Inception: sleeping easy?

As we look towards this summer’s prospective hits, Paul O’ Connor has some strong feelings on last summer’s

The best way to describe the reaction to the truly execrable film that is Inception is to compare it to a self fulfilling prophecy. When the Soviet Army crossed the Vistula in 1945, many ethnic Germans living in areas east of Germany desperately fled their homes in hopes of reaching mainland Germany before the Russians. Their desperate scramble was fuelled by their own fear of actual atrocities committed by the advancing Red Army, but also by their own Nazi government’s propaganda which was actually intended to stiffen these Germans’ resolve to resist the invasion. Alas, the horrific nature of these atrocities used as a propaganda tool merely induced panic and many of these retreating ethnic Germans became subject to these atrocities themselves when the fast moving Red Army units caught up with these refugees.

In this case the atrocity is merely a Hollywood film. The groundwork for this self fulfilling prophecy was laid months before the film’s release, with a trailer that genuinely suggested something intelligent and challenging would be forthcoming from the director of Memento and The Prestige. Instead, we got a monumentally simple and dull film which looked as though it had been directed by Michael Bay. The teaser trailer was specifically designed to echo or evoke the complex and labyrinthine structure of both Memento and The Prestige. This theory was re-enforced by a visit to the film’s official website in search of more information which only showed a constantly spinning top. This provocative and mysterious approach could easily be construed as pretentious or hollow unless the film itself delivered on its rather arch notions.

Another trope employed by the director/film executives was to ‘keep the plot secret’ and reveal as little as possible in the trailer. It would seem film goers’ expectations for summer releases has reached an all time low if they are receptive to equating secrecy with brilliant film-making. Proof that substantiates this theory is steeped in the aforementioned marketing tactics of the film, whereby they convinced most people that showing little amounted to a lot even though the actual film turned out to be the trailer itself; it was an inspired if insidious marketing strategy.

By constantly re-enforcing the idea that this film is special and unlike 90% of movies, which are merely their trailers, the audience believed Inception was a great film before entering the cinema. How else could a film get away with a few cheap looking action set pieces glued together with insipid dialogue such as ‘this is my last job’ or ‘we must stop Cillian Murphy before he or his company becomes an energy super-power’ or some other such drivel?

Above all this trash, above the mind numbingly boring and simple storyline, the laughable dialogue, Ellen Page, and prosaic action set pieces, spins that incessant top – like some over-wound toy ballerina tossed atop the flotsam of some wrecked garbage scow with the goddamn seagulls following close behind in the hope of some sardines.


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