Nolan tips his hand regarding his view of the cinema, and of the dream-world he’s constituting within it, by means of the name of the young heir being “incepted”: Robert Fischer, i.e., Bobby Fischer. The film is constructed with the coherent hermeticism of chess: Nolan lays down rules of dream-manipulation that are finite, clear, and complex, guiding a personal, intimate, inchoate realm into discernible patterns. The film’s chess-like precision and self-containment that accounts for much of the adolescent passion the movie arouses. Its remarkably complex conceits yield a remarkably callow film, in which motives are as simple and highlighted as if sketched in a scriptwriting class, and the near-futuristic society that’s depicted with a vast armamentarium of physical and computer effects is narrowed to a B-movie thinness.
Read more in The Front Row by Richard Brody.