The Nature of Dreams Explored: Inception, SCOPE Movie

Isaak Kifle

Dreams, despite being a common occurrence in nature, are one of the least understood phenomena in the world. Everyone has had a dream, but few will remember it very well afterwards. We never question the absurdities that occur, not even identifying them as such until after waking up. And of course, there is the age-old question: “how do we know we aren’t dreaming right now?”. These are the kinds of things that everyone thinks about at some point, usually dismissing as too complex and irrelevant. Film director and writer Christopher Nolan, on the other hand, decided to make a movie out of it.

Inception is a 2010 science fiction film that Nolan had spent years planning and writing before finally directing. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Dominic Cobb, a thief that specializes in extraction, the art of infiltrating minds and stealing the ideas hidden within them. Originally hired to steal a safe combination from businessman Saito (Ken Watanabe), Cobb ends up being hired by Saito to plant an idea into rival businessman Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy). Contrasted with extraction, this is the much more unstable and dangerous art of inception.

Cobb is assisted by Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who serves as a point man for the group’s missions. Later, he recruits Ariadne (Ellen Page) to work as the architect, the one who designs the dream levels to absolute perfection and accuracy, which ensure that the target believes that they are awake. Rounding out Cobb’s team is the chemist Yusef (Dileep Rao) and the forger Eames (Tom Hardy). Lastly, it is neither of the businessmen, but Mal (Marion Cotillard) that serves as the film’s main antagonist. Mal, French for harm or evil, is a malevolent and mysterious presence in all of the dreams Cobb enters;the two appear to be connected.

As an action movie, Inception does not disappoint with its fast-paced and well-choreographed fight and car chase scenes. The emotional element is represented as well, in the deep backstory and complex relationship between Cobb and Mal. Plot twists come rather frequently, but unlike many other movies, they never feel forced or thrown in at the last minute; in fact many of them, the audience will realize later on, were foreshadowed far ahead of time. However, none of these things are what makes the movie a masterpiece, nor are they what made it famous or what it should be remembered for.

Most movies today appeal to the heart and nothing else. Inception’s main appeal and distinction is that it will appeal to the minds of its audience. Christopher Nolan makes you explore the nature of dreams and question what is and isn’t real. Cobb says near the beginning of the movie that an idea is like a virus, and you won’t realize the full meaning of that statement until the end. Yet, even the ending will leave you scratching your head and racking your brain to figure out what you had just watched. Inception is one of the smartest movies you will ever see.

Thank you to SCOPE for making it last week’s movie. The turnout was fantastic on both nights.