Tuesday evening update:
The noise of universal appreciation (except the oddly rotten egg review at Coming Soon) is deafening and it’s evident that Chris Nolan has delivered exactly the imaginative and original, cerebral blockbuster we banking on him to turn in all year. This is exactly the situation Avatar went through last December in the days before it went wide as enthusiastic, full score reviews, the next more gushing than the last – continued to go live.
We are told the following is the first wave of critics appreciation (the U.S. West-Coast) and that many writers stateside will be seeing the movie today, and I know for a fact there were many U.K. press screenings today (we decided to opt for tomorrow’s instead). and of course we still await to hear what Roger Ebert, a.O. Scott, Emmanuel Levy, Todd McCarthy and David Denby – the A-team of modern day writers – have to say, though I’m sure we can all guess which side of the coin they are going to fall down on.
Guessing their reaction is as useless as flipping that coin Harvey Dent uses in The Dark Knight, pre-burning. It’s only going to go one way.
Here’s the latest set of reviews, followed by the original dozen I linked to last night, just as the embargo was breaking;
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.
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.
In terms of sheer originality, ambition and achievement, Inception is the movie of the summer, the movie of the year and the movie of our dreams.
“a stunning achievement and the most completely entertaining film I’ve seen in years. [Nolan] has 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.
Further, its sublime combination of theoretical and humanistic elements puts it in the company of films like, yes, The Matrix, but more accurately dense, character-driven concept movies like Synecdoche, New York”
Inception is a breathtaking achievement and a movie-going experience well worth your time and investment. In a year full of 3D remakes, reboots, sequels, and empty star vehicles, one hopes audiences will reward such terrific but challenging original entertainment with their wallets.
“Is it the first great movie of the summer? No — Toy story 3 is. But Inception is probably the second great movie of the summer. Understand, a single viewing is hardly enough to come to terms with the film…But that first viewing is enough to realize that Inception is a dense, stylish, thorny, dazzling film that delivers as a thrill ride but gives viewers lots to chew on and puzzle through. It is not a typical summer movie, but it’s bold and imaginative in the vein of the best summer movies; it’s way too big and spectacular to be an art film, but it can leave you scratching your head in a good way.”
Obsessed with Film could have seen Chris Nolan’s Inception tomorrow morning, but we decided to go with the Wednesday critics screening in London so our reporter Rob Beames could attend the cast & crew press conference that’s happening later on that day.
Personally, Warner Bros. invited me to see it at a multimedia screening on Friday, so I’m making the three hour trip down to the capital on Thursday – costing me a fair bob or two, but I’m planning on making the weekend of it. The last time I did this (except the slightly shorter trip to Edinburgh for Toy story 3) was for Inglourious Basterds last year, which resulted in one of the more pleasurable cinema-going experiences of my life.
You can expect at least two reviews to come from us in the next week, but by the time we write them, you may be burnt out on hearing about the film. It would appear the online embargo must have literally just broke on the $200 million metaphysical heist blockbuster and everyone is unleashing their love letters, long-assed essays and hyperbolic spews on the film, which we imagine they have had typed up and saved as a draft on their dashboards for days.
The reviews are overwhelmingly positive, reminding me of the ones given to Avatar but where James Cameron’s sci-fi movie was nothing more than a visual treat on the eyes, Inception is a movie requiring brain cells, and well, I’m just not going to be able to shake off the niggling doubts I have that Joe Popcorn won’t be into it.
In a 3 and a half star review, Kris Tapley of In Contention writes that Inception is “a film like nothing you have ever seen before” where “every single moment… 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”.
“Inception is a movie so vibrant, so alive, so relentlessly original that it can be forgiven its transgressions in an instant. It’s an entertainment with vivid, profound ideas, precisely the kind of daring that ought to be backed by big money.”
“Inception” flattened me, and even now, more than a week after my first viewing of it, I find myself turning over images and ideas from the film almost constantly.
Shrouded in secrecy during production, the film isn’t really built as a narrative shell game with mind-blowing twists and turns so much as it is a logical and orderly descent into a trippy but airtight exploration of the way we frequently chase illusory versions of the people in our lives while ignoring the real flesh-and-blood imperfections that we don’t want to acknowledge. taken as a simple exploration of a marriage that has imploded, “Inception” is harrowing and brutal, and all the SF trappings layered in on top of that only serve to make that stark emotional truth palatable in some way”.
For those concerned about spoilers, Awards Daily’s Sasha Stone writes a great piece about her emotional connection to the film, and it’s the perfect read that doesn’t go for plot giveaways;
“Imagine a film being made in 2010 where you have absolutely no idea where it is going or how it will end. these were the worlds created by revolutionary filmmakers, like Stanley Kubrick, Woody Allen, David Cronenberg and David Lynch. with Inception we have a film and a filmmaker that has broken new ground and very nearly reinvented the form and he did it all without 3-D. Nolan gets there on the power of the story – and his vision was realized with the aid of the usual suspects - Wally Pfister’s cinematography, Hans Zimmer’s unbelievable score – the art direction, the visual effects – see it on IMAX and it will blow your mind. I am sure more than a few will discover that seeing the movie IN an altered state will also blow your mind, not that I’m advocating that”.
“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. as much as we know, as far as we’ve come, as many places as we’ve been, there is still a lot about our minds and our dreams that we dare not discover. How might your darkest fears and impulses manifest themselves in your dreams? what monsters are lurking there? what memories? do you face them or run from them?”
Anne Thompson of IndieWire says the
“eye-popping film will wow moviegoers all over the world—its complexities will only encourage debate and repeat viewings—and should also score well with critics and year-end awards groups. Oscar nominations in technical categories are a certainty, but Inception is also a strong contender for multiple nominations, including Best Picture“.
Variety’s review is in from Justin Chang;
“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”.
Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter;
“a devilishly complicated, fiendishly enjoyable sci-fi voyage across a dreamscape that is thoroughly compelling.
If you don’t follow all this, join the club. It will perhaps take multiple viewings of these multiple dream states to extract all the logic and regulations. (At least that’s what the filmmakers hope.)
Something else might come more easily on subsequent viewings: with incredibly tense situations suspended across so many dreams within dreams, all that restless energy might induce a kind of reverse stress in audiences, producing not quite tedium, but you may want to shout, “C’mon, let’s get on with it.”
This is especially true when the hectic action in one dream, a van rolling down a hill with its dreamers aboard, causes a hotel corridor to roll in another, producing a weightless state in the characters. Even Fred Astaire didn’t dance on the ceiling as much as these guys do”.
Mr Beaks of AICN writes;
“Based on one viewing, I’m not ready to break INCEPTION down with any degree of assuredness. But I want to. God, how I want to. I haven’t been this obsessed with a film since PRIMER, which I watched somewhere in the neighborhood of four times before hazarding a review (and ultimately calling it the fourteenth best film of the last decade). 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.
Devin Faraci at CHUD;
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.
Film School Rejects give it an A+
We’ll post more as I read them.
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