Tomatometer Watch: Inception Gets First Rotten Review

Early indicators point to another critical rave for The Dark Knight director

by Luke Goodsell | Tuesday, Jul. 13 2010

86%
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Fresh

UPDATE! Scroll to the bottom to read more about Inception's first Rotten review.

"From the director of The Dark Knight." Those words impart some serious expectations for Christopher Nolan's Inception, not just in commercial terms (the Bat-sequel took $533 million in the US alone) but also critical stature -- 2008's Knight earned a lofty 94% "Fresh" rating on RT; the kind of numbers usually unheard of for a superhero film.

In fact, Nolan's got a track record beyond the Bat that's going to be just as tough to measure himself against. Consider the stats: his 1998 debut, Following, is at 80% (with 20 reviews counted); 2001's breakthrough Memento at 93% (134 reviews); 2002's thriller Insomnia 92% (166 reviews); and 2005's Batman Begins boasts an 85% fresh score (254 reviews). Even the critical runt of Nolan's litter, 2006's duel of the magicians The Prestige, is sitting on Certified Fresh with 75% from 187 reviews.


Plenty to live up to, sure -- but if the early, ecstatic reviews arriving for the film are any indication, Inception just might turn out to be Christopher Nolan's best-reviewed film yet.

Justin Chang at Variety writes that, "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." He goes on to call Nolan's filmmaking "an activity devoted to constructing a simulacrum of reality, intended to seduce us, mess with our heads and leave a lasting impression," and concludes, simply, "Mission accomplished."

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt declares the movie, "A devilishly complicated, fiendishly enjoyable sci-fi voyage across a dreamscape that is thoroughly compelling." Seems Inception had some major impact on the critic, too. "Sometimes originality comes at a cost though," Honeycutt writes. "At the end, you may find yourself utterly exhausted."

If those reviews aren't rapturous enough, Techland's Steven James Snyder awards Inception his, "Best of 2010 thus far." And he went in with heightened anticipation: "I expected a lot, but still walked out hypnotized," Snyder says. "Here's a movie that's 3 steps ahead of you, on 4 different levels, at 5 blinding speeds."

UPDATE: The first Rotten review came in Monday morning, with #18 breaking Inception's 100% streak early (comparatively, Toy Story 3 had over 100 reviews before its first Rotten). Top Critic David Edelstein of New York Magazine took umbrage with Nolan's downbeat demeanor, claiming him "too literal-minded, too caught up in ticktock logistics, to make a great, untethered dream movie." Edelstein, who also panned the other two Nolan movies he reviewed (The Dark Knight and The Prestige), is among the critics who recognize Inception as one more from the head than the heart, but takes it all the way by calling it out as a movie of "brontosaurean effects [with a] tone is so solemn [he] felt out of line even cracking a smile."

Keep it tuned to Inception's page right here to find out just how the Tomatometer fares as more reviews start rolling in.


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