There aren’t enough adjectives in the English language to properly describe how Christopher Nolan is going to warp your mind. Even after the monstrous success of The Dark Knight, he’s managed to present us a film that’s just as ambitious, intelligent, and masterfully constructed.

In fact, I daresay it’s better.

No. You’re not dreaming. I actually said that.

We have no timeframe as to when this story takes place—for all we know, it’s an alternate reality—but it’s understood by the affluent of humanity that technology exists to allow several people to share dreams. It’s explained how the technology is used in the context of the film in most of the trailers and promotional videos released; I’ll not regurgitate that bit of information. Just know it’s not a spoiler, but the cornerstone for Nolan’s daring premise. And of the many possible uses of such technology, corporate espionage just so happens to be one of them.

Enter Dom Cobb, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character. He’s the center of this story, in terms of exposition, exposure, and emotion. He’s assembled a team of the best at what they do in order to fulfill the classic “one last job” heist scenario. His reasons are personal and very potent in the film. They bear a legitimate amount of gravitas early on, but later unfold into something poignant and powerful. The story is his journey, and it’s both personal and grand. The supporting characters are all well-drawn, and I’ve got to say, their roles in the film are just plain cool.

In fact, you know what the best thing about Inception is? It’s entirely self-sustaining. The concept and rules for Inception drive the characters and their roles. They punctuate their dialogue. They drive the unfolding problems and necessary solutions. And they dictate the absolutely mesmerizing action sequences in ways that will have you grinning ear-to-ear.

But it goes even deeper than that. Cobb’s personal story is tied to the concept and the rules in an astonishing way, and it’s an issue that cannot be solved without following those same rules. There’s no way to transplant the backstory into another film and make it work. Try it, and it will either fall apart or end up a solid clone of Inception. Cobb’s turmoil affects us on a personal level, but it never betrays the terms set down by Nolan. And yet it never feels forced. For two-and-a-half hours, you’ll be plunged into a completely different world, watching cities fold and physics warp—and you won’t even notice the seams.

The actual story is better than your standard fare, but I won’t go into detail about it (you have no idea how hard it is to try and justify all this without referencing portions of the film). Even at a runtime that outpaces your standard film, you’ll be pressed to constantly check your watch. In fact, once you pass a certain point in the film, you’ll forget about time itself, even as the film toys with that very notion. The story is lengthy, yet lean. I couldn’t pick out any fattening moments that needed trimming. It’s a story that starts off with a slow burn, naturally picks up the pace, and then reaches a layered climax that will leave you breathless. It’s the only ending conflict in five years that genuinely got my heart racing.

That brings up another strong point of the film: the score. Hans Zimmer is on-hand to provide the sonic tones for the film, and he does an outstanding job. He captures the requisite heart and anguish in the intimate moments, but he also manages to unleash a beast. In the high stakes moments, he reinforces those stakes with his score, a monstrous assembly of haunting poignancy and thunderous tension.

For those of you that have been coasting through the summer fare, brace yourselves. While the season hasn’t been terrible, I think, if we’re to be honest with ourselves, we’ve left theaters feeling simply entertained. Inception isn’t satisfied with such a tepid aftertaste. I walked in with all the expectations conjured over the last…well, year, simultaneously fueled by the deluge of glistening reviews for the film, and my mind was still unprepared for Inception. There’s not a single area of the film that’s lacking—acting, dialogue, pacing, visuals, action, emotion, continuity, direction, production value—it’s all presented in top notch form. This is the best film of the summer and the year, thus far. If the Academy continues their trend of nominating ten Best Pictures, I’ll be floored if Inception isn’t found in that category.

Ok, so I might be going a bit over the top with the praise; I personally don’t put much stock in initial observations, especially my own. But I haven’t walked out of a film so jazzed in years, enthralled to the point I couldn’t get to sleep afterward and excited more by the experience than the anticipation (how often can you honestly say that’s happened?). Whatever I say about the film, the bottom line is this: go see it for yourself. Grab a snack, sit back, and keep your mind wide open.

You’ll be rewarded with an experience that’ll have you pinching yourself. I certainly was.


  1. Clibanarius on 16 July 2010, 14:40 said:

    Alright! I’ll watch it.

    Whoo I’m the first commenter. I know what you mean about watching something that leaves you just feeling like someone puked on your soul. I’m glad to see directors haven’t forgotten how to make good movies

  2. Snow White Queen on 16 July 2010, 15:03 said:

    Okay, now I really want to see this movie.

  3. Lucywannabe on 16 July 2010, 17:24 said:

    God, I’ve been so pumped for this that I’m going nuts.

  4. fffan on 16 July 2010, 23:49 said:

    If it has Leonardo Dicaprio in it, I’m there. Also, Hanz Zimmer is a genius. Just throwing that out there.

  5. Artimaeus on 17 July 2010, 12:33 said:

    I must see this. Everyone is telling my how spectacular it is.

  6. Kawnliee on 17 July 2010, 20:49 said:

    I saw this today and I agree with everything that was said. This film is absolutely amazing and is the best film that I have seen thus far this year. A thoroughly top-notch film in every aspect.

  7. Marquis De Carabas on 18 July 2010, 14:24 said:

    Yeah, it’s truly an outstanding movie. Also for those who haven’t seen it yet, the ending will make you rage.

  8. Steph (what is left) on 20 July 2010, 00:09 said:

    I cannot wait to see this film. Also, the description of how everything ties in together intrigues me.

  9. Rocky on 20 July 2010, 00:34 said:

    It’s really fantastic how everything links together. Nolan’s already well-known for tying up little loose ends and playing with time; this film is no different. And it’s not that the characters get maybe an option to kinda/sorta approach a stereotypical problem from a unique angle. The problems are grounded in the film, the reasons for the problems are grounded in the film, the possible solutions and outcomes are grounded in the film, the way things unfold, go/don’t go according to plan….I think you get the idea.

    Also, be prepared for the main “operation” at the end. I just got back from seeing it again with some friends, and one of them told me her hands hurt from clenching her fists so hard during the climax.

  10. Snow White Queen on 25 July 2010, 00:34 said:

    I saw the movie, and it was great. I really liked it a lot, especially in terms of an original, creative plot.

  11. gervasium on 13 September 2010, 07:41 said:

    You’re absolutely right, this is beyond anything any other movie this summer could pull.
    And as you said, it is rather self sustaining, which is why, unfortunately, I can’t see the chance for a sequel.
    Ah, well, Christopher Nolan will just have to keep coming up with grander and more original ideas.

  12. Rocky on 14 September 2010, 10:06 said:

    If anything, Nolan’s now proven beyond any doubt that he can sustain himself outside a studio-financed franchise. He can adapt short stories (Memento), full novels (The Prestige), foreign films (Insomnia), multiple-entry comic book fare (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight), and wholly personal and original work (Inception) with equal amounts of ingenuity and dedication.

    I’m not only looking forward to his third Batman film, but I’m also looking forward to what he brings us beyond that. How many big budget-laden directors give us that sort of confidence?

  13. swenson on 14 September 2010, 10:33 said:



    Excuse me, I meant to say that I didn’t read this review before watching Inception, but I agree with absolutely everything in it, even after rewatching the movie and letting a few months pass. It’s still incredible, and quite literally is one of the best movies ever made.

    I definitely agree with you about Nolan proving himself. I just hope he doesn’t burn out or something… and yes, I am so excited for Batman 3. I trust him to do what’s right with it. Some people criticized him for basically ignoring comics continuity, but come on, it worked fine the last two times. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

  14. Nate Winchester on 15 September 2010, 07:14 said:

    I saw it 3 times in the theater (once at a kind of half-imax). Yeah, I loved it.

    That brings up another strong point of the film: the score. Hans Zimmer is on-hand to provide the sonic tones for the film, and he does an outstanding job. He captures the requisite heart and anguish in the intimate moments, but he also manages to unleash a beast. In the high stakes moments, he reinforces those stakes with his score, a monstrous assembly of haunting poignancy and thunderous tension.

    If you ask me, after Dark Knight and this movie, Has Zimmer has now surpassed John Williams as THE musical score director of a movie.

  15. swenson on 15 September 2010, 13:27 said:

    And the way he weaves the “kick” through the entire movie is amazing. It’s something I didn’t realize until later, but some of the music toward the end is actually the kick, just… altered.

  16. Nate Winchester on 15 September 2010, 17:16 said:

    Actually if you want to really enjoy a meta joke, there’s 1 song in particular that they always play to “sync” the kick throughout the movie.

    It is the last song they play over the credits.

    I laughed hard when I realized it.

  17. swenson on 16 September 2010, 11:06 said:

    I didn’t notice that! Nice. Very, very nice.

  18. Senor_Alvarez on 27 March 2011, 22:12 said:

    Nobody’ll probably see this since the article’s so old, but oh well.

    I would respectfully disagree with this review. I feel like Cobb, and all of the characters for that matter, were not developed at all and acted solely as plot devices. I also found the story overly simplistic, as the first half was simply telling you what they were going to do, and then in the second half, they did it with no real twists and a neatly tied-up ending. (The spinning top at the end is just cheap, especially since there’s a clear distinction when they’re in reality and when they’re in a dream. That line was never blurred after the very beginning scene)

    I also felt that the ‘militarized mind’ was a cop-out. Inside the human mind, you could have so many interesting psychological conflicts trying to kill them….there was a ton of potential, and the fact that it all just boiled down to a generic shoot-out was dissapointing.

    Also, i found the entire snow fortress scene very poorly pieced together, especially the fighting in the snow. Come on movie, you’re advertised as being mind-blowing! Show me something other than gunfights!

    /rant over