Interpreting Inception (2010)

Interpreting Inception

“ What's it all about? Let's look at some interpretations of "Inception."”

-Richard Roeper


Interpreting Inception


In theaters:
Thursday, 22 July 2010

Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Science Fiction

Christopher Nolan

Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe, Martin Lawrence

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Luissaid on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 3:37:18 PM
I believe it was that he rfseued to do it any more after the death of his wife Like that was his promise to her. Anyway, I can't wait to see it again either. So many little details will be clearer. Christopher Nolan is a genius. (and his bro Jonathan just signed on to direct the re-reboot of the Superman franchise, lol gonna be SWEET)

Jack Shroutsaid on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 9:35:35 PM
The whole "the entire movie is a dream" is based on the fact that the audience themselves is never given a totem of sorts to cling to. We are told that the top keeps spinning when he's in a dream and it falls when in reality, but how can we be sure that that's the absolute truth.

My interpretation is that it doesn't matter whether or not he was in a dream. He'd gone through so much hell, he didn't care if he was in a dream or not, as long as he felt that he was with his children.

I think the filmmaking parallel is a bit ridiculous because you could parallel a heist to a ton of different things.

Yvessaid on Monday, August 09, 2010 6:22:33 AM
I am also with the interpretation that dreams represent movies and that every character can be seen as a role in the process of making movies (Ellen Page as Production Designer?). Although it is probably just marginal in context of the whole movie, I think it is interesting to see that Cobb cannot dream no more.
I assume the same thing happens to a moviemaker who knows all the tricks from the book. A moviemaker never will be able to watch a movie open-minded as an audience does. He never can experience the magic of the movie because he is pre-occupied by his profession, constantly analyzing the camera angles, special effects and so on.
I also like the Jung-archetype interpretation, but this can be applied to many more movies and stories, right? It also does not contradict the “movie” interpretation.

Craigsaid on Thursday, August 05, 2010 4:22:19 AM
I'll start off by saying that there is no answer to this movie. The answer is what you want it to be. That being said I'm in the camp that not one scene we see in this movie takes place in the real world. Mal was right when she "killed" herself. I think she made it back home while Cobb is stuck in a coma. The people on his team represents different parts of Cobb himself. They represent different Jungian achetypes.I would say that Nolan didn't intend this if he hadn't already mentioned Jungian achetypes in Batman Begins through the Scarecrow Character when he talks to Rachel Dawes at the Asylum just before he turns on her, if the archetypes weren't so incredibily similar to these characters, and if this movie wasn't about the mind and dreams. I don't have room here to explain each one in great detail so I'll direct you to where there's a great article about this called "What if Inception were analyzed by dream experts." Also just going to wikipedia and reading about these different archetypes astounded me because they were so similar to the characters. So now I'll begin

Miles(Caine)- wise old man archetype.many times a professor who's caught up in his thoughts.Is a mentor.Many times in a foriegn land.

Saito- Father figure archetype.Demanding, very powerful, gets what he wants.

Ariadne- anima archetype.In men the femine part of a person.In women the masculine part of themselves (animus).helps the male relate to women and get in touch with their feelings that have been repressed.Jung viewed the anima as being one of the sources of creative ability.Anima is spontaneous.

Eames- the trickster archetype.this archetype is decieving, a shape shifter, and has a good sense of humor.

Fischer-the child archetype. Wants to please the father. Could he be a part of Cobb's own feelings that Miles is disapointed in the "life" he's chosen or that he is responsible for Miles' daughter's death (Mal). Notice the similarities between the top and the "fan toy" that fischer finds in the safe.they both are spinning objects.

Yusef- The self archetype. This is the unification of all you are, conscious and unconscious.Remember this happens quite literally during the job. Yusef dreams the top layer while all the other characters go deeper. Their all ultimately contained in his rainy city dream.

Arthur- the hero archetype. Contains are best qualities such as courage and are willingness to help others but is usually dull. Arthur saves the day on many occassions a lot more than Cobb does (elevator kick) (hallway fight)(pulls other characters out of the van at end).

Mal- the shadow archetype.the dark part of ourselves.Our animal-like desires.Parts of ourselves that we repress because of society.This includes are evil desires.Remember "Mal" means evil.

I'll end by saying that the Mombassa section of this movie is full of evidence that the movie is a dream.Walls "close in" on Cobb while being chased by projections,uh no I mean Cobol agents,and Saito just happens to show up just in time. Cobb even gives him a puzzled look and asks him "What are you doing in Mombassa?" Mal also mentions to Cobb in limbo at the end the strangness of this scene where the agents are chasing him.Oh sorry one last point: the top falling before Cobb talks to his kids on the phone is no evidence of reality. As Arthur points out the totem only shows you that you're not in someone else's dream but it doesn't tell if you are in your own dream. Cobb knows how the totem's suppose to fall. If he wants it to fall it's gonna fall.

Taylor Costellosaid on Sunday, August 01, 2010 11:39:23 PM
I personally think everything in the post Inception scenes was real. Cobb could have easily told Caine's character off screen to meet him on the ground once his plane touched down, anticipating he'd complete the job and get cleared through customs. Furthermore, just before the Nolan cuts to black, the spinning top clearly is in the process of tipping over. Nolan does give some ammunition to the contrary though, which was smart to do.

robinsaid on Friday, July 30, 2010 7:34:37 AM
There is too much debate on Inception that Dominic Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) was dreaming or not? I have few other questions that no one talks about it. First scene where they were Saito (Ken Watanabe) dreams how they kidnap that kind of rich person and take to him into train? Second Saito and Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) are corporate rival and saito into his dream and Fischer doesn’t know who is he? Third both business man travail alone? Fourth when Cobb trains Ariadne (Ellen Page) she create a bridge that Cobb recognized (he is standing with her wife near that bridge) how Cobb know that bridge? (In Paris, AL, New York or when Cobb and his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard) living into the dream world). According to me there is one hint that Cobb come out of the dream when Saito said that “we both was young now I am old” (some this like that).
If my starting points are mistakes in the movie so that is the silly mistakes ever done by Christopher Nolan.
Some people say that inception batter than dark knight they are wrong. I am grunted when everyone saw Dark Knight say WOW! But I am not filling anything like that in Inception. It’s the best movie yet 2010. But Memento, Dark Knight and Prestige (Prestige one of the best or hard story I ever saw) Nolan best worked yet.
One more thing never Compare this movie with MATRIX even a closer

Mitchellsaid on Friday, July 30, 2010 12:52:21 AM
I believe that the Inception worked, but Cobb Never made it out, he's still in a dream, and that top keeps on spinning, Now I wan't to believe that he got out, everything is fine, but I just don't see it. But that's not to say this is an unhappy ending, on the contrary, for Cobb, It's the happiest ending he could have, he believes he's back at home, he believes his kids are real, he believes it's all over. It's a happy ending for Cobb, not necessarily for everyone else. But of course it all depends on wither or not that top kept spinning. My idea hinges on the fact that tops just don't spin that long, or Nolan could of just cut the shot, to put that idea in my head. Or this could all just be a dream and in a second I'll wake up on a plane on my way to Mexico. At any rate, it's one of the best movies I've ever seen.

tomsaid on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 11:38:13 AM
wow. Howard the only one of you guys that figured out the movie.

Medhasaid on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 9:17:59 AM
RR, thank you for that, I absolutely love your reviews, always agree with them. No joke, I pretty much depend on you to tell me what movie to see next.

I agree with you that I like to take this film at face value.

Also, it isn't just a movie, this is a real film :D First time I could say a while. :D

Sheilasaid on Sunday, July 25, 2010 8:00:56 PM
Question- if you say theory #2 (that Cobb is in a dream at the end) is plausible, why would you not buy into theory #3 (that the entire movie is a dream)? After all, as the movie goes into deeper levels of "dreams", Leo's final return is to the same "level" that the movie originated... so by virtue of logic, if the ending is a dream, so is the entire movie.

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