Spoiler Warning: The following article divulges key plot details about both Inception and The Prestige, and assumes that anyone reading it has at least a passing familiarity with both films.

Even though I'll begin by professing my profound respect for Inception- a visceral and dazzling puzzle-box of a movie - this post isn't going to win me any friends. Especially when its second sentence articulates that I admire the film largely because it confirms my hopes that The Dark Knight- linear by design - was a thematically confused and claustrophobically lensed aberration, and that Christopher Nolan hasn't lost his talent for creating uniquely filmic domains that treat time and space as colors on his easel rather than obstacles for him to circumvent. But despite Inception's many pleasures (did you guys see that hallway fight?) and the hours I've spent discussing them, I couldn't shake the thought that the boldest blockbuster of 2010 is still something of a retread for its esteemed director... an echo of a more complete and satisfying film Nolan made all the way back in 2006. His best film. The Prestige.

I have no reservations about calling Christopher Nolan an auteur. Over the course of his seven films he has developed a clear and inimitable network of aesthetic affinities and thematic preoccupations, and like any good auteur he doesn't repeat himself so much as he uses each subsequent film as an attempt to explore, stretch, and refine his pet motifs in more directions than a single movie could allow. So the similarities that I'll draw between Inception and the Prestige are not intended to be criticisms in and of themselves - Yasujiro Ozu made over 50 films around family dynamics and never once repeated himself, even when remaking his own work.
categories Cinematical