Inception 2010 ★★

Time for me to get my hard hat on and prepare for a barrage of dissenting viewpoints: I didn't like INCEPTION. No, I can't say I'm entirely surprised, given my reactions to the other Christopher Nolan films I've seen: his monotonous THE DARK KNIGHT, his bland remake of INSOMNIA and the uneven MEMENTO (the only one I have any real time for). Still, I was prepared to give it a chance and was even, to an extent, cautiously optimistic, particularly after seeing the interesting-looking trailers and hearing positive feedback on it from people who weren't keen on Nolan's previous work.

One thing's for sure, it's an intriguing premise, but the outcome is, to quote one review, "conceptually alluring but laborious and visionless". The film is over-long, plodding and slow, packed to the gills with dry exposition about the rather daft "rules" of the dream world at the near-total expense of anything approaching character development or indeed characterisation of any sort. I can't think of any other recent film with characters this bland and unlikeable - at least THE DARK KNIGHT had Heath Ledger's Joker.

For the first hour or so, I was mildly intrigued, with the premise itself doing enough to hold my attention (more or less - I first found myself glancing at the timer display on the BD player at the 41-minute mark), along with the hope that once things properly got under way, I would be hooked. Sadly, it never really got off the ground, ultimately devolving into generic action fare involving interchangeable men in suits running around shooting people with a ticking clock in the background. I don't know Christopher Nolan - for all I know he could be a whimsical, wacky guy with a vivid imagination - but if the dreams in INCEPTION are anything like his own, then he must be as interminably dull as the films he makes. By the final hour, indifference had turned to outright dislike and I was just willing the damn thing to end. And when end it did, OF COURSE it had to end with one of those trite "Is this still a dream?" questions that I'd predicted within five minutes of the film starting.

At this stage, I'm pretty much done with Christopher Nolan. I doubt I'll go out of my way to watch anything else he writes and/or directs. I'm not so conceited that I consider myself right and the rest of the world wrong: I simply have to accept that, for whatever reason, his films don't work for me in the way that they do for so many others. To many, they are brilliant, complex masterpieces; to me, they are empty, miserable exercises in the technical aspects of filmmaking. When all said and done, INCEPTION is unquestionably at the very bottom of my personal "films of 2010" list.


  • You will probably like my review quite a bit.

  • Haha, I do indeed, though you obviously spent way more time thinking about the film than I feel it deserves. :D Thumbs up for your DARK KNIGHT review as well.

  • Booo! It's VERY rare we disagree, but blimey do we here! I LOVED Inception; brilliant film and I firmly believe it'll be up there with Blade Runner in years to come. There I said it.
    I do agree that Nolan's Insomnia is God awful though (the original is superb) and I have little time for Memento. But I do like Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and perhaps my favourite of his until this, The Prestige. Roll on The Dark Knight Rises says I ;)

  • Well in fairness I don't expect many people to agree with me on this, but I'm afraid Nolan just doesn't do it for me. I actually didn't mind INSOMNIA - I thought it was passable, nothing more - and thought MEMENTO was an interesting idea that outstayed its welcome, but I couldn't understand either THE DARK KNIGHT or INCEPTION and can't understand for the life of me why he gets the plaudits he does.

    I haven't seen THE PRESTIGE yet and a few people have told me to watch it before writing Nolan off completely. But I can't say I'm in any great hurry and yes, I shall most definitely be giving THE DARK KNIGHT RISES a miss. :D

  • I'm intrigued by your thoughts on Insomnia here. I'm a big big fan of Nolan yet Insomnia to me is his weakest since Memento. That I would describe as very solid technically accomplished film-making. Yet you describe his films as such but hold Insomnia in higher regard (it seems from your comments, anyway - and I realise this doesn't mean you like it!).

    Personally The Prestige is the one I think should be seen as his masterpiece. I would love to hear your thoughts on that one...

  • To be fair, it's been several years since I saw INSOMNIA and don't remember many of the specifics, so I'm not sure there's all that much of a conversation for us to have about it. I can understand you, as a Nolan fan, finding it one of his weakest films, since on the whole I thought it was bland and unremarkable. That, however, does put it ahead of the Nolan pack for me, since at least I didn't actively dislike it.

    I haven't seen THE PRESTIGE yet. Quite a few people have urged me to see it before I write Nolan off completely. :D

  • Masterpiece. The only film I've watched three times during it's original cinema release. One of the best films ever made. Perfect 5/5 from me.

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