I’m going to penetrate deep into your subconscious – not on just one level, but on three.  On the first level, I will appeal to your hunger for spiritual nourishment.  On level two, I will attempt to feed your intellect.  And on the third level … ah, who the hell am I trying to kid?  I am Hollywood, and I just want your hard-earned leisure-time money, so fork it over.

Inception is a total mess of a movie.  It will make a load of money at the box office, because Hollywood knows how hungry audiences are for something that is – at least on the surface – intellectually a notch above junk like, say, Kick-Ass, or Avatar.  And in their promotional pieces, filmmakers can deceive Joe and Mary Filmgoer into the false belief that Inception has a heart.  It doesn’t.

Director Christopher Nolan is known for filmic puzzles (Memento), and in this regard Inception does not disappoint.  But what Nolan fails to understand, or doesn’t care enough about, is that in order to devote two and a half hours attempting to decipher an intricate puzzle, it helps if the audience can identify with the movie’s protagonists.  Leonardo DiCaprio is an appealing actor, but even he can’t rescue a script that devotes oodles of brainpower to the mysteries of the human mind but not one scrap of concern for the emotional end of things – despite a half-hearted attempt at “family values” involving Leo’s dead wife and their young children.

Inception is so, well, unimaginative that two-thirds into the thing, Nolan resorts to endlessly dull, mind-numbing car chases and shoot ‘em ups – the same routines we’ve seen a thousand times before.  The special effects are kind of fun but, well … yawn.

As this pretentious hokum dragged on and on and on, I kept glancing at my neighbor in the movie theater, hoping he would lean over and whisper in my ear:  “Don’t worry; it’s just a bad dream.  It will all be over soon.”              Grade:  C-




Director:  Christopher Nolan  Cast:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine  Release:  2010



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