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Old July 24 2010, 12:52 AM   #242
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Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

Ubik wrote: View Post
It has nothing to do with being a DiCaprio fan. It has to do with the structure of the movie, making HIM the protagonist, Hence, the climax must involve him.
Murphy's character is making a life changing choice, even if on a dream/movie level. That makes him a protagonist, even if the movie structure can't properly place it in juxtaposition to DiCaprio's supposed choice. Since in your version DiCaprio both rejects and accepts dreams/movies, strictly speaking he doesn't make any choice. Which means he is not much of a protagonist in a dramatically meaningful sense.

DiCaprio's got a pathetic story and a basic motivation and the movie is structured to focus on whether he wins. The simplest interpretation is that he does. The forced and selective interpretation is that he's chooses the dream, i.e., loses. The movie focuses on the mechanics so much that DiCaprio's character is not that compelling, making a lousy tragic hero.

Nonsense. He could just be stuck in limbo, leaving everything else that came before absolutely real. There is no way to prove that possibility impossible - the limbo here works kinda like the Nexus does - everything goes, and it gives the movie a Get Out of Jail Free card to do anything it likes. So, again, it could just be that he stays stuck in limbo at the end.
I'll see your "bah," and raise you a "humbug." No, it is impossible to live in a dream or a movie, because they end. Despite the (scientifically preposterous) premise that the deeper the level, the more time seems to pass, DiCaprio will not stay in "limbo." His character will wake up! Apparently you've confused the premise of the movie with mediaeval theology.

Bah. Even if the ENTIRE movie is a dream, it's still a masterpiece, because of the exceptionally brilliant action sequences, and the very complex and engaging characters. My wife and I both cried, literally, in the scene where he says goodbye to Mal, near the end. We were deeply enthralled by the characters. There wasn't a dull moment in the entire movie, even if none of it makes any sense. I would even go so far as to argue that it's a greater feat to be entertaining when nothing makes sense than to be entertaining when it does make sense. After all, anyone can make a story entertaining if it makes sense. But only Nolan and the writers of Lost can make stuff absolutely enthralling when it doesn't make an ounce of sense. That's talent.
It's nice for you that you were enthralled by all the action sequences and the complexity of the characters. I saw things quite differently. I suppose you're implicitly claiming greater sensitivity. Permit me to disagree.

But, beyond the irresolvable question of who has better taste, there is the simple fact that the movie made quite a bit of sense, for the very simple reason that Nolan devoted a lot of thought to exposition of the complex rules of the fictive universe. It is only the forced and selective misinterpretations that reduce the movie to nonsense.

The movie is plagued by wooden characters; dull action sequences; over generous use of movie cliches; a too exclusive on the question of whether the hero wins at the expensive of the implicit themes; an unnecessary motivation/subplot impelling DiCaprio into the unconstructed dream space; improper structuring of Murphy's counterparallel story. The notion that the end is a dream is in defiance of the previously sensible rules, in defiance of the simple on screen fact the top is falling (yes, it is falling, that is what the precessing, the wobble means! It would have been boring to wait til the thing actually hit the table as well as unnecessary,) and in defiance of the scene where DiCaprio rejects Cotillard for insufficiency of dreams/movies.

No, not deep. Just really cool. It got a large gasp, followed by a hearty round of applause, in the theatre where I was sitting. It's sort of like a punch line you KNOW is going to happen. Think of, say, someone holding up a pie, ready to throw it in someone else's face....the intended victim comes walking around the knooooow he's about to get a pie in the hold your hold your breath.....and BANG, it happens, and everyone laughs. The ending was like that. You just KNEW it was going to end with the question of it all being a dream, and when it happens, we're immensely satisfied, just like when that poor guy gets the pie in the face.
Oh, my. When DiCaprio rejects Cotillard (the evil/"mal" one,) you just know he's going to be rewarded for his virute by getting his kids back. When the top starts to fall, you know he's won and you are immensely satisfied.

Because, regardless of whether the end is real or not, it IS a happy ending for Cobb. The point Nolan is making is that it DOESN'T MATTER whether it is a dream or not. The only way to make that particular statement is to leave the ending ambiguous. Basically, the statement being made is, "Staying in the Nexus is perfectly fine, as long as you think you're not in the Nexus." I find that to be a courageous and fascinating statement, worthy of thought. Because, you know, we all live in our own self-made fantasy worlds. We think what we want to about our friends, our families, ourselves, and we think whatever we need to think to make us happy. But is anything we think actually true? Is it reality? Doesn't matter. It's real to US which makes the question of its reality entirely academic. And THAT'S why the movie is better for its ambiguous ending.
If it is a dream, it is not even the ending for DiCaprio. The character will wake up. Moving beyond the movie Inception, to the notion that this is a metaphor for real life, in which it does not matter whether we tell ourselves lies, in which questions of reality are academic, I can only say: This is not just nonsense, but pernicious nonsense, if anyone actually believes it. Positive thinking does't make you happy and refusing to look at reality has consequences.
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