Sci-fi / So, I went to see Inception...

2011-03-10

...and there were six people in the movie theater. In downtown Bucharest, on a pleasant March afternoon. Look, I know people nowadays are more likely to hit the local mall for the latest adrenaline fest in threeeee deeeee! but still, seriously? I watched HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy in an obscure independent theater, and there were twice as many spectators.

Deep breath. Let's just talk about the movie.

The plot: it's your traditional cyberpunk heist in the best William Gibson tradition, only with a different tech base. Christopher Nolan knows his sources of inspiration, and isn't afraid to show it.

The science in the fiction: this is your good old Matrix, except with concentric layers that influence each other. The technobabble is kept to a minimum (in fact, they could't possibly get away with any less), and there is a set of simple rules that are enforced consistently throughout. That's a breath of fresh air in modern storytelling, where the laws of physics (be they imaginary or real) tend to follow the scriptwriter's whim.

The treatment: given the subject matter, a lesser director would have been tempted to play mind games with the audience. Not this guy. There's none of that "your mind makes it real" crap either. Oh no, the dangers of the dream world are subtle... and far more terrible. There is plenty of action too, but no gore, and the accent is clearly on the intellectual side. The imagery is mind-blowing and comes with special effects to support it. As for the soundtrack... let's just say it earned that Oscar as well.

The cast is a fairly impressive array of stars, with a few unknown but excellent actors thrown in for good measure (edit: unknown to me, apparently). Geeks will be happy to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt (of 3rd Rock from the Sun fame) again. The "crowning moment of awesome" prize goes to Ken Watanabe for the line, "I bought the whole airline. It seemed simpler."

Bonus points for the endless city towards the end, which struck a special chord with me.

Reasons to watch this movie: if you liked Vanilla Sky.

Reasons to avoid it: if you dislike Leonardo DiCaprio.

My grade: five starts out of five. Don't believe me? Go see for yourselves. Preferably before traditional movie theaters disappear.

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