Saturday, July 17, 2010

Inducing sleep right from the Inception

Okay, it didn’t take long for us (okay, me) to buy into the almost instantaneous hype over Inception, which opened yesterday. Not because director Christopher Nolan directed Batman The Dark Knight. You wouldn’t think I’d go to a movie based on such mainstream razzle-dazzle, do you!? No, it was because of this director’s earlier movies like Insomnia (2002) and Memento (2000), the latter an innovative film about memory told backward in time. It made me think that, despite the Hollywood media blitz over the last couple of days – and the almost entirely positive reviews from respectable critics - there might be some real filmmaking cred to this movie.....So we arrive at the Devonshire Mall cinemas and find our seats. We’re (or at least I am) in wide-eyed anticipation: "Okay, baby, show me something amazing, something that will blow my frickin’ mind, that will, well, push the limits of film-making as we know it!"....So the movie opens. First scene: Leonardo DiCaprio (Dom Cobb) washes up on a beach. Next scene: L. D. is yanked into some mysterious Oriental (is it still okay to use that word?) inner sanctum to meet up with presumably some accomplice/enemy/high-ranking underworld figure. From there we go through a series of random and seemingly unrelated scenes where characters in various situations (a dilapidated building with a riot going on outside, a compartment of a Japanese Bullet train) where people seem to be in induced sleep states, and, I guess, their precious dreams being ripped-off. Because, well, that’s the theme of this movie. DiCaprio is a master dream stealer. And what people dream (corporate secrets) can have incredible value for rivals.....But for a film to work it's got to hit me in a way that I want to absorb it, that I want to go on to the next scene, and not leave me thinking, a) oh, the main character washed up on a beach b) he’s involved in fisticuffs in getting peoples’ dreams – that's no different from any run-of-the-mill action flick, and c) all of a sudden he’s being transported by helicopter with nefarious characters heading to a corrupt Japanese hi-tech company......Talk about inducing sleep, if not dreams!....All these events take place within the movie’s first half hour. The lack of coherence, the clichéd fighting, the sheer incomprehension of what was going on, was enough. My friend said, “I’m bored, this is crap, can we get out of here?” I pretty well felt the same but, had I been alone, would have slogged through the movie’s entire 2 hours and 28 mins. (Ugh!)....Who knows, maybe it would have gotten better. The trailer had some pretty, well, fantastical-looking scenes. But we weren’t about to find out and risk losing another two hours of our - very - precious lives.....We got up and left the almost-packed house, with probably 300 people wondering, “What the hell’s with them?” Why, after all, would we walk out on this greatest film of Summer 2010!.....A silver lining, we got out money back. And I'm not dreaming.

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