Inception review

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Posted 23 Jul 2010 in Reviews

Okay, so I really hated Inception. I tried to write a serious, high minded review, explaining why I found it so terribly disappointing despite not expecting – or wanting – a serious, high minded film. But the truth is, I’ve hardly anything to say, except that the film is a big waste of time. The concept – not a bad one – is that Leonardo DiCaprio and his colleagues engage in surreptitious espionage by digging for secrets in the subconscious of their dreaming victims. This makes for some dizzying, Escher inspired sequences exploring the architecture of dreams.  

But the plot, rather than the concept, is the problem. They’re not governmental spies, working on eliminating terrorism, or ethical bandits, fighting corruption. They’re hackers taking payment from multinational corporations trying to secure competitive advantage. They’re totally corrupt and untroubled by conscience, in other words. Their job – and the entire plot of the film – is to help one energy company get dominance over another. And the characters are portrayed utterly without characterisation and, for every character except DiCaprio’s, without the slightest thought for articulating their motivation. What this means, in practical terms, is that there’s absolutely no reason to root for them or their success except out of a vague curiosity in seeing how they do it.

And that’s all there is. This drastically overlong, visually stunning but hypnotically shallow movie watches like a sequence of expensive car commercials glued together with interminable, tedious action scenes. The imaginative quality of the dreamscapes is initially intriguing but is all but abandoned in the second half, with a long, unforgivably boring section in a winter landscape having no relationship whatsoever with the notion that poor Ellen Page’s character supposed to be an architect of complex maps, not of airy destinations for the Winter Olympics. It’s staggeringly badly thought out, like Nolan just cut a big section from an early 80s Bond film and plonked it in the middle of his edit.

Worst of all, Inception fails to deliver on two of it’s central promises. It isn’t complex at all, or at least, not in the sense intended (the unintentionally funny script does introduce a few moments of confusion, at least) and it isn’t in the least bit exciting. I enjoyed the first hour but was yawning compulsively from that point on, unable to focus on the endless shoot out scenes or the hilariously drippy sub-plot. The visuals are, admittedly, pretty great, but the glossy look is utterly without texture, like an American Express commercial. Meanwhile, long after I stopped caring about the characters or the (absence of) plot I was unable to enjoy it as a spectacle because of the endless, booming score, which underpins not only every chase scene but every scrap of dialogue. For a film sold on it’s conceptual innovation, there’s not a single moment of space for reflection or thought. And yet it’s so long.

So, I know the reviews have been good, but this big, glossy piece of shit was the most boring, shallow, pretentious, badly executed and inane film I’ve seen in ages. Avoid it.


  1. Dan

    I saw this last night, having already been forwarned by your facebook update and subsequent discussion.

    It was disapointing, you’re right. Though I’m not sure I would describe it as ’shit’. The most disapointing aspect was the lack of character depth and so you didn’t care about anyone especially in the video game like action sequences. The visuals were stunning at times and used CGI sparingly but this is always meaningless if the story isn’t there. You’re right, its like a showreel or a car commercial in that respect.

    Ugh, just a shame there was no place to think or reflect. I went with my brother to see it and I had anticipated the drive home would be full of talk about the film, but there was nothing to say in that respect.

  2. Inception is probably the best movie of the year! Nolan has outdone himself (again)! At first I was a bit skeptical when we went into the movie. I was sure Leo and Nolan could pull it out… The whole idea sounded a bit out there. Still, when you see it you realize how mind blowing an experience it is! Nothing less than ten stars! Amazing!


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