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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 28.04%
Just Average: 2.8%
Pretty Crappy: 11.21%
Sucks: 12.15%

5 reviews, 77 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"A home run...but not quite a grand slam."
4 stars

It’s never quite clear what’s real or unreal in "Inception," and it becomes less clear as the end credits roll. This gargantuan and madly complex experiment — a $160 million art film — turns the viewer into a termite chewing through endless pages of text.

Internet geeks will debate the meanings and symbols in Inception for months, perhaps years. Full of both eye-boggling action and mind-boggling dream logic, it bids fair to be the largest, heftiest cult film ever made. At times it’s like Synecdoche, New York with gunmen on skis. The puppetmaster here, writer-director Christopher Nolan, has realized his trippy vision on a scale, and on a technical level, heretofore unimaginable.

If the emotions were there, Inception would be the grand slam many people are receiving it as. Instead it’s a solid home run; we take pleasure in the crack of the bat and the triumph of the batter, Nolan, rounding the bases, but the hit doesn’t bring anyone else home. It’s a one-man parade, confetti thrown wildly in honor of Nolan’s ingenuity, Nolan’s cleverness. Ultimately, despite some deep-dish exposition about psychological depths (and the insights are very Psych 101), the movie isn’t really about anything but cleverness. It’s a gigantic chess game — a pivotal character is even named Robert Fischer — and we watch the pieces in play, often thrillingly, but seldom movingly. And since the whole plot turns on the desire of the hero, Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), to get over the death of his wife (Marion Cotillard) and reunite with his children, the muted emotional engagement is a serious snag.

As pure filmmaking, though, Inception is masterful, in a league — no, a sport — all its own. Dom is hired by a Japanese businessman (Ken Watanabe) to enter the brain of a dying competitor’s son (Cillian Murphy) and plant the idea that his dad’s company should be broken up. As in any good heist film — this is a heist flick in reverse — Dom assembles his team, each with a specialty; there’s the research guy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in the standout performance), the designer of the dream worlds (Ellen Page), and so on. These dream invaders talk on and on about the rules of dreams, and what you can and can’t accomplish in dreams, and all of it is fascinating on a sci-fi level. Eventually we get dreams within dreams within dreams, a spiral draining down to a kind of stuck madness in which you can be unaware you’re in a dream and spend decades there.

All of this is crisply visualized; the images have an epic grandeur, and in the sequence destined to be included in “Best Movie Fights” highlight reels, Joseph Gordon-Levitt bobs and weaves in mid-air in a hallway while fighting “projections” — unreal attackers — and trying to figure out a way to make an elevator simulate falling in a dreamspace with no gravity. The set pieces in Inception are gorgeously worked out; even the somewhat conventional-feeling ski-combat scenes play like a wink and a nod to James Bond (and by the way, this is a better 007 flick than any actual 007 flick we’ve gotten since the ‘70s).

Cinematically, this is a keeper, a fireworks grand finale that goes on flashing and booming for two hours and twenty-eight minutes. But, oh, for some genuine heart, instead of a dead wife and two little kids we hardly know thrown in for obligatory motivation. I wasn’t feeling it, and I suspect Nolan wasn’t, either. If Dom merely took the final job as a self-challenge, to prove he could pull off the inception of an idea (as opposed to his much easier normal task of raiding people’s subconscious for secrets), this might’ve been a higher-mind Kubrickian masterpiece. Instead, it’s only brilliant at the money scenes. Which in itself makes it one of the few events worth your ticket money this summer.

Nolan just needs to put more trust in his cold brain and keen eye; when he tries to get sappy, it doesn’t wash.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=19934&reviewer=416
originally posted: 07/18/10 17:40:05
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User Comments

10/29/16 morris campbell awesome mind bender & im 45 maybe it was 2 challenging 4 alex 5 stars
4/26/16 Ken A mind-bending masterpiece! 5 stars
6/26/14 Alex boring! i must be showing my age, heard yng ppl love it. I couldnt care about any of it. 2 stars
3/23/14 Justin R. A mind-blowing film! 5 stars
10/21/12 Sean Harrison An absolute masterpiece and the rare intelligent blockbuster. 5 stars
2/15/12 stanley welles if this film doesnt grab your imagination by the balls, then i dont know what will 5 stars
10/19/11 Magic Nolan's shallowest movie in years is still an entertaining caper film. Stunning to look at. 4 stars
8/16/11 the rock rubbish 1 stars
8/11/11 larsen AMC's PRISONER mini-series is a prequel in concept to this inventive film 5 stars
6/05/11 Piz Easily the best movie of 2010. Critics try too hard to find fault, it's brilliant 5 stars
5/14/11 Derek Tries to fool people with complicated story that does not make sense 1 stars
5/09/11 Shaun A Awe-inspiring. Not the effects, but the emotional story. 5 stars
4/27/11 brian For mind-bending like this I prefer "The Matrix," but this ain't bad. 4 stars
3/29/11 dork knight Leo's the weak link, as usual. A bit too much yapping. 4 stars
3/19/11 ad Invariably good stuff with Leo 5 stars
3/10/11 bored mom The dream rules are too arbitrary to be taken seriously. Too much overly repeated dialogue. 3 stars
2/28/11 rider too much expository dialogue, lack of interesting characters, borrowed plot, bleh 1 stars
1/29/11 Amy This movie has everything- great writing, an awesome cast, and a truly original story. 5 stars
1/27/11 taker overrated 1 stars
1/23/11 action movie fan the takers was so much better than this 2 stars
1/23/11 zenny woah. 5 stars
1/06/11 Smitty Problem with sound. Watching at home, the noise of the FX drowned out a lot of the dialogue 4 stars
1/06/11 Derek Pointless movie. More like a video game. 1 stars
1/03/11 David Young Finally an original story from hollywood 5 stars
12/26/10 mr.mike Sure it's good , but by the end I was worn out from the plot and constant CGI sequences. 4 stars
12/25/10 Total Crap Every one who gave this movie a low rating goes to show that the world is getting lazier. 5 stars
12/25/10 randy todger amazing and gripping 5 stars
12/17/10 Ionicera Had its moments 4 stars
12/11/10 othree Between 2&3 stars, hyped baseline story, efx=ehh. No immersion, good cast, 'cept Juno Gurl. 3 stars
12/09/10 Rick A complete overated yawnfest, if you like folding cities rent Dark City 1 stars
11/14/10 Gabe best film ive seen in a long long time. Nice to watch something on a more intelligent level 5 stars
10/04/10 Dennis A mind blowing classic. 5 stars
9/30/10 Tania I haven't felt this way about a movie since the Matrix. Absolutely incredible! 5 stars
9/06/10 millersxing Nolan's Principia...an overambitious yet monumental achievement in film. 4 stars
8/28/10 Langano Doesn't quite live up to the hype but still a very good flick. 4 stars
8/24/10 Davey There's more heart here than in many of Nolan's films, mostly thanks to DiCaprio. 4 stars
8/20/10 puddleduck Gave me a headache trying to follow the psycho babble 2 stars
8/16/10 meeo Stay on the ball and enjoy this extremely ambitious film 4 stars
8/11/10 hellrazor whoever doesnt like this masterpiece shouldn't even fuckin bother posting a comment. 5 stars
8/10/10 goller terribly overrated, won't be a classic like the matrix 1 stars
8/07/10 Koitus Very creative concept. I liked it a lot; much seemed repetitive from "Matix" & "Commando." 4 stars
8/06/10 naewar Loved this movie. So amazing. Even better the second time. 5 stars
8/03/10 AJ Muller I believe it's a masterpiece; never seen anything quite like it. Nolan's a genius. 5 stars
7/31/10 Durwood They never explain exactly how they can enter other people' 4 stars
7/29/10 alice I don't understand what the fuz is about, found it very boring and a lot of bad acting. 1 stars
7/28/10 Steve The most overrated movie of the summer. 1 stars
7/28/10 Ace-of-Stars "thinking man's" movie w/ just enough chases, explosions, SF/X & "names" to feel satisfied 4 stars
7/27/10 reptilesni A lot of special effects (yawn) not a lot of actual story. Not as original as it pretends 1 stars
7/26/10 alex too obsessed with it's own overcomplicated ideas to let the story have a chance to breathe 2 stars
7/25/10 abs pretty much the only movie i've seen where it doesn't treat it's audience like dumbasses 5 stars
7/25/10 Nancy Totally held my attention, Can't wait for the sequel. 5 stars
7/24/10 David L Brilliantly written, crafted, acted, and shot. If confused, you didn't pay enough attention 5 stars
7/24/10 John WOW! 5 stars
7/23/10 al rudolf a poor excuse for a movie 1 stars
7/21/10 Simon The most imaginative film I've seen in a long time, with moments of humanity to boot. 5 stars
7/21/10 John Suspenseful and somewhat original, but I didn't feel the emotional pull 3 stars
7/21/10 damalc heavy on confusing psycho babble but excellent otherwise 4 stars
7/21/10 grant Just brilliant. Nolan's 10 years of writing has paid off. 5 stars
7/20/10 Aidan Phantom This review is very pretentious. The film balances both intelligence and visual effects. 5 stars
7/20/10 Bob Dog Blip's right! 2 stars
7/20/10 Blip Much less clever than Nolan thinks it is; moreover, it's dull. 2 stars
7/20/10 KingNeutron Nice to see Tom Hardy again - great flick, plan to see this again 4 stars
7/19/10 Jimmy An unbridled work of art and possibly the best film of the 21st century 5 stars
7/19/10 garrett great movie! 4 stars
7/19/10 g. fantastic 5 stars
7/19/10 Adrian cerbral film perfection. inception>the matrix. oh and the visuals> 5 stars
7/18/10 Ronald Holst It is one of the years best so far 5 stars
7/18/10 skinner too much hype 1 stars
7/18/10 Steve0 A slow burner, but well worth it. I haven't been this confused ot intrigued since Memento. 4 stars
7/17/10 Steve Miller Didn't notice the chatter Orndorf. Thought film had right amount of expo. dialogue. 5 stars
7/17/10 Anish Exceptional Movie! I find it truly amazing that Nolan wrote this movie. Virtuoso! 5 stars
7/17/10 jonathantstorm sorry but highly overrated,nowhere near nolan's best, overly complicated 1 stars
7/17/10 Flounder I don't throw this word around loosely: MASTERPIECE. Consider my mind blown away 5 stars
7/16/10 Darkstar Felt like I did when I saw The Matrix. My mind is blown. Awesome. 5 stars
7/16/10 john smith wow, goodness gracious sakes alive, holy mackeral Andy, mind blower 5 stars
7/15/10 Justin Best movie since Men at Work. 5 stars
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  16-Jul-2010 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Dec-2010


  DVD: 07-Dec-2010

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