Monday, July 19, 2010

A couple things to watch out for in 'Inception'

First off, this isn't a review of Inception, there are already hundreds out there who have critiqued the film in both positive and negative lights. But as I was watching it, I noticed two undercurrents to the film that I thought worth sharing. As you probably know or can tell from my work, I'm a bit of a mythology geek, and so whenever I see or notice something mythic going on, I pay attention a little more.

So, there are two myths, both Greek, whose DNA flows through the story of the movie. One is the myth of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth. Christopher Nolan, the director and writer, by no means hides this allusion. Ellen Page's character in the movie is named Ariadne, who provides the hero of the original myth with the means of getting out of the Labyrinth and vanquishing the monster.

The other myth, however, plays out in a much more subtle way in the movie. The parallels aren't as literal as the Labyrinth one, but I couldn't help but see traces of Orpheus and Eurydice in the film. Orpheus, who goes down to the Underworld to retrieve his lost love Eurydice, only to lose her again. Nolan is much better at hiding this parallel, and in the end even subverts it a little bit.

That's all I'll say for now, just a couple hints before you see the movie (or see it again, as may be the case for many of you). I may go into a bit more detailed analysis at a later point, but I don't want to give away too much of the plot at this stage of the film's release. And truth be told, I'm not even sure how I would describe it from beginning to end.

(Oh, and in case you wondering, I really liked the film. An intense ride that caught me from the beginning and didn't let go for 2 1/2 hours. I can't think of any movies in recent memory that have done the same thing.)

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