Inception – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critically eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 2010, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is Christopher Nolan’s Inception – a film within a film within a… you get the idea.

Sales: 5. It made almost 1 billion bucks. I think that warrants a 5.

Critical Consensus: 4. Almost Universal Acclaim, certainly from most of the ‘big critics’, but a vocal minority of people entirely bemused by the acclaim.

Director: 5. Well, yes. I don’t think you can go lower than 4 here even if you’re not a fan. Putting together something as complex as this and making it so accessible and successful, while also being influential and iconic.

Performances: 4. Good performances all round from an eclectic cast – I could go three here because there are no standouts, but everyone is consistently strong.

Characters: 3. Nothing out of the ordinary – the rich guy, the military guy, the gut haunted by the past, the sidekick etc.

Cinematography: 5. One of the most visually striking movies of recent decades.

Writing: 3. Increasingly for Nolan, we get a little lost in detail without pushing substance. There’s also the small matter of its similarity to other films, most notably Satoshi Kon’s seminal Paprika – not the first time Kon’s work has been ‘borrowed’ by Hollywood. Only 5 people outside of Japan have seen it though – me and 4 others.

Plot: 4. Right, where to begin? It’s all over the place, it just about holds together enough to make sense and be engaging, but there is a lot of waffle and asides which could be cut to deliver a more streamlined story. I can see people giving anything from 1-5 here, so who knows?

Wardrobe: 3. Lots of suits.

Editing: 4. I’ll go with a 4 here because it is all so impressive, but we’re firmly in the era of Nolan’s approach to Sound editing that I’m not a fan of.

Make up and Hair: 3. Sure.

Effects: 5. Mind-boggling, and along with Gravity one of the finest examples of Effects being pushed forwards in the 2000s.

Art and Set: 4. More striking stuff, but a little lacking in colour – deliberately so.

Sound And Music: 4. Suitably booming work from Zimmer giving the sense of epic scale, melodic when it needs to be, but on an emotional level feels a little like being trapped in a car while someone blasts their favourite ballad at full volume.

Cultural Significance: 4. It has certainly been influential in Cinema and other Media, leading to lots of memes and satires, but on a wider cultural scale its significance has not been as potent.

Accomplishment: 5. Nolan has any number of masterful accomplishment’s, and Inception might be the primary among those.

Stunts: 4. Heart-pumping action which play with our expectations and like The Matrix make sense in the context of the film’s world and objectives.

Originality: 3. I’m torn on this because it pulls ideas from so many other films and books, but it presents them in a modern, more palatable way.

Miscellaneous: 4. Cool posters, trailers, all the usual.

Personal: 4. Even though it’s in my Top 10 movies of the year, we’re entering a period where I don’t have as much love for anything outside of my top 1 or 2 picks. It’s an undoubtedly great film and piece of art, but I don’t find it as flawless as most of its supporters.

Total Score: 80/100

It may not look like a high score for any Inception fanboys who happen to have stumbled on to my blog for the first time, but if you look at my other Get Rekt posts or music reviews, you’ll see that it’s about as high as we can get. It’s still one of my favourite films of 2010, calm down, and this score will be tough to beat or equal.

Dark City

Carrying on with the look of The Crow, Proyas gives Dark City an appropriately noirish atmosphere. Many have asked whether The Matrix ‘borrowed’ heavily from Dark City. The similarities are blatant, the opening few scenes are almost identical to the Wachowskis’ movie, and some of the early dialogue is the same. The look is similar, as is the story to some extent: your life is being controlled by an outside, unseen force, and the human race is their little play thing. Then again, Proyas’ story has elements from Metropolis, and Blade Runner. Both films are must-sees from the nineties, but unfortunately Dark City is barely known.

Sewell’s character Murdoch wakes up with no idea who he is, or who the dead woman beside him is. When he is chased by a group of leather clad baldies, he begins to wonder what the hell is going on. He questions why no-one can remember the last time there was daylight, or remember the way out of the city. Help comes in the form of odd doctor Sutherland, who seems to be the only other person in the city who doesn’t mysteriously fall asleep at midnight. Sutherland teaches Murdoch how to harness his powerful gift (an ability to ‘change’ his surroundings), and then try to bring down the bad guys.

Questions of free will are explored, and like The Matrix we wonder whether it would be better not to know. At the end, there is still no escape from the city, although Murdoch’s power to create remains. Most of the performances are good, though unlike The Crow, Dark City has a bleak, close to emotionless feel to it, and only Jennifer Connoly adds some glamour. The film is visually stunning and the plot is engaging, though it was always clear that this would never be the blockbuster which The Matrix set out to be.

Go for the special edition DVD for soome decent making of doceumentaries and snacks, and

Dark City

catch up on one of the decade’s forgotten gems.

As always, please leave any comments on the movie or the review. Have you seen it, and do you feel it should be more widely known?