So. All of Chris Nolan's mind-fuckery aside, what is this film actually about anyways? I was left with the following thoughts: how dangerously seductive fantasy can be, and how we can never be entirely sure if what we experience is really there or not. Interesting parallels can be drawn with Nolan's other films (that I have seen). In The Dark Knight and Memento the heroes both end up with fantasies, thrust upon them or freely chosen respectively. With Inception, reality seems to be preferred. Ahh yes, that word 'seems'. For me, the ending felt less like a final twist of the knife and more like a wry, throwaway parting shot. Two theories. One: we never actually SEE Saito and Cobb shoot themselves (although it is heavily implied) so Cobb's happy ending may still be in limbo. Two (my preference): Cobb's happy ending is real, and Nolan's teasing is a tongue-in-cheek way of breaking the fourth wall -- films are also dreams. And if he's very lucky, Nolan may have performed some inception of his own.

I ask myself: why so disappointed? Nolan's ideas, as ever, are simple, powerful and interesting. The film stuns, visually and sonically. And isn't that amazingly convoluted plot impressive? Yes, I guess, but all that stuff left very little time for character, and almost no time at all for... fun? I think back to The Dark Knight, where the fantastic set-pieces were given extra spice by the inherent silliness of the superhero genre, and which emanate from Heath Ledger's fascinating, magical, mythic Joker. The Joker creates his Gotham, and Batman tries to create an alternative. With Inception, we only have Leo earnest and guilty, with a side order of son stepping out of father's shadow. Neither held my interest that much. Neither were at all fun.

The Matrix is the comparison to make here. It contains the same ideas, but it also contains many more (the most important for me being the human being reduced to a battery -- not something we escape in our real world). Action wise, it still stuns, 14 years on. And it is fun. Neo knows kung-fu! He needs guns, lots of guns! COME ON! That is a film to love and cherish for now and for forever. The Dark Knight can go in that pile too, with its genial Alfred and histrionic Joker. Inception... well... it just doesn't make me glow inside. Sorry Mr. Nolan. So anyways, are you going to make that Dark Knight Returns movie or what?

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