An analysis of an analysis – how appropriate when we’re discussing a film such as Inception! I chose the following video essay, simply entitled “Analysis of Inception.” Yes, the title is a bit plain, but I think the contents of the video make up for it.
This video essay takes an organized approach to critiquing Christopher Nolan’s film. Steven Benedict, the author of this video essay, eloquently focuses on three important main aspects of a good video essay. He concisely summarizes the movie, provides context for the inspiration of the movie, and presents counterarguments to the criticisms the film has received.
Benedict uses a combination of voiceovers, the film’s original score, clips of audio from the film, and clips of films that inspired Nolan’s process. Needless to say, there is a lot going on. But it works!
The first minute or so of the video is a compilation of high action scenes. Each clip is about 7-8 seconds long. The purpose of this introduction is to set up the main argument of the video essay: though some may find the film confusing, it makes sense when the film broken down and analyzed. This is summed up when Benedict says, “The people whose heads were spinning the most were the people who enjoyed it the least.”
The rest of the video essay interweaves content from the film with content from other films, especially “Last Year at Marienbad,” which was conceptually a huge influence on Inception. When incorporating other films, Benedict juxtaposes the scenes with scenes from Inception, utilizing rapid jump cuts. He also incorporates stills from the films, which is a good addition, since it allows the viewer to take a second and listen to the voiceover. Sometimes, watching the scene unfold while a voiceover is playing is too distracting and hard to follow.
Another one of my favorite parts of Benedict’s analysis was that he pointed out how there is a theme of non-traditional timelines across Nolan’s films. While some say that Inception makes no sense, Benedict is pointing out that it is just a different way to tell a story, like Nolan has often done. He mentions Memento, which is a story told backwards, Batman Begins, which is told in a non linear format, and Following, which consists of multilayered flashbacks.
Benedict concludes his video essay by focusing on Inception, exclusively. He brings up the profound element of surrealism that carries throughout the film. He provides a deeper interpretation for scenes that may have gone over the heads of many, specifically, the scene where Ariadne realizes she is in a dream, and the shops on the street start exploding. He likens this to a metaphor where Ariadne’s mind explodes with the new information.
The strongest part of Benedict’s piece is his variety in presentation methods. He starts specific, broadens his argument, and then widdles it down to specifically Inception toward the end. His style is very organized. There is a clear beginning, middle, and end – just as a regular, printed essay would have. His incorporation of credits acts as a “Works Cited,” wrapping up the entire video essay.