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*** Official INCEPTION Review Thread

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#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted July 16 2010 - 09:17 AM

I worked a half day today to attend Christopher Nolan's new film. I did pay a little extra to see it in faux Imax at my local AMC. I have been eagerly anticipating this film for some time, ever since they started casting around an original sci-fi premise. We'll see how much weight Nolan's name carries now.

It is a challenge to review the film without spoilers, but I promise I won't give anything away. It is an original film, but it plays with the very essence of storytelling. Almost the entire audience has a certain familiarity with dreams, and this film utilizes that experience, while staying pretty grounded in a set of rules. The dreams don't go too far afield, but the essence of their purpose is the core of the film. What do we do with our dreams, and why do they sometimes drive us?

Exceptional cast, beautiful film to look at, somewhat intriguing and overbearing score, and a maze to navigate towards a compelling end. My only gripe is that the film moves start to finish. The rules aren't explained until the middle (which is not a gripe, merely an observation), and then you sprint until the end. That is OK, but it leaves you a bit breathless.

I am not sure the film is a masterpiece, but I am not sure it isn't. I am very much looking forward to seeing it again. Nolan's gifts as a director are certainly growing. It was a heck of a ride.

Highly recommended,
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#2 of 19 OFFLINE   mattCR


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Posted July 16 2010 - 09:49 AM

I took the afternoon also and went.  I have no idea what to say.  I could tell you the entirety of the ending, and I don't know if it would make any impact on how you view the movie, because the ending doesn't really mean very much, the story telling itself does. This may be one of the most complex, layered films in years.  This will require multiple viewings to really absorb, and to be honest, I'm going to save a lot of those for home on Blueray where I can pause some scenes because there are some segments that I felt almost needed to be judged in slow motion. This moves to #3 out of all the movies I've seen this year (Temple Grandin, HBO and Toy Story3 are the top2) but this may be one of those films that is required viewing for SciFi in years to come. It will be mentioned in the same breath as 2001 and Blade Runner as truly unique, creative filmmaking that challenges the viewer at every turn to evaluate what they think about it. This is a great film - and you should see it at least once in the theater. 4.5 Stars / 5

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#3 of 19 OFFLINE   Simon Massey

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Posted July 16 2010 - 10:20 AM

Absolutely breathtaking film to watch. This should be taken as a prime example of how to do a Hollywood blockbuster right and I hope it does well for that reason. I dont want to spoil it for anyone here but it's definitely one of the best films I have seen this year. I do have a couple of gripes with it but it's hard to fault it really and at least it will lead to some actual constructive discussion of a big Hollywood film rather than the usual "Well it was a good, leave your brains at the door" film. Give Nolan a Bond film too!!! :)

#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Larry Sutliff

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Posted July 16 2010 - 11:23 AM

I also left work early to see INCEPTION. This is going to be one of the most talked about films this year. I can only say that I found it to work on nearly every level, and found it to be much more of an emotional experience than I was expecting. I heard so many reviewers say that this film was "cold", and I didn't find that to be the case at all. It packed a real emotional wallop for me, and the audience I saw it with(you could hear people crying at certain key moments). The final shot will be talked about for years to come. I can't wait to see it again. This is by far the best film I've seen so far this year, and may be the best work yet by Nolan.

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted July 16 2010 - 12:17 PM

This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Inception". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an
 Official Discussion Thread.


#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted July 16 2010 - 05:24 PM

This is the film that I could not wait for it to be over.  For me it's a 90 minute film that goes on for about 150 minutes.   That's never a good thing. For me, a lot of sizzle on the screen, but not really a lot of meat, nor compelling chararterizations, plus seeing Leonardo Dicaprio in this film, and earlier this year in "Shutter Island" playing characters with similar angsty tragic backstories didn't light my fire. I didn't care who lived or died in this movie, it's that sort of film which is more interested in slo-mo and bombastic music scores, but it got so tedious and jarringly numb at times. My audience let out a huge groan at the end.  Ugh. Regardless of the cool visuals packed in this film, I won't revisit it anytime soon. I give it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+.
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#7 of 19 OFFLINE   Patrick H.

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Posted July 16 2010 - 06:31 PM

It's very interesting that within the past year we've had two major sci-fi films from two major directors that both touch on the fusion of technology with dream states and the perception of reality. But where James Cameron put a decade of imagination into the visuals that realized what was really a very basic story, Chris Nolan infuses ten years' worth of imagination into the very story itself. Not to put down what Cameron achieved, but I think 'Inception' is going to haunt my thoughts in ways that 'Avatar' didn't even aspire to.

I LOVED this film. Yes, there were elements of 'The Matrix', 'Dark City', hints of James Bond and '2001', but, man, the narrative forces at work behind all these components just felt wholly, wildly original. The cast was splendid...a great crew of faces who all brought their A-game, and it was nice to see some supporting players from Nolan's Batman films get more substantial roles here. The ways in which the film played with time and physical spaces were amazing, and I thought the ending was perfect. The entire environment of the film is ambiguous almost from the get-go, so if it ended on any other note than it did, it would've seemed like a cop-out to me.

I saw it in a theater full of mostly teenagers, which had me nervous at first, but damn their response was great! There was much audible amazement during the zero-g fight sequences, and some definite tears during the emotional revelations of he final act. Applause and much excited conversation as the credits rolled...complex as it was, the film connected. People are gonna remember this one for a long time, I think.

#8 of 19 OFFLINE   DaveB


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Posted July 17 2010 - 11:30 AM

Wow! What a brilliant film! Totally blown away.

Nolan strikes all the right notes in a symphony of beautiful madness. Like The Prestige before it, I expect much of the richness of the screenplay to be revealed upon subsequent viewings and on Blu-ray.

Thoroughly intriguing, mind-bending and groundbreaking -- not to mention my favorite film of 2010, narrowly edging Toy Story 3 -- I give Inception my highest possible recommendation.

#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Lou Sytsma

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Posted July 17 2010 - 11:08 PM

Goes to show that when a film comes along that does not follow the cookie cutter stamp press of summer block busters that what a breath of fresh air it can be.  Inception is such a film and its existence is tied directly to Nolan's success with more accessible work.  Inception is a very good tottering towards great film. It is no masterpiece. The main failing is that the film never engages emotionally.  Odd, when the central conceit is tied to the relationship between a wife and husband.  Thematically the movie reminded me of Primer which also plays with time and perceptions of reality. The film is undoubtedly cool and has some amazing shots.  The very last shot left me ambivalent. It was too predictable and rather cliche. Loved Hans Zimmer's score.
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#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Rhett_Y



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Posted July 18 2010 - 04:53 AM

I actually loved the ending... Made me and the wife really think about the movie.
Was the whole thing a dream!?!?!
Needless to say, I loved it.  I agree with others, best film of the year for me so far.  Excellent!!
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#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Jason Roer

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Posted July 18 2010 - 09:31 AM

Hey all. My review of Inception is now up at my blog: http://flickday.blogspot.com Great movie. Can't wait for future screenings. Cheers, Jason

#12 of 19 OFFLINE   Michael:M


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Posted July 18 2010 - 09:38 AM

I find people's reactions of "not engaging emotionally" - both here and on other boards - puzzling. (Not wrong, mind you - a film either connects with us or it doesn't, and it's not always a sign of bad filmmaking or poor viewing. Sometimes a film just doesn't resonate.) I thought Leo gave us another great performance with which we could connect/invest. (There are thematic parallels between this role and his role in THE DEPARTED and SHUTTER ISLAND.) The scene where he talks to his children, where he has to go on the lam, and the scene with Mal and the hotel ledges....I thought they were more than sufficient to engage and up the emotional stakes.

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#13 of 19 OFFLINE   MattFini


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Posted July 18 2010 - 12:34 PM

I loved this film, too. Haven't been able to get it out of my head since Friday - loved the performances, the twisty story, Hans Zimmer's brilliant score and, of course, Nolan's fantastic presentation.
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#14 of 19 OFFLINE   Walter Kittel

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Posted July 18 2010 - 12:45 PM

My comments from another thread on HTF...

Viewed Inception earlier today.  First impressions are the film is a masterpiece of storytelling that hits all of the marks.  Need a few more viewings to see where this falls but right now I suspect this will make my top ten of the decade. (2010 is the first year of the new decade for such purposes - right?)  I believe that subsequent viewings will only reinforce my admiration for this film and that in the future this will be lauded as one of my top 50 or possibly top 20 favorite all-time films.  Seriously.

Production design is a marvel.  (Makes me want to wear designer suits and live in luxury hotels. )   Terrific leading performance from DiCaprio and a stunning supporting performance from Marion Cotillard that provides the film its emotional resonance.  Great cinematography from Wally Pfister.  (I have been considering a front projector upgrade over the last few months and the Blu-ray release of this film might provide the motivation for such an upgrade.)  Excellent supporting work from the rest of the cast.  Everything works.


BTW, the big set piece in the final act is Christopher Nolan's audition for directorship of a James Bond film.  He passes with flying colors.


Loved, loved, loved this film.  


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#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Edwin-S



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Posted July 20 2010 - 08:44 PM

Everything that was good about this film was destroyed by Nolan's cheap stunt at the end. It became obvious that he was going to pull off something predictable and stupid and he did. This film was looking like at least a B+ or higher, but when the ending leaves you feeling cheated and thinking what a bunch of bullshit it is, the film just deserves a D. Everybody I was watching it with just laughed or groaned at the ending.
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#16 of 19 ONLINE   Todd H

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Posted July 21 2010 - 01:35 AM

I REALLY wanted to like this movie, but in the end it just didn't resonate with me. It was well made and great to look at but I just didn't feel any attachment to the characters. Could have used a trim as well as it felt a tad too long. I'd give it a C+. I'll revisit it again when it's released on Blu-ray to see if it works better after a second viewing.

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted July 23 2010 - 10:25 AM

Just came back from the cinema. Watched a big budget remake of Dreamscape.

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#18 of 19 OFFLINE   Mario Gauci

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Posted July 24 2010 - 10:30 PM

07/24/10: INCEPTION (Christopher Nolan, 2010)

The death of my beloved 11-year old dog Renoir (aka Reggie), the crashing (yet again) of my PC and the stifling heat of the Maltese Summer have collectively conspired to create another unforeseen hiatus in my film reviewing activities; however, when something ‘special’ like this comes along, it is virtually impossible to hold back one’s desire to have a go at praising, deconstructing or interpreting it – so here goes…

Seeing how Luis Bunuel (the master in the depiction of cinematic reveries) is my all-time favorite auteur, it goes without saying that I am fascinated by dream sequences in movies and the notion that INCEPTION was going to be an elaborate exploration of the dream-state in arty sci-fi/caper thriller terms was a potentially invigorating one. I must say that director Nolan assembled quite a remarkable cast here (even though it does feel sometimes like their names were ticked triumphantly off of a list of actors he has been wanting to work with): Leonardo Di Caprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page and Ken Watanabe (being the established “heavyweights”); Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Dileep Rao (the up-and-coming “new breed”); Tom Berenger, Lukas Haas and Pete Poslethwaite (the “comeback” crowd); plus Michael Caine and Cillian Murphy (from Nolan’s own “stock company”). All the actors rise deftly to the occasion but I would single out Cotillard (as Di Caprio’s enigmatic dead wife who haunts him constantly), Gordon-Levitt and Hardy (as members of Di Caprio’s elite theme of dream-stealers) for particular praise. Two equally impressive contributions to the film’s overall success are Hans Zimmer’s powerful score and some truly dazzling special visual effects (especially during the amazing ‘folding city’ sequence). Besides, for a typically (by today’s standards) protracted 148-minute movie, it was a surprisingly fast ride.

Now, as is perhaps my custom for contemporary fare, comes the barrage of reservations I had with the film which, in some people’s minds, might disqualify the *** (i.e. good) rating above!: above all, I had a problem with the film’s relentless desire to “have the cake and eat it too” by turning out what is, essentially, the cerebral version of the action-packed Summer blockbuster. The members of Di Caprio’s team are supposed to be technological geeks but the extraordinary life-saving feats they accomplish in the movie (albeit only ever taking place in their subconscious) would make James Bond dive for his hat and pension cheque!; the latter’s iconic presence is particularly recalled in the final snow-bound dream sequence that literally plays out like the 21stCentury version of ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE (1969). I also found the gravity-defying flying antics of the hotel room set-piece hard to take and not a little silly (especially when Gordon-Levitt has to carry out his dormant companions on top of one another!) – and this is coming from somebody who has so far resisted the urge to watch (sacrilege of sacrileges) THE MATRIX trilogy. Again, I understand that most of what we see is supposed to be taking place in the dream-state but it felt pretty ridiculous to me to have six people all asleep at one time all the time…even though every manner of bullet and bomb is exploding all around them! Amusingly, that enormously extended slow-motion shot of the van tumbling into the sea reminded me of Howard Hawks’ (unjust in his case) denigrating comment on one of my all-time favorite Westerns i.e. Sam Peckinpah’s THE WILD BUNCH (1969)!

On one hand, I am in awe of Christopher Nolan for having undertaken such a dauntingly complex task – creating a multi-layered maze of dreams within dreams – all by himself (even if it took him a good eight years to do so); on the other hand, however, I do not accept the fact that this should excuse several illogicalities that bugged me as I was watching it, namely: why would Di Caprio accept a newbie (albeit one as graceful as Page and who had been recommended to him by his father-in-law Caine) as part of the team for one final fling at his ultra-specialized job with an all-important outcome (reuniting him with his long-lost children)?; similarly, how on earth could a mere industrialist (Watanabe) nullify Di Caprio’s murder charges by making one phone call?; what was the point of the team risking their lives repeatedly to discover the contents of Poslethwaite’s vault when it has been telegraphed in advance (in that recurring photograph of Murphy as a boy) all along? – irresistible shades of CITIZEN KANE (1941)’s “Rosebud” climactic revelation perchance?;  I am sure there was a rock-solid reason for Nolan and Zimmer to go for Edith Piaf’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” anthem as the team’s ‘wake-up’ tune…but the Cotillard connection made it seem far too deliberate. The one cardinal sin that the film commits, in my humble opinion, is that none of the dreams seemed the least bit dream-like to me! They are far too realistically realized and cleverly choreographed to ever attain the jumbled-up and repetitive nature of a true dream [sic]. Although one could easily tell whose dream we were in at any given point in time (since that character is virtually the protagonist in his own vision), I have to admit to losing sight of the stakes in some of them and, what is worse, I did not really care! Equally unimportant, it seems to me, was whether the totem would stop spinning, fall off the table or whatever in that ‘not-all-that-unexpected’ open ending!!  

Seeing how some have taken INCEPTION to be a treatise on the nature of dreams in movies, I cannot finish off this review without name-checking a few films myself: it seems telling that I found Nolan’s THE PRESTIGE (2006; also featuring Caine) and Martin Scorsese’s SHUTTER ISLAND (2010; with Di Caprio) – both similarly using a time-shifting narrative structure – as superior and more satisfying movies; on the whole, Alex Proyas’ DARK CITY (1998) was a more striking and enjoyable visionary sci-fi/thriller; judging from its already having claimed the #3 spot in the irrelevant “IMDb Top 250” list, INCEPTION is bound to go the overrated route of Nolan’s previous effort, THE DARK KNIGHT (2008);  as a multi-layered narrative film, it is not a patch on Wojciech J. Has’ supremely entertaining picaresque Polish epic THE SARAGOSSA MANUSCRIPT (1965) and, almost a hundred years on, D.W. Griffith’s uniquely ambitious INTOLERANCE (1916) remains the undefeated champion of how such a densely interlocking narrative film should be made. 

#19 of 19 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted March 15 2011 - 07:00 AM

Interesting comments. Mario, the team wasn't trying to discover what was in the safe -- they wanted *Fischer* to "discover" what was in the safe (which they planted there themselves). I actually was emotionally invested in the Dom/ Mal backstory.  The problem for me was that the way the rules of the action story seemed to keep changing distracted from it.  A good movie that could've been great had it been a little more straightforward. The 50/50 ambiguous ending was pretty obvious, but I was OK with it. Interesting side-note: I paused the disc to get a snack or something just as the newspaper clipping the characters were studying was on the screen.  The articles were all about how investors were terrified that a less-than-competent young Fischer would destroy the company.  If you think about it, that kind of renders the entire mission moot!  :)
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