Freudian Gunfire

July 18, 2010 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

Chris Nolan’s film have always shown that peculair obsession with reality bending paradoxes that make the movie into a possibly Borgesian meditation, but while The Following managed this feat, his ascent into blockbusterd has been a somewhat difficult chore of managing an enquiring intellect with the needs of an big budget blockbuster. Inception is definitely not his best film. While it traces the somewhat interesting idea of placing an idea into someone’s head it contains the same corporate airheads of The Dark Knight, loses the complexity of its successor, but it’s also that the entire idea of such vast interiority has simply become cliche. Existenz, The Matrix, and even oldies like Flatliners explored the potential paradoxes of such shared realities in a manor that might make Inception seem a little cliched. While Nolan retains a firm grasp of suspense, the film does reveal itself rather well, it simply lacks the logic of a dream. It’s as if Nolan forgot that dreams have been the subject of intense speculation since the dawn of mankind, the chinese pondered their subconsciousness’ visions well before there even was an idea subconscious, the greeks wrote about them, the romans left dream diaries, and of course Freud, perhaps the best inceptor of ideas of our current past, found in them the exacting stories that made psychanalysis valid. But Nolan seems to have forgotten all of this, if one were to be the victim of Nolan’s dream machine one would know one was dreaming simply because the dream would act remarkably like a hollywood action film. If Nolan intended to make a movie that places the sigils of hollywood into the subconscious in order to bring about commentary on our shared reality of Freudian gunfire and high speed chases I don’t know. The film also sets up a peculair premise, a group of dream extrators are paid to insert an idea into a CEO’s subconscious there for changing his self in such a manor to benefit another corportation’s interests. Such an idea implies that memes have an almost existential agency in the composition of the self, an idea that’s certainly contestable, but Nolan offers us no commentary no arguement on why an idea eminating from inception is so much more powerful than say the already existing social structures that comprimise and striate so much of ourselves to begin with. Memes are often infectious, but only a few have the power to touch as many biological viruses like the flu. Ideas are in fact rather brittle, they often carry a few steps from the interior to the exterior before dying in the senses of their recipitent. Granted that Nolan’s characters have the atom bomb of psychoanalysis, the ability to interact directly with the ego and id, but this film misses the curiousity that people would have at such an invention, if we could share dreams I can assure you, I would have little interest in corporate secrets, but rather like the characters in flatliners, I think I would simply interested in what makes each world tick, the fragmentations of the conscious, and just how warped symbolism can become.  Just imagine neurologists studying the effects of drugs on dreaming, girlsfriends sharing intimate fantasies with boyfriends, the potential for such a machine to warp identity as we all become aware of how different we view the world. While the limits of finance and time might keep us from sharing dreams in film, Nolan was given a beautiful opportunity to do so, it just turns out he dreams action cliches and guns… lots and lots of guns.

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