If 2001, Blade Runner, The Matrix, Ocean's Eleven, James Bond films, and Shutter Island got together and had a massive orgy and there came an offspring, then I think that could somewhat accurately describe what Inception is. It's tough to call it a masterpiece because it just came out, but it's without a doubt the most engaging and intellectually mainstream blockbuster film of the year. Without giving away too much, I will describe my favorite aspect of the film. There's so many things happening on-screen simultaneously that you're constantly juggling ideas and plotlines in your head. If some part of the film wasn't engaging me, then something else would be. There was always some part or plot line that had me interested and invested in what was transpiring on the screen. The acting was exceptional, with the entire cast making the most of their characters and bringing depth and characterization to what could have been simple caricatures. The music score was exceptional and brought the proper mood and tone to the project. The production design and visual effects were extremely well done and were used to serve the bold story rather than what some might say the other way around. And, of course, director Nolan brings his A-game and makes the whole thing come together and work to create a cohesive whole.
Another thing to note is that, after seeing the film 3 times, I can honestly say I was emotionally engaged every single time I saw it, which is what many critics seem to say was the worst aspect of the movie. I felt like I was on Dom's journey and could feel his pain and his need to escape his past and regain his life with his children. DiCaprio did a terrific job bringing me into his character and so was Marion Cotillard as his haunting and tragic wife who he never seems to be able to let go. I also was very impressed by how much I cared about Cillian Murphy's character and almost teared up at the end when the idea was finally planted into his mind and he shared a touching and tragic moment with his father within his subconscious. Oh, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who's fast becoming my favorite modern actor) did so much with a somewhat underwritten role and should win some award for training so hard and throwing himself into the hallway zero-gravity fight scene, which is just short of breathtaking.