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Is Inception a movie about movies? I would agree, but what we didn’t cover was an over arching theme beyond the basis of the movie. Inception buries its viewer in the levels of sleep and dreams and intends to confuse us about what is reality and what isn’t. The focus of the story is on Cobb a master “extractor” who is running from his past and in the same time he is haunted by it in his sleep. Depending on your interpretation of the ending, Cobb may be the only real character in the movie and the rest of the elements just figments of his imagination and memories. At first Cobb and his partner Arthur are caught in the act of inception, which turns out to be an audition by a rich industrialist named Sato. Sato offers Cobb and opportunity to return to the home where he is wanted for murder.
Inception is the act of planting a thought or idea in someone’s mind and this is what Sato wants Cobb to do even though it is next to impossible. So Inception is a heist film but instead of breaking in to steal they are breaking in to plant. As with every heist film you assemble a team and then go through a series of preparation montages where you learn more about the characters. And we find that Cobb is haunted by the memory of his wife who killed herself. Then with any heist film it is in the commission of their perfect plan that things go awry. The end product is Cobb confronting his demons and ends with him going home with a cliffhanger ending.
The Youtube video analysis of Inception we watched labeled each of the characters as different elements of movie production. The video does not address Maul, Cobb’s dead wife though. So using what we discussed in class I came up with a theory of what she represents. If the act of inception is a movie then Maul must be a reference to a prior movie and specifically a failure so Maul is the last Terminator film and Nolan’s failure. Is that a little specific I don’t think so, it wasn’t a very good movie and fear of failure in this medium must weight heavy on the director’s mind and could sabotage a current production.
What is the message of the movie? Well with out the interpretation of it being a movie about making movies Inception asks about the importance of reality. In our day in age we are confronted with multiple worlds we inhabit, School, Work, the Internet and Relationships. These worlds can seemingly exist parallel to each other and some time converge but each instance can feel like that is all that exists. Nolan is challenging the audience to accept that these worlds we inhabit are real and tangible and they are as real to us as we would have our selves believe. We shouldn’t worry about if the reality we exist and thrive in is real to others or not, if Cobb was awake in the end or not he still returned home.