I wish I could say I turned this off after watching Joseph Gordon-Levitt carefully arrange floating bodies for what seemed like three (dream) hours, but I didn’t. My bemusement overcame my boredom. Nolan’s grasp of the structural qualities of the dream state is surprising and some of the rules he lays down make a lot of sense, but I still found myself asking why this, why that, why anything in this movie? If you think too hard about any one aspect of it, it falls apart.
The simple fact is that, even though Nolan understands dreams structurally, dreams are still not like this in terms of their content. Yes, I know they’re artificially contrived lucid dreams, but it’s still all too antiseptic and asexual. There’s no evidence of a Freudian subconscious anywhere. All the characters are incredibly smug and boring though so maybe it makes perfect sense.
That the whole plot hinges on fabricating a catharsis for Cillian Murphy’s character so that he dissolves his father’s company is more than I can take. How do the critics remain mum on this point? I can’t count on all my fingers and toes the ultra-cathartic moments I’ve had that have not changed my behavior in the slightest.
… I dream of my father on his deathbed imparting to me his final request: “Live, my boy. Lead your own life!” I wake up, my face streaked with tears, my resolve hardened, and I go home and… DO WHATEVER I WAS ALREADY GOING TO DO ANYWAY.
That’s what happens in real life. Far better to drug the guy into thinking he committed a murder, or dig up some sexual thing and then blackmail him about it.
In all honesty, I was a little bitter right from the beginning when I saw Leonardo DiCaprio cap a Yakuza sentry in the head with a silenced pistol, and then quietly slide on his knees to catch the body before it hit the ground; “I wish I was watching that movie.”