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Jul 21, 2010

Christopher Nolan’s Inception: Questions, Theories, Secrets, Explanations, Award Buzz


Christopher Nolan‘s Inception is intriguing many with its plethora of concepts and its many twists and turns. There is a diverse array of interpretations springing up left and right for the film, especially its ending. I personally think its great that a film can be made so well that it inspires vast after-thoughts and conversations.  I lauded the film in my Inception Film Review. Many articles have been written about the film, delving into the strata of it. Many of those articles are online (what articles aren’t these days) and have been collected in a post by Alex Billington at FirstShowing. We have the guts of the article posted below. Enjoy and discuss.

From Vulture: Inception’s Dileep Rao Answers All Your Questions About Inception – This very fascinating piece is an interview with another one of my other favorite actors, Dileep Rao, who played “The Chemist” Yusuf in Inception. Instead of asking him simple questions, Vulture had him answer some of the challenging questions that the movie brings up, and also explain some of the complex concepts regarding entering dreams and so on. Even if you don’t have questions about Inception, this is a must read piece.

From Film School Rejects: The Kicker: 3 Explanations for Inception – FSR’s Cole Abaius delves into some rather intriguing topics and theories found within Inception surrounding Jungian archetypes, the importance of Cobb’s totem, and thoughts on the ending and what the truth may really be (we’ll get into more of those theories next).

From Vulture: The Hidden ‘Inception’ Within Inception – One of my favorite theories regarding the end and, essentially the overall point of the entire movie, involves the idea that the whole thing was actually an “inception” itself. Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri brings this up in a great essay about that “hidden inception” and finishes by referencing a brilliant moment from the movie that most have probably forgotten: Or, as the old man in Mombassa puts it, referring to the opium den of dreamers in Yusuf’s basement: “They come here to be woken up. Their dream has become their reality. Who are you to say otherwise?

From CHUD: Never Wake Up: The Meaning and Secret of Inception – If you really wish to dive fully into some of the many theories that Inception contains, this piece written by Devin of CHUD is actually a fantastic article about those “secrets.” Check this out, from the article: “In Inception Nolan is examining the ways that cinema, the ultimate shared dream, can change an individual. The entire film is a dream, within the confines of the movie itself, but in a more meta sense it’s Nolan’s dream.”

From Wired: How Inception’s Astonishing Visuals Came to Life – If you’re interested in learning a bit more about how Chris Nolan seamlessly integrates CGI visuals into his always beautiful films, Wired has a great interview with Nolan’s visual effects supervisor Paul Franklin, who talks about how they made the Paris-folding sequence and the “Limbo City” at the end, which was one of the most challenging “grand illusions” to pull off.

From Reuters: Oscar Speculation Underway for Inception – Of course, there’s already some Oscar buzz for Inception (it deserves it!) and that’s honestly not too surprising considering it’s probably going to be called the best movie of the year by most people. This article looks at its true Oscar potential and competition and is worth reading at least as a consideration. Now, it’s all a question of how the industry responds over the coming weeks and months.

From Heat Vision: Damon Lindelof Weighs in on Inception’s Ending – This one is just for fun, but it also brings up an interesting theory regarding the ending. Lost showrunner Damon Lindelof tweeted some statements about the ending that should make your mind spin like crazy (just like Lost!). There is a THIRD possibility — It neither stopped… nor kept spinning. The story ended before either could happen. Discuss.

From Cinema Blend: 5 Ways To Know If Inception Really Will Save Hollywood Blockbusters – In this article, CB’s Katey Rich tries to address the claims that because Inception is such an incredible movie (and is making lots of money) that it’s going to change Hollywood movies forever (which a few predicted after The Dark Knight). Before it was released, many filmmakers (including even Richard Kelly) were saying that it was important for it to succeed because it would mean so much for original movies in Hollywood. How big of an impact will it have? What will it change in Hollywood, if anything, and how long will it last? Those are some of the questions she addresses in a very smart, thoughtful piece.

Leave your questions, theories, and qualms for Inception below.

  • Anes

    Watching the first, an opinion later. Makes sense when first opening the queue congested and seems to continue in a few days. My curiosity increased.
    So the signs of success already drawn out there even though I’m off to watch.

  • RedBeard@WeHaveBeards

    Awesome clearing house of Inception opinions. There are so many. This is a great resource. Now I'm going to have to jump in. Although I'm fearful that I'll be proven incorrectly. I need to see the film again.

    How many times have everyone seen it?

    (I'm just a onesy so far.)

  • Film-Book

    Thx. Wish I could take credit for collecting it all.

    Differing opinions help to clear up things.

    I have seen it twice…so far.

  • Jeani
  • Film-Book

    No. If the spinning top kept spinning without falling he was in the dream. if it fell, he knew he was in reality.

  • Jason Latendresse

    I would first like to say that anyone out there who has something bad or overly critical to say about Nolan’s “Inception” (storyline/direction/cinematography/actor-delivery/etc…) either has little to no idea how major motion pictures work or are created (I mean, come on people! Do any of you nay-sayers believe you could have come up with something even remotely as intriguing/imaginative/INSERT ADJECTIVE HERE as Mr. Nolan has done with this story/movie?), or (even though they’d NEVER admit it) just flat out didn’t get the movie at all!

    That being said, I have a theory on why the ending of this movie has caused such an uproar in the blogosphere… We humans have an innate fear of the unknown and therefore when a movie ends with something as simple as a top spinning… And we don’t know whether or not it continues to spin (Cobb is still dreaming) or it topples over (Cobb is back to reality), we feel this unrelenting NEED for resolve! The fact of the matter is is that “Inception” is a work of art (I mean that literally!), and that’s all! Nolan thought it up, wrote it down, captured it on celluloid, and that’s ALL! I firmly believe that agonizing over the ending of “Inception” is synonymous with the human insecurity of wanting and needing to know what happens to us when we die. Think about it… It’s kinda the same thing! There are two options: Something happens… Or… Nothing does! It’s up to us to choose what to believe! And thank Whoever for that!