Normally I write these things I loosely describe as reviews the same night as seeing a film or TV show. Waiting any longer risks thinking too much about the subject or forgetting a detail. That’s why I didn’t write about Sherlock last week and why I almost didn’t write about Inception that I went to see last night with Dark Dwarf and Kim Knox. I didn’t feel like I had anything particularly perceptive to say. Inception left me more with a feeling; an impression than concrete comments.
That’s why I’m going to avoid discussing the film in detail. Normally I come away with very definite comments on the acting, f/x, production etc. There were elements of inception that I could comment on – there were some excellent supporting performances and the production values were excellent. I’d normally save my overall impression for the last paragraph but here it is before I get to the meat: an excellent film well worth seeing.
There are two areas of the film I do want to comment on. The first is technical. The editing is excellent. It had to be if it hadn’t been the film could have been a real mess. The action in the different levels of the dream could have become a confused mess that couldn’t be followed. It could have been the end of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Street Fighter. So congratulations to the editing team for keeping it coherent.
The second area that stood out for me was its clever use of clichés and generic locations. There were a lot of concepts about dreams the film had to get across. During those sections the pace really slowed. Slowed to a point where it was in danger of losing the audience. Cobb’s back story also needed a fair bit of exposition. If there had been any more exposition in there the film would probably have limped along at an unwatchable pace. It was saved by using two recognisable, generic, settings for the first two layers of the dreams. The third level channelled every snow covered landscape home to a villain’s lair to ever appear in a film. From Bond films through Where Eagles Dare to True Lies the work of establishing that setting has already been done. Only the fourth and final layer of the dream gave us something outside normal experience.
Of course all this assumes there were four layers to the dream and that the last scene isn’t the set up for a sequel rather than just leaving things hanging.