Skip to main content

Inception review

Summary: this mind-bender from Christopher Nolan was flawed but ultimately excellent.

I just returned from a trip to Kimberley to check out this flick, which I'm proud to say I watched twice. I think the first thing that must be mentioned about this movie is that it is cool. It exudes cool more than anything I can remember since Brad Pitt in Fight Club. The score, style, cinematography, editing, set and costume design all blended seamlessly. Perhaps the best example of this is Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character, who rocks a waistcoat better than anyone since the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

The plot is intricate but mostly solid. It's about a man (DiCaprio) whose trade is stealing ideas from people's minds while they dream. He shares lucid dreams with a team of people who break into someone's mind to either steal their secrets or trick them into revealing them; this is called extraction. Inception is planting an idea in the target's mind, as opposed to stealing one. There are a few logical holes here and there, but especially as the pace picked up to blinding speed in the second and third acts they could mostly be forgiven.

I did have a few complaints. There were the aforementioned logical holes. The first act drags a little bit. There were a few too many action movie tropes, like highly trained assassins who can't shoot for shit. It's a little too serious, and the writing a little clunky in spots. The dreams seem not quite weird enough—who wouldn't give themselves the ability to fly in "raw, infinite subconscious?" I suspect this has something to do with Nolan both writing and directing. Many parts were thought out extremely well, while others seemed neglected. Another mind or two working out the rough edges in the concept might have helped some.

But overall, I have to give Nolan major props for even attempting something this ambitious and succeeding as much as he did. The directing was excellent. This is Hollywood at its best: a giant, well-done entertainment with enough interesting ideas at its core to spawn some decent discussion. Much better than Avatar.

UPDATE: Another irritation I forgot. At one point they hire a chemist who is supposed to be able to design a custom sedative that leaves inner ear function unimpaired (psychopharm buffs: do normal sedatives actually shut down inner ear function?), and the dude's office consists of a bunch of dusty bottles filled up with murky amber fluid. No chromatography columns, no FT-IR, no gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer, no NMR, not even a dang round-bottomed flask. I doubt that would bother most people though.

UPDATE II: I just downloaded the score, which was also superb. Hans Zimmer again.


Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept , which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito ), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects. Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017 , where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually b

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard , a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here ). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment. When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves tha

Caffeine Is Not a Bioweapon

I got into a discussion with Yves Smith about caffeine here , and somehow my comment got eaten, so I'd like to finish it up here. She said about this Raw Story piece about a girl who allegedly died from drinking two Monster drinks in two days, "The FDA lapse here is terrible. Caffeine is extremely toxic. We just happen to get highly diluted doses in coffee and tea." I commented: Yves, your implication about caffeine is incorrect on several levels. Most Monster drinks have about 10 mg of caffeine per fluid ounce, which is much less than even drip coffee (18 mg/oz) and WAY less than espresso (51 mg/oz). ( Source ) The whole idea of dilution is misguided in any case. The relevant measurement for caffeine intoxication (and most poisoning generally) is the total amount taken, not the concentration. Concentration is something to worry about, as it can make a lethal dose easier to take on, but the main concern there is pure caffeine pills, not energy drinks which are mostl