Patrick Goldstein admits he was left confused by "Inception," though he liked the film, and he devotes a post at The Big Picture to why the older people are, the more they hated "Inception."
The contentious reaction to "Inception" has a lot in common with the response to such equally daring films as "Breathless," "Bonnie and Clyde," "The Wild Bunch," "A Clockwork Orange," "Taxi Driver," "Reservoir Dogs," "Pulp Fiction" and "Natural Born Killers," to name but a few. People either love 'em or hate 'em, with young moviegoers usually being the first to wrap them in a firm embrace.
I'm not here to say that it's time to put "Inception" into the pantheon of great films, since some of the films on that previous list probably don't belong there either. But they all grabbed us by the collar and didn't let us go. "Bonnie and Clyde" offers perhaps the most classic example of a generational breakthrough film. It was initially panned by a host of critics, most notably the New York Times' influential Bosley Crowther, who called the picture a "cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick comedy"...
In today's media-saturated culture, a film that polarizes its audience is often a film on its way to hitdom. When people argue vociferously about a new movie, the talk alone is the best possible promotion. If you haven't seen the movie, you're on the outside, wanting to get in on the action.