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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.