As engrossing and logic-resistant as the state of dreaming it seeks to replicate, Christopher Nolan's audacious new creation demands further study to fully absorb the multiple, simultaneous stories Nolan finagles into one narrative experience.
Mr. DiCaprio exercises impressive control in portraying a man on the verge of losing his grip, but Mr. Nolan has not, in the end, given Cobb a rich enough inner life to sustain the performance.
With Inception, writer/director Christopher Nolan not only cements his status as Hollywood's most innovative filmmaker, he has created a daring genre: the surrealist heist thriller. Or, maybe he has developed the dream invasion action epic.
Inception is that rare film that can be enjoyed on superficial and progressively deeper levels, a feat that uncannily mimics the mind-bending journey its protagonist takes.
One of the best things about Nolan as a director is that he's not self-conscious. His movies unfold and fold in on themselves without the strain of labor or flash. But that lack of self-consciousness is also Nolan's downside.
It's obvious that Nolan either can't articulate or doesn't believe in a distinction between living feelings and dreams -- and his barren Inception doesn't capture much of either.
The ambition on display is so huge, and the filmmaking so intelligent, you'll emerge feeling as if you've just watched an entire season of the greatest sci-fi series never made.
By convoluting the various planes of experience, by overlapping and obscuring ostensible realities and ostensible dreams, Mr. Nolan deprives us the opportunity of investing emotionally in any of it.
t has all of Nolan's strengths, and some of his weaknesses, and it is undeniably his. It is a $160 million action film about loss and regret, and it is exciting in part because of its flaws.
It's said that Christopher Nolan spent ten years writing his screenplay for Inception. That must have involved prodigious concentration, like playing blindfold chess while walking a tight-wire.
It's gratifying to experience a summer movie with large visual ambitions and with nothing more or less on its mind than (as Shakespeare said) a dream that hath no bottom.
The dream logic of Inception -- which deals, like Nolan's far more intriguing Memento, with the architecture of memory and the nature of reality -- is stymied by a clunking script, crammed with expository exchanges and urgent blather.
Nolan's film is surely the most ambitious psychological thriller ever, and yet also the most personal. His baroque imagination makes most directors' efforts look like beach-pail sand castles alongside Mad King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein Castle.
With its James Bond-on-acid action scenes and puzzle-within-a-maze-within-a-puzzle mind games, Inception is certainly the most daring and original blockbuster of the year, as well as a visual tour de force. If it only had a heart.