82. Inception

Inception1It’s a goddamn ripoff! Say no more, I shan’t hear it.

Well, it’s true that Inception bears similarities to Paprika, the final completed film by Satoshi Kon. The similarities end at premise, where both involve agents who enter people’s dreams, as one story feels distinctly western — ‘daylight noir’ atmosphere, mano a mano action and explosions, and tragic romance as backstory. Paprika on the other hand is saturated and colorful, and deals in themes of childhood, nostalgia, the loss of innocence, becoming one’s true self, and stigmatic romance as the bright, bright future.

If a good idea exists, Inception will get the pass for co-opting it because A) it takes it in the opposite direction, a fresh perspective, and B) Inception is so good.

This is one of those movies that I never remember how much I like until I’m watching it. 100% of that is its popularity. At 21, I think I’m nearing the point beyond being stubborn about admitting to liking hyper-popular things, but for Inception it isn’t just quantitative, nor my focused, laser distaste for The Dark Knight.

People specifically compare Inception to the last mindbender action scifi, which was indeed The Matrix, from eleven years earlier. The idea that any human being person can honestly believe that Inception, while great, is better than The Matrix

I don’t know, man. We’ve rapped on some heavy themes — misogyny, war, violence — but this is one that hurts my heart in a special place.

Inception, let me ask you about these. Art design? Nope. Iconic characters? Nope — yes! Well, they’re archetypes, but not archetype-setters. Fleshed out characters/character dynamics? Not really… The most cathartic and thrilling finale with escalating set pieces and the swell of emotion as Neo fulfills his destiny and the helicopter hits the building and explodes and when he turns in the subway to face Smith and when he gets brought back to life and the Sentinels and don’t you fucking forget the iconic moment of bullet time still so cool even after all this

However, Inception is an emotionally satisfying, intensely exciting action movie with a compelling high concept and one pristine, jaw-dropping set-piece.

Any kind of science-fiction reworking of corporate espionage would be neat, I think, and this is a very extreme idea. Why the movie wasn’t about stealing ideas but implanting them, such that you’d have to introduce two scifi ideas in sequence… not really sure. But it paid off. Proof is in the picture, as they say, I’m sure.

I actually quite enjoy Dom Cobb’s (name? No) backstory, because it applies the high concept to human drama. It’s a natural exploration of the world Christopher Nolan has created and he goes on to explore it as much as is appropriate for Dom’s story. His gripping directing style is perfect for a ticking-bomb story, where we learn the rules, and then see the walls come down — and know exactly why everybody’s screwed, and can’t wait to see how they’re gonna get out.

God, I fucking love The Matrix. Paprika’s pretty good too.

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