The Rabbit Hole

This is a review of a little flick you may have heard tell of, Inception, by some bloke named Christopher Nolan (allegedly).

So much ink (digital and non) has already been spilled over this latest summertime entertainment from one Mr. Christopher Nolan, and so many hard-earned dollars have contributed to its domestic take, that I’ve struggled with what to write here.

Is it a high-minded adult action flick that works?  Yes.  Is it a smash that isn’t derived from a theme park ride, comic book, graphic novel or TV show?  Yes.  Are there threads of the plot that you could killjoy your own fun by picking at?  Yes.

In truth, it’s everything–  a dream, a reality, a great reason to go to the multiplex, a small reason to ignore, say, The Kids Are Alright (seriously, where is this flick playing?).

It’s a truly fantastic, masterful movie that I just can’t wait to see again, but let me write this about Inception:  It works because it’s Hitchcock.  There are well-dressed adults doing sneaky things while looking good, a la Cary Grant.  There’s a McGuffin (SPOILER ALERT):  We don’t care about the young Irish heir dismantling his father’s company, but the flick does.  There’s a good, long pre-dream sequence in which it’s a simple heist film:  “Hey kids, here’s how we’re doing it.”

By harkening back to the days of adults (not the overgrown kids that populate Hollywood films, and yes, that I love too) in bad-love with each other doing intricate and evil things, Nolan has crafted the summer’s smartest and tastiest treat.  (If there’s one flaw I think Nolan should’ve been above, it’s introducing the chess-piece totem and never paying it off (I kept waiting for it to be given to Cobb before the end.)  Screenwriting 101, people.

But let’s not let the reality end on that sour note.  From Memento to Inception in 10 years–  that’s a dream.  Well done, Mr. Nolan.

Okay, I’ve said what I wanted to say.  Now I’d like my kick, please.

If you liked "Inception," please rent the underrated "The Prestige."

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One Response to “The Rabbit Hole”

  1. David Says:

    “We don’t care about the young Irish heir…but the movie does.” Ah, that’s because Fischer Jr. is the “dream twin” of Cobb; aside from Cobb, Fischer is the only other character in the film with a back-story –which tellingly revolves around a father-figure (Browning) helping to release the son (Fischer Jr.) from his ill-founded anguish (of trying to live too much in his father’s shadow).

    Now, this point matters because there is no “heist” in Inception; there is only inception: And Miles (Michael Caine) is the architect; he is Cobb’s godfather (Cobb’s “Browning”) and is using inception to plant the entire construct of the heist and psychological subtext of a son letting go of his past demons, in order to free Cobb (HIS son-in-law) from his anguish over Mal’s death.

    Nolan has explored this thematic notion of one character encouraging another to find purpose and redemption in an alternate fantasy reality –John G. creating all those “clues” and blind alleys for Leonard in Memento –just like the “dream levels” of Inception (mirrored by Fischer Jr.’s pinwheel).

    This also explains why Miles’ sole plot purpose in the film is to handily introduce “a new member” to the team (Ariadne), who is projection planted by Miles (rendered in youthful feminine innocence to replace Mal’s threatening madness); Ariadne will be Miles’ voice, a therapist, to try to lead Cobb to the emotional release Miles desires for him.

    The film actually isn’t a slick action heist at all: It’s a father acting out of pity for a lost soul, using inception to “release” his son (in law) into a dream world where he is reunited with his children and absolved. Obviously, the morality of this is dubious: Hence Michael Caine’s anguished look at the airport –at what should be a joyous reunion.

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