Inception - convoluted, over-rated, but worth another look

Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page in Inception

Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page in Inception

NEXT WEEK sees Tenent - the first proper international blockbuster released since March and the eleventh film from director Christopher Nolan.

In anticipation of this, Nolan's 2010 sci-fi hit, Inception, has been re-released into cinemas, and what a treat to be able to see such a film on the big screen.

Although I would consider myself a Nolan sceptic, I am always interested to see what he does, and, as he only has 10 films in his library, I have re-watched the lot myself. Indeed, I was surprised how much I enjoyed revisiting this. When I first saw it in 2010 I loved it, thought it was a smart, stylish, original movie.

Re-watching it a few years later, some of the flaws became more apparent. I also grimaced at the online reaction, declaring it the greatest film of the decade, and treating it like a masterpiece - I was probably a little snobby about people who raved about it. Looking at it again, while it is not the greatest movie of the decade and probably not even in my Top 10 of that year, it is tremendous fun. It is also a totally original blockbuster which grossed $800 million in the box office. Only 10 short years later, that seems unfathomable today.

The good stuff: This movie looks spectacular. It is like a two and half hour Rolex ad and I actually loved it for that. Joesph Gordon Levit is not always a compelling presence on screen, but he really does wear a suit well. Also, what a treat to see Tom Hardy speaking in a normal voice without a mask on.

Leonardo DiCaprio is terrific and in full-on 'movie star mode’. He’s has a stellar supporting cast of Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, and Ken Wantabe to back him up, not to mention small roles for Micheal Caine, Pete Postlethwaite, and Tom Berenger. A personal highlight is Ellen Page who absolutely jumps off the screen, particularly in a scene with DiCaprio where he explains (badly ) the concept of inception. Such a shame we have seen so little of her since.

The bad stuff: Like a lot of Nolan movies, Inception is quite humourless. We have seen most of this cast do great comedic work in serious movies before. It would have been nice to see them have some fun, especially with such a ridiculous plot. Another issue in Nolan movies is that female roles are very underwritten. In almost all of his films, the lead female is either dead at the start or will be dead by the end.

Above all, the plot does not hold up. This movie is billed as a riddle or a puzzle, but the solution does not add up as there are too many plot holes. So maybe the movie is just a modern Escher painting? If you follow the stairs in 'Relativity' they do not actually lead anywhere, it is not a maze. The same could be said here. Watch it and enjoy it. Don't break it down, let it wash over you, preferably in a cinema on a big screen, and enjoy the convoluted, stylish, ride.

 

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