Film Review: Not Quite the Mind Screw I Hoped For

review

Note: as part of Throwback Thursday, I’m posting this piece I wrote May 21, 2011, for my LiveJournal blog. I am planning to slowly move over anything of substance from LiveJournal to this one, with plans on turning the LiveJournal into something else. {Additional: I have been contemplating re-watching the movie and giving this review another go.}

Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan, copyright 2010. Buy at Amazon.com.

So, I finally got around to seeing Inception. For those not in the know, this movie was all the rage last year from Generation Y about how it was a layered movie that was more than it seemed. Dreams within dreams within dreams, with a plot from Christopher Nolan that was supposedly the ultimate mind fuck.

I don’t catch too many movies when they come out (I’m patient enough to wait until they’re ready on DVD via Netflix for most movies), and this had the secondary problem that my husband is not a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio (long story) and so I knew he wouldn’t be too keen to jump on this story.

But that didn’t keep me from hearing spoilers – primarily what I wrote in my first paragraph. And that was what drew me to want to watch it. I’ve been a big fan of mind fuck stories (here’s a link to the TV Tropes website section on it, but be warned if you’re unaware that TV Tropes is a time-wasting hole!) since Twin Peaks premiered on TV, and the fact that my first introduction was David Lynch should tell you what I’m used to! The whole playing with reality has probably always fascinated me, though – after all, I’ve always loved Alice in Wonderland. (Existentialism, however, took a bit longer for me to actually understand. Don’t get me started as to the first – and most likely only – time I read Albert Camus’s The Stranger.)

I’ve seen Nolan’s The Prestige, and while the twist involving Christian Bale’s character was innovative, I felt the twist involving Hugh Jackman’s character was a little corny. And while I think his two Batman movies were well-written, I haven’t had a chance to see Memento – so I don’t have a wide range of experience as to compare Nolan’s storytelling ability. {Note: I have since seen Memento, and believe it’s a MUCH better film and example of the mind screw film.}

While the movie wasn’t bad, and even was entertaining in a way, I was left with the feeling of ‘that was it?’ I don’t know how much of it is that I love these types of stories, from The 13th Floor, to Fight Club (book version is an even more satisfying version), to even The Time Traveler’s Wife; how much of it was I went in knowing – and expecting – a mind fuck and so was waiting for it; and how much was that it a generation thing (I had heard somewhere that if you were under 35, you were more likely to ‘get it’). I was waiting for some big “WTF?” moment that never quite got there.

If you haven’t seen it yet, and you like movies that aren’t quite straight-forward in its storytelling, it’s worth a rental (either via Netflix, Redbox, or your local library) – but I wouldn’t recommend buying it.