Inception – Chris Nolan Is Right

One central conceit of Chris Nolan’s movie ‘Inception’ is that an idea, once planted, is unstoppable. No direct spoilers below – unless you follow links. Providing spoilers requires more cognitive commitment than just watching it.

‘Inception’ is supposed to pass for ‘high concept’ science fiction these days. Some compare it to Fellini’s ‘8 1/2’ – seriously. (Bonus points if you knew before Googling where CHUD came from). Remember all those now tenured faculty launching careers ‘revealing’ hidden subtexts in the first three Star Wars movies? Same deal, geekier arena.

People playing the pundit game these days are no different. We remember leaving ‘Attack of the Clones’ with a national security type and spouse. The spouse — whom you may even read on the Interwebs now — was crestfallen, bemoaning all those years studying the VHS tapes . . . wasted. So one might want to wait before writing off the ‘Inception’-Fellini meme. It may have a long half-life.

24, 24, Hours To Go, I Wanna Click To Be Sedated . . .(click above)

If it’s not Fellini, what is it? It’s doing good business for one thing. The movie boasts a remarkable 85% ‘fresh’ rating from Rotten Tomatoes. New Yorker critic David Denby doesn’t buy it. We’ll let you decide. Despite the ads, this movie works as well on a big screen now, Cinemax later or even computer monitor.

We do think Fellini Chris Nolan is on to at least one thing. A week ago we read this review declaring ‘Inception’ to be a calamitous pitch of Clooney’s self-admiring ‘Ocean’s 11’ meets ‘The Matrix’. Clever, actually – and funny if you remember Buck Henry’s pitch meeting in ‘The Player.’

The relevant point? The reviewer kept mocking Di Caprio as ‘fetus face’. Childish. Dismissible.

So it’s a week later. In a movie theater surrounded by people who subscribe to AARP magazine (we ignore the direct mail). They really do reach and turn off their cellphones when told to do so before the previews, etc. Then the movie. And from scene one all we could do was keep thinking ‘fetus face.’ Scene after scene. Until final credits. You see, an idea, once planted really is unstoppable. We were . . . incepted, if you will.

Someone could just say ‘Hey Stiftung, check out this queen of hearts, yo!’ More succinct. Ten bucks saved. No fetal imagery. If ‘Inception’ is the price for at least one future greenlit good sci-fi movie ‘to cash in’, a reasonable down payment. A shame it couldn’t ever plausibly be compared to ‘Satyricon’.

But did you know you are being incepted now as you read this? You *will* remember this exact moment years in the future. When someone turns to explain the deep subtexts within the first ‘Inception Trilogy’. You will wake up. In America.


  1. Comment says

    Timesmen are all in shock about what’s happening. John Burns was lamenting the stock price recently in the same paragraph wherein he wondered allowed about Greenwald’s attacks on him. They all sense a world slipping away and have not figured out how to respond..

    Here’s some circular firing squad we’d like to see more of – A little man at Commentary sees Palin insult a very important and very serious “conservative sage.” He is NOT happy w/ the Alaskan impertinance:

  2. Comment says

    .Tweety’s homage tonight to Larry King is priceless – with a terrible imitation attempt at King’s Brooklyn accent sounding nothing like Larry King at all, but a bit like an elderly woman who used to live in one of our old apartment buildings/

    Tweet is simply unable to think outside of certain demographic or political parameters –

  3. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Inception On Demand or DVD rental might be diverting. Sfx really don’t matter despite their prominence in marketing. Chris Nolan recently released his own chart diagramming out the dreams within dreams matryoshka doll conceit if one is interested. We still think the description of Ocean’s 11 meets the Matrix sums it up.

  4. Hunter says

    @absurdistHumor: I just flew back from Boston, and the airlines sure are… overbooked! Bada bing!

  5. Aldershot says

    @Dr Leo Strauss
    Great to see you, too, Doc, and that the merry band is still here. It’s been too long, but I’m a horrible procrastinator.

    Eerily coincidentally, re your Windup Girl post, two days ago, based on links from bhtv, I checked out Neuromancer for the first time. I read the first page or so on Amazon, and am going to order it. Funny, that cozy Cold War spy novel vibe one gets from the genre of futuristic anomie.

    Secondly, and still eerily coincidental, I read on Amazon, from the same bhtv link, from the book Kraken, by China Mieville:

    “Billy suspected, he would, DiCaprio-like, simply become like an increasingly wizened child.”

    Based on the first review on Amazon, I don’t think I’ll delve into this one.

  6. Aldershot says

    “And from scene one all we could do was keep thinking ‘fetus face.’ Scene after scene. Until final credits.”

    Well thanks for nothin’.

  7. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Also overheard in France elsewhere:

    Garçon: Le script du film a été faible. Quelque chose manquait? Je pense que Di Caprio représenté Jerry Lewis?

    Garçon 2: Oui, malheureusement, le cinéma américain a atteint son apogée avec Transformers 2. Passez la frites de la liberté. . .


    Dude: The movie script was weak. Something was missing? I think Di Caprio represented Jerry Lewis?

    Dude 2: Yes, sadly, American cinema hit its peak with Transformers 2. Hey, don’t boggart all the Freedom Fries . . .

  8. Comment says

    Inception gets a weak review from some of our friends in France who just saw it. Lots of lamenting about a good idea with a bad script.

  9. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Anxious, not sure if am reading/interpreting this graph the right way. Does it really show that California Twitter is relatively ‘mellow’ even with State in catastrophic meltdown? If so, amazing.

  10. Comment says

    Newt has to make up his mind before he makes some stupid and inaccurate comment about that Muslim center proposed for downtown. Does he really think NY is part of America and is no longer the enemy of normal Americans?

  11. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Apropos it all – Always quotable Armond White on Roger Ebert destroying film criticism:

    I do think it is fair to say that Roger Ebert destroyed film criticism. Because of the wide and far reach of television, he became an example of what a film critic does for too many people. And what he did simply was not criticism. It was simply blather. And it was a kind of purposefully dishonest enthusiasm for product, not real criticism at all…I think he does NOT have the training. I think he simply had the position. I think he does NOT have the training. I’VE got the training. And frankly, I don’t care how that sounds, but the fact is, I’ve got the training. I’m a pedigreed film critic. I’ve studied it. I know it. And I know many other people who’ve studied it as well, studied it seriously. Ebert just simply happened to have the job. And he’s had the job for a long time. He does not have the foundation. He simply got the job. And if you’ve ever seen any of his shows, and ever watched his shows on at least a two-week basis, then you surely saw how he would review, let’s say, eight movies a week and every week liked probably six of them. And that is just simply inherently dishonest. That’s what’s called being a shill. And it’s a tragic thing that that became the example of what a film critic does for too many people. Often he wasn’t practicing criticism at all. Often he would point out gaffes or mistakes in continuity. That’s not criticism. That’s really a pea-brained kind of fan gibberish.

    Read more: Armond White: “I Do Think It Is Fair To Say That Roger Ebert Destroyed Film Criticism” | /Film

    Great stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


CommentLuv badge