“Hell is yourself and the only redemption is when a person puts himself aside to feel deeply for another person.” - Tennessee Williams
You know how sometimes you save special things for a special treat when you feel you need to have one? Just push something to the back of the closet so when the occasion demands it, ta-dah! Here it is, let’s have it out and enjoy it. I do that with some movies that we have bought and I consciously save them for a day when we are in that sort of mood to really savour them. So it was with the movie we watched yesterday. I am very partial to a good science fiction yarn, especially one where the plot involves some sort of social spin, as most good science fiction does. Science fiction, is a genre of writing that uses known scientific facts and postulates future worlds and possible new technology as an extension of today’s scientific knowledge. The purpose of such fiction is to explore possibilities and dream up new ideas, examining all the while how people in the future may cope with such technological breakthroughs that will change their lives so dramatically. Unfortunately, my “special reserve film” turned out to be a giant fizzer…
This was surprising as it received rave reviews and IMDB rates it as an 8.9/10 based on nearly half million viewer votes. Well, clearly I am not amongst the majority in this one and my rating for it would be 4.5/10 based solely on the special effects and CGI. In fact the whole film was a long series of stunts, explosions, people trying to kill one another, car chases, moderately outlandish sets, more action sequences, and more CGI and the whole thing kept going on and on and on for a long 148 minutes! The thing was endless.
It was Christopher Nolan’s 2010 “Inception” with Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard and Ellen Page (with a cameo by Michael Caine). Nolan must have been given a carte blanche by the studio to develop this idea of his (and as he both wrote the screenplay and directed the movie) he is largely responsible for the end result. It won four Oscars, but they were largely on the look and sound of the film, which were slick. Nothing about acting, script, direction, music etc. It did win best SciFi film in the Saturn awards, but that’s different kettle of fish.
The plot concerns Dom Cobb (Di Carpio), who is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of “extraction”, stealing valuable trade secrets from deep within the subconscious of the subject during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible: “Inception”. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: Their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one in the mind of a corporate chief. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming.
The plot then starts to go into dream sequence within dream sequence, until the viewer loses track of what is what or who is who or what the heck they are doing where. This is a device to hide the lack of a real plot. Not that the viewer minds after the first half hour. The characters are unlikeable – I couldn’t work up enough sympathy for Cobb (or anyone else) and I viewed all of them as villains that (as far as I was concerned) didn’t matter if they lived or died or achieved their goals or were redeemed or not. I mean the movie is about one corporate giant CEO wanting to crush the competition by planting an idea in the rival CEO’s mind. We are meant to be sympathetic to this? Who cares a pip? Both CEOs should have been neutralised in the first five minutes. The thing was absolute bilge.
Unlike good science fiction, the film did not stimulate new thoughts in my mind, it did not present new problems of humanity or suggest solutions for old ones. It was uninvolving, unoriginal, with weak plot, long, boring, jumbled, with an ending that was predictable as soon as we learned what the goal was. The film left me emotionally cold, unengaged and with no curiosity about what will happen at the end. I kept hoping that there would be a redeeming ending where everything is turned around and our valuable time-investment is finally justified, but unfortunately, the ending falls flat on its face and the whole film is an insult to the intelligent viewer of film.
We do not recommend you see this film unless you are 14 years old and want to see car chases and people getting killed (again and again and again for 148 minutes). No plot, no involvement, no intellectual stimulation. Michael Caine’s pay cheque must have been huge in order for him to consent to play two senseless scenes in this rubbish.