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Analysis On The Movie Inception Film Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 1549 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The film Inception (2010) captured the imagination of many spectators as one of the best science fiction and fantasy movies to be produced that year. It was produced and directed by Christopher Nolan who also wrote the script of the movie. The development of this script and the story line were Nolan’s’ original ideas back in 2001, nine year before the movie was released when he wrote an eighty-page script on dream stealing. This work was inspired by the concept of dream incubation and lucid dreaming which bore this mystery envisioning a world where technology has been developed to allow entrance into the human mind by means of dream invasion. Inception is based on the basic inspiration that a single idea in an individual’s mind can be either the most valuable asset or the most dangerous weapon (George, 2009). The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb, who in the movie steals information from the minds of his victims during dreams. The last job which Cobs is given, and which is the center of the movie involves performance of an inception so that Cobbs could regain his previous life and be able to visit his children.

The movie in general received outstanding applause as an innovative and smart story and many critics gave it positive reviews. Rotten tomatoes for instance gave this movie an average score of 8/10 based on over two hundred and fifty reviews and reported that up to 87% of critics gave this movie a positive preview.

Specifically praised in this movie is the producer/ director/writer, Mr. Nolan who received many positive notices and compliments even from the best critics. For instance, a notable critic, Peter Travers from the Rolling Stone magazine complimented this movie and Mr. Nolan stating that it was like an ingenious chess game. Justing Chang who said that the writer applied the best skill to vividly depict the procedural detail of sub-consciousness, quite a surrealist’s thriller which gave all the viewers a big challenge to explore the intricate and deep working of the mind, has praised the writer’s skill.

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The genre of this movie is widely interpreted. Some view it as mystery and suspense, while other individuals categorize it as Drama, action, or adventure. Just like any other movie, the issue of genre has been subject to diverse interpretation and thus becoming an element of widespread controversy. The movie Inception correctly falls in the history of science fiction. The first element supporting this fact is that it whole idea of the movie deals with imagined technological or scientific innovations. This also do not happen in the world’s contemporary setting, but a futuristic setting where given the current technological development, such innovations might be possible but the world is not there indeed (George, 2009). The idea of stealing ideas has not yet been realized, but there are current studies in neuroscience that are not trying to find out this, but working to understand the complexities and working of the human brain and may be in future, science research would bear such fruits. Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb is the extractor in this case. He is well known and corporate uses him to infiltrate other people’s minds and extract the information they need. More evidence of science fiction is illustrated at the hotel room in dream world where loss of gravity is experienced. The elevator cannot even move and Arthur needs to use an explosion to push it. This is not scientifically possible but it happens in this movies. Among other incidences, the film fits clearly in the historical context of science fiction.

Atman’s “A Semantic/Syntactic Approach to Film Genre”, (1984) explores in depth some of the ways used to differential movies into certain genres. He clearly and explicitly explains both the semantic and syntactic approaches to film genres giving us the proper understanding on how to analyze movies and give them appropriate genres.

Looking at the work of Altman (1984), this renowned writer observed the same controversy criticism and recognized this approach to genre criticism at semantic approach. In semantic approach, the genre of a certain film is allocated based on some superficial aspects which are thought to fit to that genre. According to this approach, a film is examined based on the plot, characters, and types of some aesthetics among other superficial elements of the movie. Notably about this approach, it falls short of analysis and criticism. This approach fails to look into the details of the movie and less emphasis is laid on the timelines, production and assessment of scenes.

The syntactic approach is quite different from semantic approach according to Altman, (1984). This approach takes into account finer details of the movie like the relationships between some semantic elements of that particular genre or between aspects of the society at large and those elements. It appreciates how isolated elements combine in any given movie to come up with the true meaning of such movie (George, 2009). This approach seeks not only to understand why some aspects of any given film are so, but also examines the effects of such aspects on the audience, the information which it deems valuable. This type of film examination brings a deeper look into incidences which might look insignificant in one film but holds a lot of water if compared or connected with similar incidences of other films.

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Altman goes further to bring up two more different approaches to genre criticism; ideological and ritual. The ritual approach in this sense occurs when moviemakers bent from societal pressures to produce films depicting the contemporary society such as Hollywood. He notes that this type of approach expresses audience desires in broader sense and it has its focus on the consumption side. With the ideological approach, the genre any movie falls into is based on simple, but generalized approaches to identifiable structures (Grant, 2003).

Looking at Inception on the light of the Altman’s approaches to genre criticism, it can be universally agreed that the same phenomenon is evident. This film clearly supports the arguments made by Altman. The film has been interpreted differently by different authors/different authorities and that is why we have the varying classification in terms of genre. Altman argues that genre is given based on uses and users instead of a fixed point of reference (Grant, 2003). The movie genre is diverse and serves diverse group of individuals. When summing up his arguments, Altman notes that it is not possible to adopt certain terminology that is neutral under any challenge. The terms that are in use are usually based on and derived from different ways for different viewers. It is possible that a certain approach to genre allocation is invalidated by fans regardless of the fact that the studio and nay be the producers validate it. Movie’s genre is therefore a site of either corporation or struggle among different groups of users or multiple users and such an understanding would help appreciate genre and break away from the tyranny of genre criticism.

Altman’s arguments are well supported by the film Inception. Different authorities and audiences describe this movie differently. As noted earlier, this movie’s genre has been describe as fantasy (like in Rotten Tomatoes website), adventure and action, drama, science fiction, suspense and mystery. A casual audience would dismiss this movie as action or drama given the type of violence and gunfights it portrays. If an individual did not pay attention to the overall storyline and did not glimpse the interchanges between real world in the movie, the dreams and dreams within the dreams, it would be obvious that the individual would easily appreciate the action scenes and therefore label the movie action. If some viewers of this movie paid attention to this movie’s visual effects and the music used in the movie, then it would be easy for such an individual to label it suspense and mystery (Altman, 1984). The visual effects are well set and integrated with the music well to bring out a thrilling effect of a suspense movie. A careful observer or a person really interested in the movie would note the scientific details about the human mind, dreams and the fiction part on how the ideas are being stolen through the dream. Those who do not understand or appreciate science would label this movie fantasy coming into agreement with Altman’s argument that genre just depends on uses, users or groups of users (Altman, 1984).

Altman has shade much light on the understanding genre of movies, not only Science Fiction, but all movies at large. Someone may be confused if a movie they clearly know as action movie is referred to as science fiction but if it is an exaggeration of scientific facts, not yet supported by evidence and most likely happens in a futuristic world, such a movie may fall in the science fiction genre. Such discrepancies are well tacked by the author who shades much light on the diversity of the audience, uses of the film and the discursivity associated with any account of genre.


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