Riddle me this riddle me that whose afraid of a big bad …uh..videogame? Inception is something like that. The deamon is a fake. when the players have existed stage lr, there are crumbling gotham city edifices no one knows what to do with. The roar of the industrial lion is drowned out by the laughter of the People expecting The American Dream to end when the top spins out. (to his credit, the unfinished nolan dream fades out, probably becuase he’s leaving room for a video game spinoff and a sequel or two.)
Level one : the commerce of the industry :
As a premise that sets up for a series of star wars/ harry potter like films , Inception promises to raise billons from the wealthy shanghaied and the euro arabs. Warner Brothers may actually be able to buy its studios back from li ka sheng(or someone) on the strength of the franchise. The move, at some level reads like a pep rally for the flagging CGI tech houses. What can you feed a cloyed audience tired of yet another super hero film? a film that NEGATES super heroes, and when this catches fire, we can reinvent the super hero “matrix” all over again! gentlemen, welcome to the pulp sci fi genre. We own the monopoly on Industrial light and magic. You’re all rich ! (um… ponzi!!!)
Level 2: The Auteur
The author, in nolan’s vision is a script writer in a chain gang. Nolan instructs
“never let the author of your vision be your architect. at the heart of his messages there is always love. love is a dangerous idea.it is implanted to make people sociopaths. The society we so carefully patched together as slaves building egyptian sphinxes,and is now is being destroyed in blinding monotheistic lightning strikes of …love? surely there must be something all our useless money can do to preserve us against this french concept?! So watch for the visionary! he has nietcszean ideals which we have successfully tarred and feathered as nazi . Never let someone dream an idea that is not somehow shared or implanted because there is safety in numbers.” and plus we, at warner brothers and warner publishing have killed off more talent than any budding french bazin can dream up in his diseased mind, if an idea has resilience, it will recur indipendant of the individual, and we can then successfully monitize it through movies like inception.
Level three : the drama
Inception is a very stare into the camera , centered shot framed straight drama film. It is based on a brian aldiss short story about people finding child dream maker prospects from the general population. Once aldiss’s story has been mined for the premise, nolan takes on Cinema. We(hollywood) now have the power to create near real portraits of the unimaginable. we do not need truffle artistic trends (such as verite, surrealism or the cinematograph. In face of our blinding illusion of objectivity, montage is some kind of a souffle romanticism. heck it was US that put the idea into weimar critic and french minds. In the name of Shakesphere drama and Santayana practical reductionism, we banish the new wave from our shore. It seems in our desire to find the authentic american, we(nolan, warner bros) have become the new Mc carthy- ite cultural revolutionaries, commanding the burning of ideas and authors in a witches coven.
Level four: The politics.
The politics of absolutism is its own logic. the relentless march by the oligopoly to deifying the economics of monopoly means that disparate voices must join as one and drown out dissent. for a film with such a resolute message, tinception is as moving as a videogame. this is by design , because it is the videogamers the film tries to speak to. reality is as empty as a videogame. snap out of it and become “American” and learn to believe in your “family” and “children” this modified video game says to the gamer. In other words, the film’s politics are traditional and values conservative. Glen beck would have been proud of the lucas/ speilergean vision of this film.
Level five: The artists:
The casting has chloe sevigny as the romantic femme fatale, Ellen page as the teen architect of everyone’s dreams(isn’t she too old for disney/ madison avenue? I thought they were into exploiting 12 year old emerging sexuality to market their dreams, these days). and Leonardo di caprio as the flawed auteur (this film can be seen either as a sequel to the scorcese mindbender “shutter Island” or as a rejoinder) team lead and cillian Murphy in a beautiful Rupert Murdoch Jr impersonation(the film actually makes a pitch for murdoch to dismantel his father’s empire and become his own man . really? audacious! 🙂 ….not!!!!! haha). and michael caine as the ageing professor that lives in france , who is responsible for planting the auteur meme in french cinema. (caine does this “aging secret agent in foreign terrain act ” like he was in a dream, these days).
Level 6 : the mathematics of cinema
California, is the home of Hollywood and the home of Caltech. its the home of Stanford and the home of Silicon valley. California is the home of the Trinidad bay hippie and the San diego redneck gentrified on real estate speculation and army bases. It is the home of the new chinese and the home of the old latino farmhand. California is the home of forgotten religious syncretism(jiddu Krishnamurthy , Joseph campbell) and the half remembered weather underground. The calculation in this film seems to be that if you manage california’s layers of history, the world will take the shape hollywood gives it because at the center of it all is the mathematics of the superstructure.
The film rewards and punishes like a video game handing out tokens in game theoretical situations. at the heart of every scene is a game . there is a clear winner in the game and the winner advances the team to the next level. at the end of the game the payoff is that one is returned to the top menu.
While the film implies(and actively encourages people to think of real life verite as) a game, it has yet to be proven that anyone(at least any common one) has succeeded consistently at a casino game. perhaps life is somewhat easier stacked than a casino game, buying into game theory as a basis of living one’s life ,with payoff that you can live normal with your kids(we could do that without your games, foo!) is basically a method of normalizing exploitation of the stupider by the smarter(not that this doesn’t happen enough in the world, but as a glorification of the ideal, the film herds sheep over the cliff by planting this idea in their brain).
If this is the beginning of anything, it is probably a new imperialism, where the smart imperialize-cannibalize the weak with a game theoretical sense of entitlement.
Level Zero: Back to the present
If it took sixty years (has it been that long?) and hundereds of millions of dollars for the super tanker spilling oil to respond to Chris marker’s La jetee , one feels like the losing team in a debate is staying on the podium thinking up rebuttals long after the winning team has finished graduating college. Yet this is an important experiment to comment upon because one should never underestimate the stupidity of a mass audience to buy in all kinds of pseudo scientology (and scientology itself is a brooklyn bridge to sell) as fact and a workable business model for happiness.
The critic calls for a return to verite, if possible by repeated viewings of Scorcese’s shutter island to wipe out any residual dangerous ideas this bad karma film may have implanted in your redneck neocon ass.
Don’t go around invading any new countries, either, you hear?