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You've just been Incepted…
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Hey, check out this thread!
Ah, "Inception", the 2010 movie, written and directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Leonardo di Caprio and an assortment of good, young actors. And Watanabe, the legend. While I wait for the chance to watch this movie again, let me talk to you about it for a little bit.
But I gotta tell you, that in order to talk about the movie at any length, some spoilers are unavoidable. So, if you haven't watched the movie, avoid reading about it and go at it with a fresh perspective.
The reason why I say this is because this is the kind of movie that plays fast and loose with the audience's perception of the plot. It is quite possible that Christopher Nolan, at the helm of this flick, did it on purpose: he allowed for enough "flexibility" in the plot so that a number of interpretations could be all correct without major contradictions.
As a matter of fact, there is a website somewhere that goes into great detail with six different explications of the meaning of the "Inception" movie. (I will include a link, if I find it later on…)
This is a movie that is polished almost in the same way that it is shallow. But I will come back to this point a bit later. In describing the way it looks, well, it is very pretty to look at, without commiting the cardinal sin of looking glossy or painterly. It is not an ode to technological prowess, like the Matrix Trilogy, or a moody transcription of futuristic noir, like Blade Runner. But in spite of having a very ordinary and analog feel to it, it induces the sensation of looking at a very finely crafted piece of clockwork, and you can sense that if you were to lift off the lid, you would see about a zillion tiny gears dancing in happy syncopation. And that works very well to sell you the world in which it unfolds. Its homely and unobtrusively pretty looks help you to simply accept the fact that there is some sort of magical box that allows you to share dreams with people, or that some people in fact can keep a conscious chokehold on the free-floating mess of the subconscious even while asleep. These contrivances are quite unnecesary, if you stop for a moment to remember that con men usually achieve their scams by convincing you that it was actually your idea. Con men actually "incept" you, because they come at you from the underside of your subconscious desires. Nobody needs to go into your dreams to plant an idea that can bloom into a full-blown conviction and that you will acknowledge as some sort of revelation. Religious cults do that often, and they don't need any Architects, Pharmacists, Extractors or anything. All they need is your willingness to believe you are as important to the world as you are to yourself. But I digress.
The shallowness to which I refer is this arrogance the movie exhibits, that it just plows ahead with its meta-plot without really exploring concepts like Nozick's "Experience Machine" or even Plato's "perfect forms." Although I enjoyed this open-ended movie, I kept wishing the story were somewhat more assertive. Perhaps the shallowness I perceive is only in comparison to the other movies I mentioned, which pretty much slap you across the face with the fact that there is entirely too much meaning in there for you to find out just by inference from the images themselves. The contrast, then, is to find myself having to put the meaning in the images of "Inception" by inference from what I see, rather than what I'm shown.
Regardless, it is a pretty, shallow movie which I will happily spend another ten dollars (or fifteen, if I feel like going to the IMAX) to watch yet again, and marvel at the intricate mesh of gears spinning gracefully behind the images projected on the silver screen.
You should go, too.