I’m a little late to the party, sure, but I wanted to make up my own mind on this one.
I’ll be honest with you: I’ve never quite clicked with Christopher Nolan. I thought Memento was good but not great, and Batman and The Dark Knight were fine but not brilliant. Each seemed composed of memorable moments that didn’t quite hang together as a whole. The Prestige had the added frustration of a twist ending immediately guessable by anyone with my particular skill for recognising people.
Nolan has, however, always impressed me with his two things: his striking visual style, and his talent for assembling an impressive cast.
Inception pushes the boat out on the latter – even Leo DiCaprio is on the type of form that reminds us of what a fantastic actor he used to be. Little needs to be said for Ellen Page (Juno), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (3rd Rock from the Sun), Tom Hardy (Star Trek: Nemesis), Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins), Dileep Rao (Drag Me To Hell) and Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins). That cast isn’t just likeable, it’s bloody adorable!
Inception isn’t just another Matrix-style movie. Inception is everything that was good about The Matrix. It is slick and stylish and grand and breathtaking. It explores new ideas in an easy-to-grasp yet thought-provoking manner and pulls out all the stops with its showy setpieces – yet Inception goes one step further, elevating it above The Matrix and any of Nolan’s other films: it has a genuine emotional core.
I even cried at the end.
Extra kudos to Nolan for giving me a genuine surprise. Sure, the final scene was guessable from the outset, but the ending I’d predicted did not materialise and Inception concluded in a different, unexpected direction.
The simplest way for me to give Inception due praise is just to say that it is every bit as good as everybody says it is.