|A couple of reviews for »Inception« have been posted yesterday following a lifting of Warner Bros. embargo in the United States. Most of them are largely positive and it looks like Christopher Nolan’s cerebral sci-fi action-thriller is the "wow" movie of the summer. After the jump I’ve compiled some excerpts, which I tried to keep as spoiler-free as possible.
|"A devilishly complicated, fiendishly enjoyable sci-fi voyage across a dreamscape that is thoroughly compelling."
Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter, hollywoodreporter.com
|"If movies are shared dreams, then Christopher Nolan is surely one of Hollywood’s most inventive dreamers, given the evidence of his commandingly clever "Inception." Applying a vivid sense of procedural detail to a fiendishly intricate yarn set in the labyrinth of the subconscious, the writer-director has devised a heist thriller for surrealists, a Jungian’s "Rififi," that challenges viewers to sift through multiple layers of (un)reality. As such, it’s a conceptual tour de force unlikely to rank with Batman at the B.O., though post-"Dark Knight" anticipation and Leonardo DiCaprio should still position it as one of the summer’s hottest, classiest tickets." … "If "Inception" is a metaphysical puzzle, it’s also a metaphorical one: It’s hard not to draw connections between Cobb’s dream-weaving and Nolan’s filmmaking — an activity devoted to constructing a simulacrum of reality, intended to seduce us, mess with our heads and leave a lasting impression. Mission accomplished."
Justin Chang, Variety, variety.com
|"With Inception, Nolan has made his equivalent to The Big Sleep (ironic given the subject matter of Nolan's film), a thriller whose near indecipherable storyline will boggle minds decades to come -- or even his 2001, a genre opus guaranteed to confound or amaze viewers. Or is it Nolan's finally realized attempt at making a James Bond film? Or a heist thriller to rival Heat? A better version of Dreamscape? Inception is all of the above, and yet it's also a singular accomplishment from a filmmaker who has only gotten better with each film. Indeed, Inception could very well be Nolan's masterpiece."
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | 10/10
Jim Vejvoda, IGN, movies.ign.com
|"No movie this year comes freighted with greater expectations than Inception, Chris Nolan’s follow-up to the global blockbuster The Dark Knight. Happily, the movie delivers and then some—thanks to clever original screenwriting and exhilarating mise-en-scene—in 2D."
Anne Thompson, Thompson on Hollywood, Indie Wire, blogs.indiewire.com
|"Nolan, working with the sort of confidence (not to mention free financial reign) that comes from making a studio a mint on one’s previous picture, crafts an amazingly sophisticated, subversive, thoughtful, and even occasionally confusing (albeit in only good ways) tale about the layers of reality in the mind that calcify and crumble when constructed from the raw materials of memory and emotion. At the same time, he’s made an utter crowd pleaser, an epic piece of entertainment that ultimately feels so simple precisely because of all of its complexity, and one that rouses and inspires and excites in the same way as blockbusters comprised of pure spectacle." … "Watching the film, there’s a palpable sort of glee that Nolan takes in setting up the rules for his mental universe and then betraying them, contradicting them, or destroying them outright." … "Ultimately, Nolan’s is probably not the kind of movie that should be written about after just one viewing, and shouldn’t be viewed even once with any preconceptions or expectations, sky-high as I may have made them for folks who read this far."
Todd Gilchrist, Cinematical, cinematical.com
|"Like The Matrix mated with Synecdoche, New York — or a Charlie Kaufman 007. To paraphrase Casino Royale’s Vesper Lynd, it’s a meaningful pursuit in a summer of disposable entertainments. With physics-defying, thunderous action, heart-wringing emotion and an astonishing performance from DiCaprio, Nolan delivers another true original: welcome to an undiscovered country."
Rating: 5 out of 5
Nev Pierce, Empire Magazine, empireonline.com
|"What's most exciting about Inception is that it finds Nolan peaking as a visual artist; he's using the extravagantly cinematic tropes of other genres to connect with the viewer intellectually. With Inception, Nolan joins the company of Coppola, Lean and not too many others as a filmmaker who treats the big canvas with the respect it deserves - but with the steely verve of a chess player who can see dozens of moves ahead." … "Pure cinema at its best feels like dreaming with your eyes wide open. Cinema doesn't get much purer than Inception."
Mr. Beaks, Ain't It Cool News, aintitcool.com
|"I didn’t get my mind blown by Inception but I enjoyed it. I mean, it’s no Total Recall but I saw Total Recall when I was 12 (although thinking about it still blows my mind. How can his old personality demand his new personality give itself up? They can’t both be in the same body!) I’ll probably watch Inception again."
Fred Topel, CanMag, canmag.com
|The Upside: The cast is perfection, as are the visuals and music. Christopher Nolan gives us the first really great movie of the summer.
The Downside: I’d have to make something up.
"I will say this now, without reservation and fully confident that many will agree; Inception is easily the best big budget film of the year thus far. I’ll go further and say that it’s one of the most beautiful, well written, and fully realized high dollar films of the last five years. Inception, is close to perfection." … "Inception has a very cerebral plot, big on emotion and deeply connected to the exploration of the subconscious — but it’s an action film, and a beautiful one. Wally Pfister’s cinematography is second to none, and the digital effects work is seamless." … "Parts of Inception are like watching an Escher lithograph come to life, which, you know — is awesome. Coupled with Hans Zimmer’s masterful score, Inception is not only a treat visually, but matched by the music from the first scene on. Inception is what The Wachowskis wish the rest of The Matrix films after the first could have been; a head trip with outrageous action sequences and a strong emotional attachment to the story."
Dustin Hucks, Film School Rejects, filmschoolrejects.com
|"Suffice it to say that "Inception" is an exhilarating cinematic experience that suggests there is still room, even in the blockbuster world, for big ideas and dangerous emotions, and that may be the single most thrilling thing about it."
Drew McWeeny, HitFix, hitfix.com
|"Inception is a masterpiece. Making a huge film with big ambitions, Christopher Nolan never missteps and manages to create a movie that, at times, feels like a miracle. And sometimes it doesn’t even feel like a movie; while presented in woefully retro 2D, Inception creates a complete sense of immersion in another world. The screen before you is just another layer of the dream." … "I don’t even know what’s the most remarkable aspect of Inception. It’s huge-budget filmmaking harnessed to tell a personal story that’s smart and uncompromising. That’s certainly remarkable in this age of Hollywood. " … "I loved every moment of the waking dream, every frame of the celluloid reality. Cinema is dreaming, and Nolan understands this implicitly and completely."
Rating: 10 out of 10
Devin Faraci, CHUD, chud.com
|"In a great many ways, "Inception" is an exceptional film. It boasts a larger than life cast, a virtually unrestricted budget and a director at the top of his game both commercially and artistically. Action scenes feature mountain ski chases, zero-gravity fights and flawless special effect dreamscapes. So how is it that "Inception" comes together as such a bore? "Inception’s" problems stem completely from the screenplay. While we’re meant to believe that the world Nolan has created is of the utmost complexity, it is nowhere near the level that the exposition affords it. "Inception" is a monstrous, all-consuming exposition that seems to devour character and emotion to the point that, on the whole, the film feels like the origin story for a much more interesting tale. That is, the dream-espionage set-up is wonderfully original and clearly well-researched, but far too much time is spent establishing the rules of the world and far too little twisting those rules into anything other than face value."
Rating: 7 out of 10
Silas Lesnick, ComingSoon.net, comingsoon.net
|"A mind-trip not to be missed." … "For audiences looking for a break from the usual summer dish Hollywood serves, Inception is a wildly entertaining and dazzling mind-trip not to be missed. Kubrick would have been proud."
Rating: 5 out of 5
Pete Hammond, Box Office Magazine, boxofficemagazine.com
|"At some point while watching Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending, soul-churning masterpiece, Inception is a journey into the unseen rooms of the mind. It is also a slightly uncomfortably intimate look inside the mind of Nolan himself. It’s a frightening place to be, as it would be to enter anyone’s mind – dwelling in the various levels of consciousness, weaving in and out of the fears, desires and behaviors."
Sasha Stone, Awards Daily, awardsdaily.com
|"Nolan has truly created his magnum opus; an achievement of such grandeur, it’s remarkable a film of this scale was made in this day and age" … "The film stars DiCaprio, in a career-best performance," … "It’s tempting to compare this film to some amalgam of The Matrix, James Bond movies, The Sting and the 1984 thriller Dreamscape, and while there are certainly similarities, Inception defies comparison to live as a movie all its own. Intelligent without being impenetrable, Inception is like few films that come before it. The film has no shortage of thrilling action sequences yet none feel arbitrary. The action, for once, serves the story instead of the other way around. But this doesn’t mean that the visuals are anything short of breathtaking." … "At 148 minutes, Inception is hardly a quick film but it moves with such speed and efficiency that you never "feel" the length. Even when it’s over, the movie stays with you, begging for conversation, discussion, debate and, eventually, another viewing. I’m sure it’ll even pop up in your dreams. Nothing wrong with that. We should all be dreaming a little bit bigger."
Mike Sampson, JoBlo, joblo.com
|"In reviewing 2008’s "The Dark Knight," I wrote that director Christopher Nolan "has made a brief career of exploring characters built upon their somber, in some instances twisted pasts, however distant or immediate." The theme continues with "Inception," a film like nothing you have ever seen before that plays out like a two-hour therapy session, wrapped in the accoutrement of a heist film and bathed in the panache of an entirely immersive cinematic experience." … "Every single moment of "Inception" is more gripping than the last. It’s the kind of film Freud, or more likely Jung, would have delighted in deconstructing. Nolan takes a leap of faith with his audience, trusting them to keep up with the screenplay’s labyrinthine structure while at the same time conjuring enough cerebral hocus pocus to avert attention from its weaknesses."
Rating: 3,5 out of 4
Kristopher Tapley, InContention, incontention.com
|"With Inception, Nolan gives us his deepest work to date, and he’s one of the few filmmakers who, thanks to Warner Bros.’ support, could be the heir apparent to Stanley Kubrick. Like the late 2001 filmmaker, Nolan’s cerebral nature isn’t lost amidst the visual spectacle, and he refuses to pander to the audience. The director’s overlooked attention to sound design is another plus for the film, and his frequent collaborator Hans Zimmer composed a substantive score to the proceedings. Inception is not a story sans blemishes, as Nolan really does throw the kitchen sink into the film’s third act (how many levels can a dream state truly have). But maybe the director is truly a few steps ahead of the game, as the story’s complexities may not be fully appreciated until a second (or third) viewing. Edgar Allan Poe, who never seemed like the cheeriest of fellows, once wrote that "All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream." With Inception, Nolan challenges us to reassess our perceived grasp on reality, even if many refuse to wake up from their respective slumber. It’s a rather grand ambition indeed, but thanks to the gripping and ultimately evocative journey of Inception, one would assume that Mr. Nolan’s dreams are far from over."
Greg Srisavasdi, Hollywood Outbreak, hollywoodoutbreak.com
|"The bottom line here is that I loved this film. I know this review will get labeled by some as me simply kissing Nolan’s butt. Whatever…I couldn’t care less. It’s a great film and the fact it’s an original creation from Chris makes it even that much more impressive. Really, the guy made all of this crazy dream stuff up in his head, put it down on paper, and turned it into one hell of a film. Inception is a film that Nolan has been thinking about and developing for ten years. I’m sure greenlighting a filmmaker’s personal pet project and giving it a prime Summer release date would be considered a huge gamble for any studio. Did The Dark Knight’s success and having Nolan ultimately helm a third Batman play a role in such a decision? Perhaps, but it really doesn’t matter because this is one damn good movie. The "I check my brain in at the door for Summer movie blockbusters" ain't going to matter with this one, and Warner Bros.’ leap of faith and belief in Chris Nolan is going to get rewarded yet again."
Bill Ramey, Batman On Film, batman-on-film.com
|"As a slick, all-out action thriller Christopher Nolan’s much-anticipated Inception delivers its share of tense drama and more than its share of eye-catching spectacle. As a piece of psychological sci-fi, though, the Warner/Legendary project never quite achieves the mind-bending quality that distinguishes the most successful examples of that genre. So it may still take all of Warner’s marketing savvy and Leonardo DiCaprio’s star power to turn this pricey - reportedly $170m or more - venture into a significant profit maker."
John Hazelton, ScreenDaily, screendaily.com
|"This movie's brilliant. It is so unbelievably inventive and intelligent that I'm convinced a studio just gave Christopher Nolan carte blanche to do anything he wanted. Because there's no way some studio exec read this script and then said: "Sure, take my money and go make this movie." It's so dense, so layered, such a hard sell that it must be a marketing nightmare. But it's easily the most interesting, involving and memorable film I've seen this year. I want to see it a second time pre-opening, and a third time opening weekend; that should tell you something right there."
Steven James Snyder TechLand, TIME.com, techland.com