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Inception spectacular, surreal, breathtaking

There are three principle elements in a good film. Acting, writing and directing. There are other things as well like special effects and cinematography, but the big three do the bulk of the heavy lifting
There aren’t that many actors that can elevate a decent film into a great one. A few. Meryl Streep makes average material interesting. Johnny Depp. Sometimes John Malkovich. There are others, but acting is a tough run. Writing is another story. Mediocre acting can’t kill good material unless you put Jackie Chan in. Will Ferrell. Jack Black. Ok there are some actors who suck the life out of any movie they’re in regardless of material, but the cream always rises to the top.
Directing is a whole other gig. There is an imprint that a good director can make on any film A few have it. Tarentino, Scorcese, Coppola. Some of the new guys. You can just tell it’s all about storytelling and the good ones know how to do it. Christpher Nolan is one of the good ones.
His first film, Memento is on most critic’s all time Top 10 lists. I know it’s on mine. The story is that he started writing Inception while he was filming Memento 10 years ago. It shows. Our story so far.
Leonardo DiCaprio, who is another of those role defining actors, plays a man who can go into people’s dreams and steal their thoughts. It’s the new age espionage. What matters is that this allows Nolan and his CGI crew to show us the ever shifting scenes of imagery. It’s spectacular and surreal and really really confusing. It’s also breathtaking.
DiCaprio can pull this off A lot of actors couldn’t. He’ s steady, and interesting to watch. It seems that he never loses his way and that’s important because we could very easily and one of the great things about this film is trying to figure out what you just saw. Was it real or was it within the context of the dream?
Every picture needs a story arc and in Inception, DiCaprio is hired by the very mysterious Saito who wants Cobb (Leo’s character) to put an idea in a man instead of stealing one. I thought this was an interesting counterpoint to his last film, Shutter Island where again the boundaries of reality were pushed. In that case it was at least a conventional landscape and all we stretched were the roles people fell into. In this film, reality is stood on its ear and trying to come up and out thru the various levels of consciousness is as difficult as navigating another hostile physical environment.
He puts a team together to help him pull off what is essentially a whole new direction for him and it’s a good one. Most notable Ellen Page and Michael Caine. Caine’s a whore but he’s good in this and Ellen Page makes every role she takes interesting. I think it helps that she’s in a film where reality bends and we’re not really sure of anything. Who knows what’s real and imagined and that gives Page some licence to go to places that a normal roles wouldn’t let her.
Inception came out of nowhere and has blown the gates off the box office with good cause. It’s unusual, fresh and pretty much sequel proof.
It doesn’t need 3D effects, although the backgrounds are incredible, because the story is enough. Nolan is one of those writer/directors that I would watch anything from and while I know I need to watch this a second time, once was enough to know that this is monumental filmmaking. I really liked it. I think. I know at some point I wanted to ask my other personality what the hell had just happened onscreen but I wasn’t talking to myself so I just went huh.
There are alot of huh moments in this and we need some kind of amusement park sign that prohibits the dullards from watching this film. Not that I’m so sharp, but I did get me some book learnin’ a ways back.
Inception is the work of a man with a vision and the parts of it he’s willing to share with us are thought provoking and entertaining. My brain hurts but I enjoyed it. I think. I’ll have to check. Reality has never really been a constant for me.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mailand I’m outta here Paul

Filed Under: Paul Peterson

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