I think there is only one reason why Inception failed to impress me. It had nothing to do with the film – it had all to do with the brouhaha that surrounded the film when it was released. There may be potential spoilers ahead, but who cares – everyone has seen the movie – everyone has seemingly forgotten it.
In short, I was slightly unimpressed, to put it lightly.
If this film was released earlier, I would have squarely blamed it on Leonardo DiCaprio. But after watching Blood Diamond and The Departed, I’d refrain from blaming him solely for the failure of a film.
Inception, in spite of why you all liked it – created multiple levels of complexity without taking the time (footage) to create an experience. Think, The Matrix. We are talking dreams, aren’t we? We are talking of concepts here – which brings me back to a movie called Honey, I Shrunk the Kids or Flubber. Inception is The Matrix meets The Butterfly Effect meets hyper-layered story-telling
Concepts in these films were simple, they were easily cleared in about three minutes, and the rest of the experience of the movie was based on the automatic acceptance of the audience of that experience. The Matrix (not the trilogy), is an exception, of sorts. It took longer than three minutes to state the premise, before it started building on it. Inception missed that. Each stage of acceptance required some sort of a gating experience, before we could relate to the incident. Such conceptual films require a compelling statement of suspension of belief. That, is where, I think, the movie failed.
Pete Postlethwaite, who I admire to no end and Michael Caine have been terribly wasted in this film – I’ll not be a judge of why they took up these roles. If you need an actor who is wrapped up in tubes and lays on a bed all through the film, with just one dialogue, if at all, you are better off, saving money for the producers by taking someone less expensive.
I must say, I am surprised at a certain few folks I know, who have been raving about the film. It is perhaps that they have to pay respects to Mr. Nolan, for what he has achieved before Inception. They have been enamoured more by the artist than the art itself. It is a pleasure to watch the film for what it is. Be sure to have all your senses and few more, wide awake when you watch this film. It is good craftsmanship. But to say it is anywhere close to a paradigm shift (or any other elite adjectival phrases that you’d like to attribute to the film), is pushing it. Ellen page is extremely unconvincing as a 13-year old (maybe, a bit older) who understands the intricacies of extraction and inception. Ken Watanabe and Tom Hardy give some credence to the performances. DiCaprio is hesitant and out of character. Nowhere close to what he is capable of.