James Helsby

LRE #24: Inception

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Little Red Envelope

In my mailbox this week:

Release Year: 2010
Staring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe

That’s right. It HAS taken me this long to watch Inception. And OH MY GOD, WHY DID I WAIT??!?

Inception was one of those movies that I had every intention of going and seeing while it was in the theater. It sort of snuck up on you. I mean, there was talk about it, but it wasn’t really built as being a huge movie. I knew it was a Nolan project, I knew that it starred Leonardo Di Caprio, Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page, and Cillian Murphy. I knew that it was supposed to be an amazing special effects tour-de-force, and that it would leave you thinking and guessing (just like most other Nolan films.)

I even saw the trailer well in advance. But for some reason, I filed it away in my mind as ‘this looks cool’ and not ‘oh my god, you have to go see this or else the world as you know it will come to an end.’ That’s my usual classification for major blockbuster movies. My regret is that I will never be able to see this amazingly visual movie on a truly gigantic screen.

But with my regrets filed, I will say this; if there is one movie that you want to go ahead and skip Netflix, and just buy it on Bluray, or hell, use as a motivator to buy a Bluray player? Inception is it.

In a time when everything is done with CGI, and digital mattes, Inception is a film created by a gifted film maker. A talent that the production world is losing, is being able to remember just how much detail can be captured by the lens, and just how much reality can be given to a scene, when the scene is REAL.

Giant hallways were built for the production of this movie, that were able to rotate around their long axis. This old fashion technology (used in the bygone years of classic cinema) gave a credence to the scene that just couldn’t be done with CGI. Think of how visually exact this scene is (because it is EXACT. It really exists, in real life, when it was actually filmed) vs a scene that has matte overlays. In the digital scene, you get this feeling that either things are too vivid, too exact, too in focus even at a distance. Blur is a natural part of our vision. We see things blurry all the time, it’s an affect of focal length, and we use it to help us determine where two objects overlap in 3 dimensional space. We also use something called parallax, which further helps us determine the distance between two objects based off the offset of our own eyes (stereoscopic vision.)

In a digital scene, sometimes these elements can be lost, but Nolan perfectly captures them in Inception. In particular, notice the use of lines throughout the hallway scene. These lines help draw our attention to the depth of the hallway, and emphasize the fact that the hallway is rotating around us.

Let’s talk acting. Di Caprio has proven himself capable time and time again, and the rest of the cast really pulls up to the line also. With the exception of one. Ellen Page. For some reason, I found her character of Ariadne annoying, static, and redundant. It seemed like her character was anything but critical to the movie, almost to the point of being superfluous. They say that she is the “architect” and that she designs the dream-scape, but it really doesn’t feel like she does this. It feels more like she is along for the ride, and constantly complaining about Cobb’s (Di Caprio) demons. I could have taken the movie without her.

Arthur is probably the most dynamic character in the movie. While he seems so straight laced, he is always fighting the good fight. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has definitely grown into a proper actor, and kudos for him.

But for me, Eames’ (Tom Hardy) was the one who stole the show. He was a bad-ass. Essentially anything that needed to get done, it was he who actually did it. Killing? Eames. Finding people? Eames. Resucing people? Eames. He took on an entire army by himself, and won.

I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed this movie, but I really shouldn’t. I don’t want to spoil it for you who have not seen it. It’s visually amazing, exellently scored, wonderfully acted, and very well written. While you may find a few logical gaps in the film, it is easy to glaze over these moments of doubt. Just remember…. We have to go Deeper!

How painful was it: Pure pleasure. I would have gladly put the disk back in the player and started it over again, as soon as it was finished.
Rating: 9/10. It would be a 10/10, but like I said, I found Ellen Page annoying.

The Wife’s Retort: No regrets, no complaints. I really enjoyed it. But my brain hurts a little.

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