I went to see the mind bending Inception the other night and came away with the same feeling I had after seeing The Matrix back in 1999. Inception is bold and exciting, and has an intensity only exasperated by Hans Zimmer’s unremitting score which seemed to be going full tilt for the entire duration of the film. The soundtrack is every bit as obnoxious as DiCaprio’s other 2010 film Shutter Island, and I love it.
When we left the cinema my girlfriend pointed out how it reminded her of Psychonauts which I hadn’t considered until she’d made the connection. It’s especially impressive considering she got horrendously stuck in Milla Vodello’s cranium disco and has never played it since. What a shame. The thing is, just like The Matrix, Inception has certain similarities with videogames: both revolve around intangible virtual spaces, otherwise known as ‘levels’. These levels are psychological constructs shaped by somebody’s mind and if you’ve played Psychonauts before you’ll know how familiar this concept sounds. Inception is of course an entirely different beast to Double Fine’s classic and focuses more on the uses and abuses of entering another person’s mind.
Now it has to be said that I must be much clevererer than I think I am or the rest of the world is sleeping on the job because there seems to be an awful lot of fuss being made about how difficult Inception is to understand. It’s certainly a maze to traverse but the overarching storyline is fairly straightforward providing you pay attention. If anything, it’s some of the peripheral stuff that’s difficult to get your head around; some ideas conflict with others making certain segments of the film seem implausible or questionable at best. But hey, Inception is a heist film set in a dream world so the whole shebang is built on wobbly, capricious foundations.
My biggest problem with Inception is its over-reliance on action to pad out various sequences. I get the distinct impression that Christopher Nolan (or some business suit) added these to give the knuckleheads something to chew on. The ideas in Inception are fascinating but to see the film occasionally turn its attention to tedious shootouts – shootouts with bad guys who can’t aim for shit – is a real shame. There are certain instances where the action is justified and many of the sequences look stunning, but when hundreds of bullets are fired at the protagonists only for one or two to hit their mark it really cheapens the experience and totally undermines the threat of the enemies. It’s a good job then, that we’ve got Hans Zimmer heavily ladling on the bombast.
Another minor issue I have is the way in which Inception‘s dream spaces are very realistic and ‘normal’ and in truth real ones are quite the contrary. At least mine are. For the most part the dreams are rigidly controlled for plot centric reasons, so steering clear of bizarro-sexy-booby-land or crumbling teeth is fine, but on a number of occasions I reckon the film could have afforded to indulge in its central premise a little more. I mean, I would have killed for a chase sequence involving DiCaprio and Levitt silently peddling through the sky as if seated on invisible unicycles, frantically trying to escape their pursuers; with some shambolic brass strewn across the scene it could have been epic. You can have that one for free Mr Nolan.
Anyway, I’m not a film critic so your mileage may vary but go see, I’ve never witnessed anything quite like it.
EDIT: There was no tag for Psychonauts – Schafer heresy!
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