Monday, August 09, 2010


I really, really wanted to like this film. A well-funded, original, science-fiction script - these don't come up that often, so what's not to like?

Well, as it turns out, there's quite a lot not to like.

For a start, Leonardo DiCaprio cannot act. Well, OK he can, in the same way that Roger Moore "acted" in the Bond films. And the sad thing is that he's actually the best drawn character in the film. The others don't even count as one-dimensional. Nothing against the actors - they just didn't get a thing to work with.

And then there's the plot. The thing about science fiction is that everything is possible. Everything. The very best science fiction is tautly written, with detailed internal consistency. It creates a world unlike this world, but one where, over time, you develop an understanding of the way it works. Read Larry Niven's "Ringworld" for the best example I can think of.

"Inception" is the opposite of this - there's no development - just every once in a while a new plot device falls from nowhere. It wouldn't have been a surprise if the next time the plot ran into trouble, the writer would have some breakdancing antelopes surf in on a bed of luncheon meat and eat the problem. In science fiction you don't have to use the laws of the real world, but you damn sure need to have some kind of rules.

Without too much in the way of Spoilers, the bit that really annoyed me was that Edith Piaf played in a dreamer's ear was perfectly audible even though the dreamer who was living a much slower pace than reality. Surely the music would be slowed to the point of inaudibility ?

And the final third of the film was like being tied up in zero gravity and pushed slowly along a hotel corridor. Really slow and totally pointless.

Don't get me wrong, it's a perfect accompaniment to popcorn on a day off - it just felt like an opportunity lost to explore the weirdness of dreams.

For example, I was once chased though a bowl of muesli by a wooden mosquito - someone ought to make a movie about that. 

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