Tag Archives: “dream sequence”

Inception

Marion Cotillard and Leonardo DiCaprio in <em>Inception</em>

Note: If you’re allergic to SPOILERS, you probably don’t want to read this review before seeing the film. If you’d like to try anyway, or if you’re willing to give it a skim, I’ve tried to keep them to the latter half of the review, and I’ve marked the spot where the spoilers begin in earnest.

Christopher Nolan’s films tend to be ruminations on loss and regret — tender morsels of bleeding humanity wrapped in an increasingly glossy, protective coating of hard-edged technical sophistication. When you get past the estimable Hollywood sparkle, you find simple dramas tightly wound around the center of each film. Leonard Shelby loses his memory and gains the capacity for infinite self-delusion. Bruce Wayne loses his parents and sacrifices his own life for the public good. Robert Angier nurtures a revenge scheme that blossoms into an endlessly cloned act of self-destruction. To be a Nolan protagonist is to perch on a razor’s edge between reason and impulse, between sanity and mania, between reality and dark dreams of aggrandizement and/or immolation of the self. The films are things of beauty, precisely constructed and expertly executed. But you wouldn’t want to live there.

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Mulholland Dr.

1280_mulholland.jpg
Early in David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr., one guy describes a

recent nightmare to another guy over breakfast at a Sunset Boulevard

Denny’s. (It’s called “Winkie’s” on-screen, but it’s clearly a

Denny’s.) Struggling to catch the quality of dream light, he says that

the dream took place in a “half-night.” He may as well be describing an

old Hollywood movie. Scenes that were supposed to take place after dark

were usually shot in broad daylight, with the light filtered or mostly

blocked on the way into the camera. The resulting image has an

inadvertantly unreal quality, where figures cast long shadows even

under cover of alleged darkness. In Hollywood, such photography is

known as “day for night,” but Europeans simply call it “American night”

— the term that gave Francois Truffaut’s essential movie about

moviemaking its title.

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