Why Does Inception, A Movie About Dreams, Have No Sex?

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One of the Inception reviews I missed in my earlier round-up was by ComingSoon.net’s Silas Lesnick, who in the comment section is already being called the next “Armond White,” though in all honesty, Lesnick’s review of the film wasn’t entirely a pan (he graded the film a 7 out of 10).

Lesnick did scathingly write, though, that “suggesting … Inception achieves a realistic portrayal of dreams is like looking at a financial data as an artistic statement.” One of his major issues is what he considers the “mechanical coldness” of Christopher Nolan‘s dream world logic,”[treating] the mind as plot and plot alone, divorcing dreams from, say, sex or any other baser instinct.”

At a press junket last Friday, Lesnick posed the question to Nolan of why he shied away from sex, and the director offered a somewhat cryptic reply.

Lesnick’s full question, according to Movie Magic:

Mr. Nolan, you listed Pink Floyd’s The Wall as one of your primary influences, and I was wondering. The dreams in that are very sexualized, which is something that doesn’t appear very much in this film; was that something you shied away from?

Nolan’s response:

Well, there are certain areas, when you’re talking about dreams, the analysis of dreams and how you might examine them in the film that you do want to avoid, because they would probably be either too disturbing for the sort of action film genre that we’re effective in or amusing. And so one of the things we talked about, tonally, I talked about with Leo, we talked a lot about in the period when we were looking at the script very closely is never tipping over into comedy, this amusing version. I mean, one of the things all these guys have done in their performances, which I reckon is extraordinary, is that they’ve made very subtle differences in the way the characters appear in the dream levels and in reality — they’ve never made it amusing. They’ve never taken it to that comedic place. And certainly I reckon there’s probably a fantastic comedy version of this movie somewhere — but I don’t want to make it.

Despite the relationship between Leonardo DiCaprio‘s character Cobb and his wife Mal, sexual relations reportedly do not comprise a part of the film. As CHUD’s Devin Faraci points out, though Nolan has called Inception his version of a Bond film and has directed films about the prone-to-sexual-fetishization Batman character, those films are surprisingly nonsexual. I think that’s up to debate regarding the Batman films, but nonetheless, Faraci is right in observing that Nolan likes exercising extreme control over his films, and sex represents the complete lack of such control.

Curiously, Nolan shifted the conversation to the “amusing” aspect of his answer, and not the “disturbing” part. That’s what I’d like to hear more about, and perhaps other reporters will press the director about this point as he continues to promote the film before its July 16 premiere in North America.

(via CHUD.)


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