Tuesday, July 13, 2010


George Carlin once said that there is nothing more boring than listening to someone describe their own dream, and I would add that there is no movie more boring than an overblown dream film with no basis in reality. Inception arrives in theaters holding the biggest expectations of the summer, and disappoints fantastically on every level. The problem with following up a spectacular hit like The Dark Knight is the tendency to outdo yourself at every turn, which Christopher Nolan does here. At every turn.
            Inception is Nolan’s 7th feature film, one of the few that he did not collaborate on with his brother Jonathon, and the first that, in addition to not being called great, can be referred to as a downright stinker. The problem lies not in the production value or action sequences, which are all top notch. The problem has to do with the plot, which takes place in what may or may not be a multilayered dream, that is unable to generate any tension. Because everything takes place in a dream, even the most climatic scenes fail to generate any tension, although the filmmakers due all they can to try to do so.
            The “plot” revolves around a con man named Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), who with his partner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), enter peoples dreams, gain their trust, and get them to reveal their darkest secrets. When a mark (Ken Watanabe) decides to hire them to pull of the ultimate heist, they hire a dream architect (Ellen “Juno” Page), a muscle guy, and a dream inducer they are ready to go. That is until elements of Cobb’s reality begin to interfere with the dreams he enters. If that synopsis doesn’t sound ludicrous, trust me it gets worse.
            All directors fail. Spielberg had 1941, Coppola had Godfather III, and Shyamalan has had every movie since The Sixth Sense. Its not that Nolan has failed here, it’s the fact that he failed so poorly when the expectations were so high. That is not to say that no one will take enjoyment in the film. In fact the crowd roared when the credits began and many were abuzz in the lobby as they discussed plot points. As this movie will sure to please fanboys and action junkies, it will come across as a nightmare for anyone with any expectations at all.