by InceptionEnding

in Inception Ending

“Every single moment of Inception is a dream. I think that in a couple of years this will become the accepted reading of the film, and differing interpretations will have to be skillfully argued to be even remotely considered. The film makes this clear, and it never holds back the truth from audiences. Some find this idea to be narratively repugnant, since they think that a movie where everything is a dream is a movie without stakes, a movie where the audience is wasting their time.

Except that this is exactly what Nolan is arguing against. The film is a metaphor for the way that Nolan as a director works, and what he’s ultimately saying is that the catharsis found in a dream is as real as the catharsis found in a movie is as real as the catharsis found in life. Inception is about making movies, and cinema is the shared dream that truly interests the director.

I believe that Inception is a dream to the point where even the dream-sharing stuff is a dream. Dom Cobb isn’t an extractor. He can’t go into other people’s dreams. He isn’t on the run from the Cobol Corporation. At one point he tells himself this, through the voice of Mal, who is a projection of his own subconscious. She asks him how real he thinks his world is, where he’s being chased across the globe by faceless corporate goons.

She asks him that in a scene that we all know is a dream, but Inception lets us in on this elsewhere. Michael Caine’s character implores Cobb to return to reality, to wake up. During the chase in Mombasa, Cobb tries to escape down an alleyway, and the two buildings between which he’s running begin closing in on him – a classic anxiety dream moment. When he finally pulls himself free he finds Ken Watanabe’s character waiting for him, against all logic. Except dream logic….”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nolan Sucks October 6, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Here’s the formula for movies of Inception’s sui generis: You begin in a state where the narrative is as questionable and unreliable as the narrator; then you parcel out some exposition which actually is true — only to lead the main character down a false path that ultimately leads to some revelation of what is really at stake, and then you cast doubt on which perception of events is actually true, and resolve this doubt with an ambiguous ending which really doesn’t resolve anything, and only self-reflexively perpetuates the doubt seen onscreen. You might think I’m writing about Inception, but I was actually writing about Total Recall. The same format could have applied to Existenz as well. In fact the formula also applies to Borge’s “The Garden of Forking Paths” and “The Library of Babel.” So well is this formula known, that the formula itself is cliche and should be burned in the hopes that is not re-discovered, or at least posted as a formula that should by now be avoided at all cost. Unfortunately, Nolan simply used the formula, and switched out the variables, which means that he is not at all possessed by some divine creative mania, or “genius” for the lay person. Now, the same thing happened years ago, when Tarantino employed a non-linear narrative in Pulp Fiction; all these newb fan boys started praising the innovation of a non-linear structure — only to learn that Tarantino was not in fact the first to use such. Likewise, irrational Nolan fanboys have pretended that the narrative for “Inception” is not actually derivative. If you take the formula and plug in the plot of the 1984 film “Dreamscape” or the plot from 2005’s “Paprika” you get “Inception.” Nothing original or innovative on any dream level whatsoever. I have seen “Inception” five times just so that I could dissect it and not be accused of not investing intellectual fortitude in it. Also, I bought the script and read the script 8 times (I’m a fast reader which lends to my ability to sift through lots of scripts on Mondays); I read this script more carefully than I have read “War and Peace.” Despite the fact that I don’t like this movie and think it’s derivative, I will have to concur with your reading on the film. The entire movie is a dream. And I don’t even believe that Dom Cobb is the person who is dreaming. I believe it’s his wife. In fact, I think Nolan reaches a point where he toys with the idea that Dom is caught in an elaborate attempt by his wife to destroy him and that she in fact is the extractor and that at some point they were rivals; that in fact they may never have been married and she gave him a grieving, guilt complex regarding her death and convinced him through a plant that they were married so that she could trap him in a dream state and never be able to compete with him in the real world. I think Nolan uses very clever and deft one-liners to suggest that their entire relationship was a complete fabrication used to instill guilt and keep him rooted in the dream. I think Nolan judiciously decides to shoot the entire story from Cobb’s POV in order to show that someone who was truly compromised by inception would never be able to get out of it. However, Cobb’s mind is trying to fight against his own programming and each time it results in a different ending.


Anonymous March 31, 2011 at 2:58 am

what are the 2 meanings for wake


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