'Inception': A four-star mind trip
In its sheer enormity, it's every inch a blockbuster, but in the good sense of the word: with awesomeness, ambition and scope. The cinematography, production design, effects, editing, score, everything down the line -- all superb. But unlike so many summer movies assigned that tag, 'Inception' is no mindless thrill ride. It'll make you work, but that's part of what's so thrilling about it. With its complicated concepts about dreams within dreams, layers of consciousness and methods of manipulation, 'Inception' might make you want to stop a few times just to get your bearings.
The juggernaut of Nolan's storytelling momentum, however, keeps pounding away.
Even from the very beginning, you may feel a bit off-balance, with Nolan jumping around in time before dropping you into the middle of a tense conversation between Leonardo DiCaprio as dream thief Dom Cobb, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as his right-hand man, Arthur, and Ken Watanabe as one of their clients.
That's part of the game, though: making us question what's reality and what's a product of sleep, right alongside the characters.
That experience in itself may sound a bit familiar, and 'Inception' does feature glimmers of mind-trip movies like 'The Matrix','Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' and even a 'Wizard of Oz' moment. At its core, it's actually a heist movie -- the tried-and-true One Last Job, to be exact -- but Nolan takes these elements and combines them in a way that is daringly, dazzlingly his own.