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When it comes to sizing up the best films of any given era, the temptation is high to discount the blockbusters. The onus seems to be on the listmaker to demonstrate taste and curation – to circle the under-appreciated and the underseen. But to ignore the mainstream is to ignore a landmark on the journey.

Which brings us to INCEPTION.

Declaring that “INCEPTION is incredible” is hardly a radical statement. This was a film that seemed to endear itself to cinephiles right from the word “go”, and despite various swipes at plot holes, flawed logic, and the like, the film has remained rather bulletproof in the time between then and now.

No, what is so special about INCEPTION is the way it remains one of this decade’s – and furthermore, this century’s – best big budget original science fiction films. From the moment Mellies sent us on a voyage to the moon, filmgoers have long held a special place in their heart for sci-fi. It has endured while so many other genres have fallen away. Westerns, musicals, adventures, gangster films…they all seem to have their moment in the sun and then drift back into the pack. Sci-fi, on the other hand, continues to draw people in and spark the imagination – they often even endure after we have caught up to the time they are set, or eclipsed the tech employed.

However, in recent times, filmmakers have had a difficult time dazzling us during these voyages into the final frontier. Offerings struggle with tone, bloat, and concept. familiar ideas, new ideas, made by new artists or artists who are established names. They tried…Lord how they tried. Even Nolan himself had difficulty repeating the feat. But the hard cold truth is that while we are quick to embrace DIY science fiction like MOON or PRIMER, when it comes to sweeping, epic jaunts seeking new life and new civilization, we are very picky eaters.

But most of us agree on INCEPTION.

It struck the right mix of excitement and intellectual, the right blend of practical effects and digital. It stood on the shoulders of giants and indeed found a way to see further than most. It understood how to bring together a diverse and balanced cast, and make full use of everybody.  Between Hardy’s charm, and Cotillard’s disquiet; Watanabe’s poise or Postlethwaite’s gravitas. INCEPTION dumped the entire toolbox out on to the table and figured out the absolute best way to use every piece it contained. How often does that happen? How many times have you heard a critique of a film where it declares that the film “wasted the talents of…”

That’s what makes INCEPTION so memorable and so lasting. In short, it executes…and there’s much to be said for execution of original ideas.


Click below for my original review of INCEPTION, and feel free to leave comments with your thoughts on this film and its place in the decade so far.