Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 42
  2. Negative: 3 out of 42
  1. 100
    Inception does a difficult thing. It is wholly original, cut from new cloth, and yet structured with action movie basics so it feels like it makes more sense than (quite possibly) it does.
  2. 100
    Nolan blurs the distinction between dreams and reality so artfully that Inception may well be a masterpiece masquerading as a summer blockbuster.
  3. This is spellbinding, transporting, damn near indescribable and the latest indication that Christopher Nolan might be the slyest narrative tactician making movies today.
  4. When was the last time you had your mind blown by a movie? Because when Inception ends and the lights come up, you'll be sitting in your seat, staring at the screen, wondering what the hell just happened.
  5. Reviewed by: Nev Pierce
    100
    With physics-defying, thunderous action, heart-wringing emotion and an astonishing performance from DiCaprio, Nolan delivers another true original: welcome to an undiscovered country.
  6. The visuals are stunning, perhaps the most fully realized of any film.
  7. 100
    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.
  8. 100
    This is a deeply felt work of art in the form of a big, brassy movie-movie.
  9. 100
    A tremendously exciting science-fiction thriller that's as disturbing as it sounds. This is a popular entertainment with a knockout punch so intense and unnerving it'll have you worrying if it's safe to close your eyes at night.
  10. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    100
    Inception is precisely the kind of brainy, ambitious, grand-scale adventure Hollywood should be making more of.
  11. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    100
    If Inception is a metaphysical puzzle, it's also a metaphorical one: It's hard not to draw connections between Cobb's dream-weaving and 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. Mission accomplished.
  12. 91
    The film is an imposing, prismatic achievement, and strongly resistant to an insta-reaction; when it’s over, Nolan still seems a few steps ahead of us.
  13. In a summer of remakes, reboots and sequels comes Inception, easily the most original movie idea in ages.
  14. 88
    In this wildly ingen­ious chess game, grandmaster Nolan plants ideas in our heads that disturb and dazzle. The result is a knockout. But be warned: Inception dreams big. How cool is that?
  15. 88
    Here, finally, is something you've really never seen before.
  16. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    The film is easier to admire than to fully grasp or be moved by it. Still, it's worth surrendering to the dream.
  17. 88
    Inception is that rare film that can be enjoyed on superficial and progressively deeper levels, a feat that uncannily mimics the mind-bending journey its protagonist takes.
  18. 88
    The versatile actor brings the full weight of his talent to bear on a difficult role. DiCaprio has to hint at unpleasant secrets in Cobb's past while forging a bond with the audience. It's up to the performer to make Inception more about human beings than about special effects. He succeeds and that's one reason why this movie isn't only about challenging ideas and eye candy.
  19. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    88
    Inception is one of the best sci-fi movies of the new century, a mind-bender about dreams as public spaces.
  20. Nolan’s tale is not only a trip through mental labyrinths but a reminder that memories may cripple us, unless we learn to let them go.
  21. What Nolan has created with Inception is the rare movie that is bound to improve with repeated viewings, both as a means to drink in its brilliance one more time, and to see what sly clues might have flown under your radar the first time around.
  22. 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.
  23. 83
    A sensory and intellectual overload from start to finish, a brawny, brainy summer movie that may infuriate as many viewers as it enraptures.
  24. Inception, though, is no "Avatar"--instead, it’s the movie that many wanted "Avatar" to be. In a roaringly fast first hour, we’re introduced to a new technology that allows for the bodily invasion of another person’s dreamworld.
  25. Nolan’s end-act pacing has always felt ponderous – but it’s not enough to ruin what is surely the most intellectually and viscerally engaging action film in years. The soul doesn’t stir, no, but everything else is wildly somersaulting.
  26. The film is Nolan's labyrinth all the way, and it's gratifying to experience a summer movie with large visual ambitions and with nothing more or less on its mind than (as Shakespeare said) a dream that hath no bottom.
  27. 75
    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.
  28. You can’t feel for anyone when nothing feels real. Memo to Christopher Nolan for future outings: Kill the dream, tell a story.
  29. 75
    Inception is an elegant, portentous ride, though I’m not sure Nolan is any closer to visualizing the real (dream) deal than Hitchcock was.
  30. For movie buffs, the only real fun to be had at Inception could be toting up the lifts from other movies, including Cocteau’s “Blood of a Poet” and “The Matrix” series and just about anything by Kubrick.
  31. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    70
    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.
  32. Stymied by a clunking script, crammed with expository exchanges and urgent blather.
  33. Christopher Nolan's "Memento" was a movie-lover's dream come true, a puzzle that was engaging both intellectually and emotionally. But his Inception is a wake-up call, a blaring reminder that cheap tricks can't compensate for personal investment.
  34. 60
    Though there is a lot to see in Inception, there is nothing that counts as genuine vision. Mr. Nolan’s idea of the mind is too literal, too logical, too rule-bound to allow the full measure of madness -- the risk of real confusion, of delirium, of ineffable ambiguity -- that this subject requires.
  35. By convoluting the various planes of experience, by overlapping and obscuring ostensible realities and ostensible dreams, Mr. Nolan deprives us the opportunity of investing emotionally in any of it.
  36. 50
    Inception, is an astonishment, an engineering feat, and, finally, a folly.
  37. 50
    Inception delivers dazzling special effects and a boatload of stars, but it sags and eventually buckles under the weight of its complicated premise.
  38. 40
    For the most part "Inception" is a handsome, clever and grindingly self-serious boy-movie, shorn of imagination, libido, spirituality or emotional depth. Nolan establishes a fascinating world, loaded with trapdoors, symbols and hidden secrets, and then squanders the opportunity on an overpriced "Twilight Zone" episode.
  39. Inception manages to be clunky and confusing on four separate levels of reality.
  40. 30
    Everything he (Nolan) does is forced and overthought, and Inception, far from being his ticket into hall-of-fame greatness, is a very expensive-looking, elephantine film whose myriad so-called complexities -- of both the emotional and intellectual sort -- add up to a kind of ADD tedium.
  41. 30
    It's obvious that Nolan either can't articulate or doesn't believe in a distinction between living feelings and dreams--and his barren Inception doesn't capture much of either.
  42. 25
    I'd like to tell you just how bad Inception really is, but since it is barely even remotely lucid, no sane description is possible.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 2894 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Aug 28, 2010
    8
    I'd like to keep my review rather to the point.

    Pros:
    1. its theme - dream is a fascinating topic to say the least. There are a lot of
    unknowns in the dreamworld.
    2. its plot - there are several sweet twists and unpredictable turns.
    3. its edgy drive - although you know what's coming next but still you feel jumpy about it.
    4. its fast storyline - the story moves fast from one scene to another, making the viewers feel like on a roller coaster ride. At times, it's hard to keep up, even at the second viewing.
    5. its sophistication - there is a lot of information to remember and digest. This is the very thing the modern moviegoers are after, I believe.
    6. its realism - okay, pun intended. The movie explains (or at least tries to) the ins and outs of what dream is about and how it functions, some of which are very familiar with and dear to us.

    Cons:
    1. its poor character development - although the acting was convincing enough there was not enough of character development. I wonder how many people really felt connected to the main character(s) after watching the movie. Yes, the movie talks about emotional struggles but it was more of an action film, if you ask me.
    2. too many distractions - I found that the movie had more than enough characters than necessary. They may play some roles in the plot but they seemed more of distraction than anything else. I wish the movie was more focused.
    3. a bit preachy - I noticed the characters would explain things about the dreamworld and then the exact things happen later in the movie. I'm afraid, Inception overused this trick.

    In conclusion, its theme is fascinating but its delivery is not without room for improvement.

    I highly recommend you to go and read Somewhere carnal over 40 winks, if you dig this kind of flicks.

    Cheers!
    Full Review »
  2. Feb 24, 2012
    8
    Inception is a daring original, and mind-provoking film. One of 2010's best.
  3. Aug 17, 2010
    2
    I thought this movie was not as good as people are saying. Because we knew it was dreams inside dreams the over the top fight scenes had no bearing. Who cared? As a result the movie became boring and repetitious. I would be very hard pressed to recommend this movie to anyone. Stay away. Full Review »