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In the rush to either canonize or crucify Christopher Nolan in the last few weeks, most people have carefully avoided major spoilers. To be fair, even the film's harshest critics have been vague in terms of spoiler-heavy conversation.
Now it's out. Now you've had a way to see it. You've had time to see it. You've got a chance now to be part of the conversation, and that's exactly what I want. I want you to engage. The film wants you to engage. That's part of the point of the piece. And since this is such a dense text, we'll break this into a few pieces today and tomorrow, and with each piece, divide it into sections that represent separate movements.
This isn't a review in the same way my last piece was. We're starting here from the given that I really like and respect the film, and I was definitely affected by it. In talking about it, I'm going to use the character names. We're not talking film craft here, except as it affects storytelling. This is a conversation about the very nature of the story that's being told. At dinner recently, there were several of us talking, and we were split on "there's a set way to read the film" and "it's all meant to keep you speculating," and even that split suggests what a great dense text Nolan has put together, and how rich the conversation about it can be.
But it was a rare case of me not really being able to quantify or explain the impact it had on me. Almost everyone I talked to about the film thought I didn't like it because of the tone or the body language of whatever I told them. I was still chewing on it, and I realized I would need to see it a second time. I picked a 10:45 show near my house. Three minute drive. When I bought my ticket, there were still 650 tickets available, according to the girl I asked, "Is it busy?" I went to the very top right of the auditorium, where there was a single seat, with no attached seats, close enough to the exit that I could use the light there to see, and no one would be bothered behind me if I took some notes.
Keep in mind... my "Twilight: Eclipse" review got 174,370 comments (approx.), so please... don't let that film spark more conversation than "Inception." Please. I'll be crushed if people are more willing to argue with me about the sexual politics in a series about a high school girl in love with a vampire than they are the meaning and the narrative gamesmanship of Nolan's latest.