I saw Inception today. It was very good. I would recommend it. It is very engaging and even though it's two and a half hours, it moves along at a good pace. And below this post is a post I just wrote about Lost and the reason they are both here together is that I naturally compared them in my mind with Inception representing a "How To" and Lost representing a "How Not To" on creating an intricate story with details that you may ultimately want to leave up to the viewer.
I don't want to get into the plot because to start explaining it would require me to sortof finish explaining it and I don't want to do that. But I'll say this: the plot is a massive undertaking that requires serious attention to detail and I feel like all of the details were well accounted for. And sortof a side note, Joseph Gordon Levitt has some serious gravitas in his supporting role. There are some moments where it's like, "how come no one but this newbie ever thought of or noticed this before", but ultimately the story is engaging, intricate, and visually stunning.
If you want to go in with a fresh head, then stop reading right now. I'm not going to talk about Inception at all, but I'm going to compare it to some other movies and based on that you'll be able to infer some stuff about this movie. I'm just saying, I warned you. At its absolute most basic level this movie follows a pattern we've seen before in movies like 12 Monkeys, The Usual Suspects, and Total Recall. I think The Usual Suspects doesn't fit perfectly into this mold but at the end of that movie you can, if you are so inclined, argue about what was real and what wasn't and if you had just wasted your time or not. The simplest version of this type of story is Total Recall. But that's what ultimately makes it the least successful. It's ambiguous, yes, but ultimately entirely unimportant. Although I love the notion that the adventure was simply the "vacation" he paid for. It's somehow much more interesting that way. 12 Monkeys is the best example I can think of in this genre. At the end of the day in that movie, either he saved the world or the whole thing was just hallucinations of a crazy guy in 1995. And you really don't even think of the latter possibility until you let it marinate for a while. You're on board the whole time. And the movie doesn't end on the "what's real?" moment, it's just an organic byproduct of the plot. Really well done.
Inception is well done because in order to interpret one way or the other, you'll really need to actually search for the turning point. And what may be the obvious choice for that moment I think is not actually it. And I've only seen it once, so I can't really say where it is without seeing it again. And this is a movie that I will see again. Probably a couple times (on DVD, not like I'm gonna run out to the theater again). And while I'm leaning toward an interpretation, I do appreciate the ambuguity.