Monday, 19 July 2010

Inception And Other Dreamy Movies

Near future. People can get into other people's minds when they're dreaming and extract their secrets. Dom Cobb (Leonardo diCaprio) is the best extractor. He's hired for one last job that will allow for charges against him to be dropped so he can go back home to his kids. The job involves inception, planting an idea into someone's head, something he's not used to. He assembles a team. That's half the movie. The next half is the job itself. Complications emerge. Cobb has to deal with guilty secrets from his past that appear as bad projections in his dreams. Essentially a heist movie and not a psychological thriller, despite the theme.

A really good watch. Classic Nolan stuff. Exciting. Fast paced. Suspense. Action. Good script. All done very well. Recommended. But overrated compared to the hype. I expected more. Like all Nolan films, slick but flawed. Parts of the movie reminded me of The Matrix. I couldn't empathise with Leo's character. He's a criminal. Who cares if he sees his kids again? Ken Watanabe's character is more irritating than anything else. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the straight man and assistant to DiCaprio's intense unstable character. With his dapper look, it feels at times like he's a young Keanu Reeves.

The movie is relatively complex i.e complex compared to a dumb movie, but not hard to follow. It's a linear story with no major twists and no surprise endings, and not as complex as Nolan's The Prestige, which was layered big time. The people who don't get this movie are probably the same ones who couldn't get The Matrix the first time around.

I'd watch Inception again. Here are some other films I've seen that took us into the minds of others. Spoilers ahead.

The Matrix - we've all seen this, so no comment.

Vanilla Sky - Tom Cruise's character can't figure out why his reality is falling apart. Turns out he's in a dream world that he's paid a company to create in his mind, for his mind to live in, while he's cryogenically frozen, so he can forget his real problems. And they only tell you this at the end of the film, which means you've spent all that time watching what you thought was a psychological thriller along the lines of Fight Club, only to find out you've been watching some lame SF movie with a lame deus ex machina ending.

The Cell - Psychological thriller. Jennifer Lopez's character is a shrink who goes into the mind of a serial killer in a coma to discover where his latest victim is before it's too late. A more visual than substance film directed by Tarsem Singh.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Jim Carey's and Kate Winslet's characters get specific memories of theirs erased to forget each other, but end up together again anyway. Primarily a romantic film. Not straightforward. Full of flashbacks and non linear storytelling. Most of the film takes place in Jim Carey's character's mind; he relives his memories as they're being erased one by one.

And I still have to see Paprika, Dreamscape & eXistenZ.