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Dream On: The Mysteries of Inception…

I just belatedly saw the Inception trailer last week. My first reaction is just… well, I can’t quite do it justice in printed form, so I guess “wow” will have to do. It’s my single most anticipated movie of the year, but I haven’t really written about it. I haven’t written about it because it’s all been (and will likely continue being) played close to Christopher Nolan’s chest. We only just recently got a plot synopsis, for a movie now two months away. And, you know what? I love it.

I'll be sitting these spoilers out...

The entire project has been carefully concealed and hidden from view. There’s been relatively little publicity for the movie – certainly nothing which hints at the huge viral campaign which led into The Dark Knight. And yet Warner Brothers are apparently delighted with it and it’s the most anticipated movie of the summer. While we all know nothing. It felt like for about a year all we had to go on was the awesome cast and the decidedly ambiguous “Your Mind is the Scene of the Crime”. And I’m delighted

You’d imagine, being a movie blogger and all that, I’d be all over the film. I’d be googling for plot details or reading all manner of interviews waiting for somebody involved to let something slip. But I’m not. I love this web of secrecy that has been kept over the film. And you know why? Because it reminds me of the old days.

It’s been a while since I’ve gone to a movie entirely blind. I keep track of regular releases and chatter. Since most films come out in the United States before over here, I’m typically up to date with reviews and such. The internet has given us the means to track more and more information about upcoming films. Hell, we’re already charting the blockbusters due in 2012 (the Spider-Man reboot, Batman 3 and The Avengers, among others). It has been nearly a decade since I’ve sat down in a cinema not having some idea what to expect. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was my last blindly-seen movie which really rocked my world from nowhere. Most of the other films which I’ve considered the cream of the decade I’ve seen coming a mile off.

We live in a world where we know the villain for Iron Man 3 even before the Iron Man 2 hits the screen. Photos have already started drifting out into the world of makeup from Green Lantern, one of next year’s big budget films. Hell, we even know that the movie is intended to launch a trilogy centring on Sinestro’s character arc. Hell, we’re already watching next year’s Oscar contenders.

So I like that I know next to nothing about Inception, apart from the really core storyline (as outlined in the trailer). Director Christopher Nolan likes his third-act twists (and even his first- and second-act twists), so I suspect there’s more to the movie than the basic premise, but I’m not going to go looking for it. I honestly think that this is about as secret as you are going to be able to keep a big budget blockbuster in the era of twitter, with so much information flying through the air. I can understand that some people may be less than pleased at the way that Nolan is obfuscating their enquiries about the film, and see it as a somewhat beligerent attempt to keep the audience out, but I appreciate it for what it is – and, more than that, I trust him.

It all seems a bit topsy turvy...

The Prestige, arguably Nolan’s masterpiece, suggested that movie-making is a very specialised for of magic. It’s all about balancing the substance with the style. it’s all about timing. The Prestige observed that a really successful magician never really confines his act to the stage in front of his audience, he inevitably must seek to control his audience – be it hiding a reveal from them, misdirecting them or even outright lying to them. There’s an art to showmanship, the timing of the reveal, making your audience think one thing, or allowing them to catch a glimpse of a distraction as you pull off the trick. That’s when the magic has the most effect. Knowledge destroys magic, removes it from the world. And what does it leave instead of the wonder and illusion of magic? Cold and cynical science. You can make movies on a formula or to a blueprint, but if you really want them to sparkle, you need to make them magic.

After all, isn’t that the best part of the cinema experience? Of course, the cynics out there may suggest that a good film should be the best part of the cinema experience (what with being the point of the trip and all), but I’m talking in a more general sort of way. Not the fantastic popcorn or the tease of trailers, but the moment just before the film starts and the lights go down? The single moment there in the dark when absolutely anything is possible? When you have no exactly what lies ahead? That’s a rare sensation, and one I haven’t felt in a while. My better half will testify to the fact that as I sat in my seat waiting for The Dark Knight, my hand was shaking in anticipation – and even then I knew far more of that film than I do of this one. 

I’m really looking forward to Inception, and on July 16th my mind will be the scene of the crime.

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9 Responses

  1. Really enjoying getting into your site Darren. Another great article. I saw the trailer for inception and I thought it looked pretty cool, but after reading this I’m thinking : ‘Hey, maybe I should be more excited about this than I am’. Either way, I’m going to see it and I’m sure it will be good.

    • Thanks Ronan. I tend to ramble, so there’s a lot of crap for any good stuff I manage to publish. But, yep, Inception is the first time in a while myself and my girlfriend have agreed on our most anticipated film of the year – so it must be doing something right.

  2. I’m doing my best not to learn anything about Inception and so far so good. I have no interest in seeing the trailer or anything else until it hits theater. It will make the experience that much better I bet.

  3. I haven’t felt this much anticipation for a film in a while – I really can’t wait for this to be released.

    I was just talking to someone last week about undertaking too much research on a film before going to see it – It feels refreshing to go in “ignorant” 🙂

    • Yep. I think it’s even harder to go in ignorant in the internet age. I remember knowing very little about Jurassic Park, for example – I think pre-release hype would have killed that one.

  4. I’m trying not to be excited about it in case any hype kills it for me.

    I was avoiding all information about it, bar the trailers, and unfortunately Joseph Gordon Levitt spoiled it for me. I’m a member of his production company HitRECord and the bugger started a collaboration about ‘Dreams’ to tie in with the film. Gutted.

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