If there’s a problem with Christopher Nolan — and I submit, ladies and gentlemen, that there IS a problem with Christopher Nolan — it’s perhaps that, with all his impressive gifts for visualisation, he doesn’t always make the best choices in what to visualise and how to visualise it. My Nolan Problem dates back to his over-cutty, bowdlerized remake of INSOMNIA, and came back to bite me with the incoherent set-piece fights in BATMAN BEGINS (which I mulled over here). I liked THE PRESTIGE a good deal, but had a nagging feeling that the last shot could have crystallized the story a whole lot better if we’d seen clearly the contents of lots and lots of big jars. Instead of a great “Ah-hah!” we get a big “Ah-hah… I think.” But maybe he likes that — the end of the new one could be described as aiming for just that feeling.

Anyhow, I liked THE DARK KNIGHT fine, for what it was — “Big movies have got to get better,” said Soderbergh, before making OCEAN’S 11 thru 13, increasingly proving his own point without solving the problem — and Nolan is closer to attaining this improvement than most of his contemporaries. The problems with TDK are perhaps inherent to the comic book action thriller, which is to say they’re not problems at all for the audience that digs those movies… I like my action sequences to advance the plot, personally…

My INCEPTION Problem has a little to do with clarity — I see no reason why the set-up of the equipment used for dream invasions couldn’t make it pictorially quite clear just WHO is invading and just WHO is being invaded, which would help in the early setting up of the rules. But then I did quite like having to struggle occasionally to follow the story, which is an unfamiliar sensation in modern cinema.

I find the title slightly comical, but here I have to digress and explain why. A few friends were talking movies, and they came up with what seemed at the time like a pretty good thriller idea, set on an oil tanker in the North Sea. One of them suddeny became very excited: “Oh, oh! I know what it should be called! The perfect title!” Drum roll. His friends lean forward in suspense. “CONTAINMENT,” he says.

To me, INCEPTION is like CONTAINMENT — it comes on quite strong as a word sound, but it doesn’t follow through on the level of meaning. It’s not an exciting word.

But my REAL Problem With Inception — which essentially I enjoyed, I have to say — is that the rules set up in the training sequence seem to allow for some fantastic visuals that you couldn’t get in another movie: folding Paris, for instance. And the scary, paranoid threat of all the extras turning hostile when you do things like that. And that isn’t followed through in the action climax, or not to a satisfactory level. The Escher staircase and its variants are very nice, but shouldn’t there be something even bigger than the Paris roll-up? And the way everything explodes when a dream collapses — shouldn’t that have been repeated? Instead we get some well-staged action sequences with guns and explosives. The problem here is that those kind of sequences could occur in any movie — Nolan could have saved the snow attack for a BATMAN movie and we’d be none the wiser.

(My dinner companion of Wednesday night shrewdly points out that this big shoot-em-up seems inspired by Anthony Mann’s THE HEROES OF TELEMARK, but there’s nothing to compare to the wordless, music-less, hushed advance through the snow in that movie, which is sheer poetry.)

So while I enjoyed Joseph Gordon Levitt fighting on the ceiling like a two-fisted Fred Astaire, I wanted more of that kind of thing. A really interesting story world is summoned up here, but the pay-off is overly intercut action sequences (shades of Lucas) which don’t sufficiently exploit the unique qualities of that vision.

Still — the pluses are a really strong supporting cast for Leonardo DiCaprio (who’s not having much luck with the ladies lately) — the very lovely Ellen Page gives it warmth, Tom Hardy and Dileep Rao (most compulsively, amusingly watchable Hollywood new discovery of this century?) give it humour, Watanable and Postlethwaite and Caine and Berenger give it class, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives it that indefinable Joseph Gordon-Levitt Feeling — some fantastic environments, including of course the crumbling city (give me a crumbling city and I’m a happy fellow) and the full-blooded, if derivative, bombast of Hans Zimmer’s score.

46 Responses to “Perception”

  1. Ted Haycraft Says:

    Some really good observations David. I’m wondering if Nolan kept with more ‘normal’ action scenes was to satisfy the summer blockbuster going audience (?!). It seems in one way the film plays out pretty straight forward if you want to keep it ‘simple’ but it also is very highly complicated if you want to go that route (…does that make seense?!??).

    Also Nolan has stated that hs favorite Bond film is ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE and boy, there are shots during the snow action sequences that are directly lifted out of that film big time!!!


  2. Pretty good review. I really need to see this film, and not only for my growing crush on Ellen Page.

    Is the action in this film shot better than The Dark Knight? If there’s one thing that disappoints me about Nolan, (the only thing), is that his action scenes are too SHAKY and too-fast cut! Which can work, but not all the time. If he could sort this out, then it’s happy days for everyone.

    Talking of action scenes I can’t wait to see what Brad Bird does with Mission Impossible 4.

    I await your Toy Story 3 review with baited breath young sire! x

  3. I saw INCEPTION on Friday and for me it’s a big fun film. I love the over-the-top dialogue in the first half of the film and I loved the chemistry between DiCaprio and Cotillard. The entire film otherwise is a work of CONcept ART. It’s a movie that basically glorifies brainwashing(that’s what they call “inception” in the movie in the old tradition of corporatespeak) which even a “misanthrope” like Kubrick was appalled at in “A Clockwork Orange” and the film is amoral to the point that it doesn’t create conflict around the central part – that is the guy whose mind they’re brainwashing(played by an entirely wasted Cillian Murphy). The tension is perversely, a Hawksian group situation of a man with a past trying to put it behind him to get the job done. Leo DiCaprio is both John Wayne and Dean Martin in ”Rio Bravo”. Th actual thing about planting an idea in the head of a mind goes smoothly to the point of redundancy and the closest Nolan allows is the same tease that Clouzot closed LES DIABOLIQUES with.

    With SHUTTER ISLAND and this film, DiCaprio is becoming the most popular and bankable wife-killer(on-screen) in film history. And its amazing how the film lets him off the hook for his entirely despicable action.

  4. MI4 sounds like a poisoned chalice to me…

    Still to see TS3, hope to catch it once I’m reunited with Fiona, whose reactions to 2 were very impressive and enjoyable (and not that different to mine, but I’d already seen it)…

    My Dark Knight review argues that the fights in that film were a lot LESS shaky and incoherent than those in Batman Begins… Inception is more confident still, except that the incessant intercutting mars the pleasure somewhat.

    On Her Majesty’s Secret Service does make more sense as an influence than Telemark. I like Peter Hunt’s hyped-up cutting of the Bond films (he always preserved the clarity of cause and effect, unlike Nolan in his Batmen movies) and I guess that’s an influence here.

  5. Arthur – it is indeed a movie where sabotaging people’s subconscious is considered an OK thing to do. DiCaprio brainwashing his wife would have been fine, it seems, if not for the unintended consequences. Although maybe his uncertain fate at the end of the film is intended to complicate that. There’s still no sense that the industrial espionage job perpetrated on Murphy’s brain is in any way questionable — Page is supposed to be the audience’s voice, but she has no issues with mind-rape.

    This moral blankness puts the film in a category with Natali’s Cypher, a more modest movie which I on the whole prefer.

  6. Yeah quite right, the training didn’t have the pay-off like in similar movies, like the first Matrix, but I did like the idea of the bank heist (one last big job and we can go home) narrative.

    The JGL “two-fisted Fred Astaire” line above is great, I saw him present SNL and he opened with a totally average “make him laugh” skit, where he did the running-up-wall backflip et al. While Astaire isn’t O’Connor, this scene made my brain leap to a similar comparison..

  7. The corporate espionage bit reminded me of NEW ROSE HOTEL also a film about love and betrayal and deception set within a industrial-military future(or our present). The obvious reference in the room of the vault is the last scene of 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY but the globe-trotting plot also recalls Welles’ MR. ARKADIN(also the opening with washing upon a beach) and the labyrinths upon labyrinths evoke THE TRIAL. Then the dress that Cotillard wears in her first scene with DiCaprio(in the Japonais-themed dreamscape opening) seemed similar to Delphine Seyrig’s outfits in MARIENBAD and of course the longing and memory of DiCaprio’s past recalls Je T’aime Je T’aime. INCEPTION is yet another mainstream ransacking and compartmentalization of genuinely avant-garde films.

  8. Very well put, and nice to read some additional commentary that combines solid critique with a sense that it wasn’t the worst way to spend a couple of hours (I certainly had fun on Friday in the company of my wife and a couple of hundred locals)!

    Your comments on the cast were especially on the money – Tom Ford is great, and used very well, although I wouldn’t have minded a good deal more screen time for Dileep Rao. The scene that introduces him promises much more of the character than we ultimately get. I’m not a huge fan of Cotillard, though; I can’t help but feel that there’s something slightly off in how she gives rhythm to English-language dialogue, though are moments where she transcended that with an eerie look.

    Like Ted, I immediately thought of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” when the film went snowbound, though I’d no idea that Nolan liked the Bond film; one shot in particular, as they get ready to ski away down the mountain, looked like a deliberate copy, with the artificiality of the original intact.

    I was a bit nonplussed by the switch between the sometimes confusing cutting style of the “main” action sequences – in the opening section, for instance – even though it’s an improvement on “The Dark Knight”, and the less frenetic, and spatially clearer, way in which he shoots the sequences with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, where there’s a real sense of the character’s peril. It’s as if Nolan has figured out a perfectly serviceable way to shoot action but then decided, “nah, best if I scramble it most of the time”.

  9. Like the review and above comments. I can only add that I found Decaprio one of the problems with the film. Not that it was such a bad performance from him, but with him, there’s a problem of crediblity, which is probably a core problem, that has to do with his physicality, or lack of it. He’s just too physically “soft” to carry off leading man roles. I don’t find him believable. I can’t ever quite believe what’s supposed to be going on in his pumpkin head. He doesn’t really convey deep psychology.

    When Ellen Page came into the film, it seemed that they would make a good acting team, maybe in a light comedy, along the lines of Gilbert Grape.

  10. Well I’ve got a growing crush on Joseph Gordon-Levitt

    But when it comes to exploring human consciousness je me prefere Alain Resnais

  11. Heh! to “big pumpkin head” — I see the problem. I don’t find him bad, but he’s lost the appeal he had for me up until Romeo + Juliet.

    Gareth, you put your finger on a problem with Nolan’s approach — he treats the early scenes as opportunities for characterisation, then abandons it once the action starts. There ARE ways to use action sequences to express character, rather than to substitute for it… the hostility between Gordon-Levitt and Ford was interesting, but then they get separated for the climax which means it goes nowhere. I was surprised they didn’t turn Page into a kickboxing sharpshooter by the end. Small mercies.

  12. Great stuff, Mr. Cairns! You do a good job making your case regarding Nolan’s flaws.

    I think it boils down to whether or not a viewer is willing to overlook them or not – how much they want to invest and “buy in” to Nolan’s concept/vision.

    Nolan, I think, will always sacrifice character for plot and emotion for ideas (which isn’t to say I didn’t find “enough” in the characters and emotions explored here to become invested in the story) and he will always struggle with how to properly handle action scenes — though one hopes he moves away from action films once he is done with the Batman franchise.

    That being said, I have thoroughly enjoyed every single one of his films from Following to Inception. Count me as an investor in his ambition and desire to give audiences a better breed of mainstream blockbuster.

  13. P. S. I want to see CONTAINMENT!

  14. Simon Fraser Says:

    I did enjoy Inception quite a bit. It was very pleasurable to watch the script working and I found the cast very charming. Levitt has an unusual presence for a leading man, contained , inscrutable and he does physically resemble Astair, with his sloping shoulders and slight build. I liked Marion Cotillard too , she does complicated well.
    I recently saw a rough cut of an upcoming movie with Ellen Paige in it, she was playing a completely deranged part with such charm and open enthusiasm that I found it hard not to be swept along by her engaging bonkers-ness. She may have saved that film for me.

  15. I didn’t mind the action staging here so much. I read something where he said that he shot the fights confusingly in Batman Begins to suggest that Batman was so slick and fast that nobody can follow what he’s doing. Which sounds almost reasonable, except that it’s obviously no fun to watch confused motion blur for minutes on end. Compare to Gene Wilder’s quick-draw in Blazing Saddles, which is beautifully done!

    The problem with the action is that it’s more or less pure spectacle without helping plot theme or character.

    Ellen Page should be seen in Bruce MacDonald’s The Tracey Fragments, a nice, unappreciated gem with a beautiful Mondrian split-screen look.

  16. Mr E, you’re not the only one with a THING for JGL. My first encounter was seeing him as the rather strange looking androgynous ‘son’ in TRFTS. He did nothing for me at the time, but as he’s matured he’s turned into a fascinating screen presence. More please.

  17. Despite liking his first two features, we’d pretty much lost interest in seeing any more Nolan after INSOMNIA (shudder) – and comic-book cinema not being our bag (honourable exceptions: Bava and Vadim). INCEPTION does sound good though.

  18. I agree that JGL’s zero gravity action sequence was the absolute highpoint of this. He’s a superb hero. And Cotillard was magnificently terrifying. But LDC (not helped by the incessant parallels with Shutter Island) was just far too one-note. How much greater would this film have been if his demons had manifested themselves through, say, agressively cheery overcompensating, or indeed ANY kind of characterisation rather than that off-the-peg fixed kittenish scowl. As it is he’s as one dimensional as Cotillard’s phantom (I can’t help thinking if Matt Damon had starred we’d have got something a little less religiously iconic and a lot more sympatheic.)

    And I had no problems with the morality of the film. A) It’s a heist flick, and B) what’s being attempted is something far more nuanced than brain-washing, far closer to a con. But if Hardy was playing Berenger, who was playing Postlethwaite, if they’re young as they lay their heads on the tracks how did they grow old together, if they hadn’t prepared for security, why is the final scenario so Alistair MacClean, and what was the point of the maze and who’s changing the script to accommodate the information they get from Murphy, and on and on?

    Ultimately though, yes my only complaint was the lack of laffs. (Also I saw this film at West India Quays, a lifelsss environment chillingly similar to Nolan’s vision of limbo, so that helped).

  19. Mr. C, you left out mentioning Cillian Murphy, who for my money gave THE performance of the film — lovely though JGL is (and yes, his Fred Astaire routine was the highpoint). In fact, I wish JGL had played Cobb, as Leonard DiCaprio is unfathomable to me. I don’t get why he’s so popular and why he’s the first choice of so many directors. Well, JGL is probably a few years too young for Cobb but still…

  20. As a long time lurker on your blog, do you mind if I add my thruppence worth? I felt like an early commenter here, in that the lead character is deeply problematic, yet gets a free pass throughout the film, never mind how you construe the ending. The film presents him as a character who we should be rooting for because life has treated him unfairly. But he has brought his troubles upon himself. The fact that this character is a bully, manipulator and abuser is rather glossed over. Let me think: he drives his wife mad, goes in for violent thuggery against innocent parties in his dream scenarios, irresponsible towards his team – frankly, social services should not let this man within a mile of his children, and his fellow thieves should give him a good kicking, in the real world, where it hurts.

    Nolan said there is emotion in this film, but I’m afraid I just saw emoting, particularly from LDC, who also appears to be suffering from a serious charisma bypass. If Tom Hardy, for instance, had actually been playing the lead (and boy does that man remind me of Roger Livesey, in a totally enthralling way) then I fess up, I would have QUITE different feelings about the film.

    Final verdict: mise en scene by Leonardo da Vinci, characterisation and dialogue by Bob the Builder. However, now I really want to see Heroes of Telemark – seriously, do you recommend it?

  21. Oh I did like the observation that dreams have no beginning. I haven’t come across that before.

  22. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by dcairns, visionpictures. visionpictures said: Great review of Inception by David Cairns at Shadowplay […]

  23. Tha’ts quite ture. Dreams are always in media res

  24. micheal snow

    After seeing many of the digital effects that were in Inception, being used in a lfew current commercials, jus felt like posting this. Its probably from 10 years ago.

  25. I guess the slide into dream is gradual and we lose the beginning, can never remember it… the movie isn’t otherwise remotely concerned with being dreamlike or evoking that state as it’s experienced.

    Helena, I absolutely agree. Leo is just good enough to make you not embarrassed (except in Cotillard defenestration, where I choked back an unwanted laugh), but as soon as you imagine a genuinely surprising actor in the role (and I love Simon’s line “off-the-peg fixed kittenish scowl”) it would all get so much better.

    Telemark is pretty good, not as great as earlier Mann, but the snowy advance scene is magical.

  26. Thank you for the comment, Mr Cairns, and I hope you’re having an utterly splendid time in New York.

    (I have already mentioned this on the inestimable Mr Kenny’s blog, but for anyone irked by Inception’s gimcrack psychology, the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band’s Canyons of Your Mind is the perfect riposte.)

  27. Exactly right about the set up being better than the rest. Once they set about on their mission, it became a pretty lame action movie. A really long one. The snow scene, as you said, seemed like it was cut and paste from a crap Bond movie. This movie was a real let down for me. I’m not a big Nolan fan anyway, but I really liked The Prestige. This one just made a bunch of silly rules and then talked about them endlessly.

    The other thing that kind of bothers me is the idea that anyone would be confused about any of this plot. It couldn’t have been more clearly laid out. You always knew what was going on. It could have used a little more confusion.

    The only time I thought of Anthony Mann when I was watching this was when in one of the more talky points I thought about how stupid I was to miss the Mann season at Film Forum a couple weeks ago.

  28. oh INCEPTION–I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie that had less of an effect upon my psyche than this one… everything just slides on by like a doomed-to-be-forgotten dream… like many others, I found the narrative stiflingly preoccupied with its own internal logic–I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie in which the characters’ “motivations” were so clearly subservient to its expository scheme… I mean, do Cillian Murphy’s father issues or DiCaprio’s desire to see his kids ever feel like anything other than “fill in the blank psychology”? Viewed that way, it’s kind of an amazing experiment in zero gravity theatrics… dropping everyone into “limbo” long before that concept is formally introduced by the script…

    on the other hand–at least this one wasn’t trying to say anything–’cause Nolan is even worse when he does that… TDK is definitely in the running for my least favourite film of all time, thanks to its combination of the usual Nolan banality with a strenuously-argued paean to vigilante justice and defiance of international law


  29. The politics of Batman — a millionaire who gets his rocks off beating up working class crims — are always going to cause problems. I’ve just been reading Grant Morrison’s Batman comics, which ignore this completely, concentrating on a kind of sci-fi psychology, with Bruce Wayne having reconstructed his shattered personality in a superior form. Morrison really BELIEVES in superheroes, which isn’t true of many of the authors or filmmakers who deal with them. Even though he also decries the gritty realist school, which “always ask what it would be like if superheroes existed in the real world, even though we all know they COULDN’T.” I guess Morrison postulates incredible worlds where such people could come to be, and both the world and the characters are metaphors for our reality.

  30. Well, I liked INCEPTION and have been developing a (very) grudging respect for Nolan as he enjoys his moment in the sun – the least likely place we would expect any artist to develop his aesthetic.

  31. I can relate somewhat to your feeling of letdown-ness that the film didn’t climax with a physics-defying, world-collapsing set piece. The crumbling house in Limbo was a little lame compared to the 0-G fights and warping cities and buildings. I think the film was going for a reverse-climax, with a moment of complete calm at the center of the multi-tiered structure, and it accomplished this, to a decent degree… however, I wish there had been a more intense emotional payoff there. The closest thing they seemed to have was *SPOILER* the shot of Cobb and Mal with their heads on the rail of a train track *END SPOILER* and after all the cerebral investment it took to get to that point, a bigger payoff might have been nice.

    Even so, I loved Inception, and can’t fault it for something I sense it might have lacked 24 hours after the fact.

    I find the arguments about Inception’s morality to be flat-out silly (and honestly incoherent, which is the only word that accurately describes Armond White’s obnoxious review). Since when was any real cinema required to reinforce our moral consciousness? Armchair critics are saying it excuses/glorifies “mental rape,” but their use of a provocative term to describe a tricky but fairly safe narrative idea — the idea of getting into someone else’s mental space — is irresponsible. This is especially true considering the dearth of inane slaughter in every stupid action movie, from disturbing indie horror to kid-targeted cartoon action films.

  32. I agree that Inception shouldn’t be faulted for lacking a moral perspective on its oneiric heisters… I do fault it for failing to make me feel that anything at all is at stake… of course, that’s a very personal reaction–and I’ve reacted (or failed to react) to everything Nolan has ever done, from MEMENTO onwards…

    DC–100% agree on Morrison… haven’t looked at his Batman yet, and I have a feeling it’s not on a par with Animal Man, Doom Patrol, The Filth or Seaguy, but I trust him to get the most out of the genre… the only DIRECTOR I think I’d trust to make a really interesting superhero film would be David Lynch…. Nolan is the anti-Lynch

  33. er…. make that “and I’ve reacted THAT WAY to everything Nolan has ever…”

  34. Righto!

    The morality thing was only significant to me because the film postulates Page as a normal person. Wouldn’t a normal person at least ask a question about the morality here? I felt the same way about the (admittedly well inferior) Species — the cast of scientists are introduced to Michael Madsen, a self-professed hitman, and not one of them is perturbed at being in a room with him. So, to clarify, I don’t need the film to push a moral view, but I’d like the characters to be credible and ask the questions I’d want asked.

    Morrison’s Batman — I’d put it at least equal with Animal Man, but I found AM a little up-and-down.

  35. Paula — sorry your post had to be rescued from spam. WordPress having a strange day.

    I didn’t mention Murphy because I honestly felt he was wasted in the role. Probably any other part would have suited him better. And it would have been amusing to see DiCaprio in Murphy’s role, essentially a puppet for the other players. Some kind of humour in casting an A-lister there. I like Murphy, and I like that Nolan likes Murphy (even getting him to cameo in Dark Knight, although it’s odd to see his glassy, unnerving Scarecrow downgraded so far) but here he doesn’t seem able to exploit his particular gifts, since the character is all soap opera backstory with nothing of interest to play.

  36. In fact “It’s no Species” was a genuine point of concensus between me and my mate Tom when we were bemoaning the lack of team chemistry in Inception. Because besides the ridiculous plot and dialogue, the former also has going for it an oddly sophisticated – no, not sophisticated – but winningly convincing sense of the awkwardness of company bonding once events get rolling, staying up late in cocktail bars, hanging around each other’s hotel rooms.

    And for me, anagramsci, Inception’s preoccupation with its own internal logic was one of its strong points; so many blockbusters nowadays just don’t make that effort. Yes the human psyche was reduced to the complexity of a Vegas security system, but that’s psychoanalysis for you. To explicitly make that connection in an espionage thriller is a smart switch and likewise I’m happy that the con’s payoff focused on a father’s dying words rather than some Dark-City style set piece (I hated Dark City).

  37. oh I absolutely agree that Page’s character was misused (and I like Ellen Page a lot)… my advice to Nolan would be to avoid audience identification characters entirely–all they do is draw attention to the fact that he has no idea what actual people tend to think about

    I’ll definitely have to make some time for Morrison’s Batman! (Animal Man certainly is uneven–but I guess that’s how I like ’em!)

  38. I saw Dark City on the big screen and it was obvious someone had panicked and tried to make it explain its mysteries before they’d even been established. Haven’t seen the director’s cut so don’t know how much of an improvement it is. It certainly had its lumbering infelicities, but I enjoyed the look of it.

    Am currently enjoying the Morrison-Millar Flash comics, which are lightweight, old-style, imaginative, and free of the “dark and gritty” style that’s come to stand for serious intent. Very much like the comics I read in reprint as a kid.

  39. When Noel Vera visited New York recently, DARK CITY came up and he pointed out that it was an undeclared adaptation of PK Dick’s ADJUSTMENT TEAM.

    That story – which I haven’t read, though I’m a big fan of the author (seriously: I can’t ever seem to get enough Dick), has been made into a forthcoming motion picture, rechristened THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, and starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. The director is one George Nolfi, and it’s his first movie at the helm, although he seems to have gotten the gig by being part of the Clooney-Soderbergh-Damon-Pitt-etc pack, as writer and, I’m sure, one of the fellas.

    DC, what Millar would you recommend? I quite enjoyed the movie of KICK-ASS.

  40. I feel as if I’ve been dream-duped by Nolan’s implanting of an idea in my mind in the cinema. Like Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes there’s a cheap get-out of story consistency when it’s all a dream (of course there are anachronisms in LOM & ATA as the construct is all in the jumbled memory of the mind).

    Nolan seems to delight in a disregard for conventional exposition and it felt as if the audience were being asked to make an enormous suspension of disbelief with the unexplained concept of collective unconscious and shared dream-states. After that breathless first half hour I unclenched and just enjoyed it for what it was. By the time of the dizzying fight scene in the rolling corridor I was hooked. Truly amazing.

    I wonder if Nolan was inspired by William Gibson when writing; I was occasionally reminded of his book Pattern Recognition. There’s a touch of Heinlein’s The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag as well.

    Maybe the dvd extras will include the dreams where DiCaprio turns up to school in his pyjamas and hasn’t studied for his exams.

    And Tom Hardy surely not Ford. Although there is an attention to stylish detail…

  41. Jaime — I haven’t read much Millar and haven’t liked that much of what I have. But there’s probably some good stuff. Just read his collaboration with Morrison on The Flash, it was OK but not deeply special.

    The Dick adaptation could be interesting. It’s obvious watching Dark City that it was inspired at least by the spirit of PKD.

    William Gibson is CERTAINLY a huge influence on Inception.

  42. […] Cairns delivers a most interesting perception of Nolan and Inception at his Shadowplay […]

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