O-Swirl has offered
a comprehensive picture of the Christopher Nolan
. I recently saw this movie, and felt compelled to offer my take on it (because I'm incurably self-important, and because I came away with a different response than O-Swirl did).
I really only have one thing to offer here, and that's the feeling I got when watching it which stuck with me as I was walking away from the theater. It's a bit hard to explain, so I'm going to have to resort to metaphor. Bear with me, if you will.
The visuals of Inception were well done, if noticeably 'generic Matrix' (which to some degree was itself an iteration of a subset of 'Paul Verhoeven Modern'). As for the rest of it...I think the best way I can put it is that it was sort of like watching a movie which was trying to pull off a really over-the-top complex special effect. In fact, the effect is so complex that there's no way they can get the crew doing it 'out of the shot.' Imagine that the technology doesn't exist to do the effect in post production, and the supporting equipment and personnel can't be moved far enough from the effect to move them offscreen. The McGuffin Effect itself looks unbelievably cool, however.
So while you see the effect when watching the movie, you also see a team of people and all their gear surrounding the effect, which ruins the illusion the effect is going for. You appreciate the effort and skill that the effects artists mustered up to do this really complex thing, but you weren't affected the way the director wants because you could see the effects team up there. The reason you could see them is that the technology just didn't exist, or wasn't available, to put them actually outside the camera's eye. OK? Got that image?
Now, for Inception, take that same description - only substitute 'story' for 'effect.'
I know what Nolan was trying to do. I could even, deep inside this 'frame' of trickery, 'see' a sub-movie where what he was trying to pull off was happening. I just couldn't get the larger picture, that of a movie consisting of completely visible, unexciting and pedestrian plot scaffolding and story patches, out of frame.
So I guess I give the whole crew points for effort, skill, and execution - but the whole thing is still in the red because of the initial design decision that let all those hackneyed plot scaffolds stay 'in frame.'
SPOILERY SNARKY OBSERVATION
Honestly, I can't help thinking that maybe Christopher Nolan was drinking one night and made a drunken bet where he said to someone "Yeah, I can get a heist movie climax, a chase movie climax, a commando movie climax, and a martial arts movie climax ON SCREEN ALL AT THE SAME TIME." Technically, he won, and I doff my hat to the gyrations and gymnastics and finance required. But actually watching it? Well...let's just say I have real trouble suspending enough disbelief to just watch the movie. I keep feeling like a figure skating judge. All the technical components of the score are high. The 'Flow' (or for newer events, 'Interpretation') score, though? Not so much.