So I saw Inception at the cinema last Friday. It is maybe the third film I’ve seen in the cinema this summer and possibly only 4th or 5th at all this calendar year. Walking out of the theater, two young guys in front of me were talking. The first guy said: “Well, there goes two and a half hours of my life I’ll never get back.” The other said: “Yeah, it was definitely a film for people who got a 25 on the ACT.”

My thought was: “Yes, thankfully, there are a lot of us.”

Fact of the matter is, I don’t think I took the ACT–my school was an SAT kind of school. But if I had, I doubt I would have gotten a 25. I’m smart but I’m no MENSA candidate.

But I enjoyed the film. How much? Well, let’s put it like this: I don’t really like Leonardo DiCaprio. At all. Really. Not one bit. But I thought he was excellent in the film. I thought every aspect of the film was excellent. The score, the acting, the locations, the sets, the cast, the direction, and so forth. I won’t say anything about the film itself in this review–I don’t want to give anything away. But I felt immediately after watching it that it was the best piece of cinema I had seen since the tail end of the ’90s when The Matrix and Fight Club blew my socks off.

Too cerebral? Maybe. Those guys clearly didn’t like it. But in a time when most film doesn’t require you to think at all, it was refreshing to have a film that did ask you to think. In a time when CGI (regardless of how crappy) is the standard for effects, it was refreshing to see stunts that were done in creative ways using real people. It was a stunning cast and the other actors were given plenty of time to steal the limelight from DiCaprio. But for me, perhaps the most telling aspect is that I loved DiCaprio in it too.

I have a section of this Web site called “Inspiration” in which I try to document some of the things that inspire me in my writing. The number one thing that inspires me is intensely excellent writing and the film Inception has that in spades. I’ll certainly call this film the best in the 21st century so far. I have no active plans to ever write a screenplay, but if I ever do, I hope it is at least as smart and stylish as Inception.

In a time when fewer and fewer films look appealing to me at all, and when fewer and fewer films are interesting enough to draw me into a theater instead of waiting for a DVD, Netflix streaming, or a download, this one made me excited about film as a medium again.

Go see it.


27 July, 2010