Inception quick notes


So, the H and I finally got to see Inception.

OK, so I can see what the fuss is all about. It’s a neat idea, and a great cast to assemble around it (props for Watanabe, whom I love, and Cillian Murphy who for once wasn’t stuck playing a psycho). And the movie tries so hard to be clever and to go beyond the ol’ Hollywood action thriller.

But but but…

It makes no sense.

Or, rather, to be more accurate: it sets up rules in its first half or so that it then spends most of the time ignoring.

For instance: a “kick” is supposed to wake up whoever is in a dream, as long as they’re not nestled in a deeper dream. So why did the very first “kick” (the van going over the bridge, which is explicitly referred to as a kick by Cobb) fail to wake up Arthur, who wasn’t under at the time?

Why does Fischer Junior not recognise Saito? Again, it’s clear that you can remember real life during the dreams, and yet Fischer Junior (the man who has been coached to take control of his father’s empire) doesn’t recognise the competitor who is their main target?

Why does no one (Arthur or Yussuf) bother to shape the dreams they’re in more strongly? The reason that was invoked at the start is that if you make too many modifications, projections will converge on you to kill you. Er… How is that different from what is happening in those dreams? (especially Arthur, who already has the entire hotel after him).

Or how about totems–they’re brought up, and then seem to serve no purpose, other than presage the “shocking” ending.

About that ending. For me, it’s pretty clear that Cobb is still dreaming. It’s strongly implied he’s been on the run from the police for a number of years, and yet his children have not aged a day when he does come back–worse, they’re in the exact same position they have been in flashbacks during the entire movie.

Unfortunately, I was too busy going “uh?” at the movie during the last half-hour or so that the “cleverness” of the ending entirely bypassed me…

The movie had so many great parts, but in the end, it didn’t gel for me. I kept expecting there would be some kind of a better twist there (in particular, Fischer Junior felt way too naïve for who he was supposed to be, and I kept expecting he’d turn the tables on the team. But no, he was exactly as foolish as he appeared all along), but honestly, I could see what twists there were coming a mile off.

Sigh. I might be becoming too jaded for this.


  1. Alexandre Lafleur

    Dans l’ordre :

    – Arthur and Youssouf do not bother to shape their dream because if they did it they would have to deal with only the agents but with the whole population on their dream. That many people are a lot more difficult to deal with.

    – The totems … well let’s just say that many first viewer forget an important thing. The top is not Cobb’s totem but his wife’s. Finding his totem let you understand the ending. Another trick is that Cobb’s and his wife’s totems don’t follow the usual rules for a simple reason … they were not “made” on the real world.

    But yeah, the movie does have a few important inconstencies (the fall rule and the lack of weightlessness in the third dream are the main one). It’s still refreshing and quite interesting if you forget about those unnecessary rules.

  2. OK, I can buy the shaping the dream+the totems. As to it being a refreshing movie–it was a really neat one up until they got to the third level, where all the relentless action scenes and explosions really started to annoy me. For some reason, the ending doesn’t really work for me, but I’m hard pressed to put my finger on why that is so…

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