It never fails. In most cases, anyway. Any non-Coen brothers film that gets rave reviews, and I go in and end up not liking it, and I'm afraid that's true with the instant case as well. But don't get me wrong, I was as eager as everyone else to see it, and had some flop sweat for Warner Bros. and all the other studios involved, but look at it this way. Nolan's the 400 pound bear in the woods, directorially, and after The Dark Knight and even The Prestige to a lesser extent, what does he get to direct next? Well, this... I mean, ANYTHING HE WANTS.
Which is what I get for reading a review in advance. One of the majors said that Inception is basically a heist picture. And, of course, that's what I kept thinking all through it. Phooey. In addition to Dreamscape, I couldn't help but recall eXistenZ and the video game equipment used in that. To be fair, though, it is a lot less creepy in Inception. And, well, SPOILERS, I couldn't help but notice that the Japanese businessman thought all this stuff was cool enough that he PERSONALLY wanted to get involved. In the dreams as well!
That's how cool dream invasion will be when the technology comes. Hopefully, it won't. And furthermore it is the gambit that the film places its hopes on: if dreams really can be invaded by intruders, and people's minds potentially irreversibly messed up in the process. Me myself, I don't usually have very solid dream architecture. Mine is mostly a patchwork quilt of buildings and places real and unreal, and I wander from scene to scene with little thought of where I've been, etc. As for the illusion of time in dreams, well, if the rules about that really are as solid as they are in the movie, even Freud could've probably figured them out. As for the whole idea getting implanted in the first place... oh, I guess I can't question that. It is pretty blasphemous to want to unincorporate these days. As for me, if I ever got an idea planted into a dream of mine from an outside source, I doubt if it would cause lasting psychological damage, but what do I know? After all, I am a bit biased about my own mental state.
So Nolan does a fine job juggling all the elements: DiCaprio's psychoses (I haven't even mentioned the actors yet, did I?), dream rules, the heist pic, the Christoper Nolan Players (Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, etc.).. and as with Batman Begins, he manages to revive an 80s actor's career; in this case, The Substitute himself, Tom Berenger. I personally would've gone with Peter Jason or Tom Atkins or maybe even Mitch Ryan, but that's just me. Might as well shoot the works for $200 million, right? And I know I'm gonna catch some heat for confessing this, but I think I have a thing for that Ellen Page. Glad she's got a feature other than Juno under her belt. But really, I guess she's not wanting for work. Just saw the name Ariadne in a Mexican soap opera, so it's not as exotic as I thought after all. Oh yeah, just had another thought: seeing as how the Japanese businessman became the team's ally, does it mean Lukas Haas gets to come back? And replace Ellen Page? Hell no! But I just thought I'd pose the question anyway.
So, let's wrap this mother up. Might end up getting this on DVD, if only at the pawn shop. Some have compared this to The Matrix, which is apt, but to really get into the psychology of it, I go back to 2003's The Runaway Jury, where... MORE SPOILERS ... it turns out the jury tamperers did it for PERSONAL reasons! And the usual seize the day, live like we're dying crap that we're inundated with from all sides now. Even Tickle Me Elmo. Thanks, international cadre of corporations that control everything! Death is a good thing after all!
See also: Until The End of the World
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan