July 27, 2010



Ever since the teaser trailer hit the net, I have been anticipating this movie.
First off, this movie was so brilliant that I already saw it twice. The premise is not complicated. Although, some details may be confusing or ambiguous (I discuss them below).
It’s the kind of story that makes you think and want to discuss it. It’s thought provoking and doesn’t fall into the trap of getting so caught up in trying to dazzle you with cool special effects of the dream world that it loses a deeper impact.
The main character of Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is emotionally scarred and compelling to watch. And there are some poignant moments between Cobb and Mal (Marion Cotillard), as well as, Fischer (Cillian Murphy) and his father (Pete Postlethwaite).
It’s beautifully directed… Particularly, the “no gravity” sequence, which had me at the edge of my seat.
So what is Inception?
It’s a heist movie. But the target isn’t money, jewels etc… it’s information locked in the recesses of your mind. The twist is that the thieves aren’t looking to steal, but to implant an idea. This is what is called “Inception” – a monumental task that has only been done once.
There are strong moral implications:
  • Should one implant an idea; thereby, manipulating another person’s decisions?
  • What are the ramifications?
The Story:
When INCEPTION begins, Cobb is a depressed fugitive, unable to come back to the US and be with his children.
Saito gives Cobb an offer he can’t refuse: Do an inception, and I’ll use my influence to get the charges against you dropped so you can be with your children again.
And so the heist begins.
Cobb gets his crew together… they plan… they do the mission.
But since they are doing an “Inception”, it requires more than one dream level. You have to create dreams within dreams.
Fischer is the “target” on all 3 levels. He is the man whose mind is being infiltrated.
Ariadne is the “architect”. She creates the mazes of the dreams, which I believe is to maintain the coverage area, ensuring that the “target” can’t exit the contained area.
The “dreamer” creates/maintains the environment. If they exit the dream, the dream rips apart.
Who are the DREAMERS?
  • Level 1 dream: Yusuf
  • Level 2 dream: Arthur
  • Level 3 dream: Eames
This is where things get hairy. As a result of creating dreams within dreams, they need heavy sedatives, which means they can’t come out of it as easily as they use to (which was kill yourself & you’re out). If you die in this state, you go into Limbo where you can live a lifetime unable to leave because you can’t tell reality from the dream, and you ultimately end up brain dead in the real world.
Instead they need KICKS, which is done with a feeling of falling, to exit the dreams.
Here is where it gets confusing. Yusuf speaks of needing “double kicks”. This is what I *think* happens:
You need to kick from the upper level while simultaneously kicking yourself out of the level below. Now as far as timing goes, this isn’t a difficult task. Minutes in one level could mean hour/s in the lower, which could mean hours/days in the one below and so on.
Let’s look at the LEVELS:
  • Reality: plane
  • Level 1 dream: van
  • Level 2 dream: hotel
  • Level 3 dream: snow/mountain
  • Limbo: Collective Consciousness filled with Cobb/Mal’s dream world
In order to complete the simultaneous kicks, they use music. Whoever is the “dreamer” wears a headset. So the music will infiltrate the dream, and everyone will know how much time they have before they need to exit.
  • Level 1: Van hits water (kick upper 1) – Arthurs sets Hotel elevator explosion (kick lower 2)
  • Level 2: Arthurs sets Hotel elevator explosion (kick upper 2) – Eames sets explosion on floor (kick lower 3)
  • Level 3: Eames sets explosion on floor (kick upper 2) – Ariadne jumps out of the window (kick lower Limbo)
At this point, they stay in Level 1 until the sedative wears out, or until the plane descends (which equals about a weeks time at this level).
One of the things I found fascinating about this movie is the ambiguity of the ENDING.
My immediate reaction was that he was stuck in Limbo at the end. But because of the wobbly totem, it’s possible that the totem would have fallen and that he really is in reality.
Another interesting thought is that the entire thing could be an inception on Cobb, planting the idea of “freeing himself from guilt”; thereby, allowing him to go home. Mal told Cobb “to take the leap of faith”. Saito said the same thing in the helicopter. Is this a coincidence, or could this be a hint?
Also, what is Cobb’s real TOTEM?
We see him using Mal’s totem, but surely he had one of his own.
Could his totem be his wedding ring? He wears it in his dream, but not in the beginning (when he’s supposedly in reality), and he doesn’t wear it in the end? A hint that he’s really in reality at the end? Or does his subconscious remove the ring once his guilt is released, and he’s still dreaming?
Could his totem be his children? Could finally seeing their faces at the end mean he’s in reality?
However you see the ending, it leaves you with something to think about.

Score: 9.75/10



About Lisa

Passionate about movies and writing. Hopes to someday be a published writer. So when she's not staring at the tube, she's spilling her imagination onto a blank page.

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