'Inception:' Go now

Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2010

My two big pieces of advice about "Inception" are as follows: First, go as soon as possible. It would be a shame to wait, continue to hear all the praise (which is all you are going to hear), and have your expectations built so high that it winds up disappointing you. Second, empty your bladder as close to the start of the movie as you can. That might be even more important than the first suggestion.

Before I saw the 148-minute thriller, I noticed a friend's "Inception" comment on Facebook: "...best movie I've seen in a long time. I had to pee at the 15-minute mark and couldn't leave so as not to miss anything." I chuckled a bit, naturally, when I read that. Then, showing up a bit earlier than normal for a weekend matinee, I downed my soda before the trailers had even begun. No big deal.

At about the 15-minute mark, though, I had to pee. For the next 133 minutes, I had to pee. Just like my friend on Facebook, though, there was no way I was going to leave the theater for a single minute and miss anything on screen. If you make the same mistake, take comfort in knowing that at about the 45-minute mark you will become so engrossed in the movie that you will mostly forget that your bladder is threatening to explode.


Trying to coherently explain the plot of "Inception" is a task for someone smarter than me. Just like with movies about time travel, my brain starts to physically hurt the more I attempt to outline Nolan's story. So, knowing that if this column begins to melt into gibberish without warning it is because I have suffered a brain overload, here we go: Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom, a thief of a very specialized nature. Dom is an "extractor"; he gets paid to steal secrets from you as you dream. Just to make sure we are hooked from the first frames, writer and director Christopher Nolan starts us out with what seems like it has to be a dream. Dom washes up on a beach, half-dead. Armed guards find him and take him into an elegant dining room where a very old man is waiting. They seem to know each other, or at least they seem to know they are supposed to know each other. The old man is Saito (Ken Watanabe), which we find out quickly enough because after these opening moments we are thrust back in time into another dream where Saito is a much younger man. Dom is there with his crew, including Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and we learn quickly that Saito is their target. Too bad Saito seems to be aware of this as well. He is dreaming and he knows it.

Confused? If you are, that's more my fault than Nolan's. "Inception" works on screen. It might be confusing if you ever had time to think about it - but you don't! The pace of "Inception" is never slow for more than a few seconds, but there are plenty of sequences where so much happens so fast that if becomes important simply to remember to breathe (and continue to ignore your throbbing bladder). The levels of the story, whether you are talking about the dreams that get created by the team's "architect" (Ellen Page), or the levels of Dom himself and his complex and heartbreaking back-story, are captivating. The concept, especially when they decide they need to go three levels deep (a dream within a dream, within a dream!) to execute their mission, is mind-blowing.

"Inception" is the movie of the summer so far, easily. See it and see it before the hype threatens to ruin it for you.

And please, please, for your own sake, empty your bladder before the movie starts.

Check out Carson's movie blog at www.juneaublogger.com/movies.

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