Peter Travers Reviews Inception, Praises Nolan's Non-Commercial Head Trip Of A Thriller

Even if this wasn't one of the most listless summers in recent memory, we'd be pretty well-primed for the arrival of Christopher Nolan's Inception. Given that the studio summer slate has been so utterly dull, Inception is something I know a lot of people are desperate for: a smart, imaginative thriller with a big-budget visuals, a top-notch cast and a fan-favorite director working together. That tagline above, "the dream is real," isn't just written with respect to the plot of the film. It almost seems to reference the hopes held for Nolan's follow-up to The Dark Knight.

Very few people have seen the film so far, but one who has is Rolling Stone's Peter Travers, and part of his positive review is now online.

Though Travers' review hasn't yet officially run online, The NY Post (via Jeff Wells) quotes from the opening. It's enough to give you the general idea. There aren't any spoilers, but the gist is that the film is very successful on its own terms, and is enough of a dream world that it requires a thoughtful, perceptive audience. Wells suggests that Travers thinks many may have to see it more than once to fully grasp all the details. (But that's Wells; he's cranky.)

According to the NY Post, the three and a half star (out of four) review from Travers says,

The mind-blowing movie event of the summer arrives just in time to hold back the flow of Hollywood sputum that's been sliming the multiplex. 'Inception'...will be called many things, starting with James Bond Meets 'The Matrix.' You can feel the vibe of Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner' in it, and Nolan's own 'Memento' and 'The Dark Knight.' But 'Inception' glows with a blue-flame intensity all its own. Nolan creates a dream world that he wants us to fill with our own secrets. I can't think of a better goal for any filmmaker. Of course, trusting the intelligence of the audience can cost Nolan at the box office. We're so used to being treated like idiots. How to cope with a grand-scale epic, shot in six countries at a reported cost of $160 million, that turns your head around six ways from Sunday? Dive in and drive yourself crazy, that's how.

All of which should serve to send hopes rocketing into the stratosphere.

Granted, Travers isn't always the most demanding critic, and the fact that Warner Bros. likely knows that his review will be out in the wild first might lead some to suspect that there's a pre-loaded opinion here. But he's telling us exactly what the core audience wants to hear, not necessarily what the studio or a broad audience wants to hear. You'd think WB would rather have a review that makes it sound fun and easily digestible, rather than something that "turns your head around six ways from Sunday."

So I'll believe that Travers is describing the film in good faith. I'll take him at his word, and hope he's right. Not even going to worry about what sheared a half-point off his score — I'll read the words and discard the star rating.