Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discussion

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Aragorn, Jul 15, 2010.

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Grading

  1. Excellent

    71.0%
  2. Above average

    23.7%
  3. Average

    3.6%
  4. Below average

    1.8%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Good analysis - there is enough to support either theory. I'm glad it kept spinning at the end and that it had just started to wobble to keep the debate going, although it's ultimately meaningless if the whole thing is a dream since he uses it successfully at several earlier points in the movie (i.e. because he's using his wife's object and therefore it's part of his delusion in any event).
     
  2. Ometiklan

    Ometiklan Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Chud.com has been doing a lot of coverage of Inception for the last couple of weeks. I didn't read any of it until last night cause I didn't want any spoilers. Anyway, Devin (who I normally dislike because he hates on many things for no real reason) put together a final article commenting on the meaning of Inception this morning. Here is the link:
    http://chud.com/articles/articles/2...HE-MEANING-AND-SECRET-OF-INCEPTION/Page1.html

    I think that Devin is right that the entire movie, every frame, is a dream is a stronger argument than just "he didn't wake up at the end". I also like the idea that the whole thing is a metaphor/whatever you want to call it for movie making and that a catharsis in a movie/book/other media is just as good as a "real" catharsis is a fun point of view. And this helps make a little more sense what I thought were a couple of very pointed lines - when Cobb (diCaprio) says "no, I believe that a positive emotion resonates stronger than a negative emotion" and his other couple of lines about catharsis. Again, i will want to see the movie again before I will really come to my decision on what the movie says, but it has all been a great ride.
     
  3. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Perhaps, but I'm inclined to think the others made it back ok, and it was just Cobb who was still dreaming.
     
  4. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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  5. Goliath

    Goliath Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    I saw it on Friday. I rate it 'above average,' about on a par with The Prestige.

    It was a good movie, but in a way, its greatest strength was also its greatest weakness.

    The premise was so unusual and original that Nolan had to devote a lot of screen time to big gobs of exposition. Too much time, IMO. And there's only so much excitement you can wring out of talking heads.

    Now, that said--all of that set-up certainly did pay off when the heist began and the story really started rolling. So I left the theatre more than satisfied. But I still couldn't rate it "Excellent".

    My fellow moviegoers seemed to enjoy it at least as much as I did. The chatter I heard afterward was all positive. I heard one guy say: "That was the most confusing movie ever--but also the greatest."

    Even more amusingly, I heard another guy say: "Now, the real question is: are we really here, in this washroom? Or are we still watching the movie?" :lol:
     
  6. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Well it was definitely about to topple early on, when we first see Cobb walk away from the table (because that was clearly a real spin done in-camera), but I never saw it wobble HALF as bad as that when we cut back to the table again. And I was watching pretty damn intently.

    Unless you guys all saw a different print from me. :D

    At the very least, we have to accept that Nolan wanted the scene to be read both ways.
     
  7. Daedalus12

    Daedalus12 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Obviously the said person has never seen a David Lynch movie. I recommend Lost Highway for a more confusing experience before graduating onto Inland Empire. :)

    If you think about it Inception is one of the more coherent and straightforward movie among the mind-fuck type films that I could think of.

    How existential of him. :lol:
     
  8. OdoWanKenobi

    OdoWanKenobi Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Honestly, I don't get the people that claimed to be lost. They must not be very attentive. The narrative is pretty straight forward. Yeah, it jumps between dreams, and you may be a little confused at the beginning while the rules of this world are being fleshed out. However, if you pay attention, you should have no problem. They explain everything they are doing.
     
  9. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    It was only the end where I started to have some trouble following the story. With four different dreams going on at once it was hard to keep track of who was supposed to be doing what, and of course the whole alpine sequence was just a confusing jumble of people in white shooting at each other. Most of the time I couldn't figure out who was fighting whom in that battle.
     
  10. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Wouldn't it be hilarious if half the prints showed the top wobbling and half didn't? :D
     
  11. trekkiebaggio

    trekkiebaggio Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    I just saw it this afternoon and thought it was very good. Upon relfection it seems complex but as I was watching the movie I wasn't concerned with how complex it was; the film was so fast-paced I didn't have to think I could just enjoy.

    I agree that some of the characters weren't fleshed out to a great degree, but the cast was great and brought some personality and likeability to their characters.

    I thought sometimes the slo-mo was a bit unnecessary (like when the van was turning a corner).

    Also the vault where Fisher saw his father in the Alpine Hospital reminded me a lot of a Holodeck.

    And the last shot did annoy me a bit, seemed like it was just in there to get people questioning. Which is fair enough Mr. Nolan has the right to do that.

    Oh and I think it was the real world at the end.
     
  12. Ometiklan

    Ometiklan Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    (Long post, sorry.)

    Here's a question about the larger layout of the plot that I finally am able to ask coherently.

    Originally there were to be three dream levels that Ariadne was to create, each maze-like in their own way to confuse/slow down the projections and to allow the landscape to be smaller (contained, so the architect doesn't have to create the whole world). The plan was to get an idea into Fisher in level 1, get him to start to convince himself of its reality in level 2, and believe it in level 3 so that when he came out of it (to reality) it would feel like his own idea.

    Some questions I have are: if Cobb decided on the fly to go with the Mr. Charles persona to convince Fisher that he was there to help, what was the original plan? Was there an alternative way to get Fisher to help in level 3? Despite making a accurate, steady alpine world, I don't think it would be very credible/realistic to drop Fisher into level 3 involuntarily (i.e, without first convincing him that level 3 will be a dream). If they don't get Fisher's voluntary help in level 2, it is not very realistic for Fisher to believe that it is reality to have to break into a mountain fortress to find his dying father and to open a safe.

    Did I miss something? Was it the plan all along to get Fisher's help starting in level 2? Was the specific choice of using the Mr. Charles persona the only on-the-fly decision? Were there other planned methods of convincing Fisher to help?

    My thought is that if things hadn't been going so poorly on level 1, due to the unforeseen presence of projection guards, level 2 (the hotel) would have been more realistic (no weather shifts, no gravity shifts) and they could have simply grabbed Fisher's projection of Browning, convinced Fisher to help them go into "level 1" of Browning's mind to get the secret from the safe in Fisher Sr.'s hospital room. This requires that they tell Fisher that they are invading Browning's mind, and I don't specifically remember this, but the dialog and explanations were fast and I may have missed it.

    I think this is a decent initial interpretation, but Arthur questioned the idea of revealing to Fisher that he was in a dream. I can see his argument being taken three ways: A) Arthur is simply against telling a target that the current level is a dream because it can get the target to question everything he is being told (even by Mr. Charles) in that level, or B) Arthur is against using the Mr. Charles persona because having the target to do any voluntary dreaming (whether he thinks it is level 1 or level 2 doesn't matter) creates the same issue with questioning the veracity of what the target is being told, or (C) Arthur on general principles doesn't like the Mr. Charles persona or doesn't like getting the target to do voluntary dreaming with no further impact on the dream world (maybe this is a standard objection of Arthur's). If we go with (C), I see no problems. If we go with (B), then that means that they would never normally try to get voluntary participation within a dream and this would make an "unrealistic" scenario like the alpine level 3 untenable in any case so why would they have built it? I think from a straight forward reading of Arthur's objection, I conclude he meant (A), but I don't remember the dialog perfectly.

    The remaining problem with this is if we go with (A) and level 2 was never intended to be presented to Fisher as a dream (and thus they never intended to use the Mr. Charles mental-security persona), how would you get Fisher to help them invade Browning's mind? Unless Fisher thinks the hotel is a dream, there is no reason for him to volunteer to invade Browning's mind. If they are simply in reality, then there is no current risk of dream invasion and thus no reason to create one by entering a dream state; Fisher would instead just have Browning arrested/detained by regular security until they discovered the contents of the safe (if any).

    Who knows, maybe all along the original plan was to have a straightforward action-y level 3 where Fisher doesn't know he is dreaming, but believes that he is a spec warfare guy going in to rescue his father?

    What do you guys think? Am I on track? What have I missed?

    Also, where where they going climbing up the mountain before the avalanche? Were they going to parachute into the base from above?

    Edited to add: I thought Fisher and Ariadne disappeared when they fell and kicked up a level, but I think Arthur's body stuck around at the beginning of the movie when he was shot in the head? If they bodies always disappeared it could be used to determine if Mal really died. Really died -> body; kicked up a level -> no body. Was there consistency with what happened with people kicking up a level?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  13. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Mythological Ariadne

    Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos in Greek mythology, provided the thread Theseus used to escape from the labyrinth because she was his lover. (The labyrinth itself was designed by Daedalus.) She escaped Crete with him but then Theseus abandoned her on the island of Naxos.

    Movie Ariadne

    The movie Ariadne designs the labyrinth, which is not even shown. She provides the entrance to the heart of the labyrinth. She is not the lover, nor does she escape with him, nor is she a princess. Yet, the name is still a blatant symbolic reference. If it doesn't have any meaning, it's not just hammering away like the score, it's incompetent.

    How does Page help DiCaprio escape?

    We cannot plausibly read Page as helping DiCaprio escape a labyrinth of dreams via inception (the purported plot for inception against Murphy being the disguise.) That would involve taking the internal rules of extraction and inception seriously.

    Questions to answer if DiCaprio is the target of an inception


    When was DiCaprio put under? If at the beginning of the movie, it's a cheat because prima facie DiCaprio knows how he got there. After that, there is a continuous sequence, but the hallmark of a dream is that it starts in media res. The question does not permit an answer.

    Who's dreaming? Murphy projects Berenger in the second level of dreams, so he must be one dreamer. (Otherwise there is no reason for us to see Watanabe confusing projection-Berenger with Hardy's forgery of Berenger.) Given Page's conspicuously unlikely role in propelling character revelations to the audience and the big save when Murphy is "killed," she must be another. But we can't tell who the other one is (there has to be one for each dream level.) Again, the question does not permit an answer.

    Who's a dreamer, a projection or a forgery? Internal parallelism suggests Cotillard's first appearance is a forgery. Page and Murphy in limbo would be projections while Watanabe would either be a dreamer completing the inception or a projection enabling an apparent suicide. Once again, the question does not permit an answer.

    How many levels are there? By the rules of the game, the events in one level influence the events in the lower dream level. People in the hotel are in free fall when the van is falling. There is no influence from the supposed real world where DiCaprio is put under. We cannot know whether that means the real world is quiet or because we are seeing the real world on screen.

    What is the idea being incepted? That Cotillard is bad seems silly. Cotillard's character name in French is "mal" which means evil. This makes is entirely unnecessary to implant the idea that she is evil. That there is a way back to the US and the kids suffers from there not being any known obstacle keeping DiCaprio away. (Unless the idea is to get him to come back and be arrested?:lol:) That reality is better than dreams, implanted by the Murphy subplot as a sort of reverse psychology, doesn't work because the last level is a dream, (italics for omitted word!) the same as the first, which means he does not return to reality and there is no resolution.

    Something weird doesn't mean it's a dream, no matter what the dialogue says

    All the analysis above is kind of tedious. But it seems to somehow be necessary. The implausibility of corporate goons chasing people through the streets of Mombasa or billionaires able to make one phone call and get prime suspects for murder off the hook have inspired some people to think the nonsense that there is another inception game going on. These are routines premises for all sorts of movies.

    It's all a dream? An aside.

    Some have gone beyond that, to just saying it's all a dream. Psychologically, this kind of dream is nonsense. The movie is done like virtual reality, not like a dream. This kind of elaborate story dream is just not the kind of wish fulfilment people dream. Even more, DiCaprio is not going to dream scenes about Murphy's catharisis. Last, the notion that reality is questionable is not actually a very interesting one. The very notion is a devastating criticism of the movie, not an explication.

    What are (some) people thinking?

    Some of the stuff that has been proposed is mindbogglingly wrong.

    There's a suggestion that Cotillard being on a ledge across from DiCaprio's window is nonsense and therefore a dream metaphor for their separation. In fact, Cotillard has to be out of his reach or she could not jump at all.

    It is plain that Caine does not have custody of the children in Paris or DiCaprio would be visiting them. The conclusion that his appearance in the US airport means DiCaprio is dreaming is absurd, since Caine is not nailed down in Paris. Flying to the US for the family reunion (or the arrest of the son-in-law, if I haven't confused the Caine/DiCaprio relationship,) is perfectly natural.

    The reason the top in the final scene spins so long is for "suspense," because the top is starting to wobble, which means it's going to fall offscreen. There isn't any doubt that it will fall, whatever debate about whether it means anything.

    Irony?

    Page as Ariadne is so perversely wrong as to suggest irony, except there isn't the slightest reason to think Nolan can write so subtly. It appears, from his previous work, that Nolan has the peculiar idea that ambiguity is deep. Well, it isn't, and stuff like this proves it.

    Inception's about moviemaking!

    Lastly, it has been suggested that it's all purportedly a dream, but is really a meditation on moviemaking. The only plot points that explore this is Murphy's imagined reconciliation with his father contrasted with DiCaprio's rejection of his wife. The second is not convincingly handled. Worse, we are not given time to wonder about how we feel about Murphy's reconciliation. Are we pleased at a happy ending? Are we angry because he has been abused on a profoundly deep emotional level? Burying a climactic scene like that is deliberately obscuring the point, unless it wasn't really the point. A movie about the attractions of moviemaking that forces us to endure so many boring action scenes is shockingly inept. If the point is just to mess with people's minds, this is no more enlightening than a joy buzzer.

    It's not good, it's original!

    This movie is amazingly original but it is not deep. It is about whether DiCaprio wins, a vicarious wish fulfilment story. The other characters are poorly sketched or blatant nonsense. The SF premises are entirely unexplored. The only real exploration of the dreams (or movies) vs. reality theme is the Murphy catharsis which is at best a minor part of the movie. Maybe it should have been a climactic moment with huge thematic resonance, instead of just a human moment for which we poor viewers were grateful, but it wasn't. If it wasn't for the originality of the concept and the free fall sequence, the movie would have to be rated poor!

    (extensive editing for clarity, or so I hope)
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
  14. Huh?

    Huh? Ensign Newbie

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Exactly as I saw it. No wobbling suggesting a topple at the cut. What would it matter if it did wobble anyway? It's explicitly explained in the film that it has to topple or it's a dream. It doesn't topple. Saying it probably toppled after the cut is no more helpful than me pointing out it could wobble for 60 years and still not topple in a dream.

    It's actually silly that Cobb would even walk away from it before it topples. Given all he's been through and all the questioning of what's reality, especially surrounding his wife's death, you'd think he'd make sure ... probably long before getting home.

    Why couldn't the kids just be flown to live with Cobb overseas? :confused:
     
  15. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    To love with their father who's accused of murdering their sane, theatened mother? I don't care how byzantine extradition is, that dog ain't gonna hunt. Plus there's the whole aspect of packing them up, tearing them from their lives, and making sure the law doesn't notice and use them in some kind of sting.
     
  16. Kolrad

    Kolrad Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    One thing I wondered is what Fischer was supposed to remember from his dream. My best guess is that he was only supposed to remember the very end, the moment with his father, since it came right before he woke up. If he remembered the whole thing, it seems like the idea they wanted to implant would have gotten lost in such a complicated story.

    The only thing is, didn't everybody spend a while climbing out of the van and sitting on the river bank waiting for the dream to end? Why wouldn't he remember that instead?

    I'm also still confused about why they blew up the base/hospital in the third dream level. I thought they couldn't get out of a dream by dying.
     
  17. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Anybody else wish the dreams had been a little, well... weirder? As cool as the movie was, it seemed like most of it took place in pretty normal, realistic environments. Obviously we all have mundane dreams like that, but I can't be the only one who also has weird ones where I start out in one place, like work, and then walk through a door and I'm suddenly somewhere else. Or one person I'm talking to somehow becomes someone else I know.

    Hell, last night I had one where I found an old, rusting WWII submarine jutting up out of the back of my parent's garage for some reason. lol.

    The train barrelling through the street definitely hinted at that kind of crazy juxtaposition of ideas, but I would have loved to have seen a lot MORE of that in the movie myself.
     
  18. Ometiklan

    Ometiklan Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Hmm, stj, I don't really know what to make of your post. I am sure you had a valid point (maybe a general review?) but I am just not getting it out of what you wrote. It is a little less than coherent; perhaps you could provide some clarification?

    I do agree with you that the scifi themes were underexplored, that
    , but I think that comes from Nolan making a heist movie rather than a scifi movie.

    I also have to disagree with you on what I perceive to be your statement about the movie characters and Page's character in particular. Just because she is given a name from mythology doesn't mean that her character must mirror the mythological one, nor must it always reinforce the theme of the movie. Sometimes it can just be a tip of the hat to some related ideas. To me this name dropping is similar to that of the tv show LOST. Including novel titles and philosopher names can be used to parallel the themes of an episode, but sometimes they are just there for fun. Not tying them wholesale into the narrative doesn't make the character or character designs a failure as you seem to indicate.
     
  19. TGTheodore

    TGTheodore Writer Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Or as I call it, LIE-MAX.

    Haven't seen the movie yet. Initially, it smacks of a well-done, fast-paced Dreamscape or Brainstorm.

    Reviews are great, though. Anxious to see it.

    --Ted
     
  20. Huh?

    Huh? Ensign Newbie

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss


    That's an interesting idea, and an elegant metaphor, but it's said explicitly that what is in Cobb's elevator world are memories, not fantasy, metaphors or dreams. They're supposedly literal scenes from his past he'd like to change. If so, there can be no metaphor of Mal being across the street waiting to jump as symbolizing his inability to reach her, which to me doesn't really make much sense (nor does his wasting time chatting with her at the end of the film in limbo) since he visits her in dreamland daily, and it'd be inconsistent since the other memories all appear to be literal and there are no other obvious metaphors in the film.


    Discussing in general ...

    Making up an excuse that it's a wrap-around building but we're not shown it, as someone else did, doesn't even being to fly. That's far too unusual to presume. The film is deliberately a riddle to some degree. This scene glaringly sticks out so it's either an unlikely massive technical error in continuity (in the filmmaking sense) or it's meant to appear as ludicrous as it is with her magically being across the street. Either it all means something - which is that Cobb's dreaming the whole film (maybe being psychoanalyzed or implanted from an upper layer by Ariadne which we are not shown in the film) - or it's a very poorly executed scene that doesn't clearly convey whatever else the director/writer may have intended.

    And where are the people in the street or in other suites - no witnesses? No signs of struggle on Mal's body despite the room being trashed and her being thrown to her death somehow from across the street? Was this a comedy?

    I agree with your last sentence, and with the criticisms I've read in the negative reviews of the film. Thoughtful and fair critique don't alter my enjoyment of it, but it does reveal how much better it could have been. As someone elsewhere asked - why the boring Matrix-y men in suits shooting guns as subconscious defense, why not pink elephants shooting lasers from their eyes? Visually that'd have been a blast ! Logically, if the subject/target is dreaming and self-defending, what's wrong with knowing it (due to absurdity) and waking up?

    And why were the subconscious of the non-main-dreamers so often populating the shared dream world, but only when it suited the plot. Unless it was all Cobb's dream, then why is Mal and a freight train showing up, and alternately why can't he make shields and jet packs show up while the Aussie character can apparently conjure a rocket launcher? Why is the subconscious army still attacking if they're not in Fisher's dream in each level, and even if they are then why is his subconscious shooting at himself and his supposed protectors when he knows he's dreaming?

    If it isn't all Cobb's dream, the movie is a giant crock of conflicting shite structurally and logically (arguably it is in any case), but still damn entertaining.

    The actors don't even know what's going on - [COLOR=#0068cf]http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2010/07/inceptions_dileep_rao_answers.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nymag%2Fvulture+%28Vulture+-+nymag.com%27s+Entertainment+and+Culture+Blog%29[/COLOR]
     

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