Friday, July 23, 2010


Last week's Economist said it was a must-see film, the first truly intelligent film this year. The Sunday Times gave it 2 stars out of 5 and said it was all wrapping and no present.

Inception stars Leonardo DiCaprio and some other people. DiCaprio is Dom Cobb, an "extractor" who enters the dreams of others to obtain information that is otherwise inaccessible. For various complex reasons he is hired to go further, to alter the intentions of a targeted individual by planting an idea through a manipulated dream: a dangerous procedure known as Inception.

The movie traverses levels of dreams-within-dreams in a clever and coherent way. Visceral thrills are not neglected as there is much semi-gratuitous Matrix-style combat plus crashes and explosions. There is even a romantic subplot, more central to the overall narrative, featuring Dom and his mysteriously-dead wife Mal (specifically a projection of her within Dom's subconscious, made manifest in manufactured dreams).

As we reached its ambivalent ending I muttered to Clare: "Spooky or what?"

I was more impressed by the cleverness and intricacy of the film than she was ... but my enthusiasm almost immediately began to fade.

Unlike The Matrix - a souped-up exposition of a credible philosophical position (reality is illusory: we live in a simulation) - Inception seems to have no big, transcendent idea. In the end it is more packaging than content but, hey guys, full marks for something which is still a lot of fun for grown-ups.


We saw the film after dropping my mother off home, at the Cribbs Causeway Vue cinema. We were surprised that at 1 p.m. on a Friday afternoon the screen was almost full, and for a film already tagged as rather cerebral. Interestingly most of the audience seemed to be teens: I think they liked it.