What is Hollywood, you ask, dear children? A quorum of whores babbling endlessly on about fucking while the bordello is razed for a penny arcade -- Paul Bern

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Nolan's latest radio drama comes with his usual slovenly "based on an executive's notes" action sequences, lazy-ass father-son lacrimal porn, a terrifying array of hmmm-that-might-be-interesting thematic concerns, knowing "auto-auteurist" references to his and a million other films, and paint by numbers videogame architecture. In other words, he delivered what was expected.

And the problem with these overstuffed lazy-boys that blockbusters have become is that they have too many fulcrum points for anyone to care about any of them.

No ragged hobbyhorses to ride out of the theatre. But enough exposition to kill all the horses of the emperor's terra-cotta army.

The exposition is what is interesting here. There's a Wellesian film about storytelling trapped inside of this one somewhere. Nolan's artistic failure in this instance is his pedantry -- he can't resist closing every gap in meaning -- jamming it with more explanation. He is so worried about confusing the audience with his nonsense that he keeps adding more.

Which makes it rather funny that he's intentionally flubbed his last bit of magic: the reveal that our protagonist is a Quijote, a madman, almost exactly like the Leo of Shutter Island. Who is, in Nolan's defense, a twin of Leonard in Memento. But Nolan swallows this final triumphalist note with a weird, guilty legerdemain. A psychotic who has preferred the dream life to reality (everything he accuses his wife of is true of him) suddenly receives the stamped visa back to "reality". WTF?

The infection of the one film by the other is what makes this one rise above mediocrity. Inception fights off the contamination, suffers it like swine flu, to deserved box office gold. There is a strange beauty achieved in the flurried interpenetration of images.

Instead of doing something really interesting by making the REAL WORLD drab, unsentimental and anti-magical, and showing us the character's despair -- Nolan goes with a trick ending that certifies the audience's growing desperation that nothing matters. Except the smiles of children.


The Dream is Real. That shit sells itself.

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