"a stack of dreaming people"

Film I've been waiting for this. Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell deconstruct the narrative structure and offer a thorough film studies perspective of Inception and produce essentially the best analysis of the film you're likely to ever see. Spoilers ahead obviously:
"The narration constructs its causal chain by being nominally omniscient. For short stretches of the film we may be “with” Ariadne and Cobb or Mal and Cobb and witness them having personal conversations, most dramatically when Cobb fails to talk Mal out of leaping to her death. These moments provide the main alternative to the exposition-ridden dialogue, and they are a very small portion of the overall speech in the film. Yet the narration arches over all, stitching together the series of causes by moving us among the levels, catching at exactly the right moment the critical action (Arthur is putting a stack of dreaming people into an elevator) or dialogue (Cobb asking Ariadne where she designed a route bypassing the labyrinth in the hospital)."


"In sum, as ambitious artists compete to engineer clockwork narratives and puzzle films, Nolan raises the stakes by reviving a very old tradition, that of the embedded story. He motivates it through dreams and modernizes it with a blend of science fiction, fantasy, action pictures, and male masochism. Above all, the dream motivation allows him to crosscut four embedded stories, all built on classic Hollywood plot arcs. In the process he creates a virtuoso stretch of cinematic storytelling."
There's much to talk about here and a may just when I have some time (though Jim Emmerson who wasn't a fan of the film has some), except to say that I love that even Thompson is willing to admit she still doesn't understand the whole plot and Bordwell can still find fault with a film he clearly very much enjoyed. Though I'd argue that some of the action sequences are purposefully clunky because Nolan is underscoring imperfections in the dream.

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