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Will 'Inception' Be Too Smart For Audiences?

Matthew Newlin Matthew Newlin
July 16th, 2010 12:08pm EDT

inception

When “Inception” opens on July 16, moviegoers are likely to experience a film unlike anything they have ever seen. Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending, sci-fi heist film is being praised as the best film of 2010 and possibly the most intelligent movie to come out in the last several years. Older movie lovers may remember seeing Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” in the theater when it was first released in 1968 and feeling as if they had just watched a truly groundbreaking achievement in cinema. This summer, Nolan may unleash a similar event on audiences who have been mostly kept in the dark about the details of the plot of “Inception.”

But will audiences be left scratching their heads over the film’s multi-layered storytelling and fast-paced, existential philosophizing? “Rolling Stones” critic Peter Travers has said in his early review of the film, “Trusting the intelligence of the audience can cost Nolan at the box office. We’re so used to being treated like idiots.” Travers is not alone. Many reviewers have praised the film’s smart script and refusal to pander to audiences.

Currently, “Inception” has a 75% rating at Metacritic.com and 85% on the Rotten Tomatoes.com’s Tomatometer. The strong reviews highlight Nolan’s dedication to elevating the low expectations of summer blockbuster audiences while also directing an amazing cast of Academy Award winners and nominees. The movie was filmed all over the world in locations such as Tangiers, London, Los Angeles and Tokyo with beautiful cinematography from Wally Pfister that is breathtaking and will be appreciated by even the most casual moviegoer.

Not since The Matrix in 1999, to which many comparisons are being drawn, has a movie had such high-minded material combined with mind-blowing action. Recent Hollywood attempts at action blockbusters have been movies like Transformers that face tough reviews from critics and fans alike.

Are audiences ready to be challenged by a truly original concept at a time when most popcorn movies have of late been remakes, adaptations and sequels? Moviegoers will send a clear message to filmmakers and Hollywood when “Inception” opens and ticket buyers either delve into Nolan’s twisted dream world or choose one of the multiple run-of-the-mill summer alternatives that are available.

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Photo Credits: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.