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July 19, 2010



Pretty to look at, annoying to watch. But I actually liked Marion Cotillard! I find her immensely watchable. And in her more murderous moments, totally believable.

But was it that easy to follow? The Cillian Murphy dreams were all pretty obvious, but I did have trouble working out how Mal and Cobb (who named these people?) ended up in limbo and how they got out. The timeline of their story seemed wonky to me.

It was a whooooole lotta backstory crammed into a movie that never really gathered its own momentum. But it was still really, really pretty.


I thought the movie was worth the ticket I paid for, but I didn't leave the theater thinking "OMG, this is the best movie I have ever seen!" I mean, people are saying this was better than "The Matrix" and that is is just blasphemy to me. Lol.

It was good, but I had too many questions watching it (points that Rich already mentioned). All I can say is, it was good enough to watch in the theater even if it did get bogged down in the middle. But, ultimately I agree with Rich-- I don't understand the over the top praise for this movie.


The ending is cliche and painful. I had so much hope for this movie and this cast. I agree with Rich.


Did you absolutely loathe Memento (if you saw it)? The storyline about the wives was very similar; main character chooses a very poor way to cope with his wife's death and his guilt.

I also imagine you thinking, "That's the thing about short-term memory loss: it's fundamentally paradoxical. How does he remember that he has short-term memory loss?" and thinking the whole backwards story structure was pretentious.

So now I'm curious if you liked Memento or not!


I blame the flatness of Ellen Page’s hair and osmosis." - Rich

Siskel and Ebert used to occasionally posit this rhetorical experiment: "Is this film more interesting than a documentary of the same actors having lunch together?"

When I do see Inception, it'll be hard not to ask myself if the proceedings aren't as interesting as the discussion between Rich and Gabe posted at FourFour.

It's a pity there are so few films coming down the pike nowadays worthy of sincere (and entertaining) analysis.


Rich, I love you so much for hating Inception. Even though I will probably see it and love it. You complete me somehow with your contrary nature.


I'm with Gabe, I loved it because I had so much fun watching it and because the plot shakiness had no effect on my enjoyment of it in the moment as I watched it. I wasn't wondering about the logic as I watched the movie, I was just carried away by the greater ideas of it. It was a marvelous ride. Granted I am particularly weak to a lovingly, skillfully executed dissection of dreams and the psyches, and I feel Inception was that.


I disagree with Rich.

Chantal Goya

Rich. My sweet. I love you so much. It kills me to say this, but your movie reviews suuuck.

I'm with you in loving trash. I love it so much too! But you have to recognize a legitimately good movie when you see it!

1. "Marion Cotillard is bad a actress." Are you on crack?

2. "The visuals sucked." Fuck you! Seriously, what the hell are you talking about. The Levitt wall-dance off thing was simply spellbinding. And don't any of you give me any of that Matrix shit. This just did it better.

I'm still pissed off at your Orphanage (the Spanish one) review, but you've seriously crossed the line with this one.

Still love you, though.



Someone told me ___BlackwhiteRomance // COM ___ It’s the place where you can meet your lovers-

–Meet single,—rich cougars– -rich sugerdaddy, who are searching for their special



I do agree with you that it could be lazy to be ambiguous in a movie. But I love Mal in the movie. She's Cobb's projection, she's Cobb's antibodies, she and Ariadne are the same person. She can be whoever you want. And when she stabs Ariadne, all our questions of who would win in a mudfight are answered.

But yes, Chris Nolan needs to learn how to direct and write women better. Why did he choose to expand Ariadne, who's there as a reaction, instead of Mal, who had peaks and valleys?

And I liked the Orphanage. I wanna read your review of it now.


Thank you, thank you, thank you. I watched it yesterday and hated it. I was bored. Arbitrary is the perfect word for it. Nothing felt important and I just didn't care about the characters at all.


I love your blog, but I gotta say, this sounded a bit snobby. I didn't love this movie, but I certainly didn't hate it. I believe that your reaction would not have been so visceral if this movie hadn't been so popular. Don't worry about dumb people thinking it's smart, and don't try to pick apart a fantasy story that will inherently be imperfect. It's simply a neat movie about dreams. And yeah, the special effects were pretty awesome.

I will agree with you and say that the Orphanage was Stinktown, USA.

Hannah J

Wow, this is amazing. I am so glad you agree with me. Spot on with the visual flatness, I was so hoping for a surreal dreamscape which I feel I never saw. I was hoping for Paprika-esque dreams but got this boring movie... lame!


Since when is the Matrix considered a great film????


I'd rather watch Dreamscape.


The internal logic of the movie was actually quite tight. I think maybe you just...didn't get it? For instance, the weightlessness in the second layer is caused by a jarring physical reality in the first layer. That reality doesn't extend to the third layer because there is no flip-flopping force being applied to the sleepers in the second layer; they're simply floating, which wouldn't create any jarring effect for them in the third layer. It's just intuitive. All the other issues I had with similar devices were explained by the film itself in due course, or by a bit of mental back-tracking and realizing what they were saying at an earlier stage. It really does make sense when you go over it.

The only gripe I had with the movie (and again this arises by comparing it to exterior knowledge) is that dreaming does occur in a 1:1 relationship with real time. With a few exceptions, there is no "speeding up" of the timeline. They did explain that away by commenting that it's an artifact of the artificial dreamsharing, so whatevs.


Oh, and the ending is not ambiguous at all. The title itself suggests that this entire film may be just a beginning, and Cobb being stuck in Limbo would make quite a spring board for Sequel City.

There were numerous clues making it clear that he was most certainly not in waking reality.


Yeah, gotta disagree here too...I had a ton of fun watching this movie. Sure I could nitpick plot points, but I can't remember the last time I was that engaged in the theater. I love how it incorporated real dream elements like physical things in the real world affecting the dream world, or the perception of time changing as you go deeper.

Interesting thoughts though...


Ugh. I really like, but didn't love, it. I think its funny that you hated this movie but loved Avatar. I thought that that too was a film that attempted to be more than just a sci-fi film but was instead about as emotionally sophisticated as a punch to the throat. Yeah, this film is really just a heist film, one that requires a lot of "just go with it". Like all of his films, it had an emotional iciness to it that kept me from loving it. But it was an exciting summer blockbuster that toyed with some genuinely sophisticated ideas, and for that I salute it.


Sometimes it's ok for a movie to play with conventions. Yes, they're still conventions, but that's the genius of the movie in my view. Plus, it's still driving a lively conversation online, at the water cooler, etc. That's an accomplishment in and of itself. But I think your full-time immersion in superficial pop silliness has wrecked your ability to have a genuine good time without looking down your nose at everything. And that's unfortunate.


I like Marion Cotillard, the visuals blew my fragile mind away, and while you are certainly entitled to your opinions (ahem), it doesn't mean I can't gripe about them for all of time.

The ending did suck, though. It makes me want to punch something sentient, it sucked so much.

Naughty Monkey

Calling something dumb, or for dumb people is a really lazy criticism.


Thanks for this, Rich! From the trailers, I was all, "MUST. SEE!" But it also reminded me of a much-loved book from my youth (by Pat Cadigan) - actually two of her books, that played with similar themes. And from your and Gabe's discussion, I can tell I would be soooo dissatisfied with the movie, and should just re-read the Cadigan books and enjoy the hell out of them. So, yeah, just gonna do that.


I had to laugh when Rich was talking about pretension at the end. I love him, but please, sometimes ...

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