Digital Polyphony

film, games, memories & random thoughts


A Thinking Man's Blockbuster

Posted on July 20, 2010 at 4:57 PM

Call this a supplemental digestion, I suppose.

Say what you will about Christopher Nolan’s Inception, the film has its proponents and detractors left and right (and very few in between), but it’s done something that very, very few films have been able to achieve: get everyone talking about it. There’s many debates, theories, discussions and angry arguments covering every range a person can talk about the film: from the quality, plot, themes, allegories, metaphors and every other aspect that rattles around in your head. When you see someone you haven't spoken to yet about it, or even meet someone for the first time, inevitably the “have you seen Inception?” question drops down and you end up having a conversation about certain scenes, the meaning of it all and so on. The desire of people to want to talk about Inception might very well overshadow the discussion on whether or not it was even a good movie. I have this strange feeling that its legacy is going to be one of conversation about its elements that piece it together rather than if it was good or bad. Yet, this in itself reflects that it most certainly is good – or, at least, it certainly did something right to get people so passionate to either talk fondly or spitefully about it.

And here it is, raking in 60 million its opening weekend; the high-end of what people expected it to make. It’s multi-layered, complicated and thought provoking yet incredibly easy to become enthralled, captivated and to understand it all. In a sense, it’s an art-house idea in Hollywood clothing. It’s big and ambitious, perhaps overzealously ambitious at times, yet full of intellect and interesting ideas on a conversational scale that gets people thinking about life, dreams, love and fantasy versus reality.

Christopher Nolan has always been able to manage this in his movies – to be intelligent yet accessible. He turned Batman from “just another superhero” movie to a pretty darn good piece of noir mystery and mature ideas about morality, law and perceptions of good and evil. The Prestige, still possibly my favorite film of his, he deals with illusion but well beyond the concepts of magic tricks. The tricks were just an illusion themselves, the real reality of it all is that life can be an illusion and everything is about perception – a similar notion found in Inception. What was the last film that got people, as in everyone, really talking about it? I’m not talking about something like The Sixth Sense where the twist got everyone talking, but a movie where the ideas and themes got everyone talking.

What was the last movie that had people completely rethink things and dive al ittle deeper into thought than merely saying “wow, how about that action scene?” or “Man, those special effects were amazing” or even “How about that performance?” The Matrix, perhaps? That seems to be the one most look at in terms of the impression its making seeing as how both have people saying "I've never seen or heard anything like that before" when leaving. (Though I think the Matrix was a bit more influential in terms of film-making approach in the long-run...time will tell for Inception in that regard). 

Inception probably has some of that, it's still a spectacle, but most peel back those first few layers and tend to always fall into talking about something with a bit more meat on it. Inception has got people discussion philosophy and concepts that a big, blockbuster movie rarely ever does. Usually those big films just set out to entertain, here is one that entertains yet stimulates the mind while doing it. It’s fine if a person doesn’t like the film...but you can’t deny you were damn sure stimulated by it more than most of the big-budget films that come down the pipe. If anything, that will end up being this film’s mark on things.

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Reply frdrizzt (Anthony)
11:46 AM on July 21, 2010 
So in other words, this is one of those movies I should see in the theaters and not wait for netflix. Got it.
Reply J. Conrady
2:30 PM on July 21, 2010 
Oh yes, if anything to not feel left out of the mix and feel like a loser. :)
Reply frdrizzt (Anthony)
11:55 AM on July 22, 2010 
J. Conrady says...
Oh yes, if anything to not feel left out of the mix and feel like a loser. :)

But yeah, that was my line of thought, better to see it before it gets spoiled for me.
Reply J. Conrady
12:01 AM on July 23, 2010 
Don't make me send Mel Gibson after you....go see it. DO IT NOW! GET TO DA CHOPPA!
Reply toosmartforbond2
8:09 AM on August 7, 2010 
And it turns out Bruce Willis was dead the whole time. He was just inside of Tom Berenger for the whole movie.

I have to say I didn't see it coming.