hope you get better soon from your illness.

  18. j9j9j9j9 says:

    You know man. You just don’t get it! I read your article: lol. What you got is a fixation with Nolan. Hope you get better soon from your illness.

  19. Mr. Morozov says:

    Wow, that was incredible. Now, I can understand someone simply not understanding the movie; it’s very, very complex. However, this constant stream of negativity and flat-out whining has to be one of the most unprofessional things I’ve seen in a while. Making fun of actors faces? Making it sound like it’s was produced in a day, when in reality it took 10 years just to make the script? And this guy does reviews for a LIVING?!

    I have to say, my two favorites lines from this were; “… looking like a 14-year-old washed ashore facedown from a toy sailboat.” Ok, that flat-out doesn’t make sense, let alone count as an unbiased critique. Second, after he explains what can happen in dreams, “None of this prattling drivel adds up to one iota of cogent or convincing logic.” Uhm… does he realize that most of the movie takes place in DREAMS, where things AREN’T supposed to make sense? Even the most brainless troll can figure that out.

    Mr. Reed, I have to say, it’s been a while since I’ve laughed at something that was supposed to be serious. This review may as well be in the dictionary, under “ridiculous” and “biased”.

  20. Guest says:

    If you didn’t get it, watch it a second time. If you still don’t get it even after a second viewing then you have no imagination and you fail. In light of this, stfu and stop watching movies (or at least complaining about them)

  21. Sephiroth says:

    This is a moronic article written by somebody with not an ounce of journalistic integrity, common sense, or professionalism.

    Ad Hominem makes you look like, well, somebody better suited to another Transformers sequel.

    Sorry, if you’re going to call this director names and bash a movie that, god forbid, makes you use your brain, then at least distance yourself from what you’re attempting to put down by not sinking to his standards. In other words, use your “big boy words” and present a logical reason.

    If you’re attempting to write with some sort of style, i.e. “this is how I write”, then… wow. It is embarrassing what passes for acceptable blogging these days. One can only hope you’re not paid for your opinions, as there’s many educated, articulate and professional people out there dying for the chance.

  22. Sephiroth says:

    Because it forced you to think and use your brain. The acting was great, the effects were great, and the story (as well as all the threads that tied it all together) made it great. But the point being (for you simpletons defending the article) that this is horrible journalism/critiquing.

    Sorry that some of you, well, simply need a film’s explanation spoon-fed to you like a baby.

    I’d like to see you mental midgets watch a movie like Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive”.

    Do I sound elitist? Sure I do. I’m sick of imbeciles defending trash reviews, moronic writing, and basically showing us all that being stupid is in some way an acceptable platform for debate. Go watch the movie again, Google it, or ask a friend (outside of your trailer park) if you don’t get it.

    If you don’t care to? Fine. The world continues to advance without you.  Maybe there’s a Transformers 4 in your future.

  23. Sephiroth says:

    Something you like, presumably a remake.

  24. ComeOnnn says:

    Is it just me or do all the comments seem like a contest to fit the most polysyllabic words into a single paragraph. Jesus. And I love how everyone defending the movie keeps talking about how simple the plot was to understand but I have yet to see an explanation in anyones comment. Ive seen the movie alot and its interesting to watch but it doesnt really make sense. All I got was that it was about a bunch of people who liked to chill in dreams then some guy is like hey you wanna do me a solid? Plant some ideas in this guys head and Ill give you a shitload of money. Meanwhile the main character is dealing with a psycho imaginary/real wife who went crazy and killed herself. The end. Where was the message? The plot? The meaningful anything? I get where the author of this is coming from. But Dark Knight was the shit.

  25. CanonLaw says:

    Hey dissapointed,  ever heard of poetry?  Rex was using new york metophoric speaks.  Grow up.

  26. Freddy54 says:

    Thank heavens someone has had the gall to say this about “Inception”, a film that insults its audience by presuming they are too stupid to understand what is going on but will assume it’s all highly intelligent stuff. Utter garbage!

  27. Anonymous says:

    So you are complaining because when you saw it you were too wrapped up in the complicated and interesting story that you didn’t have time for character development? Jesus how come every time someone needs a reason to hate a movie they blame the character development? Just watch the damn movie and stop pretending like you’re some elite film critic who demands proper character development, full of an unrealistic amount of abusive fathers and dead friends. Inception was not very complicated at all, and the more you complain about how complicated it is, the more you invalidate your point and show how stupid you really are. This movie has a very clear philosophical message that has been bothering humanity and many famous philosophers for hundreds of years, and that it “How do I know this is all real?” It’s a very interesting question that sparked the famous quote “I think therefore I am.” On top of all this, Inception adds a layer of mystery to the story, allowing for multiple interpretations, each of which add to the overall theme of real vs unreal (did Ariadne perform inception on Cobb to get rid of his guilt? Was Mal right and is Cobb still stuck in the dream world with Mal standing over him begging him to wake up?).

  28. Uyoung76 says:

    This was an excellent movie. What are you fuming about? You obviously don’t know art when you see it. You WISH you could devise an intricate plot such as this movie offers. Get a grip.