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Old August 4 2010, 06:54 AM   #454
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Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote: View Post
I really respect you as a poster, and I also love what I have seen by Nolan. However, one could think, by reading your posts, that you give every Nolan film a pass ebcause it's a Nolan film. I hope that's now what you are saying. How do you respond to some of the specific criticisms expressed in this thread?
Hmm. Well, I don't know if I give every Nolan film a pass. To be completely honest with you, it took me some time to warm up to The Dark Knight, probably because it didn't have the emphasis on Bruce Wayne/Batman that I was expecting after Batman Begins. I love The Dark Knight, but after Wayne was the center of the story in Batman Begins it was somewhat disappointing to see him take a lesser role since The Dark Knight was much more of an ensemble film about The Joker, Harvey Dent, and Gotham City, and Batman only really played a part. However, after some introspection, I have come to realize that Batman did play a pivotal role, he just wasn't the emotional center of the film like I was hoping.

I had a very adverse reaction to both Following and The Prestige, even though recently I have warmed up to The Prestige a bit more. I think most of Nolan's films aren't necessarily crowd-pleasers in the traditional sense that they're immediately satisfying... I think it takes some time to truly absorb the layered density of Nolan's films.

As for the criticisms for Inception, I think I can kinda understand them. I've seen the film three times now, and the effect kinda wears off after the third viewing. I am not sure if the film will have the same resonance for me that maybe Batman Begins, Insomnia or even The Dark Knight does, since there are so many layers both literally and metaphorically to Inception that it is a lot to take in, but then again that's pretty much the same with every Nolan film.

I don't know. I think I need more time to absorb Inception to really determine whether or not I agree or disagree with the criticisms and the praise. I think it's an extremely polarizing film, if anything.

What we are asking for is honesty, not gushing. I'm not making any accusations that you simply gushing, but I just want to express something difficult without pointing fingers or naming names. You said upthread that, in response to the idea that you wanted to find out that a specif dream really wasn't Fisher's but it was someone else's and it was filled with filled with Fisher's subconscious, you mentioned your desire to see the film again. Be honest here: if one goes to see the film again to understand a film's structure, can one not help but only see the structure, the machinations of the plot.
I agree. I do think that is a legitimate criticism of Nolan's films is that he is very focused on structure. I think that's evident in all of Nolan's films besides maybe Insomnia. That's because Nolan is obsessed with narrative structure and playing around with the chronological and sequential order of things. It's why his films are usually non-linear.

It's also because he was a student of literature and enjoys structure the most, I think. However, the density of the way he structures his films is sometimes a turn-off and I can see why people might have a problem with them with his films. I enjoy the density -- to a point -- so long as the emotionalism or the characters don't suffer, but I think Nolan is growing as a filmmaker and in his earlier films made sure the characters and emotions were present alongside the machinations of the plot.

I know some people think Nolan's films are superficially cold, but I have found ways of becoming emotionally invested in all of his films. I think Inception is a step forward in this regard -- you really become emotionally invested in Cobb and even Fischer and the entire story hinges on this one man's desire to see his children again. The ending, if anything, is about the one relative thing in both dreams and reality -- emotion. The film is essentially about the truism of emotion conquering all, and that's something I think is really solid.

Honestly, I felt surprising detached from the events of the film the second time I saw it. I was knew too much, I was paying more attention to how Nolan structured and foreshadowed things than I was to the actual story, philosophy, or characters. Whatever it was was that elevated the film to greatness, that made it more than the sum of its parts, was lost by the second viewing.
I think I grew more detached on the third viewing. Maybe because I was tired or because like yourself I was paying too much attention to structure. However, I do think I understood the structure a bit more clearly the third time around. I think my biggest problem is the way the exposition is handled and introduced in the second and third act. I can understand how people don't enjoy how Nolan sometimes unnecessarily complicates his films, and while I understand in the case with Inception that he was raising the stakes, I felt like he was merely trying to really complicate things and I am not sure if in this case that was required.

That might be because I have a preference of characters over story in a lot of cases, so to me the most interesting parts of Inception don't come from the machinations of the plot but of the character moments like when Cobb is introducing Ariadne to the world of dreams or when Mal kills herself or when Fischer experiences emotional catharsis with his father.

When you do go see it again, and you come back here to comment on it, tell us if you felt this at all, and don't simply praise it because it's a Nolan film.
I immediately felt it. I felt it with Memento and The Prestige and I feel it with Inception. I might need to see it a fourth time (!) to determine my true, honest feelings regarding the film. I had to do the same thing with The Dark Knight.

You rock, man, just like your avatar!
Thank you!
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