Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Movie, Inception: Who's on First?

Holy confusion, Batman, what is happening in this movie? OK, I might not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I am a high-school graduate. Moreover, one advantage of the single life is that I can watch a movie or TV show at home virtually uninterrupted: No kids keening for my attention, no significant other grilling me about my day's activities. Nope, I can concentrate on what's on the screen. Yet I still had trouble keeping up with the plot of the latest DiCaprio vehicle Inception.

I ventured out for the first time in two snowbound days to the local supermarket to return two Red Box DVDs; and while I was there, I rented Inception. I had no preconceived notions about it. I had seen the TV ad for it a couple of times and it looked interesting. I was semi-lost 60 seconds into the first reel.

Here's the bottom line: Although it is escapist action entertainment, you can't watch it with the same zoned-out disconnect with which you can watch, say, Die Hard or even Salt. Watching Inception requires a high level of concentration. Share your attention with texting your BFF about tomorrow's activities and you will be forced to retrace whatever portion of the film you missed.

Based on the fantasy that somehow people can intentionally share your dreams, the plot involves not just stealing ideas (like industry trade secrets) from a dreaming person, but also planting seeds of ideas (inception) within the sleeping minds of those same people. Doing so requires building worlds for several layers of dreams. Dreaming people dream they fall asleep and dream ever deeper dreams for several layers. Time in each dream layer is accelerated by some multiple as you go deeper. So what is a minute in wide-awake time might represent 10 years in the third or fourth layer, or 50 years in limbo where you go if you are killed in a deep layer. Clear as milk, right?

Trying to figure out who is sleeping, who is dreaming, what layer they might be in and why some people are sleeping in one layer and not the next keeps the old synapses popping.

The special effects are outrageously good and you will see some things you haven't seen before. After the first 45 minutes or so, the action is nearly nonstop. Reality and dreams are constantly overlapping and, at times, separating one from the other is a challenge.

As in nearly every movie in which I've seen him, DiCaprio is hard to like here. He's just not a likeable guy and the self-centered jerk he plays in this movie failed to give me warm fuzzies. In fact, the entire cast is less than likeable. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the kid from TV's Third Rock) and Ellen Page come closest, but even they don't give the audience much to like. But if you want suspense and action mixed in with a bit of thought-provoking plot, you should love this movie.

I'll probably watch it again before returning it. I might actually figure out what's going on the second time around.

1 comment:

  1. OK, so I'm not the only one, thank God— I thought I was getting stupid again. And Jeez, I'm in school full time, with a 4.0 GPA, so that can't be right! This was an interesting, but difficult-to-follow movie. After the first 5 minutes, I just gave up trying to flex my intellect and just tried to enjoy the movie.

    DiCaprio is tough to like, and the special effects were interesting. Was it worth watching? Sort of, I guess. But it certainly wasn't one of those movies that sticks with you, that inspires you, or that changes your life.

    And frankly, I don't wanna have to work that hard at being entertained …