Friday, August 6, 2010

A brief comment about Inception (*no spoilers*)

Just saw Inception today.  I liked it a lot but it's an almost textbook illustration of Christopher Nolan's strengths and weaknesses as a director.  As is my nature, I will dwell more on the weaknesses, but then I think everyone appreciates the strengths already (the movie's success testifies to that!).  So, without any further ado:

Nolan is -- to use the film's own language -- an architect, but not an artist.  He's a master at creating concepts, fleshing them out.  His films resemble jigsaw puzzles more than anything else, an intricate array of pieces that come together in the end, where the glue that holds the audience is the connection between the pieces even if the pieces themselves are pretty uninteresting.

Nolan is TERRIBLE at action sequences.  TERRIBLE.  How-do-the-studio-bosses-let-him-get-away-with-it-terrible.  That's the biggest problem in Inception: none of the big fight sequences makes any sense whatsoever.  By that I mean, there is no sense of time and space, just random cutting between people shooting at each other.  Terrible.  However, Inception has a far more intricate structure than The Dark Knight, so audiences don't really notice.  Still, its incoherent action sequences (and the fact that there are so many of them!) makes Inception just about a  so-so movie (as opposed to being a really good one).

Nolan's expository sequences are clunky but his big emotional scenes just don't work.  The man clearly needs a good script-writer to make his concepts work.

More points about the movie in general:

Hans Zimmer's score is way over-the-top, distracting and unnecessary.  Sometimes I could barely hear what the actors were saying.

The performances are smart but Marion Cotillard's goes into pure awesomeness territory!  I have stopped being surprised at how good Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in any role.  Oh, and someone needs to give Ken Watanabe a lesson in diction.


Joe said...

I so agree about the background score being loud and OTT to the point where it becomes distracting.

And also about the concept being great, but inherent drawbacks in the execution which prevent the movie from entering the "masterpiece" territory.

What really bugged me was when I went to the theaters here in Bangalore, all these IT geeks stood up at the end of the movie and began clapping. It was almost like a self congratulatory applause for them having understood the movie. Maybe there was too much talk around that you have to watch movie at least twice to understand it well, and the few who understood it one go wanted to appreciate their own wisdom for that.

kiran mova said...

hmm.. i would have definitely clapped along with them, if someone had initiated it. when i watched the movie, it was sober crowd, who got up and just left.

but the movie stayed on in the thoughts for a very long time....

and sree.. i totally agree with ur comment on Joseph Gordon-Levitt