Argo (2012)

Rating: 5*

Directed by: Ben Affleck

Actors:

Ben Affleck

Bryan Cranston

Alan Arkin

John Goodman

It was only a few weeks ago that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated the threat of a Nuclear Iran with his undistinguished cardboard bomb chart. At this delicate time, it would seem a film about the 1979 Hostage Crisis could add fuel to the fire of an aggressive position on Iran. At least, it would seem that Argo would be a film to anger or frustrate one side of the political spectrum. Yet, it miraculously doesn’t. And for that, it cements Ben Affleck’s reputation as a top director.

Argo tries to understand the 1979 Hostage Crisis in which 52 Americans were taken hostage for over a year. The film centers on the six people who secretly fled to the Canadian Embassy. The film focuses on the attempts of the American government to bring back these six through a myriad of unusual and strange tactics. Their best “bad idea” is to set a fake film production, Argo, in Iran, and guise these individuals as part of the crew. Supplied with fake credentials, the hope is to get these people on a plane back home.

Argo is simply bizarre for the standards of Hollywood political thrillers. The film starts by establishing the reasons for Anti-American sentiment in Iran and reinforces these sentiments throughout the film. It also shows the anger of Americans without resulting to exaggeration. The most impressive thing about the film is Affleck’s eye for detail. Either he researched a lot about Iran or had good researches on his side, as his film showcases a very realistic revolutionary Iran. Filmed in Mclean, Virginia, Washington D.C. and Istanbul, one still get the sense of being in Tehran in those historic days. However, a criticism can be made that Argo shows a more conservative Iran that would have been seen in 1979. The conservative, Islamic image may be appropriate for early 80’s Iran, but may be a little too drastic for the eve of the revolution.

Affleck has made two movies: one amidst a revolution and the other in Hollywood. The fake film, Argo, eats away a portion of the time duration but not enough to be intrusive to the flow of the movie. Affleck makes some insider Hollywood jokes, but quickly phases back in to the hostage crisis. He avoids the damning curse of actually filming anything with his fake crew when his character arrives in Iran. He smoothly transitions between the frustrations of Iranians, the fear of the hostages, the artificial Hollywood atmosphere, and the unpredictable mood in Tehran.

Argo is better than the vast majority of this or the past decade’s political movies. It avoids the obtrusive political jargon and leftist positions of films like Syriana. Even though George Clooney is one of the producers, the film succeeds by not becoming another Clooney-like political thriller. That is, a movie so simple in its philosophy yet so complex in its execution. Simply but, Argo is a magnificent achievement for Affleck. Though Gone Baby Gone showed his potential, Argo establishes him as a true auteur. At the end of the film, we don’t really hate the Iranians or root for the hostages because their Americans. We want them to escape because their innocent bystanders caught in a political game.

Patton (1970)

“…I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder WE push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed.”
-George S. Patton

If one did not know that this quote was said by General George S. Patton on June 5, 1944, it could be taken that it was the from a cold-blooded, patriot with no respect for humanity-or at least the Germans. Fortunately, Patton was that, but he also had much more humanity and intellect in him than the Axis powers.

Patton begins the chronicle of the General’s exploits after the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. As Patton arrives at headquarters, he assigns Omar Bradley as his deputy, and warns him that there are going to be serious changes around the base. He reduces the breakfast time from two hours to fifteen minutes, and instructs all soldiers to wear helmets. He concludes that the reason they have lost the Battle of Kasserine is due to the lack of discipline, and installing it can give the soldiers the gravity of their situation.

From the very onset it becomes clear that Patton respects his solider, but only the soldiers that fight fearlessly and selflessly for their country. He has no respect, and in some occasions condemns, the “cowards.” To Patton anyone complaining of “nerves” on the battlefield or with self-inflicted wounds is a coward. These individuals do not deserve to be treated to the Army’s medical service, as that should be reserved for the most fearless of soldiers who have given their life for their country with no hesitation. Patton is disgusted at these soldiers who complain about the cruelties of war, and treats them with reproach.

As odd as it may sound that a General cannot comprehend his soldiers fears and worries, it must be stated that Patton is not in war due to obligation or simply to serve his country. As General Bradley points out, and Patton assents, he “loves” war, and WWII is the best incident where his ambition can be tested. Unlike many other Generals his outlook towards war is not an event that must be dominated so the peaceful times can roll, but simply an exciting time in history that he must not miss. WWII for Patton is what Woodstock must have been for hippies, a joyous occasion where talent, ambition, and motivation comes together and euphoria occurs. Simply look at the scene where Patton is guiding the tanks through the muddy banks. That scene exemplifies his love of the battlefield, the joy of commanding, and the passion of leading men in battle. World War II may be a curse and abominable incident for many, yet Patton’s views this as a chance that occurs every thousand years. He treats war as if it is a football game, and he may not get another chance to prove himself. His view may be attacked because of his somewhat ludicrous outlook on war, but it must understood that not all men join the army out of a sense of honor or obligation-some actually find the experience quite electrifying.

Patton’s spirituality is one of the oddest parts of his attributes. When he is complimented that he would have made a great general for Napoleon had he lived in the nineteenth century, he argues that he WAS living at that time. Many of his guests are confused at this response, but guffaw anyway. Patton’s belief in reincarnation is a big motif of the film, as well as his mention of important historic facts and events-such as the Battle of Zama. Patton is a history aficionado like no one else, and continually refers to previous battles in regard to the regions his troops will overtake. He recounts how these lands were once taken by the Athenians and other respectful ancient powers. Patton seems to envision that all previous rulers conquered and devoured on the battlefield, and now he will continue in their footstep -but this time in the name of the United States of America. As the Germans point out, Patton is a man of the past stuck in the twentieth Century evidenced by his famous quote: “God, I hate this century. God, I hate the twentieth Century.” The opposition correctly predicts that Patton will invade Sicily because historians have shown that Sicily is the heart of Italy and Patton’s ideology is interwoven with history.Patton’s outspokenness usually got him in deep trouble, and often limits his position in the army. His dislike for the Russians and dislike of General Bernard Law Montgomery more than often earns him the scorn of the major politicians from back home. It is at times baffling to consider his courage in comparing the Democrats and Republicans to the Nazi’s. Patton may have been controversial, at times exaggerating, but he was not necessarily incorrect in his assessments. Though never appearing in the film, Ike’s relationship with Patton is an intriguing one. Even after all the controversies that Patton creates for himself, Ike still supports him; though there eventually came a breaking for Ike when the General’s unsavory comments left no leeway of support from Ike or any other public figure. It is of note that Patton who once was superior to Omar Bradley and Dwight Eisenhower, eventually became subordinate to both. Though Ike’s swift rise to power was due to conditions unrelated to Patton, it can be stated that Patton’s outspoken nature may have had some effect-though this wild speculation-in Omar Bradley outranking him. It cannot be overstated that however respected Bradley and Ike where in the eyes of the German’s, it was only General Patton that they feared, and for good reason when we consider the losses that he handed the Germans.

Not enough praise can be bestowed upon Screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North’s screenplay which is as wise and ageless as any other screenplay ever committed to film. Even though they won the Academy Award for best Adapted Screenplay, this screenplay is still understated in its clarity and rich dialogue. We can clearly discern that were wise enough to commit a certain portrait of Patton to film. Patton is so delicately written that besides being a grand portrayal of American’s most successful and outspoken military man, it comes to life as an inspirational representation of accomplishing one’s dreams. Patton loves the battlefield because he deems that fighting is the sole reason to live, and his dislike of cowards must be understood from this angle. He does not treat war as unfortunate due to the fact that he has trained all his life for war, for fighting, and conquering. This film with its grand screenplay, cinematography, and direction still is most renowned and praised due to George C. Scott’s portrayal of the general. Anyone who has seen Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb will be taken aback at Scott’s controlled yet astonishing portrayal. Often stated as one of the best male performances captured on film, Scott not only gets the Patton’s demeanor right, but he completes the harder task of translating the stressful situations that Patton experiences in an illuminating way. Patton does not attempt to show the situations of war, for that has been done countless time, but rather suffices in honoring the men, every one of them, through one figure.

Story of A Prostitute (1965)

If ever any additional proof was needed to cast Seijun Suzuki an absurdist beyond the brilliance of Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill, Story of A Prostitute would be the title to look for. A main effect of Suzuki’s work here is that the absurdity is like a joke not necessarily leading to a conclusive or intriguing ending. The actions of his protagonists are inexplicably unpredictable considering the countless of reasonable options they have before them.

Pitting a philosophical and silent soldier, Mikami, against superiors who demand obedience and conformity, Suzuki guarantees a disaster around the unfair view of Japanese loyalty. Whether part of a samurai clan or a conventional army, the issue of loyalty as a way to instill an artificial sense of honor has been experimented by many directors. Suzuki introduces a welcome change in this theme by introducing a prostitute as a source of ill-will between Mikami, and his superior, the adjutant Narita. Unexpectedly, instead of fueling jealousy between the two military men, the culprit is prostitute, Harumi, who falls in love with Mikami despite being forced to please Narita every night. Angered by the little attention that Mikami often pays to her, she grants Narita ample suspicion that Mikami is fooling around with his prostitute during his “time” with her.

In its mere 90 minute run-time, the film tries to engage us in a romance, a debate on loyalty, and the nature of prostitution and of the “comfort woman.” Suzuki is just not interested in spending time developing any of these aspects as that would make this work like any other drama. He goes for the unexpected and he delivers. Yet, his ending has a comical absurdity that is just not in tune with all the emotions that have been developed prior to the climax. For a film that often takes such a heavy handed approach in addressing certain topics, the light-hearted ending is more than a little disappointing. It is also a little inappropriate as we have a vested interest for the prostitute while Suzuki doesn’t with his unsavory ending.

This is not among Suzuki’s best work as his conclusion too gratuitous, and lacks the intrigue of his most famous works. Also, for a film that includes the “prostitute” in the title there is surprisingly little nudity involved. However, the sex scene involving the two lovers is the only time the male protagonist shakes off his surely personality. But unlike him, Suzuki is laughing himself silly to the credits.

A Prophet (2009)

The killer shares a cell with his victim. The later sits on a seat across from the other inmate’s bed. But there is only one inmate. And he is trapped in the walls of his existence by an allegiance that no force can undo. The sentence is six years; only if the punishment ever concluded.

The first clear words out of Malik are that he “didn’t” commit the crime he is held responsible for. It is likely that even if he is responsible, it was only an act of frustration and momentary anger. He is completely unaware of the protocol of prison life, keeping himself as a virtual outsider and loner. It does not take first-hand experience in prison showers to know that the loner or silent guy will not be left to his own devices.  Not understanding the unwritten laws of the institution he is tied to, he does not near himself to the Muslims in the prison system. It is assumed that these are his people based on his name, El Djebena, and his features which separate him from the Non-Muslims. Before he has the chance to align himself, the Corsicans employ him for a task that inevitably leads to death of himself, if he fails to successfully complete his task, or of another Muslim, if the mission is accomplished. Afterwards, he is under Corsican protection, and seen as an enemy of the Muslims. He is also disliked by the Muslims for joining with the Corsicans, and from his allies for their affiliation with a Muslim.

Once integrated in the crime world, he embraces it. He eventually gets his fair share of opportunity and position to shine in prison and out by the Corsican boss, Cesar Luciani. Knowing well that Cesar is using him as a pawn in his plans and able to separate him from the living by a simple order, he begins to develop a drug business with a friend on the outside. Despite the threats, kidnapping, and physical intimidation by Cesar, he continues the business. As his prison sentence comes to a close, he also begins to earn the respect and favor of the Muslims.

All the ingredients are ready for a betrayal. With only so many limited options, the benefactors of his decisions are guessable. Our view of Malik as this innocent youth that is caught between two major prison powerhouses shifts by the later stages of the film. He turns in to a younger version of Cesar: hungry for fame, money, and power. He lacks the violent outbursts of Cesar, but we do not observe him long enough-in a position of power-to realize if he develops his former boss’ unsavory traits. Director Jacques Audiard puts the audience in a difficult position to root for a man who has the potential and ambition to become a staple crime boss. The suspense is what keeps the film rolling along at an acceptable speed. We want Malik out of Cesar’s hands before the prison experience shapes his life in the real world.

The performance of Niels Arestrup as Cesar is a visceral experience of exceptional power. Yet, Tahar Rahim’s portrayal of Malik is something that words don’t do justice. The pauses, grunts, hair movement and scratching seem so simple; however they are done in the right emotional moment and add to the layers of this character who is obliged to take part in Cesar’s madhouse control of this prison system.

Battle: Los Angeles

Rating: 3.5***

Directed By: Jonathan Liebsman

Starring:

Michelle Rodriguez
Ramon Rodriguez
Bridget Moynahan
Ne-Yo
Michael Pena

Battle: Los Angeles is a film of epic proportion. It does not settle for anything less. It has an epic John Wayne hero in Aaron Eckhart. His  character concludes that he wants to leave the service, and epically says that all the promotions and the glory was an interest of  the past. The film has an epic young Platoon leader, Lieutenant that Michael Nantz. The film has epic aliens which are so various that we often think they came from a planet which was epically advanced. So advanced that they lack the usual lobes of the brain, and ordinary organs. They have an epic Command and Control which like an elevated island. The film has epic scenes of sacrifice from a to-be father and a civilian. It has epic close-ups filled with as much emotional intensity as a McDonald’s meal has calories. Aaron Eckhart looks at Corporal Jason Lockett, and epically remembers his fallen brothers information that you assume he had committed identity theft. It has an epically intriguing and well-developed hypothesis (NOT) about why the aliens are attacking the globe, and firstly Los Angeles. I may be the loner in this, but I believe they were hunting for Walt Disney’s Oscars.

Before  Staff Sargent Michael Nantz can retire, he must undergo this last mission which unlike his last, is larger than a middle eastern country-it involves the entire planet. Under young Lieutenant William Martinez, their Platoon is supposed to empty the city before the bomb raid against the belligerent aliens can begin. Unfamiliar with the enemy, obviously, this turns out to be a larger than life mission which the faith of the platoon is dependent on a handful of men.

The first paragraph was fun to write, but it also rings true about the spirit of this movie. This film is meant to be seen on a largescreen-theater or huge TV. The film maybe spends about a minute and a half giving us a half hearted hypothesis concerning the point of this invasion-from the view of a CNN correspondent. This film is visual candy. It is explosions of the highest order given to you from Jonathan Liebesman who in private must admire Michael Bay, or know that he is indebted to the master’s mindless action. Like Pearl Harbor which took itself too seriously, with its clichéd dialogue that was inspirational in the fifties, I believe that Battle: Los Angeles thinks it’s a love letter to the men and woman who serve selflessly, and with so much responsibilities back home are still willing to sacrifice their existence for their country and its glory. Like many similar films, this is wishful thinking. The film knows deep down it is their to entertain, and that’s all it does, and does it well. Very few films can escape my writer’s mind with such a minimal plot, and still make me enjoy them thoroughly. This does because of two elements: the swift, engaging action scenes, and Aaron Eckhart.

The film knows that the key to its success are the actions sequences, and it does not disappoint. The action is swift, fun, engaging, and often believable. No superhuman emerges that can put this aliens in their place-this is not a battle of wits versus brute identifiable power. From Nantz to the civilians, everyone is lucky and fortunate to survive. The film does not hide the fact that the alien forces are superior in their arsenal, and were it not for an eventual revelation from Nantz, they would destroy us and inhabit our planet. To its most minute details, the film is realistic about the faith of our characters. Michael Nantz does not survive because he is superior to the rest of the Platoon, but besides being and courageous side, he was very lucky. So, were the rest of the survivors. However, even the men who are unlucky, pass on because of their bravery. Were it not for courage, Joe Rincon would have darted out of the alien’s way, and grown old watching his son become an adult. He chose the less glamorous way, but one which showcased his selflessness in front of everyone.

The other element is the indispensible Aaron Eckhart. On a review of Basic Instinct 2, Roger Ebert said (I’m paraphrasing) that only someone of Sharon Stone’s caliber could play this cardboard seductress. In the same vain, I don’t believe anyone but Eckhart could stare into the camera and deliver his lines with so much enthusiasm and seriousness. It is not often difficult to be authentic in serious drama, but when dealing with a cheesy alien invasion like this, only an absolutely phenomenal actor can pull of a good and convincing performance. Besides being emotionally suitable for the role, Eckhart disheveled look also fits a man who tired of conflict and war, is sprung into of the most barbarous military encounters. The other performances, including Michele Rodríguezes’, are also authentic, but the weight of the film is on the shoulder’s of Eckhart.

Though the film at times takes itself too seriously, deep down it knows who its out to service and entertain, and it delivers for the audience. Critics have not been harsh on this film, for there are serious gaps in the plot, to be honest. For example, the alien’s reasons for invading earth is not implausible, but it so marginally discussed that one tends to believe that it seems to be taken from the first draft. However, I don’t believe that the makers were oblivious to the problems, but they seem to have embraced the shortcomings. Often when filmmakers embrace underdeveloped aspects of the script, and emphasize other secondary elements, it can come off as lazy and boorish. Yet, here, the action is so well done, and the characters are so believably cheesy, that it appears like they hit their goal of entertaining the masses on a Saturday afternoon.

Four Lions (2010)

Rating:3.5*

Directed By: Chris Morris

Starring:

Riz Ahmed
Arsher Ali
Nigel Lindsay
Kayvan Novak
Adeel Akhtar
Craig ParkinsonFour Lions is a daring little comedy with balls of iron. Using terrorism as a source of comedy maybe one of the hardest methods to make people ponder about this important issue. Especially the way that Director Chris Morris pursues the subject, one often fears that the topic may be used as the butt of jokes, and form a debased comedy. I have no clue how Morris does it, but he never crosses the moral/ethical line of GLORIZING the terror or demeaning the victims.

This comedy is based on a group of extremist Muslims who decide to demonstrate in the face of all this consumerism and corruption of the West, the beauty of their religion by commiting horrible deeds-that in their eyes are nothing but noble. Take note that they are from Sheffield, England. Four of the men are identifiably Muslim, but one stands out like a nerd on the football team. He is a white convert to Islam, and the most radical, impatient, and extreme of the pack-trying to convince them to attack a Mosque. Two members, Omar and Waj, get sent to a terrorist training camp with disastrous result-keep watching after the credits to understand the extent of their tragic contribution. After returning, all five, which includes the new recruit Hassan, decide to find a target to express their rage.

These are not organized or trained newbie terrorists. They act independently on their dogma, and hilarity ensues. They are also quite well rounded, unlike the terrorist picture many of us may imagine: isolated people lacking in friends, and lovable family. Omar, for example, has a son, wife, and quite a large group of friends-many which are British. They have no detailed philosophy besides the idea that this consumer Western society is corrupt, and needs to be punished. There is almost no discussion of Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, or any terrorist organization. However, They strive to be Jihadists, and ascend to Heaven. It’s that simple in their eyes. No discussion of their victims ever take place, and for good reason. These characters are simplistic in their desires, so even a superficial thought of their victims innocence may thwart their plans.

Chris Morris reportedly has done years of research for this film, predating the 7/7 London Bombings. Unfortunately, we don’t see the fruits of his research directly on screen. If his research finds its way in to the final cut of this film, it must be very subliminal because I could not see any evidence that this was deeply researched. Due to his research which included collecting personal account from countless different sources, it seems that Morris at parts is unable to shed light on the emotional aspects. Truths that are self-evident to him are not necessarily evident to us, and certain aspects require more emotional investment.

Many examples of such emotionally ambivalent scenes are spread throughout the film, however they are most evident during the scenes involving Omar’s family. Of Course, Omar’s son does not know about his father’s true intents, but he is teaching his son the moral reason for his task through Disney’s Lion King. After their overseas debacle, he explains to him that Simba must lie for now until he can accomplish his true goal. These intimate scenes are done well, as we begin to realize that these men are not hopeless young teens without futures.

One of the most out of place scenes occurs after Omar deserts his fellow brothers, disappointed and depressed about their plans. His wife’s word about his plans, and eventual demise, are so cold heartedly encouraging that we suddenly recall this is a piece of fiction. She seems to be actually encouraging and advocating his plan, clearly aware that its execution will leave her without a husband, and her son a father. Before this scene we saw these two adults use a water gun to  force a friend out of their house.  They may share the same ideas about the “depravity” of Western culture, but they are a loving couple. Morris, in this scene, makes the woman out to be absolutely heartless about her husband, and maybe ready to get rid of him by granting his services to the Lord in Heaven.  This scene is made all the more preposterous by the inclusion of their son in this conversation. Another complaint maybe that the wife is simply a foil character with nothing worthwhile to express. As said before, Morris has done much research on this topic, and maybe the families of terrorists are as “open-minded” as this, willing to give up their husbands, and parents in the Lord’s service. Even if this is the case, Morris needs to stray from his facts, and show more compassion in these scenes, or progress to this line of though gradually, not spontaneously.

Four Lions also suffers from a smug sense of profundity. It often feels that the film believes besides laughs it is giving us an earnest and deeply insightful view about terrorism. Whenever Morris decides to make his work more insightful, the comedy suffers drastically. True, we are talking about people blowing themselves and others up by explosives, yet a truly comedic tone fits this successful premise well. The film’s serious moments are so far and in between that they never make the impact that he desires. A prime example is the concluding scene when Omar wants to make Waj, one of the co-conspirators, to give himself up. When this fails, Omar marches in to a pharmacy completing his mission. This serious scene steals from the comedy of the four men running around for twenty minutes in preposterous costumes ranging from Honey Munster to an ostrich. After this, a somber songs begins that is truly not in the spirit of the film. I believe Morris believed he had made a serious statement, like the one at the beginning and conclusion of American Beauty. Four Lions loses it’s touch, and becomes somewhat disjointed from its black comedy elements when it choses to take such a drastically different route.

Despite all this criticism, I found Four Lions to more insightful and original than most current comedies distributed in the last few years. Morris of course does not succeed in  all his goals, but miraculously saves himself from much criticism that his Brass Eye series received in the last decade. He looks at the issue at a very specific angle which makes the comedy, despite the subject, extremely funny. His characters are somewhat stupid and carless which are necessary elements for a film on such a bleak subject.   If only the bomber’s of 7/7, and hijackers of 9/11, were as independent and clueless as these men are, the victims of their actions would be miniscule in number.

Inception (2010)

Rating:****

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Starring:

Leonardo DiCaprio
Ken Watanabe
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Marion Cotlliard
Ellen Page
Cillian Murphy
Tom Hardy
Dileep Rao
Tom Berenger
Michael Caine

Inception marks a return for Christopher Nolan, as he takes a break from the superhero world of DC comics and jumps back into his comfort zone: the human mind. Anyone following Nolan’s career will be already familiar with Memento. Memento and Inception, conceptually different, are similar in their approach to filmmaking. Above anything else, both are mind blowing experiences with extraordinary concepts that only someone like Nolan, in this visceral blockbuster era, could conceive. I found his Batman output notable, but, of course, he was attempting to give new life to a franchise that for long seemed doomed for light entertainment. Here, he is back in his comfort zone, creating and developing inventive concepts from sketch.

Describing the plot of Inception in such a short space would be both difficult and inadequate. Inception is a journey within the depths of the human mind, via a process named extraction, accessing the most obscure and fascinating concept: dreams. Through the tools at hand, the characters are able to enter the dreams of others and understand the secrets of the subject via their subconscious. However, the subconscious is not only occupied with the subject and the “intruder,” as its limitless scope and design allows for countless different and eclectic additional characters and objects. In addition, some people have been trained against such invasions, and have a particularly strong and proficient defense system.

The protagonist of the tale is Dominic Cobb, played by Leonardo Di Caprio, who is a successful and intelligent extractor. His personal and professional troubles have for a time forced him to live outside of the United States, away from his children. Accepting the fact that he possibly will never see his children, for he would be arrested and jailed for many years if he were to return to the country, he decides to lay low and eventually get work in another country. However, a wealthy man, Saito, whom he is familiar with due to prior extraction missions, offers him a final job. This job, however, is more challenging than any extraction they have ever performed. On this mission, they must incept the mind of Robert Fischer, heir to a wealthy corporation. Robert Fischer’s father is close to death, and Saito wants to make sure that his corporate rival disintegrates the company. As a result, they must incept his mind, and grant him new ideas about his relationship with his father and Godfather, Peter Browning. For the completion of this task, they use sedatives that would grant them to dream within the dreams. They eventually are able to get close enough to Robert to enter his dreams. Unfortunately, even with all their preparation, they experience countless setbacks that endanger the mission and their life outside of the dream world.


If inception failed in character and story development, acting, directing, cinematography, and many other aspects of the film it still would be an undeniably original concept. Though it will be compared to The Matrix, and possibly Dark City, this film is more original in its jargon, while something like the Matrix was largely influenced by countless different schools of philosophy. The concept of the dreams is unique and entirely original, and in years to come it will be imitated but never bettered. Many studies have shown that the vocabulary of British films have for long been more widespread than American films. Inception may be an exception. Instead of focusing on the F word, which films of all genres have for long found an affinity for, Inception actually uses some elaborate terms-at least for a Hollywood film. This is not necessarily an intellectual film, as it is entirely fictional. However, Inception’s pseudo-intellectuality still makes the viewer think and see if Inception’s own rules are logically applied. This is a visceral experience, like Transformers, but our mind is constantly active, trying to interpret all the countless information and new ideas that Nolan throws our way.

As you see, I have quite an affinity for this genuinely inventive films, so, why theseeminglyderogative heading? This film, possibly due its ingenuity, has been compared to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. In ways, it is unfair to compare the acclaimed science-fiction film to an exceptional Hollywood blockbuster. Maybe, just as the detractors of 2001 decreased by numbers, Inception’s critic may have to eat their words in the foreseeable future. However, there is a place where the comparison is applicable. Kubrick’s film is possibly the most implicit film ever created, where nearly every segment has countless interpretations and the film rarely shows us its explicit side. In 2001, Kubrick created an entirely implicit experience, unexpected of the director of Spartacus and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Many years after the first film, Arthur C. Clark released a sequel, 2010: Odyssey Two, which was eventually adapted. As much as the earlier film was implicit, 2010 was explicit and Hollywood entertainment. Of course, the magic was lost, as it tried direly to make the audience, possibly the ones who were bored by the first film, understand the points only hinted by 2001. Inception is 2010, while it could have more elegantly become 2001. This film is undeniably complex, proven by the fact that Nolan explains every single detail of extraction and inception. We need some information about this original concept, but every part of the process is so heavily explained that it leaves nothing to the imagination. Nolan explains everything to such a degree that we truly feel like observers and outsiders to these characters world. If it had been suggestive in some areas, our intellect could have been truly engaged and this film would have been a true cerebral experience. Unfortunately, we gaze at the film with fascination, trying to always comprehend its thread of complexity. We may be confused at moments, but rarely are we bewilderingly lost in the picture. Unfortunately, Nolan is trapped in the blockbuster world, where studios demand clarity from the narrative. In other words, there is a much more implicit and majestic film buried from the view of the still powerful Inception.

Inception may be a blockbuster with expected top-notch actors, but it has much more personality, focus, and drive than the average Hollywood product. The fact that Nolan could have created such an original film in such a predictable era is testament to his immense talent as one of the most fascinating directors of recent times, with only Tarantino as his rival. There has been much talk about the final scene and moments of the film, and its implications. On Inception’s Wikipedia page, there appears a solid explanation for the ending but that is unfortunate. If Nolan is not aiming for a sequel, which I hope not, the open-ended ending brilliantly matches, and possibly defines this mystifying film and is proof of the audacity of Nolan’s vision.

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