Inception is a highly popular film with an incredibly divisive ending. The whole movie takes the audience on a journey through exciting and complex dreamscapes, as Dom Cobb tries to pull off a reverse, mind-heist. Instead of stealing secrets from unconscious victims, he must plant an idea into someone’s head. Even though the film was wildly successful, the ending was very anticlimactic. At the end of the movie, the top spins. If it stays spinning, the characters are still in a dream. If it stops, the characters are living in reality. The characters watch the top spin one last time, to find out their fate. While the top is spinning in the most suspenseful part of the film, the film ends. The audience is left not knowing if the top was going to keep spinning, or come to a full stop. Was this a satisfying end, or a complete cop-out?
Really interesting open question about open-endedness. Could definitely reference the similar (although in my opinion, much less successful) end to Tenet too. – Marcus Dean6 months ago
I loved the movie Inception and really like this topic. I think that exploring the other works of Christopher Nolan e.g. Interstellar, Tenet, Dunkirk etc. would aid in exploring Inception's goals as a movie through the lense of Nolan's directing approach and treatment of time, space and reality. – rbryan145 months ago
The subconscious is the basis of both Christopher Nolan’s movie Inception and is one of the most foundational theories created by the iconic Swiss psychiatrist. It would be interesting to see the correlations and the strands of ideas Nolan had taken from Jung’s work on the subconscious and applied it to the big stream. Taking a look at what are some of the "Easter Eggs" Nolan had within the film as an ode to Jungian thought.
This sounds like a fun topic! I really admire Nolan's work, and I am sure he went to extensive lengths to connect the film to known psychiatric theory. Perhaps this topic would be even more interesting if we looked at other, less explicit, psychiatric, pshycological, or even philosophical connections that could be drawn from the film - whether they were intended connections or not. Consider the work of people like William James, Wegner, Wenzlaf, and Kozak to name a few. – jkillpack2 years ago
Christopher Nolan’s epic 2010 blockbuster Inception drew on centuries of literature and philosophy. From Zhuangzi’s ancient Chinese story of a man who dreamed of being a butterfly to the dream labyrinths of Borges to the work of Philip K. Dick, there is a rich literary history of ideas tucked inside this movie. Analyze the influences and help readers find the books that helped inspire this great film.
Cool idea! Maybe dig deeper for the 'why' of performing this task: does it reveal an overarching theme or format for these genres/styles of texts? What is the message here? – Heather Lambert3 years ago
Awesome idea! I love knowing the little contextual Easter eggs hidden in films. This article could give Inception some more weight (i.e. it's based on real ideas, not just made up for entertainment purposes). – Gemma Ferguson3 years ago
You can look upon the films of Luis Bunuel- Un Chien Andalou, Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie. Most of his works are based on the complexity of dreams. – Azira101phale3 years ago
It's also worth noting that Nolan admittedly drew upon the works of Satoshi Kon - in particular, the surreal and somewhat disturbing anime feature film 'Paprika' - for 'Inception'. – Amyus3 years ago
While it may not be literature, Paprika, a 2006 Japaneses film, could also be an interesting comparison to Inception. Paprika Deals with a machine that you allow someone to infiltrate another person's dreams. – Sean Gadus2 years ago
It seems that there are 2 theories regarding the ending of Inception. If we accept that the entire movie is not a dream and that Cobb did in fact escape his limbo with Mal, then it is reasonable to believe he also escaped his limbo with Saito.
It is possible that the entire movie is a dream, and that Cobb never left his own limbo. Which one do you think is the correct one? Or do you have a different theory?
I'd love to see how this is answered. Can I say how frustrated I was with the movie's ending? I do think that it would be interesting to discuss why it was left so unsettled and how this communicates the themes of the movie. – tclaytor3 years ago
I was under the impression that the ending being ambiguous was intentional. I haven't watched Inception in ages so my memory is a lil fuzzy, but I thought the whole movie was, in essence, about questioning what is reality and what we want to be real. I think the ambiguous ending encapsulates that existential debate. I don't think there's a correct theory; at least, I don't think there should be one. – Starfire3 years ago
Nolan was greatly influenced by Satoshi Kon's 'Paprika' (2006) and I'm of the opinion that since both deal with the 'dream' world and reality, then the meaning within both 'Paprika' and 'Inception' is very much down to personal interpretation. So, either theory regarding the ending is correct - it's all about how we personally perceive it. Good topic suggestion! – Amyus3 years ago
Extractor. Architect. Forger. Chemist. Christopher Nolan’s transposition of recognisable careers into his film demonstrates how successful world-building can be founded upon the subversion of respectable professions into elements of a criminal network. While casual viewers may not realise these terms are associated with each character in the film, the components that make each one recognisable or relatable are integral to the overall plot. Does each ‘profession’ occupied by these characters show a darker side of these common, everyday jobs?
Wonderful topic! It would be great to have an additional insight into what was essentially a path-breaking complex film. – Vishnu Unnithan4 years ago
The movie Inception, released in 2010, is a wonderful amalgamation of a smart, powerful plot, excellent acting, and the high action scenes current film goers crave. The premise resided on the use of dreams to manufacture thoughts into the minds of powerful CEO’s, as well as a means of stealing money and important documents from these said named individuals. The influence of dreams has always been a point of interest in film and literature. As for Inception, it truly took these questions to a whole new level by adamantly stating, or answering the question whether dreams can affect reality. There are numerous psychological explanations regarding dreams including Freud’s discussion on latent versus manifest content, as well as wish fulfillment. Threat-stimulation theory discusses dreams as a defense mechanism revolving around the individual to revisit events and learn to successfully conquer them–this can be connected to Leonardo Dicaprio’s character in dealing with his deceased wife–in preparation for future, similar events. Expectation- fulfillment is a release of emotional arousal encountered during the day in order to actively complete or fulfill these emotions to make room for the following day. On a neurobiological note, Activation-synthesis is the theory that dreams are devoid of meaning but just a state of electrical impulses occurring in the brain that conjure images from memory ( a very controversy theory that has been consistently disputed by evolutionary psychologists). Lastly, Continual-Activation theory regards dreams as a process of memory storage in which information is encoded for long-term storage, and the process of accommodation occurs allowing for the building of new connection between synapses to successfully transfer these short term memories to long term information easily recalled. Yet, how does Inception fit in with all of these differing theories? Does Inception fit any one of these theories, a couple, or none? Inception also utilities high-tech instruments to not only induce sleep, but to also connect individuals to one another’s dreams. How does this affect these possible theories? Is the movie attempting to investigate the power of dreams, the complexities of the human psyche, or the connection between both of these intriguing, difficult to answer concepts?
This topic is really important. I come from a philosophy background and find the idea that dreams can be "devoid of meaning" both sad and in my view completely untrue. Whether the narrative or content of our dreams have any necessary relation to our day to day lives, it's clear that our experience of the dreams are equally valid experiences of our lives that shape and define what it is to be our selves. I also think there is great creative power in dreams. During our waking states, we tend to be distracted by what's real and have a hard time falling into pure imagination. I think we are, of all things, lucky to have dreams because they allow us to experience other worldly lives and see colors and shapes that are purely synthetic imaginings based off the real world but found nowhere in it. We are free to ignore or focus on our dreams as per our preference, but there's no way, as I see it, dreams aren't a crucial part of life. – maayano5 years ago
Inception is full of Descartean philosophy -- primarily paralleling Descarte's confounding questioning of our very reality, claiming that in truth we cannot even know the validity of our own world. I think you should add some of Descarte's philosophy to this text. – Brandon T. Gass5 years ago