Friday, 14 January 2011


Christopher Nolan makes big, dumb, popcorn movies. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but his efforts to make films deeper than your average blockbuster is starting to look a bit desperate. Making said films profound is a trick he almost pulls by making them dark, serious and complex meditations. Inception is a preposterous story about Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a corporate spy who can enter and steal information from people’s dreams. There’s also nothing wrong with preposterous. When I seek entertainment preposterous often works well for me. Bizarrely, for all it’s crazed spectacle it did little to entertain this reviewer. The visuals are pretty spectacular, but the characters are not. The whole notion of being in dreams (where most of the action takes place) actually works against the drama of the film. The worst that can happen is when a character is killed in a dream, they will wake up. So no one is in any real peril. Now, that is a bold concept for an action film. Next thing you know, we’ll be seeing Nancy Meyers make a romantic comedy in which no one finds anyone the least bit attractive, and doesn’t have any jokes.

I should add though, it’s really refreshing that such a big film is neither re-make nor sequel. It’s admirable in this day and age to have created such huge Hollywood product from absolute scratch. Of course the reason Nolan was trusted with the $160 million budget was due to the vast success of his last film. In case you missed it, that one was a dark, serious and complex meditation on a man who dresses up as a bat.

1 comment:

  1. Why you hate Chris Nolan so much William?
    I think you are being super harsh girlfriend.
    Having said that I'm not as into Inception as everyone else seems to be. What I do like are the fact that with have a blockbuster with brains that attempts to treat it's audience like adults. Great performances from DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and Marion Cottiliard and a great score.
    On the negative side I have to say that for the first time I realised what you have been saying for a while about Nolan being unable to direct action. I think I gave him a pass with Batman Begins as it was his first action film. The Dark Knight didn't actually have that many action set pieces and they were masked behind tight plotting and great performances but Inception suffers from sub Sixties Bond shenanigans especially in the 'snow scene' which is so loosely edited as to be devoid of suspense. I agree also that the pain of waking up removes much of the drama. Another gripe is the constant mention of dreams, I'd be much happier if they talked of it as the sub-concious. I agree that dreams seem real when one is having them but they are never as linear and ordered as they appear in this film. My final gripe is Ellen Page who seems to to become more one dimensional with each passing performance.
    Despite all this I think it's easily a four star film and that we need to sit down and have a Nolan appreciation night where we discuss the finer points of his artistry and find out if your hate for him comes from a childhood fear of the Nolan Sisters.