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So I saw Inception
key to the kingdom
cleolinda
In fact, I saw it twice. And I tried to hold off on a discussion entry as long as I could. Because--here's the thing. There really isn't a ~MIND-BLOWING TWIST~ that shows up halfway through or anything. There's no one thing I can really tell you, like with The Sixth Sense or The Matrix, that would just spoil the entire concept of the movie. Which is why it's so much more rewarding to go in and let the movie unfold itself for you. Not because there's any one big thing that's supposed to CHANGE THE WORLD, but because spoiling yourself would rob you of a hundred little moments of "Holy shit, that was badass." You know. Like with a lot of really good movies. It's probably the best movie I've seen this year, but... that's not a real tall hurdle to clear, to be honest with you. Like, the second best was probably Shutter Island, and the third best, unless I saw something better and I'm just not remembering it, was probably... Eclipse. Yeah. It's been that bad.

(Wait, no--I technically saw Sherlock Holmes on January 1st. There you are.)

So. SPOILERS FOR INCEPTION:

>> I'm not exactly sure how, because there are a lot of great things in this movie, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt is somehow the best thing. I don't even know. Like, him, and his three-piece suit. And Tom Hardy calling him "darling."

>> My absolute favorite part of the movie is the scene(s) in the hallway where gravity is wonked out. It's so good that the second time I saw that part, I still felt like I'd never seen it before. And one of the things I like about it is that it's messy and imperfect; it doesn't have clean, precise choreography the way the Matrix movies do. (I felt like I was watching clockwork figures in the Matrix sequels, or maybe really angry ballet dancers.) But when people are pulling each other's hair and slamming into light fixtures in very inelegant ways, you get a sense that it's real, that people don't know what they're doing because it's really happening, and it's not a routine the actors are dutifully, exquisitely performing. And I'm sure the Inception fights were planned out (if nothing else, you have to block these things out for safety's sake); the important thing is that it didn't feel like it.

>> Meanwhile, if Christopher Nolan wants to put out a movie of nothing but chase scenes, I'd go see it. Twice in one day, probably. I still can't get over that entire sequence in The Dark Knight that ends with the truck flipping over. It's not that he reinvents the wheel with creative stunts or anything; it's that he has such a great sense of timing and visuals.

>> "I'm getting off at Kyoto... I don't like trains." Nicely played, sir. And something I didn't catch at all until the second viewing. In fact, despite Ariadne bitching that Cobb might send another freight train through one of the dreams, I didn't quite grasp that the one that rammed their car was actually from his subconscious. I just thought all the complications came from Fischer's. Remember, we didn't know the significance of trains at that point. (Shudder.)

>> Ariadne: will build mazes for food. Minotaurs cost extra.

>> I spent the whole movie thinking Marion Cotillard's name was "Moll," because that's how they pronounced it. Then I check the credits and see that she's "Mal." Not even "Mal," rhymes with "pal," like short for "Mallory" or something. No, Mal... the French word for "bad" or "evil." Really, movie? Really?

>> There seems to be a question as to who's dreaming each dream level. On the second viewing, I finally caught that they were ragging Yusuf about not going to the bathroom (on the plane in reality) first because he was the first lead dreamer, and that's why it was raining (har har har). They make it pretty clear that dream #2 (the hotel) is Arthur's, because they cut to him asleep in the van almost every time they cut back to that dream level. And he's the one person who can't go into dream #3, because he's the lead dreamer in #2 and has to stay around to set up the kick (the same way Yusuf can't follow them into dream #2). Thus, the person responsible for the kick is the lead dreamer on each level (Yusuf with the van, Arthur with the elevator, Eames with the explosives; Cobb is the dreamer in limbo, because he's the only one on the team who's been there before, and Ariadne improvises dream-deaths/kicks for Fischer and herself. The flight attendant is the non-dreamer monitoring dream #1 in reality). But there seems to be some confusion about the Eames level, because there's a hurried bit of dialogue about how they're going to tell Fischer they're going into "Uncle Peter" Browning's subconscious, but they're really going into Fischer's. Also (and I just realized this): on the hotel dream level, Browning isn't real. He's a dream projection of Fischer's. He can't be a dreamer; he's not a person. So therefore...

@cleolinda: I thought [dream] #3 was Eames', not Fischer's. RT @mtvmoviesblog: 'Inception': Attempting To Address The Big WTF Questions http://bit.ly/92A1gS

@mtvmoviesblog: @cleolinda Why did you think that? I don't think there are any definitive answers in that post, just discussion points.

@cleolinda: @mtvmoviesblog Because Fischer turns to Eames and says, "Couldn't you have thought of a beach?!"

@mtvmoviesblog: @cleolinda Right, but Fischer is being misled all the way through, isn't he?

@cleolinda: @mtvmoviesblog I think they told Fischer they were going into Browning's *subconscious,* which isn't the same as a *dream.*

@cleolinda: @mtvmoviesblog And it was Eames who put the duct shortcut into Ariadne's plan, I thought? They needed a dreamer who knew the layout.

@mtvmoviesblog: @cleolinda My head hurts.

So yeah. I got super confused around the time they announced that they were going to go into Fischer's subconscious and not "Browning's," and then suddenly everyone seems to know that Eames is the one dreaming. I guess you reconcile this by saying that what they meant was that they were letting [whoever's] subconscious populate the dream, but the actual lead dreamer was always someone else. Like the opening sequence, when they were trying to steal secrets from Saito's subconscious, but it was either Cobb or Arthur's dream inside of Untrustworthy Architect's dream. (I'm still confused about this, because Mal seems to think it's Arthur's dream, but Cobb is the one they've got set up over a tub of water.) Saito, whose mind they were extracting from, wasn't ever the lead dreamer. But his subconscious was the one populating the dream. And Fischer apparently understood this even while thinking they were in his godfather's subconscious, because he's all crankyface with Eames about the setting of it, so it was a given that a lead dreamer (Eames) would take them into someone else's subconscious.

I think.

>> And yet, you can roll a van, but that won't kick anyone awake.

>> LOOK, A WIZARD DID IT, OKAY? A WIZARD DID IT.

>> Level 3 was a hospital? I know Ariadne said, during the planning stages, "The bottom level will be a hospital," but I seriously did not grasp that the James Bond Snow Fortress was the hospital until the second viewing. In fact, I came out of my first viewing going, "Wasn't there supposed to be a hospital?" I mean, yes, I noticed x-rays and medical equipment lying around on the second viewing, and there's What Fischer Finds in the Safe, but I was a bit distracted by the SKI ARMY to pick up on this at the time.

>> It cracks me up that the climax of this movie--the moment that the entire caper hinges on--is basically DADDY LOVES YOU, CILLIAN MURPHY!  

>> I actually think there are four options for the ending:

A) Yes, Cobb is still dreaming, because we didn't see the top fall over, and his kids seem to be the same age, and they're wearing the same clothes as in the first scene.

B) No, he got back to reality, because two sets of kids, different ages, are listed in the credits. Also: you never had a favorite outfit as a kid?

C) Christopher Nolan is fucking with us, and has made it impossible to come up with a single coherent interpretation. You can choose which one you like better, but he's put in enough contradictions that neither one is airtight. 

D) Reality is unknowable. That, to me, would be the point of showing the top wobble a little bit--suggesting that it might fall over, but cutting before it does, so that you never know. Because it's not a clean spin, the way it is all the other times when it doesn't stop. And isn't that really what Mal's problem was--not being able to tell? And the problem Dream Projection Mal then insists that Cobb is having? I mean, for all we know--she might be right. Maybe there is another level of reality above this one; she didn't die at all, and she is with their "real" children. Because...

>> The more I think about the ending, the more significant I think it is that Cobb broke one of his own cardinal rules: don't touch someone else's totem. (Both he and Arthur make a big deal about this to Ariadne, even though we never see Arthur or Ariadne use theirs. It's all about the relevance of totems to Cobb, in the end.) He was, after all, using Mal's totem instead of an original--something he first touched in a dream state. It's completely unreliable as a reality check for him.

>> Which raises the question: is anyone else in the movie even real? Are Cobb and Mal (and their family, I guess, since that's who they're obsessed with getting back to) the only people we know for sure must be real? Cobb's team members might be projections of real people he knew; Ariadne might not have ever been real (which is maybe why she has such an anvil of a name?). In fact, it would almost make more sense for Ariadne to be a pure projection of Cobb's subconscious. We're told that she catches on to the way the dream world works unusually fast; she's always up in his business and, quite frankly, talks to him more like a therapist than someone he's just hired for a job. But then, the characters have interactions in the dream levels that Cobb is not present for, like Arthur explaining "Mr. Charles" to Ariadne--I don't know if that kind of POV issue matters here, because it's possible that a dreamer could have an omniscient perspective. But it's worth noting as a reason why the dreams and their dreamers must exist outside of Cobb's head, if you go with the more straightforward interpretation. On the other hand--shit, for all we know, dream-sharing isn't even possible in the world of the movie, and all of this is just a garden-variety, ominscient-POV dream that Cobb is having, to work out whatever issues he's having up there in reality-reality.

Or is it?

Basically, it's turtles all the way down. That's the best I can make of it.


ETA: I should add: the discussion above sounds confusing because I'm leaving a lot of stuff out. It sounds more cryptic than it is. In fact, I thought Inception was remarkably straightfoward, considering, and this is in large part due to really good editing, I think. I had no problem following it on a first viewing, aside from that one point that got discussed on Twitter, and it's a lot more accessible than it sounds.



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Man, all this makes me want to do is see the movie. The "turtles all the way down" comment is really what clinches it for me, though.

I will say, I left out enough on purpose that you'll still be surprised by a lot of things in the movie. The most suspenseful parts to me were just the physical action scenes, and I didn't say much about those. If you read all of that without having seen the movie yet, you'll probably skip ahead to a better understanding of what's going on the first time you see it, but there's a lot I didn't go into.

... whut.

I've been hearing good things about this movie from practically everyone and I really want to see it ... but this ... WHAT.

I have a feeling it will make NO SENSE WHATSOEVER if I go see it in a theater.

Or is it because I haven't seen it yet that this all is making my head hurt?

It will make your head hurt no matter what, but I don't recommend trying to read essays on it before you see it, because then you really will be lost.

I'm not exactly sure how, because there are a lot of great things in this movie, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt is somehow the best thing. I don't even know. Like, him, and his three-piece suit. And Tom Hardy calling him "darling."

This is true, and I don't know why either. I wasn't even a huge JGL fan before this movie.

Remember, we didn't know the significance of trains at that point.

I caught that one the first time because we'd already gone down the basement of Cobb's memories at that point, and they pass by one level with a train zooming by, though they don't stop there. Foreshadowing, I guess.

I didn't catch the meaning of that train, either, until the second viewing. At that point, with two mentions of trains (well, three, since Mal had already told Ariadne the "riddle"), I should have caught on that the train in Yusuf's dream really was from him. Like, in retrospect, I am really surprised that I did not catch on that trains were A Thing for Cobb. Had he actually told Ariadne how they "killed" themselves yet? Not just that Mal had jumped from a ledge?

It was a little while later after they made the comment about the chemist guy not using the bathroom before dreaming that I realized that was why it was pouring in the dream. Ten minutes later I was all "Oh! HA!"

I feel like this is a hard movie to talk about with someone who hasn't seen it yet. I tried to be really vague with my co-worker stressing how much I liked that the whole dream sharing thing was seen as very commonplace in the Inception world. That, to them, they weren't doing anything too crazy and too wild (beyond attempting an Inception).

I also thought her name was "Moll" and not "Mal."

I can't even think what "Mal," pronounced that way, would even be short for. And if it's not short for something--she's very clearly got a French accent, and her name means "bad" in the same language? That seems... unlikely.

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I'm not reading the rest of this entry yet because the film hasn't been released where I live, but I read the section before the lj-cut. I'm hearing so many good things about this film.

I wasn't going to see Inception before, however now I feel like I'm going to be one of the first people lining up at the theatre come opening day!

...wait, does this mean that you never went to see Toy Story 3?

Nope, didn't see it. Which is what I mean by, of the movies I've seen this year, "the best" is kind of a low bar.

>> I'm not exactly sure how, because there are a lot of great things in this movie, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt is somehow the best thing. I don't even know. Like, him, and his three-piece suit. And Tom Hardy calling him "darling."

It's not just me then! I totally agree. And not just because I had the most incredible crush on him when he was in Third Rock from the Sun (I'm a little younger than him, I think.)

... I was sure they referred to 'Mal' as 'Molly' at least once - but maybe I was making that up because I was trying so hard to figure out whether it was 'Moll' or not. But also the sound levels in our (£15 each Central London) cinema were a bit wacky so names in general weren't that easy to pick up. It took me at least half the film to figure out 'Eames'.

I wondered whether the top wobbling before it failed to fall down was actually something Cobb's subconscious was making it do - because this was his dream, the only thing stopping it falling was that Moll expected it to, so if he thought it should fall it probably would. But that's a particularly wild theory...

I don't know if the actors were just mumbly or what, but I kept thinking they were calling him "Yves" or "Eaves" or something. I finally heard someone say "Eames" clearly enough that I figured it out.

It's like Dreamscape on steroids. Well, actually, Dreamscape + Total Recall on steroids. But in a good way!

I can't wait to see it again. It was fantastic, it made some kind of sense to me in the way that I'm still thinking about it and interpreting it, yet the theater I was in had the background noise and music boosted so high that I missed almost half of the important dialogue because I could only see their lips move.

DVD is going to be bought on DAY ONE.

My roommates and I were talking and we think that Cobb taking Mal's totem has something to do with all her Mrs. Rochester in the Attic Basement behavior; he's still carrying around a spiritual (physical?) part of her, so he's not letting go.

I like option D best, in terms of what the ending means. It fits in with the entire theme of the movie and that these things don't necessarily have clear answers.

>> It cracks me up that the climax of this movie--the moment that the entire caper hinges on--is basically DADDY LOVES YOU, CILLIAN MURPHY!

LOL, IKR? It really amuses me, but also breaks my heart just a little, because for as little as we know of him as a character, he still manages to come across as longing for something that likely isn't even real, if the point of the inception plan is to be believed. But then I love Cillian Murphy in all forms, and he was extra good in this.

>> I'm not exactly sure how, because there are a lot of great things in this movie, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt is somehow the best thing. I don't even know. Like, him, and his three-piece suit. And Tom Hardy calling him "darling."

I read somewhere that James Franco was supposed to play Arthur, and I just shudder at the thought. JGL is so much more fierce for that part, BECAUSE he's in a three piece suit.

Or else Nolan knows what his audience really wants, which is subverted suit!porn.

I felt all uncomfortable with how the whole plot concept is taking a guy who seems to be pretty innocent and just completely fucking with his emotions. He'll probably be happier in the end, but... his father didn't love him, and that's left him with issues, and will be be able to work through those issues with this there? Will this inception cancel it all out and simplify his emotions about his father? The movie was awesome, I loved it, but no one ever expressed the slightest reservation about fucking with someone so much. Why did Ariadne go along with this so easily? (The others I assume would be more comfortable, having invaded minds before)

I always thought it was "Mal." Short for Malia or something...

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I've always liked him because he doesn't go around seeking recognition and picks projects he thinks are interesting (helps that he made enough money when he was young to do that).

I totally had a crush on him in 'Angels in the Outfield', oh yes.

"I felt like I was watching clockwork figures in the Matrix sequels, or maybe really angry ballet dancers."

I *did* think the Burly Brawl looked like a Busby Berkley number gone horribly, HORRIBLY wrong...

I really want to see this... but should I see it now or wait for the DVD? A friend of mine says he'll wait for the DVD when it comes to movies, but then he's got a very nice home theater...

I visited Wikipedia (oh noes) and TVTropes to get an idea of what I might be getting into... The plot summary on Wikipedia seemed strangely, I dunno, straightfoward and coherent, whereas on TVTropes... it got a little fuzzy. Much discussion of the spinning top, and how, of course, Trailers Always Lie (Paris rolling up like a carpet is not that big of a deal in the film itself?).

Ebert four-starred it, perhaps not surprisingly, and I find it disturbing that he and I keep agreeing on some of the same things ("We are always in the Now. We have made some notes while getting Here, but we are not quite sure where Here is.")... If I remember correctly, he four-starred Dark City, which I liked a lot...

Intrigued by the music... the bits I've listened to make me think Hans Zimmer somehow anticipated the whole vuvuzela thing... :)

Dreams figure quite a bit in what I've been working on, and I've often noticed that my own dreams are rather cinematic in nature...

I would definitely say see it now. Some of the visuals are really great, particularly the hallway scenes.

Paris rolling up like a carpet is not that big of a deal in the film itself?

It really isn't at all. Ariadne just does it her first time in a dream; she's an architecture student, and she's fascinated by the way she can mess with physics. And then she finds out that the other person's subconscious will attack you if you make it too obvious it's a dream, so she stops doing stuff like that. And all of this happens about half an hour into the movie.

I did like the score, yeah. It reminded me a lot of the Dark Knight score (which I loved), which he also collaborated on, as opposed to, say, the Pirates of the Caribbean scores he did.

Alright. I was excited before, but now - I cannot wait to see this thing. It sounds awesome. And it sounds smart, which is unusual. And not in a "we are trying to be profound" way, but in a layered, deliberate, thought-out way. SQUEE I CAN'T WAIT.

I still can't get over that entire sequence in The Dark Knight that ends with the truck flipping over.
I know, right? To the extent where the rest of the movie went downhill from there - not because it was bad, but because it was less memorable.

In fact, despite Ariadne bitching that Cobb might send another freight train through one of the dreams, I didn't quite grasp that the one that rammed their car was actually from his subconscious. I just thought all the complications came from Fischer's. Remember, we didn't know the significance of trains at that point. (Shudder.)
Yeah, I didn't grok that until later either.

I spent the whole movie thinking Marion Cotillard's name was "Moll," because that's how they pronounced it.
Me too!

No, Mal... the French word for "bad" or "evil." Really, movie? Really?
He named the girl who builds mazes Ariadne. Of course, really.

I guess you reconcile this by saying that what they meant was that they were letting [whoever's] subconscious populate the dream, but the actual lead dreamer was always someone else.
Yeah, all that confused me, but yeah. I think I get it now.

And yet, you can roll a van, but that won't kick anyone awake.
RIGHT?!?!?!

I want to see it again!!

Didn't they say the kick had to specifically be a feeling of falling backwards? At least that's what I had to assume to get why rolling the van didn't wake them. But then why didn't just falling backwards off the bridge? Why did they have to hit the water? IDGI.

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