Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why I Loved Inception

I saw Inception for the second time today. And I was a little nervous, because sometimes a movie you think you love won't hold up to the second viewing. It will collpase in on itself like a deck of cards and you'll wonder why you were ever impressed in the first place.

That didn't happen with Inception. I loved it today as much as I loved it two days ago. And I could write a review or try to explain to you the plot points. But you can go elsewhere for reviews and I think that trying to explain the plot points of Inception would be about as fun for someone who hasn't seen it as explaining your dreams to someone. By the way, that is only permissable if that dream was about midget clowns or if the person you're describing the dream to was in your dream and was trying to either murder you or seduce you. That is literally the only way that it will ever be interesting to someone other than yourself.

But I digress. I enjoyed the hell out of this movie because it was smart, visually bonkers, phenomenally acted and directed. It whizzed along at a breakneck pace and never once felt bloated or over-stuffed, even as it inched toward the two and a half hour mark. Parts of it were like an M. C. Escher painting come to life, mind-boggingly cool and complex to look at. Things that are solid and real in this movie fold in on themselves or explode or turn upside down or invert without ever for a moment looking less real. It had plot and forward movement throughout. The motives were always clear. I mean really it's the classic heist film, with Leonardo Dicrapio's character pulled back in for that one final job. And since the framework is classic and stable, all of the fluid, insane details within it work. They work beautifully. The writing (except for a few clunky expository scenes) is all simple, sparse elegance.

And here I am writing a review which I wanted to avoid. So let me just say that all of the above are why I enjoyed this movie. But I loved it because (and this is a spoiler so stop reading now if you haven't seen this movie, I mean it!)...

Have you stopped yet? You'll regret this if not.

Okay, I loved Inception because at the end of the film the central message that I took away (and I think you could take a completely different message and meaning if you wanted to, that's one of the ending's strong suits) is that as beautiful or comforting as a dream may be, reality is worth choosing and worth fighting for every single time. Leonardo Dicaprio's character is all about this. He's constantly tempted and basically stalked by the dream, by the illusion of his dead wife and the possibility that he could be with her in this dream world. But he chooses life. He chooses pain and grief and death over what is essentially an immortal world without any of these things. And this got to me. It really did. Maybe it's because I'm still struggling with all I saw in Haiti, all of that misery and sorrow. And I don't want to cheapen that experience by likening it to a movie, and I don't want to suggest that Inception is more than a movie.

I guess I'm just trying and failing to adequately express that right now I'm especially sensitive to the notion that life-painful, messy, human life means something and is for something and is worth choosing over the easy, comforting illusion every single time. I think that's why I hate Twilight so much (well one reason anyway). Bella, the main character, is so seduced by this non-life of the vampires. Okay whatever, Edward might have a soul. But he's freaking immortal (not counting that he can be ripped apart by werewolves or beheaded or something), and he's not human. And apparently she chooses that non-life in the end. And that's just so lame to me. Because it's a cop out. Who wouldn't think it would be cool to live with a dreamy vampire forever and never grow old or feel hunger or thirst? We'd all be tempted to choose that. But it's not life. It's an echoe of life, a "shade" as its called in Inception.

And sure it can be beautiful in this frigid, distant way, but it's not blood and sweat and sadness and all of the things that are necessary, all of the things that we live with in order to experience the hope and the good and the happiness. And in real life of course we don't get to choose if we want to stay in the dream or marry a vampire and become one ourselves. But I have to believe that if given the choice, well it wouldn't be one at all. It would be tempting as hell. But life in all of its confusion and sadness, that's where meaning is. It's where the human experience is.

My take on Inception was that Leonardo Dicaprio chose life over the illusion. He chose the human duality of  good and bad over the numb projection of painless, immortal life. In a broader sense the movie chooses that. It suggests that in a future where we can enter dreams at our choosing and change them to our personal preference, it might be the easier choice to stay asleep but that there will always be a reason to leave that dream.

So that's why I loved Inception.

And if you could care less about all of this deep and heavy thoughts stuff, there's car chases and gun fights and french music and the zero gravity fight scene is worth the ticket price alone.

1 comment:

C.Cadigan said...

ahh, but did he choose reality? we may never really know...

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