Film review: Inception (2010)


No spoilers in this review. Let me start off by saying this movie had so much hype and anticipation, which increased with the early reviews and #3 ranking on IMDB. Reviewers were saying it lived up to the expectations. I don’t watch too many blockbusters these days, but this I had to see, I’m a big fan of the director.

I thought it was a pretty good and entertaining blockbuster, but for me not a truly great film. Let me try and explain why I felt this way:

I was impressed with the visual effects, the terrific score, and the ideas put into the script. However, the characters left me cold and when that occurs, I don’t care what happens to them. Especially characterization of the supporting cast was underdeveloped, we hardly hear any background details about their lives. I had a similar reaction to Scorsese’s Shutter Island, some good twists and visuals, but lacking in deeper, emotional character study.

It’s an inviting invitation that we the audience should work out what is dream or reality like a puzzle, but I feel like I spent some time and energy figuring out what was going on in Inception, but there was no intellectual payoff, no surface message, wouldn’t you expect this from a supposedly clever movie? At times it felt like a mess, and I had no idea what the director’s message or messages were. The ideas only work tacitly, which I feel is disappointing and an easy way out for the filmmakers. I would have liked some quieter sections to catch my breath and reflect like there were in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The non-stop suspense and overall pace made it difficult for me to ponder Inception’s themes and ideas during the movie.

Even after subsequently reading some of the threads about the twists on the web and watching some interviews, I still feel the same. I felt it had the potential to be a masterpiece, but maybe being a summer blockbuster aimed at making spades of cash held the studio back from making something deeper.

I’m glad I saw it in the cinema and appreciate the effort gone into the making, and I still recommend you watch it as a piece of entertainment, Inception is an above average blockbuster, a great thrill ride. But just don’t expect the third best movie ever made.

I may grow to like Inception more in the future, but presently I prefer some of Nolan’s other work. I felt in Inception the action scenes didn’t nessesarily serve a purpose 100% of the time.

I’ll be rewatching Inception, I might have missed stuff, the movie moved so fast, maybe too fast. Although, to me, it’s not a movie you can ever say, I get it now 100%. The ending is open-ended, which I like in movies.

Any thoughts on Inception, readers?

IMDB

rottentomatoes

Trailer

14 thoughts on “Film review: Inception (2010)

  1. Thank you for your comment on my blog, much appreciated! When my blog is old enough I will follow your advice and join the LAMB.

    As you can see from my blog I perhaps saw this movie in a slightly more positive light (not to say I don't see where you're coming from because I certainly do). As you mentioned character development was limited and you don't really learn much about the past of the characters etc. The thing I would say (and this applies to a lot of large scale movies with so much ground to cover) is that it possibly would have been to the detriment of the plot to use time developing all of the characters. The plot in Inception is challenging to a lot of people the first time they watch it and I think Cobb's past was the only one that was truly intrinsic to the structure of it. I think blockbusters are definitely more aimed at entertaining people than making them think, although I believe the concept of dreams was handles beautifully. It's still no Memento though!

    Definitely not the 3rd best movie ever made, but to be honest there are quite a few flaws in the iMDB top 250 (i.e. Kill Bill vol.2 and Back to the Future certainly don't belong there lol).

    Again thank you, I will be following your blog keenly! BTW I will be doing a blog on Studio Ghibli soon so keep your eyes peeled! x

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  2. @ Sam lockley

    Yeah, the dream/reality aspect was interesting, but I feel The Matrix is more original, Inception owes a lot to that movie. I guess it's hard to make something completely new these days. Even the matrix steals from tons of other movies!

    Glad I could help out with pointing you to the LAMB. Hopefully see you around in the blogosphere in future ( :

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  3. Hello! Thanks for the follow. I haven't seen Inception yet but will definitely do so now, and will be checking your blog regularly for more insights. Keep on blogging. Toni

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  4. I also prefer some of Nolan's other work – my favourite being The Prestige – yet I still loved Inception. Thought it was wonderfully original, very inventive, and had intelligence to go along with its spectacle.

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  5. “I was impressed with the visual effects, the terrific score, and the ideas put into the script. However, the characters left me cold and when that occurs, I don’t care what happens to them.”

    that is essentially how I would sum up my reaction to Inception (minus the score/ideas parts…).

    it was shiny, it made me want to watch Anatomy of a Scene for that part with J G-L floating in the hallway/elevators, but I really just wanted Leo to jump off of that building so that Cobb/his flashbacks would shut the eff up.

    the movie was good fodder for DiCaprio jokes, though:

    “guess he's not King of the World now, huh?”

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  6. I remember seeing this in theaters. The production was great, but I wasn’t feeling it because I watched Paprika before this existed. It angers me how Christopher Nolan ripped off that anime movie to make Inception especially since both movies have some identical scenes and very similar concepts especially a machine that can enter the dream world as well as the convergence of dreams and reality.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ospreyshire: Sorry for the belated response! Reminds me of how the animated film Perfect Blue (1997) is similar to Black Swan (2010). Every filmmaker is inspired by something I guess. For me, doesn’t lessen the impact of the Hollywood films. But you can take it too far and then it’s plagiarism. I wouldn’t watch similar films in the same month. Apparently Aronofsky denies watching Perfect Blue which is odd. I don’t know what Nolan said about Paprika.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No problem. Better late than never, right?

      Good example. Funny enough, Satoshi Kon directed both Perfect Blue and Paprika. In Aronovsky’s defense, at least he bought the rights to Perfect Blue when he made Requiem for a Dream (see: the girl screaming in the bathtub scene), but he could’ve handled the Black Swan situation much better in my opinion. Nolan hasn’t said anything about Paprika which is worrying. I don’t have a problem with people being influenced by other’s works like how The Matrix was to Ghost In the Shell or James Cameron making a live action remake of Battle Angel, but some people take it way too far and deny ripping off things.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ospreyshire: Oh right, Satoshi Kon directed both! Your comment suggests that Asian animation is a regular source of inspiration for Hollywood.

        I’ve been recommended the anime series Death Note (2006–2007 )which I’m hopefully gonna watch soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Exactly! Well, I do like anime, so I do know about some of these connections whether it’s influence or straight up theft. Sadly enough, I can name far worse examples of film plagiarism in the context of Japanese animation being filched by Hollywood.

        I haven’t seen Death Note in such a long time. At least it isn’t that long from an episode standpoint. However, I prefer one of Takeshi Obata’s (co-creator/illustrator) earlier works Hikaru no Go even though it’s a VERY different, but unique series in it’s own right. I managed to rediscover it early this year and binge watched it.

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