BEST PICTURE NOMINEE: Inception

Inception
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Written by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Marion Cotillard

Waves crashing to shore, then a body; these are both one of the first things we see in Inception, and one of the last.  Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated dream-thriller may wow you with its visual prowess, dazzle you with its high-ended concepts, and intrigue you with its heist-style head invading, but it has a typical Hollywood-style circular structure.

If it sounds like I’m already being hard on Nolan and his predetermined masterpiece, it’s only because you need to know right off the bat that it does not reinvent cinema the way its publicity campaign suggested.

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Deception: The Conceptual Complexity of ‘Inception’

Prior to its release Inception had a wave of good publicity that put it on track to become the masterpiece and game changer brought to you by Christopher Nolan, the visionary behind The Dark Knight and the storyteller behind Memento.

In The Dark Knight Nolan reinvented the blockbuster, merging old school visual techniques with the best equipment and talent along with magnificent thematic storytelling. In Memento Nolan rewrote the rules of Hollywood narrative structure. In Inception Nolan was supposed to combine big budget with big ideas, but did he succeed?

For the most part reviewers have been saying no, and for good reason. The movie is long and spends a great portion of the beginning explaining its plot complexities, the rules and regulations of dream hopping, which can be boring and tedious with the absence of real action. Some have attacked the premise as being not as original as audiences think, stating that Inception’s silent homage to The Matrix or Shutter Island are rip-offs. In fact most of the backlash coming from critics stems from concept, which is confusing because concept is the strongest asset to the film. Picking out the flaws in length, lack of action, miscasting of Page, the mild performances, poor characterization or underdevelopment of Cotillard’s Mal character would be more fair arguments. Continue reading