My chief problem with the film and its massive amounts of praise is primarily shown in an early scene. When Cobb is teaching Ariadne (daft name) the basics of what they do, there's that lovely little exchange where he asks her how they got to the cafe. For me that indicated the true potential of the film as Nolan has effectively brought into question a century's worth of progressing editing techniques. Whereas Hollywood and most other cinema has strived for seamless experiences, with editing often used to erase any filler, to keep the experience focused and driven, that one exchange made me believe that we shouldn't trust it in this scenario. In the world of Inception, the trivial segments that are often dealt with utilising a smooth cut or segue are in fact of utmost importance, without them everything could be cast into doubt. To me I thought it was the beginning of what could have been revolutionary, an entirely new way of telling the story and upending what is expected from the editing suite.
And then it's forgotten about apart from when they're in the hotel and Cobb is talking to Fischer. Bummer. What we're left with is a technically innovative and well-executed but ultimately pretty straightforward heist film. And what could be seen as the great irony is that the editing is amongst the great things of the film, whereas it could've been revolutionary.
That's more or less my primary gripe. Good film, but hinted at being truly great in the first half.
To make this worthy of this thread as opposed to the Inception review thread, that gripe can be translated towards most of Nolan's films. They open strong, and tantalise with innovative concepts and intriguing developments, but then descend into predictability, if still being very well-made. The Dark Knight for example got me all worked up at the thought of its take on Good and Evil, what with the character development of Harvey Dent, but then ended in a fairly by-the-numbers fashion, his character arc wasted, and the film being a let down, if only because it teased at so much more.
The overlong running times of his films don't exactly help either.