October 21, 2011

Inception; The Leftovers

I just finished Inception (Netflix link), and I loved it.

(photo from Amazon.com)

I know I'm not literally the last person to see it, so I'm not going to do any spoilers, but I wish I could because I want to hear what you thought about the ending, by which I mean I want to convince you that I am right about it. And I would like to say also that I hate it when there is uncertainty about the ending. Would it have killed them to make it clear? Because I know I know what happened, because it is the only possible satisfying ending, but I want THEM to know I know, and to admit THEY know too, and not for them to tease me like we all might not know and/or as if "not knowing" = "deep and meaningful." I KNOW WHAT I KNOW.

Anyway. Netflix thought I would like it 3.2 stars, but I gave it one of my very rare 5-star ratings. To get 5 stars from me, I have to love it AND it has to make me think "WHAT just happened to my BRAIN?" I can see why Netflix couldn't predict my rating: there was a LOT of shooting in it, and I dislike shooting. But it wasn't the kind of shooting that distresses me (i.e., in war movies where young men are cut down in slow motion to sad opera music, or anything where it's scary and/or gory), so I didn't mind it much, though I did turn the volume way down. It also helped that I watched it while exercising, not only because I could burn off the adrenaline/stress as it accumulated, but also because that means I watched it in four chunks and could process each chunk for awhile before moving on to the next.

Man. I cried so hard at the end I gave myself a headache. If you watch it, remember: there is no uncertainty about the ending, because there is only one possible ending.


Speaking of reviewing stuff, I finished The Leftovers.

(photo from Amazon.com)

Here are the things I didn't like:

1. I couldn't tell the guys apart. Their names and their personalities seemed mostly the same, and very bland. I had to figure them out from context: oh yeah, this is the dad, because here's house/breakfast; oh yeah, this is one of the guys in that group, because here's bottle/kissing; oh yeah, this is the son because here's that girl.

2. I'm trying not to give anything away, but there is a ritual in a cult, and the ritual would have worked perfectly well without a certain relationship element. Tying it to the relationship made it sadistic and mind-gamey, which made no sense. Definitely it made the plot more thrilling---but it SEEMED like an element to make the plot more thrilling, as opposed to seeming like it fit.

3. At the end, I didn't feel like I'd been given enough information about the characters to get a feeling for how things were going to go. It's not that I needed every plotline finished (though I do enjoy that), it's that everything was still swinging wildly back and forth for everyone (and for the whole disappearance plot itself) and then the end just snipped it closed randomly, like the book wasn't going the way the author thought it would and now he was sick of it and wanted to be done with it. I felt like I knew what was going to happen with a couple of the characters (one was probably going to be okay; another was probably not), but the others could have gone any direction. And yet I felt like the last scene was meant to imply a sort of resolution.

4. I would have enjoyed more talk about the disappearance itself. What percentage of the population, for example? Or perhaps I missed that part. I'm always nervous I'll criticize something and it'll turn out I was just dim and missed a page or something. And was not one single person an actual eyewitness to the disappearance of so much of humanity? We heard two eyewitness stories, and neither one actually witnessed anything with their eyes. I would have preferred a more Stephen King-like approach for this section: more glorying in the surprising horror.

Just OVERALL, I felt like the book fell flat. It felt like reading the second book in a six-book series.


Nik-Nak said...

Hmmmm. We have had Inception on the DVR for the three months. We've watched exactly one hour of it. I always fall asleep within the first 10 minutes of watching it, so needless to say I don't love it. But I will probably wiki it just to read what the ending is so I can just go ahead and delete it.

Heather R said...

Now I need to go and watch Inception again because I can't even remember the ending anymore!! I only sort of remember the movie....in fact, at first I was thinking of that movie where hte man isn't allowed to fall in love with the girl and the weird men keep coming to interfere and make it so they don't end up together, but it is obviously meant to be....I can't even remember what that movie is called. What is it???

Beylit said...

I've watched Inception about half a dozen times now and every single time I come to a different conclusion about the ending. I waver back and forth of what is real and what isn't for completely different reasons each time. With every new watching I invalidate my old reasoning or reaffirm an old thought and add to it. I am not certain I will ever be certain. It makes me want to find the writer and shake him until he tells me the truth. At the same time though I love not actually knowing, because it will forever keep what is an amazing movie just as intriguing as the first time I saw it.

Lynn said...

I found reading this IMDB FAQ after viewing Inception to be fascinating and helpful:


One thing it said (or maybe I read it somewhere else, I forget) is that the reason the ending is inconclusive is that the end result does not matter to Cobb. He has moved beyond needing to know the answer. The growth in his character is the point.

Not that that helps those of us who NEED TO KNOW this sort of thing.

Leeann said...

I haven't yet seen Inception, nor do I even know what it is ABOUT so clearly I am living in a cave. I do, however, totally get what you mean about violence and given what you said, I might possibly watch it. I usually avoid things like that.

And funnily enough, I just got The Leftovers from my reserve at the library and I am about five pages in. It seems that the Rapture (or whatever it was) was just kind of mentioned and already they are months after it. I was already thinking to myself: I could easily have read about what it was like, people's reactions etc for at least a whole chapter. :-/

I have a book recommendation: No Biking in the House Without a Helmet by Melissa Fay Greene. You MUST read it and tell me what you think.

Swistle said...

Lynn- GREAT LINK. I'm reading. Avidly.

Leeann- Added to my library list!

Melissa Haworth said...

Ok, so can you put a spoiler in the comments? I can't recall the details on this movie but want to know the right answer on the ending.

As for the book, I heard the author interviewed in npr a month or two ago and the book sounded interesting (but not quite enough to actually read it ;) You might track down that interview online (teri gross??) as he spoke about his choices in what to tell about the "rapture" and the cults and other stuff that seemed interesting.

Angela said...

I too loved Inception. We saw it in the theater and the entire audience gasped at the end. So awesome. I kind of think it doesn't matter which way the end goes, in a sense, because either is real to him, right? But I prefer to think it is your preferred ending (or what I assume is your preferred ending).

Elisabeth said...

Heather R, I think the movie you are thinking of is The Adjustment Bureau...or else a movie that is very, very similar to The Adjustment Bureau.

Also, I loved Inception even though I usually hate movies with shooting. I think it was because (for the most part) the worst thing to happen was that you would wake up.

Alice said...

oh god the ending of Inception PISSED ME OFF. i hate it when we are left to "decide" what the ending is. NO, THANK YOU, I HAVE ENOUGH SHIT TO FIGURE OUT IN MY OWN LIFE, please just feed me nicely tied up endings to my movies.

(my bf and i watched it together and both came to different conclusions about the ending. am curious which one you came to.)

el-e-e said...

Yes, now that I've gone and read some of the FAQ to refresh my memory, I find I want to immerse my brain in that movie again. It is SO GOOD. The music is just specatacular.

bluedaisy said...

Now I just want to know what you think about the ending!! I was really on the fence about what to think...do a post with a "SPOILER ALERT"

Heather R said...

Elisabeth, yes!! Thank you, that was driving me crazy!!

CARRIE said...

Inception blew my mind. It doesn't hurt that I have a mini-crush on Joseph Gordon Levitt.
Have you seen The Usual Suspects or Shutter Island? Those were also movies that sucked me in enough that at the end I was like, "Wha?"

Swistle said...

CARRIE- I haven't! I've added both of them (and The Adjustment Bureau) to my queue!

Alice and Melissa- Emailing you!

bluedaisy- I think I can give you a non-spoiling reply: I don't think it kept going.

Maggie said...

I really liked 99% of Inception, but cannot tolerate movies/books/TV shows that leave me hanging to make up my own mind. No damn it, I decide enough real things in my real life, in fiction I need closure.

I love to run while watching movies that get my adrenaline pumping - I find I run much longer without even noticing it when I'm watching a decent action-type movie.

Carolyn said...

The most recent movie that left me reeling at the end was Another Earth. It was just sooo good! Part sci-fi scenario (what if there was a 2nd earth with a duplicate of each of us?) and part human-interest drama. I can't stop thinking about it.

Reading (and chickens) said...

I am SO CONFUSED about which ending you think is THE ending. I want to knooooooow.

Jess said...

I love Inception and when I first saw it, I couldn't stop thinking about it for days. I really liked The Adjustment Bureau too... And I also would love a "spoiler alert" review of the ending of Inception!

DawnA said...

I just finished that book too. I also thought the end left too many characters hanging and I felt like it was plodding along the last few chapters. Maybe there will be a sequel that answers the questions.

The Tomball Three said...

Yeah I got this book from the library and never even opened it. It sat there for two weeks. It just felt .... wrong somehow. I wasn't interested AT ALL once I got it home.