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By and large, critics are loving Christopher Nolan's big budget psycho-drama Inception. In theaters this weekend, the film revolves around a team of thieves who steal secrets from people's dreams. It's a pretty complicated plot line involving dream worlds within dream worlds and mystifying excursions into the subconscious.

Here's what critics think of the much-hyped film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page:

  • Intelligent and Exciting, writes Kenneth Turan at The Los Angeles Times:
What if other people could literally invade our dreams, what if a technology existed that enabled interlopers to create and manipulate sleeping life with the goal of stealing our secret thoughts, or more unsettling still, implanting ideas in the deepest of subconscious states and making us believe they're our own?

Welcome to the world of "Inception," written and directed by the masterful Christopher Nolan, a tremendously exciting science-fiction thriller that's as disturbing as it sounds. This is a popular entertainment with a knockout punch so intense and unnerving it'll have you worrying if it's safe to close your eyes at night.
  • Nolan Strikes the Perfect Tone, writes Ann Hornaday at The Washington Post: "Indeed, 'Inception' often plays like the coolest "Ocean's Eleven" installment ever made, albeit with fewer wisecracks and a much trippier caper. Luckily, the cast strikes just the right tone for the enterprise. DiCaprio and Page bring quiet focus to roles that would have been scuttled by showboating. Hardy, who delivered as astonishing turn in last year's "Bronson," provides most of the film's welcome comic relief, needling Gordon-Levitt with deadpan economy as the heist just gets weirder."
  • Here's the Basic Premise, explains NPR Arts & Life desk: "The much-ballyhooed Inception takes place in a world where bandits like Cobb can steal, or "extract," secrets from the minds of the rich and powerful as they dream, then sell them to the highest bidder. Via "inception," crooks can also insert new ideas into the subconscious. That means DiCaprio's character spends much of the film drifting in and out of different dream worlds."
  • Ambitious and Masterful, writes Scott Tobias at The Onion's AV Club: "Nolan sets up a uniquely difficult challenge for himself: In order for Inception to work, it has to reconcile the rational and predictable (represented by Page and her maze-like constructs) with dangerously fluid, irrational impulses (represented by DiCaprio and his fevered psyche). The Nolan of The Prestige and Memento is more naturally suited to the former than the latter; the vast cryptogram of Inception has a core of real emotion, but it isn’t always matched by an abundance of visual imagination. Nonetheless, the film is an imposing, prismatic achievement, and strongly resistant to an insta-reaction; when it’s over, Nolan still seems a few steps ahead of us."
  • 'Inception' Disappoints, writes Christopher Orr at The Atlantic: "For all its elegant construction, Inception is a film in which nothing feels comparably at stake. (In this it resembles Nolan's The Prestige, another admirably heady tale of perception and reality that never quite found a hearty emotional grip.) The dangers that loom with the failure of Cobb's mission range from the inconsequential (Saito's firm goes out of business!) to the inauthentic (Cobb won't be able to return to pretty, talismanic children he was forced to abandon: parenthood as MacGuffin). The sorrow of Cobb and Mal's doomed marriage, too, for all of Cotillard's hypnotic allure, feels nonetheless remote, a motivation in search of real meaning."

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