Monday, August 9, 2010

My First Time

There is something magical about that first time. I am of course referring to the first time you see a wonderfully inventive and brilliant new film (What did you think I was referring to, perv?)

As my Literature Professor often explained, reading a good piece of literature is always better the second time around, for you know what will happen and therefore will be aware of the little nuances you missed the first read through.
But with Film, I don't think this rule always works. This usually deals with real "Spectacle" films. My newest virgin film experience was with "Inception." I knew little about the film, but was very excited about it (and therefore predisposed to enjoy it, whatever "it" turned out to be) I knew it had to do with dreams, and was made by Christopher Nolan, a filmmaker who has earned my respect already with his two Batman films. But it was the subject of dreams that made me especially excited, for the landscape of the mind is my favorite subject of films, explored by my favorite filmmakers working today, Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry chief among them.
And when I finally saw "Inception," it was love at first viewing. From before the first title card, I could hear the rising blare of that haunting horn section, my eyes and ears became bound to the screen. The film throws you right in the middle of it all, and I was challenged by it's intricate plot and wondrous illusions. What truly worked for me was the quality of suspense it created. The second and third act all take place in one shared dream, and since anything was possible in this world, the suspense was dramatically heightened, because you couldn't predict everything that happens. Gone was the boring Suspense/Action movie formula, and here now was a film where literally anything could happen and true surprises happened.

The second time I watched it, I knew that it just wouldn't be as amazing. It was a very fulfilling experience, which is to be expected for sure. By the middle of my first time I gave up trying to figure out the whole plot. The second time I was putting the pieces together and had a firm grasp of everything. I trusted in Nolan, knowing he wouldn't create a film world that wouldn't ultimately stick. But the wonder if it all did wear off a little bit, and I longed for the mystery and the unknown. But that is the challenge of modern movie going isn't it? To make a film that is truly successful by its mere wonder, and to do it again, again, and again.
Other films eligible for amazing first time viewings: Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dark City

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