Inception made me feel a bit cheated. Which is unfortunate, because it's actually quite a good film. A great film, even. However, it is a film that goes in a profoundly unexpected direction by, ironically, not going in an unexpected direction. The premise of the film is not entirely new, though it's not old hat either: the heroes are capable of entering the dreams of others to mess with their minds, so they get paid to go do just that. The theme of entering the dreams of another in order to screw with their minds has been done before by Paprika, Nightmare On Elm Street, Changeling: The Lost, and probably a few others I can't think of at the moment. It was the use of this narrative device that drew me to the film, in fact. I always loved the mind-bending nature of the idea, and after his work with Shutter Island (which is my favorite Leo film), I walked into the theater with the hopeful expectation that the film would give my brain some delicious, twisty Mind Screw to chew on. What I got was a straightforward caper film. A very good caper film. The acting is amazing on all counts (Leo is a tour de force as usual, but I especially liked Arthur, who was a walking Crowning Moment Of Funny), the plan is satisfyingly Gordian, the writing is tight and moving. Yet I still felt disappointed at just how simple the metaphysical landscape of the plot is. With the exception for the movie's first sequence, you are rarely asked to reevaluate what you have seen, and when you are, it is no more than a simple "oh, so the last couple shots might have been All Just A Dream". The structure of the dream world is too neat and one-dimensional, making it all too easily followed. I know it's weird to bitch about a movie for not being incomprehensible enough, but the Mind Screw is half the fun, dammit! All in all, a great action caper. Just don't go in expecting crazy Mind Screw dreamscape shenanigans, because while they got the "crazy dreamscape" down pat, they left out the Mind Screw.
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