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Inception 2010

Critics score:
86 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: 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. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: Inception is an elegant, portentous ride, though I'm not sure Nolan is any closer to visualizing the real (dream) deal than Hitchcock was. Read more

Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly: Beautiful and bloodless. Like a dream, it doesn't implant ideas you'll carry with you outside of the multiplex Read more

James Rocchi, MSN Movies: 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. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: 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. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: One of the year's best films, one that will surely get even better upon repeated viewings. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: How can it be that a bunch of people sitting around scheming nonsense can prove so compelling? Only David Fincher knows how to take a studio's money and spin it as stylishly as Nolan. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: I wanted to surrender to this dream; I didn't want to be out in the cold, alone. But I truly have no idea what so many people are raving about. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: None of this prattling drivel adds up to one iota of cogent or convincing logic. You never know who anyone is, what their goals are, who they work for or what they're doing. Read more

John Anderson, Wall Street Journal: 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. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: It's a long movie (2.5 hours) but doesn't feel so, and is the rare would-be blockbuster that demands close attention and would surely reward rewatching. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: 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. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: An imposing, prismatic achievement, and strongly resistant to an insta-reaction; when it's over, Nolan still seems a few steps ahead of us. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Inception is either a great, mind-bending movie or one big swindle. Let's go with the former. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: 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. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: Inception delivers dazzling special effects and a boatload of stars, but it sags and eventually buckles under the weight of its complicated premise. Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: It's only the latest indication that Christopher Nolan might be the slyest narrative tactician making movies today. Read more

Tom Charity, CNN.com: A spectacular fantasy thriller based on Nolan's own original screenplay, Inception is the smartest CGI head-trip since The Matrix. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Nolan, like Cobb, is an assiduous extractor, and he knows how to wow audiences. But scaling big and thinking big are not the same thing. And dark, just because it's dark, isn't more artistic than light. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: I found myself admiring the movie's stubborn adherence to its own universe and logic. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Inception is a boldly constructed wonder with plenty of -- as one character describes it -- "paradoxical architecture." Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: 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. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: 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. Read more

Laremy Legel, Film.com: It's an affecting movie; quite a piece of art in a world of also-rans and marketing plans. Read more

Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter: A devilishly complicated, fiendishly enjoyable sci-fi voyage across a dreamscape that is thoroughly compelling. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: This is a popular entertainment with a knockout punch so intense and unnerving it'll have you worrying if it's safe to close your eyes at night. Read more

Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News: Inception is the blockbuster we've all been thirsting for, a sleek brain-twister that makes the other 2010 mainstream releases look puny, drab and empty-headed in comparison. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: I absolutely loved every minute of it. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: A heist film of thrilling, almost delirious complexity. Read more

Caryn James, Newsweek: Even as you tick off the film's overload of references, though -- a Matrix here, a James Bond there -- the amazing effects and Cobb's quest carry you along. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: An astonishment, an engineering feat, and, finally, a folly. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: It's just grade-A filmmaking. Read more

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: 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. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: A sublime brain-twister of a movie that plays out so intricately on so many levels simultaneously that a bathroom break comes at your own peril. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: 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. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: All it asks of viewers is that they do something rare: engage the intellect. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard Roeper.com: One of the most intoxicating, challenging and beautiful movies of the 21st century, deserving of multiple Oscar nominations. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: 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. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: In this wildly ingenious chess game, grandmaster Nolan plants ideas in our heads that disturb and dazzle. The result is a knockout. But be warned: Inception dreams big. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com: Inception may have been directed by Christopher Nolan, but Nolan's dreams are apparently directed by Michael Bay. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: At the end of Inception, I hadn't lived through the grueling emotional journey Nolan seemed to think I had, but I'd seen a bunch of cool images and admired some technically ambitious feats of filmmaking. Read more

Christopher Orr, The Atlantic: Like his protagonist, Nolan excels as an implanter of subversive ideas. This time, alas, he didn't dig quite deep enough for them to take root. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: Pretty good, not bad, but brilliant it surely ain't. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: At first, Inception left me cold, feeling as if I'd just eavesdropped on somebody's bad acid trip. Now I find I can't get the film out of my mind, which is really the whole point of it, isn't it? Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: The idea of moviegoing as communal dreaming is a century old. With Inception, viewers have a chance to see that notion get a state-of-the-art update. Take that chance: dream along with Christopher Nolan. Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: Like a dream, Nolan's film fades swiftly in the light -- but while it lasts, it feels like there's nothing more important to decipher. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: 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. Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: 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. Read more

Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice: 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. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: 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. Read more