Nolan is the king of summer blockbusters. This film suffers from the same problems as most of his films: there’s one twist too many, and it’s such a cerebral plot that he feels the need to explain it to his audience. The character of Ariadne (Ellen Page) serves one purpose: so that Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) could explain to her, and therefore the audience, what the fuck was going on. It’s fine to include a plot device such as this, in fact, its probably necessary, but she serves as a plot device just. This bothers me ten-fold since the plot of this film is very much stolen from Satoshi Kon’s Paprika. Also, every time you see DiCaprio act you think, “Man, Leo’s really good at acting.” You never think, “I feel so bad that Cobb can’t see his children.” He is a good actor, but we’re watching him act, not watching the character.
Complaints aside, it’s a pretty damn good film. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard and Michael Caine are all fantastic. Visually it’s stunning, the effects are superb, the score is brilliant, essentially: it deserved the four Oscars it won. And it deserved to be nominated for Best Picture. It’s one of the better summer blockbusters of all time (along with Nolan’s other works), but Nolan’s going to have to back away from his niche, even if it’s ever-so-slightly, if he wants to capture that Best Picture.
Christopher Nolan on Inception: “The film is about architects, builders, people who would have the mental capacity to construct large-scale worlds—the world of the dream. Everything is about how they would create, whether it’s blocks or sand castles or a dream. […] The important thing in Inception is the mental process. What the dream-share technology enables them to do is remove physicality from that process. It’s about pure creation. That’s why it’s a film about architects rather than soldiers.”