Inception Review

“I never sleep on planes. I don’t want to be incepted.” – “Jack” on 30 Rock

These people are so pretty.

I remember the Inception ad campaign pre-release. First there was that bizarre 20 second promo that told you nothing other than that Chris Nolan was directing some new flashy action movie and it was probably going to Blow Your Mind. Then slightly longer promos where the audience discovered that everyone – literally, everyone – was going to be in this movie: Leo, JGL, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy (always a plus, in my book), Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, and even Michael Caine.

The promos started getting longer. Media hype grew to a frenzy. Everyone was going to see this movie.

Me? I was ready to watch it after the first previews. I love – love – movies like Inception. Action thrillers or slow, creeping dramas with twists and turns and surprise endings that still leave you guessing. I am also a fan of all the actors previously listed. Nolan, I can take or leave, but I haven’t watched Memento*.

I was excited. However, as the media frenzy escalated, I became less and less enthused by the prospect of watching this film. By the time I had time to watch the movie, everyone had already seen it, and I decided not to bother until it showed up on Netflix.

After months of diligently avoiding spoilers, let me present some to you here, in my Unified Theory of Inception.


There. Easy. Pat.

I cannot tell you the number of times people told Cobb that he needed to stop dreaming, snap back to reality, see the truth, and so on. Of course, this becomes a major plot point in regards to the confrontations with his wife. However, even in the first act, there are numerous references to Cobb dreaming and to his world being less than real.

Furthermore, no one actually attacks Cobb. Yes, the competing businessmen attack people around Cobb and seem to chase him, but no one actually manages to hurt him. The projections in the dreams attack people around him as well, sometimes wounding them, but Cobb is never physically hurt. He doesn’t even seem to be targeted, while his compatriots go down in droves.

He doesn’t have a totem. He borrows his wife’s, but didn’t he say that a totem had to be something only you knew fully? How can he ascertain reality if he has no basis of comparison?

Why is Cobb the only one who can bring in his projections to other people’s dreams? Wouldn’t it make more sense to say that all of it–even the other dreams–is really Cobb’s dream?

Here is how I read the movie. After the death of his wife, Cobb withdrew into the world of dreams to shelter himself. However, his father (who invented this dream technique) and other associates are trying to pull him out. Alternatively, the projections of these helpful people are trying to wake him up. Thus, they all go along on this wild ride that really should not make sense, but is instantly understood and believed by all non-Cobb characters.

In the end, he fails spectacularly, but creates an ending he can enjoy.

Of course, that isn’t what Nolan believes.  “I choose to believe that Cobb gets back to his kids, because I have young kids…. The most important emotional thing about the top spinning at the end is that Cobb is not looking at it. He doesn’t care.” (Source)

Well, there you have it. Straight from the horse’s mouth.

*Sacrilege, I know. Haven’t seen Fight Club either. I know I will love both of these films, and they are perpetually on my Netflix queue.


7 responses to “Inception Review

  1. Great review. Love the interpretation. I think you’re on to something. The most shocking thing to the review is you haven’t seen Fight Club or Memento? Bump those to the top of the queue asap!

    • I know, I really do need to see those films. But there are so many new films that I need to watch as well! I’ve maxed out my Netflix queue, but I’m working on it, slowly but surely.

  2. Well I was a big fan of this movie specifically for the over the top action sequences and that doom music! My God the music! I suppose it definitely has some plot holes but I was willing to let that go to just be entertained. At the end of the day it is a fun movie to watch. But out of the plot holes here is one my faves:

    I recently watched Figh Club for the first time and I can’t say I enjoyed it. I felt like it had now become dated. There were certain plot devices used (which I won’t elaborate on as that would spoil the movie for you) that I think have been used much more effectively in a lot of more recent films. Maybe I needed to see it back when it came out to fully appreciate it. But I will look for your review when you watch it! And I have also not seen Memento *sigh*

    • HAHA I wondered that as well! It’s not like the the kids are forced to stay in the U.S. Just more fuel for my theory that it’s all a dream… When he calls his kids, we don’t see the children, even though films often show both sides of a call. We only see his last memory of the kids. Kids grow and change so quickly, his mind probably can’t create accurate projections of him. He probably knows it as well, so–

      And I’m overthinking this film again. I do know the main spoiler of Fight Club, but I feel like I should watch it anyway, if only to keep up with pop culture references.

  3. I finally read your review and I have to say that you do have a superb set of thoughts over here. The questions you raise are pretty interesting. What appealed to me most about this review was that you know the difference between the intention of the film and that of the maker. I’ll read other posts of your blog and let you know when I come up with something new on mine.


  4. Pingback: Avatar Movie Review « Media Consommé

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