Critic Review - Wall Street Journal

By convoluting the various planes of experience, by overlapping and obscuring ostensible realities and ostensible dreams, Mr. Nolan deprives us the opportunity of investing emotionally in any of it.

July 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal | Comments (61)
Wall Street Journal
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Comments

Michael M.

Michael McConnell

Mr. Nolan does not deprive us of investing emotionally in any of the movie. He allows his audience to invest emotionally in the movie in several ways. One: he exposes the relationship between Mal and Cobb that builds throughout the entire movie. There is such a chemistry between the two actors that the viewer can feel their pain and struggle. And second, Nolan does an excellent job explaining limbo and how awful it would be to be trapped in a subconscious of nothing. So don't give this film a bad review because you're too stupid to understand it.

Jul 19 - 10:27 AM

jeremy z.

jeremy zaleski-schoell

I believe that in a movie industry filled up of similar, analogous films/remakes and vampire movies, Inception stands out as something different. It has a plot that is not handed to the viewer like most movies but requires a bit of thinking. It is a "one of a kind" film in that no one has seen anything like it.

Jul 20 - 12:09 AM

kyjo

t k

I agree with John. Why care when it all may be just a dream? Nothing matters anyway. But that was the last thing that bothered me after all those useless action scenes, inconsistencies, and annoying (almost constantly playing) thriller music.

> jeremy z.: It is a "one of a kind" film in that no one has seen anything like it.

Matrix, Memento, Next, Butterfly Effect, etc.

... the ideas used in these movies (and many others) are at least as old as Plato's alegory of the cave - which was like 2400 yrs ago - but are probably much older. So really, nothing new. ;-)

Jul 26 - 12:57 PM

Kevin C.

Kevin Cheng

The first part upon this review that had truly bothered me was the statement that, "simply because no one short of a NASA systems analyst will be able to articulate the plot." Although I do understand critics enjoy their exaggeration, but I don't think NASA will be letting me, a 15 year old teenager, onto their team any time soon.
Besides that, the movie is meant for self-interpretation to what is happening. Nolan provides a basis to nearly each and every aspect of the movie. He only begins to build it so we are able to marvel at both the power and the tragedy of things such as limbo.
As most people have said, don't give this great movie a bad review because you're not smart enough to understand it.

Jul 20 - 12:20 AM

James D.

James Dean

I was very happy with the movie until they got to the snow. Then it became a blur. I too found DiCaprio's character eerily close to his character in Shutter Island, including the relationship with the wife. There was plenty of emotion, but I didn't care about it. And please could the damn truck just fall into the river already.

Jul 22 - 09:34 PM

David P.

David Park

HE PUTS EMOTION INTO IT YOU MORON. Wall street journal? Wall street put us in a financial crisis so why the fuck should we trust u in the first place?

Jul 25 - 02:19 PM

Kurt K.

Kurt Kuklewicz

Why should we trust you? You haven't given any examples of how he "put" emotion in the movie. Besides, in the dictionary, emotion is translated as follows: "A mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes". Therefore, by saying Nolan "put" emotion in the film, you are saying it like it was suppose to fixed in for us. You are further implying that Nolan consciously forces us to feel a physiological change. This is not the same as emotion. What you are describing to me is ironically enough, "inception". How can you literally put feelings into a movie? That is physically not emotion.

Aug 25 - 01:19 AM

Maria P.

Maria Pompeo

I really feel that Anderson and I didn't see the same film. I disagree 100% with everything that he has written.

His quote "Mr. Nolan deprives us the opportunity of investing emotionally in any of it." makes me think that he wasn't really wanting to emotionally invest in all characters involved, because I felt at all times, Nolan respected his audience and didn't treat us like morans who can't follow a story. He also provided a beautiful subplot of Cobb wanting and needing to find his way home.

Jul 25 - 09:41 PM

Cineaste

Cineaste Cahiers Du Cinema

The main problem with people who like this movie is that they think everyone who doesn't like it "doesn't understand Inception" and are therefore idiots. The Nolan fans' premise about people who dislike this film couldn't be further from the truth.

The film is poor because it can be summed up in one sentence "it was all just a dream". In screenwriting 101, the best way to infuriate your audience is to end a film this way, or to construct your film using these devices- reason being- there are no real stakes, no danger nothing to make any of the character's journey actually matter- all that the audience invests in (as little as there was) is all for nought. Ultimately, the film becomes 2.5 hours of wasted time and money.

Additionally, we never know who Cobb is, we never really get to know anybody so therefore his psychological dream state is moot to the viewer. If we don't know, we don't care. We are not going to search for something that is not there and look for false inferences of character behavior. The dead wife back story is cliche. The dream world is far too literal and frankly, boring.

"Nolanoids" (Nolan fans) seem to have some sort of jihad for those with dissenting informed opinions about their savior's films- as evidenced by their vehement, grammatically incorrect, and incoherent rantings. Now I know how easy it is for the Taliban to recruit malleable and ignorant minds- just read through Nolanoids' comments on rottentomatoes message boards for startling yet predictable evidence of this.

Jul 25 - 10:49 PM

filmfan1

Ferenc Toth

Bravo Cinaeste. i've read many books that make this look like The Cat in the Hat. A Book of Memories by Nadas, Gravity's Rainbow, etc... Complexity only works if there is a payoff, if the disparate strands come together to form a potent whole. In this case they don't. What's more, the action sequences are tiresome and the thin pretext for them is lame: dreamland security, as opposed to homeland security. Also, how loud do we need that score? It reminded me of the old Spielberg, John Williams collaborations. Desperately prompting the audience's emotional response with music, because the story isn't doing it.

Jul 28 - 09:46 AM

doom

MF Doom

why the fuck are you comparing movies to books?

Jul 30 - 06:53 PM

Angela T.

Angela Trabbold

I agree with you. I think this movie, for most, is clearly a case of majority rule. Everyone wants to "get it" but no one can really explain it. It needs a sequel--immediately. Glad you could stand up and say that the king has no clothes.

Jul 26 - 02:07 AM

Brandon L.

Brandon Lew

First off I love how the full version says in the beginning that this movie will be hard to find bad critics, alluding to the fact that he goes in looking for bad things, I mean learn to enjoy I movie! To me that is not a true movie lover, that is just crap. Second really, the only one to figure it out would someone in NASA, I mean it was easy to follow, just because something is hard doesn't mean you shouldn't try. I mean come on,
Anderson if you could not figure out something that thirteen year olds could follow and understand with ease!

Jul 27 - 01:21 AM

Jack R.

Jack Russell

That's because it focuses on THE IDEA.

Jul 28 - 02:55 AM

filmfan1

Ferenc Toth

Exactly correct Mr. Anderson. What's more, why doesn't the film explore the relationship between Cobb and Mal? Who cares about Richy Rich and his dying father? We want to see, not to hear about the wonderful dream world Cobb and Mal lived in for 50years. We want to see his desperation to pull her back to reality leading up to his inception to her. We want to see her struggle with the idea he planted in her. We want to see him desperately trying to regain control over her psyche, knowing that the problem she suffers from he planted himself. Now THAT would be an interesting film. Inception is a misdirection that results in a misfire.

Jul 28 - 09:33 AM

doom

MF Doom

i don't want to see any of that shit because it becomes some film directed by a presumptuous shmuck who thinks he knows a thing about directing and scripting movies and assumes he can take a ten year masterwork and make it better in a limpdick post on an internet site. i'll leave the directing to directors, get off your pedestal

Jul 30 - 06:56 PM

Gianu A.

Gianu Ario

All right, and why "convoluting the various planes of experience, by overlapping and obscuring ostensible realities and ostensible dreams, Mr. Nolan would be depriving us the opportunity of investing emotionally in any of it"?
I basically do not see any logic in this.
And I was absolutely not deprived the opportunity of investing emotionally in it.
Yours is not "a critic" at my advice Mr Anderson.

Aug 4 - 03:54 PM

FieserTyp

Florian Hens

Your mom deprives us the opportunity of investing emotionally in any of it.

Aug 5 - 03:28 PM

Zylowen

Sara Hurd

I have to respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree with this assessment. I've just come home from my first viewing of Inception, and I'm still in awe. The film kept me both intellectually and emotionally engaged from beginning to end. Throughout the course of the film, I felt: anxious, confused, touched, horrified, amused, skeptical, and generally amazed. That's a fairly extensive host of emotions. DiCaprio delivered another stellar performance, and a few other unlikely actors really stepped up to the plate and proved their worth, I felt--specifically Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Tom Hardy. I'll admit that I worried about the constant overlapping initially. Any film about a dream within a dream, let alone multiple layers of dreams and/or reality, runs the risk of being thoroughly trite and crashing and burning. However, I believe Nolan managed the cumbersome task with grace and aplomb, and my fellow movie-goers and I managed to remain engaged and emotionally as well as intellectually invested in each and every layer of the story. Any film that keeps me on the edge of my seat, heart racing, laughing out loud, and near to tears throughout the course of the movie is stellar in my book.

Aug 7 - 08:46 PM

Gregory H.

Gregory Hartford

I totally agree with Zylowen. I really felt emotionally invested in this movie, particularly the relationship between Cobb and Mal, but also Cobb's desire to return to his kids.

Sep 23 - 09:20 AM

Julian S.

Julian Smith

I actually feel sorry for you if you couldn't get emotionally involved in this movie, it was an unbelievable feeling.

Aug 12 - 05:46 AM

Kerry_RT

kerry touch

I love New York, no bullshit & no fanboys allowed.

Aug 12 - 08:00 AM

Anthony

Anthony Fertino

An intriguing suggestion, although since I understood the intentions of the film to be entirely centered about DiCaprio's character's acceptance, with inception as a sub-plot, I felt the whole film was an emotional journey deeper into Cobb's mind. The inception plot, to me, was simply a mask for the internal exploration of Cobb, designed to get the average movie-goer satisfied with the action required. Conceptually, I felt we were only EVER attending to the self-conflict of Cobb.

Aug 23 - 03:10 AM

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Sep 1 - 05:55 AM

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