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July 16, 2010 by · 4 Comments 

Few movies in recent years — if any at all — have received the sort of adulatory reception from key critics as Christopher Nolan’s Inception. Except for a handful of critics, many of whom display their own cinema erudition by faulting it for borrowing from other prestigious movies of the past, most reviewers are vying with one another to discover the most excessive hyperbole to describe the film. But they also have a particularly daunting task in trying to summarize the film — in fact to describe anything at all about it. As Roger Ebert writes in the Chicago Sun-Times: “Here is a movie immune to spoilers: If you knew how it ended, that would tell you nothing unless you knew how it got there. And telling you how it got there would produce bafflement. The movie is all about process, about fighting our way through enveloping sheets of reality and dream, reality within dreams, dreams without reality. It’s a breathtaking juggling act.” Likewise, John Anderson in the Wall Street Journal writes that the movie is “impervious to criticism, simply because no one short of a NASA systems analyst will be able to articulate the plot.” But he is one critic who does not withhold criticism. It “requires too much explanation, more than Mr. Nolan can gracefully dole out,” he writes. Likewise, Rick Groen in the Toronto Globe and Mail isn’t among the acclaimers. Nolan, he says, has created a film “that’s so visionary in its cleverness and yet so blind to the big fat problem that won’t go away – you can’t feel for anyone when nothing feels real.” But Lou Lumenick in the New York Post argues that Inception surpasses many sci-fi classics like Blade Runner and The Matrix. “Unlike 99 percent of movies, the less you know about Inception going in, the better,” he remarks, Nolan, he concludes, “blurs the distinction between dreams and reality so artfully that Inception may well be a masterpiece masquerading as a summer blockbuster.” Calling the film “one of the best mind benders ever made,” Elizabeth Weitzman predicts in the New York Daily News: “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.” She, too, observes that “no synopsis could possibly do justice to the complex universe Nolan fashions.” A.O. Scott in the New York Times suggests that while director Christopher Nolan has not yet earned a place in the Pantheon of great directors, he has nevertheless produced an impressive work. “You see some things that are pretty amazing, and amazingly pretty: cities that fold in on themselves like pulsing, three-dimensional maps; chases and fights that defy the laws that usually govern space, time and motion; Marion Cotillard’s face.” But Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times assures readers that Inception is not some sort of weird art-house flick. “If you’re searching for smart and nervy popular entertainment, this is what it looks like,” he concludes.

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