^ My favourite scene was the one that ended with Cobb and his wife out on the ledge. The hotel fight is probably impressive enough on its own merits, but I think it came just as I was beginning to shift in my seat.
I'm notoriously impatient when it comes to action scenes in both print and flm, as for the most part they're zeroes in terms of meaningful character or narrative development. The only thing that matters is the outcome, and half the time you can guess that in advance. It takes something pretty special (see: Terminator 2
) to hold my interest through an extended action scene on the strength of its execution alone, and Nolan doesn't have it. Inception's
problem is that it's forever cutting between the various layers to keep the viewer grounded in the overall picture - excessively so, I'd argue; have a little faith in the audience - but it's only the deepest layer that contains anything in the way of meaningful dialogue. And often not even then, as in the seemingly neverending snow combat sequence. Inception
thus winds up with an awful lot of 'dead air' between developments of interest as it skips through the various layers. And its not like the story was in any need of padding. The film could've been tightened up significantly and been much better for it.
One criticism I've seen leveled against the film is that it's emotionally cold. I disagree with that. I think the tale of Cobb and his wife and Cobb's subsequent struggles and behaviours is quite affecting. That the emotional hooks have their basis in the intellectual grounds of the film lends them a somewhat different texture than most films which are content to derive their emotional impact from basic human instincts transplanted into whatever the situation happens to be (see: Ripley in Aliens
) but this kind of union of the emotional and intellectual is very fertile ground, of the kind that Star Trek
liked to approach in its finest moments (The City on the Edge of Forever
). I think most charges of the film's 'coldness' arise not because the emotional hooks aren't there, but because they're simply swamped by the action/effects quotient. It's an active struggle to follow the film's character-based core.
The only bit that didn't ring quite right with me was the emphasis Cobb's desire to return to the US, where it should've been to return to his children with returning to the US being only a necessary prerequisite to that. We saw
Cobb and his separation from his children, but all we heard
from him was 'gotta get back to the US'. Just a couple different lines of dialogue would've done the trick.