But is it Real? (Part Two)

Ah. Well, I was reserving the title of this post for a followup post to an earlier post about physics research. But, the film I went to last night at the wonderful Vista theatre was so engaging, and so excellently done – on the themes of dreams and memory – that I thought I’d use it.

escher_penrose_stairsChristopher Nolan has done it again! Inception (both written and directed by him) is yet another (remember my discussion of the Dark Knight two years back) example that shows that it is possible to make a big budget Summer Blockbuster that does not treat the audience as idiots. It tells you from the opening frames that you’re going to have to pay attention and think during the film, and that interesting ideas and themes are going to be explored, and it certainly lives up to that promise right through to the end. It is thrilling on all sort of levels, and for those who don’t care about ideas, there’s plenty of stuff blowing up and crashing into stuff to keep them happy.

I am going to say absolutely nothing more about it (more or less) since one of the things that usually helps me enjoy films like this to the max is that I’ve no idea what is coming. I hardy watch TV commercials at all and don’t follow online chatter about movies, and so have not been overloaded with (what I’ve heard has been) a lot of hype about the movie. I had essentially no idea who was in it (beyond two of the leads) or what it was about when I went in. That helps, since then the whole conceit unfolds marvellously for you from beginning to end. If you can, try to do that – so definitely ignore reviews, that tend to tell you way too much. (A good bit of advice I heard on Kermode this morning: Make sure you don’t have to do a toilet break. If you do so, you might as well just not come back in and instead wait for the next showing since you’ll never connect where you return to to where you left…)

I loved it. And people around me in the hugely packed theatre did too. You could hear people delighting in the working out they had to do at various points. Look… Penrose staircases were featured – what more do you want?! Alternative laws of physics? Ideas about Design, Architecture, and Psychology? Well… go along and see! Think of it this way…. if people who like their films not dumb and dumber support this in vast numbers, it might send the signal to studio heads that they don’t need to separate non-formulaic idea-entertaining thought-provoking writing and filmmaking from the big budgets. They are (not surprisingly) not mutually exclusive!

-cvj

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7 Responses to But is it Real? (Part Two)

  1. Blake Stacey says:

    I missed out on the hype, too, so hurrah on that score!

    if people who like their films not dumb and dumber support this in vast numbers, it might send the signal to studio heads that they don’t need to separate non-formulaic idea-entertaining thought-provoking writing and filmmaking from the big budgets.

    One thing I liked about Inception was that it is formulaic, but in a good way. It’s a heist movie about a master thief who assembles a crackerjack team of specialists to pull off the One Last Job he needs to do before he can retire. Gee, I think I’ve seen that story a couple times. But this movie uses those genre conventions as a sturdy framework to support some engaging character studies and fantastic action setpieces.

    How good was it? Well, speaking only for myself, I didn’t notice that the air conditioning in the movie theater had broken until the end credits started to roll.

  2. Clifford says:

    Hi,

    I agree. But I mean something different when I talk about formulaic. After all, all (or by far, most) movies and other story telling media have a formula (or set of) of some sort… but you use it as a framework, not a set of shackles.

    Glad you liked it!

    Best,

    -cvj

  3. Clifford says:

    Wow! Al Gore has a blog?!

    -cvj

  4. Dev Kanchen says:

    SO glad to have found this blog! Just read through some 10-11 articles; stopping by on this one to say thanks!

    Oh and Inception was great, by the way. The plot was (although delightfully layered) thankfully linear enough, in complete contrast to Nolan’s own “Prestige” – which I thought had a simple enough (albeit ludicrous) story with needlessly convoluted presentation!

    Anyway, great blog!

    Have a nice day.

    Dev

  5. Pingback: Inception, Abridged! at Asymptotia

  6. Plato says:

    Can’t wait to see it.

    I am sure, seeing the world out of such equatorial abstractions can be very artistically appealing when manufactured to some pictured form? It’s a process unfolding for sure, and then imagine, one can move it to movies.

    I look forward to those “new images.”

    Each generation builds a mental picture” of their own understanding of this world and constructs more and more penetrating mental tools to explore previously hidden aspects of that reality.

    http://alainconnes.org/en/

    As a mathematician would one not like to see it’s outcome in advance by endearing the heart of a good artist who paints what s/he sees from such formulations? Computationally such programs are written, but does that really capture the imagination?

    I am thinking of Penrose and Escher.

    Best,