by JP

So as someone who ventures to the local move theater to see movies on a fairly regular basis, I am sad to say that Inception was a film that was never on my radar.  From the first preview I saw of the film last year, I wrote it off as another kooky science-fiction movie that would flop at the box-office and be what my dad humorously classifies such films as… a “renter”.  Three rather large details were left out of my judgment, sadly…

1) Christopher Nolan is the man at the helm of Inception, the man who practically reinvented the superhero genre and introduced a bit of reality into an otherwise stale Batman history)

2) Leonardo DiCaprio (who I still cannot look at without thinking “I’ll never let go, Jack!) seems to be box office gold in recent years, with blockbusters like The Departed, Body of Lies, and Shutter Island; and

3) This is an original concept.  Not a sequel.  Not a remake.  Not based on a novel or a comic book.  This story came from the mind of Christopher Nolan (see below for an interesting note regarding this).

After finally having the opportunity to see this movie this past weekend, I can confidently say that this is a gem of a film.  From the opening minutes, I was hooked, and through the intricate weaving of intelligent storytelling and visual delight, Inception takes you on a wild ride littered with yes, great plot points, but also with thought-provoking concepts that beg to be explored deeper.  So, lets explore, shall we?

The entire basis of Inception is rooted in psychology, exploring those thoughts, secrets, personal feelings, etc., that we lock away and the ways in which our subconscious mind penetrates our dreams.  In short, the central characters are individuals who can create a framework for one’s dreams that is then populated by the subconscious mind of the one dreaming.  “Inception” is a technique that is thought to be near impossible: planting an idea in the mind of a target and leading them to believe that it is their own.  Thus the film’s focus and the beginning of a wild ride to plant a thought.

But what makes Inception most interesting, or perhaps I should say most interesting to me, is the idea of our thoughts and the power of creating an alternative reality.  Sure, the film stretches actual reality in insinuating that one’s dreams could be “hacked” by skilled individuals who can construct the foundation of the dream, but what it spawns in my mind concerning the “real world” is the power of one’s imagination, and the ability of a thought to take over.  In the end, how do we distinguish actual reality from our thoughts, from a dream, or from a projection?

A line in the movie, and please excuse that this is not word-for-word, states that a single thought can be so powerful that it begins to take over one’s mind.  We may push it aside and try to hide it, but eventually it will rear its head once more.  The power that we give these thoughts is what drives them, and rather than focusing on what is really happening (in reality) we allow these thoughts to become what we know, to frame how we see the world and how we operate.

This was an interesting thought to me, one that made me start thinking about aspects of my own mind where I may believe one thing to be true, when reality is really much different.  How many times have we been told that we are “making it seem worse than it really is”, or that “you are your own worst enemy”.  Think about it.  Our minds are so powerful that we can create an alternate reality that consumes our views of self and of the world around us.  How exciting, how dangerous, how crazy a thought!
My processing of the ideas in this film over the past few days have led me in the direction of thinking about the power of my own mind, as well as the power of individual thoughts.  Specifically, we are in control of how much power we designate to our thoughts.  It is like an itch that just will not go away… we empower our own thoughts.  What an interesting thought that is.

I am still working through my own personal analysis of a lot of the movie’s themes and ideas, so please check back in the future for more.  One thing is for certain: how amazing is it that a film can challenge your mind in such ways as Inception?

…and was the idea for Inception stolen from Scrooge McDuck?  You be the judge…

A big shout-out to Vinny for inviting me to contribute to the awesome VMG blog!


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