Let me say this right off the bat: there’s more to screenwriting than dialogue. I repeat: there is more to screenwriting than dialogue. I’m sure there are a bunch of people who will yell “exposition” the second they hear any suggestion that this screenplay deserves recognition. But there is more to it than that. Christopher Nolan needed to build this concept from the ground up and then execute it in the form of an elaborate heist, and do it in a way that makes the film clear to its audience while also keeping the pacing fast and also adding a layer of melancholy in regards to its main character. It took Nolan nine years to write this and I’m sure he has a notebook sitting around somewhere with the time differences between four dream levels meticulously written down. A lot of this would be slightly less impressive if this were an adaptation of some other work, but the fact that he managed to build all of this from the ground up makes it a great example of what an original screenplay should be.