Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dreams feel real while we're in them


Inception blew me away. For most of the movie, I was literally gaping in awe at the filmmaking. No joke--mouth open, gaping. In fact, in several places I started laughing, not because something funny was happening onscreen, but because I was overjoyed by the sheer magnitude of the filmmaking. Of course seeing Inception on the IMAX helped me appreciate this magnitude, but the combination of the cinematography, the story, the special effects, the music, and everything else really make up a modern-day masterpiece.

I think the acting in Inception was excellent, but I was especially impressed with Tom Hardy, who played Eames (the forger). From his very first scene, he brought such a personality to his character. Leonardo DiCaprio continues to impress me, and I loved seeing Ellen Page playing someone so different from her famous Juno character. Joseph Gordon-Levitt also shows a lot of skill, as he has in several of his previous movies, and Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe, and Marion Cotillard are always good.

In terms of the plot, though I'm not usually one for dream movies, I do love complex, multi-layered narratives. And this is definitely multi-layered. (PS. I know the comparisons to The Matrix make sense, but that piece of crap pales in every conceivable way in comparison to Inception.) And though the levels and layers are complex, I never felt lost in the film, and that can be attributed to excellent editing. As I watched the film, I knew that without a doubt that Inception would win the Oscar for Best Editing. Christopher Nolan and his editors know exactly how to pace the multiple stories to bring us back to each layer. For example, and this is not a spoiler (and if you've seen the film you know what I'm talking about), every time the film cut back to the slow-motion falling van, I felt a rush of joy and understanding.

In several key scenes, the characters are placed in impossible physical situations. Knowing ahead of time that some of these scenes were done without the use of CGI simply increased the awe factor. For example, when the van is tumbling down the embankment and Arthur, played by Gordon-Levitt, is caught in the spinning room fighting off the security, this scene was created using a rotating set, with no CGI special effects. Holy crap.

Scenes like this, along with many others, just show what a genius Nolan is. He has taken a complex story and recreated the inner workings of the subconscious. The ideas here are challenging, intriguing, and hard to grasp. And the sheer immensity of the filmmaking here makes Inception the best film of the year so far, and it will be hard to beat.


At 10:48 PM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

I will probably save most of my comments for the spoiler-centric second review. However, I did go back and see a second matinee showing a couple days ago, and it made me more certain on some of the major details and questions of the film.

I haven't seen Insomnia, but I've seen everything else Nolan has put out besides that movie, and I've been universally impressed.

I'd assume that in addition to the editing, which I especially enjoyed during the final kicking sequence, this thing should be a lock for original screenplay (& director?). It must really be gratifying to see so many years of script development pay off like this.

Finally, I think maybe the neatest experience of seeing the movie, at least in the theater I was in, was the groan at the end, part anguish, part wry acceptance, part appreciation, and part awe. Just a terrific sound effect, and provided by the audience.

And, no joke, my word verification is 'brainest' -- not quite right, but close enough for this film.

At 1:33 AM, Blogger J0hn posited...

Okay, that hallway scene was incredible. He was flying up that wall/ceiling/floor like Spiderman.

I can't remember the last time I saw a movie and felt the way I did after Inception. It was somewhere between awe and confusion and happiness.

At 11:52 AM, Blogger PBear posited...

"hard to beat." Please.

Tron: Legacy

At 3:00 PM, Blogger J0hn posited...

Okay, the new trailer for Tron looks kind of bad.

At 5:15 PM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

Speaking of hard to beat...

Piranha: 3-D

How can this movie not be epic?


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