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The season of 'Inception' begins, but where will it end?

July 16, 2010 |  8:02 pm


The A-list critics on Friday weighed in on "Inception," and their reaction has been ... diverse. The Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan embraced the film ("If you're searching for smart and nervy popular entertainment, this is what it looks like"), while the New York Times' A.O. Scott was more lukewarm. (It "gestures in the direction of mighty philosophical questions that Mr. Nolan is finally too tactful, too timid or perhaps just too busy to engage. ... The accomplishments of 'Inception' are mainly technical.") And so it goes.

All of this come as expectations for the film's commercial performance climb ever-higher. My colleague Ben Fritz notes that box office receipts this weekend could reach $45 million. Several experts we've dropped the question on say it could go as high as $55 million or even $60 million -- a number that would make it the fifth-highest-grossing movie of the summer and serve as an unusual testament to the power of a name-brand director.

Key to the film reaching that figure will be how it fares among some of the groups with which it has shown weakness in pre-release tracking, particularly older women.

Earlier this week, at the film's premiere in Hollywood, the stars told my colleague Amy Kaufman that they feel the hype attendant to Nolan's film. "I think there are probably expectations," said co-star Cillian Murphy, "but I think the film will definitely live up to those because it does deliver on so many different levels."

How much those expectations help or hurt it remain to be seen. Certainly they drive opening-weekend curiosity. After that, it's the film's buzz that usually takes over. And that's where things get tricky. The movie's complexity could, on one hand (level?), put a damper on word-of-mouth, even as the conversation that complexity spurs could drive people to see what the fuss is all about. For a movie whose reception and interpretations have been all over the map, it only stands to reason that its commercial prospects follow suit.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page in "Inception." Credit: Warner Bros.


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Comments () | Archives (11)

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I saw this intelligently, intellectual, thought provoking movie this morning and it is an eye opener. If you like to use your brain and think, then see this movie and keep an open mind. The movie is long but hey it is well worth the ride. Mr. Nolan is one of our best directors with a brilliant mind and vision. My only question I asked is why is Ellen Page in this movie? Bringing a fresh face like Ms. Page into this intellectual movie I thought was a bit odd, but then again Mr. Nolan is the director, and obviously for whatever reason he decided to use her. The rest of the cast are believable and flow well with their roles in this amazing movie.

Well...this is the best movie you will see until maybe december, that might be a stretch..

All aside this is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time and to be honest, upon further reflection, anyone who does not feel that way simply did not understand it. And it is really not that hard to follow, given you give the film your full attention. (And also the first 5-10 minutes might completely lose you but don't worry, it will all make sense soon)

The casting of Ellen Page was a wise one: in this "intellectual movie" she's a perfect fit as she comes across as naturally sharp.

The film, however dazzling the fight scenes and special effects are, gets hampered with dialogue and the supporting characters (Levitt, Page, Hardy) are not vivid enough. They come across as quite flatly written.

Hans Zimmer's score becomes somewhat monotonous and annoying after the first act.

This film is enjoyable but it seemed to me that many people were getting bored throughout the picture.

I went to it last night. And watching it you can tell it is one artists vision.
BUT directors and movie makers are going off track.

When I go ride a ride I want to get off the ride and feel great, feel the experience. Want to go again.
This movie is an experience but the ending I saw left me feeling flat and a little robbed.
Nolan got a little lost in his vision and story and maybe a screen writer could have tightened the story up a little more, shortened the movie a bit and given us an ending that would have been a catharsis to the economy and the experiences we are having in the real world.

There is a reason the original Star Wars was such a great hit.
You know, people want to feel good when they walk out of a movie, if I want introspection or deep thought OR TO BE TRICKED, I will head off to the art house cinema, but there is a reason why they are small and marginalized.

And finally there is this, with all the falling over each other to praise Nolan someone should step up and thank David Fincher, because the movie smells of Fight Club. And if Nolan used Jim Uhls for the screenplay THEN this would have been a classic. Now it's just a one trick pony of the summer of 2010.
Sometimes focus groups are not such a bad idea.

I really liked the movie from the acting to the design of it. It is thought provoking, mind bending and visually amazing as i makes you question what in your life is really true and what isn't. One of my favorite things about the movie was the use of a song by Edith Piaff that talks about having no regrets and also that is was because of playing her that Marion Cotillard won the Oscar. The other thing that I found fantastic was the architecture of the dreams they infiltrate.

I can't stand when people constantly refer to a movie as 'intelligent' or 'intellectual' or 'thought provoking'. Personally, that's a MANDATORY REQUIREMENT for a movie to be decent at all, in my opinion. People said that about 'The Matrix', but all I saw was a hokey action flick with a slightly unusual premise. Anyone who's studied Kant is not going to be particularly impressed by the ideas in 'the Matrix'. Anyone who actually is 'intellecutal' or uses their brain on a regular basis is not going to be particularly impressed that a movie director chose not to throw explosions and one-liners at a crowd for three hours. Supposedly 'Avatar' had a real deep intellectual plot too... the same one as Fern Gully. "Killing Nature is Bad" is not exactly analytical philosophy. I'm not holding my breath on this one either.

This is the most TEDIOUSLY told story I have seen in years.

DeCarpiro does the Matrix...Boring...

Saw it this morning and it sure expanded the possibilities. Do subconscious thoughts really move at least 1000 times slower than real life events depending on the number of alternate realities? Definitely something to think about. Everyone dream on!!

Disappointing after all the hype. I enjoyed the ending but when you know it's all just a dream how can you feel suspense?

manster EZ: "Do subconscious thoughts really move at least 1000 times slower than real life events depending on the number of alternate realities?"

This question is nonsense. Stuff like this is why I find 'intellectual' movies to be pretty dumb when compared to an actual 'intellectual thoughts'. The only sense in which thoughts 'move' would be regarding the movement of neurons, which actually ARE in reality. Any other way in which thoughts 'move' is simply a metaphor. They certainly never left your head. Movement, you see, implies BOTH time and space. But the most abstract of thought require only time as a medium, not space. This line you are quoting is nothing more than art and poetry. It has no real scientific basis whatsoever. What 'speed' do 'real life events' move at anyway? What is that even supposed to mean? And what alternate realities? You know those are just abstract metaphysical ideas without any true physical basis, right? You know, like in the 'possible world semantics' of Modal Logic. No, you don't. If you did, you wouldn't think movies like this are so deep.

Who cares what AO Scott thinks? I ragged him on Matrix.

The point is that many who know s.f. will remember "Ubik," by PK Dick. The really sharp will go back to "Mind Partner" by Christopher Anvil. Even Dr, Asimov did his story on dreams.


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