Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 42
  2. Negative: 3 out of 42

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Critic Reviews

  1. 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.
  2. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Nev Pierce
    With physics-defying, thunderous action, heart-wringing emotion and an astonishing performance from DiCaprio, Nolan delivers another true original: welcome to an undiscovered country.
  4. 100
    Nolan blurs the distinction between dreams and reality so artfully that Inception may well be a masterpiece masquerading as a summer blockbuster.
  5. The visuals are stunning, perhaps the most fully realized of any film.
  6. 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.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Inception is precisely the kind of brainy, ambitious, grand-scale adventure Hollywood should be making more of.
  8. 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.
  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. This is spellbinding, transporting, damn near indescribable and the latest indication that Christopher Nolan might be the slyest narrative tactician making movies today.
  11. 100
    This is a deeply felt work of art in the form of a big, brassy movie-movie.
  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
    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. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 88
    Inception is one of the best sci-fi movies of the new century, a mind-bender about dreams as public spaces.
  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. 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.
  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. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. You can’t feel for anyone when nothing feels real. Memo to Christopher Nolan for future outings: Kill the dream, tell a story.
  31. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    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.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 3662 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. RedzuanM.
    Jul 16, 2010
    What makes Inception so special is that it's not your typical straight forward summer blockbuster. Nolan gives you bits and pieces of What makes Inception so special is that it's not your typical straight forward summer blockbuster. Nolan gives you bits and pieces of information, and as the movie plays out the viewer begins to put the pieces together and the picture gradually becomes clearer. Chris Nolan doesn't dumb down the movie for the audience like most Hollywood movies do these days, he expects us to keep up with him. And when we do, the reward is extremely gratifying. And the visuals were amazing. Full Review »
  2. Aug 28, 2010
    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
    I'd like to keep my review rather to the point.

    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.

    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.

    Full Review »
  3. JamesD.
    Jul 26, 2010
    Not very good really. I've heard the word visionary thrown Nolan's way, but this film was the work of a rather sterile imagination. Not very good really. I've heard the word visionary thrown Nolan's way, but this film was the work of a rather sterile imagination. Yes, it had many layers of narrative cleverly interweaved with eachother, but there was little to compel me at its core. The root cause of Cobb's state of mind just didn't grab me - partly as this relationship was never given the chance to develop to a tangible level. The elements of subconscious displayed were tame and the approach to the dreamworld rather banal - focusing as it did mainly on bland designs, bendy gimmicks and exploding things. There was little edge to Nolan's vision, he seemed quite happy to drown us in relentless exposition and unimaginative slow-mo shots. Scenes were very quick and at no point approached the atmosphere and interest of a real dream. A shame, because at their best, this is what films can do - engineer the quality of a waking dream. Compare Inception to the more intriguing work of Lynch, where scenes seduce with the perfect balance of the real and surreal, and whose images tend to linger in the mind. On top of this, Nolan is simply not a very good director of action; he is quite loose with the camera, and I yearned for more flair and invention in these scenes. Instead, he relied on an incredibly insistent score to give the action some punch. For a film about dreams and the subconscious, it was curiously impersonal and mechanical. Certainly, the real danger and sexuality of the subconscious might scare off mainstream audiences, but Nolan was given free reign to do what he wanted - so why not do something more interesting? Freud and Jung would find little to interest them here, as the film is less concerned with psychology and more with the narrative possibilities afforded by a convoluted dreamworld fiction. Perhaps Nolan does dream of corporate worlds and Bond fortresses. Unfortunately, such things don't interest me. Full Review »