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Old July 27 2010, 07:28 PM   #376
stj
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Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

The CHUD piece was wrong. In the movie, Cotillard was at various times working against DiCaprio, interjecting personal symbolism like the train, a normal loving wife, acting like an independent agent when she "kidnapped" Murphy. She argues that the dreams aren't real and they must die to escape to reality and that they should stay in unconstructed dream space to keep dreaming. If she is just an id monster that DiCaprio must reject, this makes no difference, but the CHUD thesis seems to me to demand that she is either a real character (except she isn't) or that she be the embodiment of creativity. However, the general notion that dreams are the source of creativity is far too simplistic in reality to bring credit to the movie. Indeed, the idea is kind of dumb. Maybe it's the stupidity lurking in the background that keeps most of the movie from being very engaging?

Not to mention, that the woman is explicitly called evil. The suggestion that the director is the primary creator and the script writer is just the Ariadne shows proper fealty to conventional wisdom but is otherwise silly.

Closely related to the problem of Moll/"Mal" (it is extraordinary how people can accept this name without comment!) is the question of what catharsis DiCaprio undergoes. How rejecting his wife (if Cotillard is somehow misinterpreted as a real character) enables him to see his children is a mystery. Of course, if it's all a dream, how we know there are children is equally mysterious. If Cotillard is supposed to be the creative muse, again there is no catharsis that would allow him to see his kids. Only if Cotillard represents a malicious mockery of reality does rejecting her constitute a catharsis that leads to the happy ending with the kids. Except if it's all a dream, then there was no catharsis because he didn't reject movies as life or whatever.

I still say that only if you willfully misinterpret the top falling as still somehow ambiguous do any of these insoluble problems in making sense arise.

There is one thing the review does, which is to emphasize that the movie, despite all the talk about dreams, does not do dreams, it does movies/virtual reality/video games. And it correctly emphasizes the thematic importance of Murphy's imaginary reconciliation with his father. The movie itself doesn't. At what should have been a key part of the climax, the confrontation between Murphy and DiCaprio, Murphy is bound, mute and helpless, while DiCaprio is haring off after Watanabe. The movie practically buries the dramatic irony of the difference between Murphy and DiCaprio. It is after all Murphy and DiCaprio who are actually making choices. They should have real scenes together about them. Having them in the same scene and not addressing the themes of the movie is bad writing. And denying the difference between DiCaprio and Murphy is, sorry, bad interpretation.
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