Inception (2010)
October 17, 2022 8:40 AM - Subscribe

Cobb, a skilled thief who commits corporate espionage by infiltrating the subconscious of his targets is offered a chance to regain his old life as payment for a task considered to be impossible: "inception", the implantation of another person's idea into a target's subconscious.

Inception (2010)

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief with the rare ability to enter people's dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious. His skill has made him a hot commodity in the world of corporate espionage but has also cost him everything he loves. Cobb gets a chance at redemption when he is offered a seemingly impossible task: Plant an idea in someone's mind. If he succeeds, it will be the perfect crime, but a dangerous enemy anticipates Cobb's every move.
Inception (2010)
Your mind is the scene of the crime. Box-office superstar Leonardo DiCaprio stars in this contemporary science fiction action film set "within the architecture of the mind." Written, directed and produced by Oscar® and Golden Globe nominee Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, The Prestige), this eagerly awaited follow-up to 2008's billion-dollar blockbuster is yet another visionary tale from a startingly original filmmaker who continually raises the bar with every film he makes. Shooting in London, Paris, Tangiers, Calgary and Los Angeles, Nolan's mind-bending film also stars Academy Award® winners Michael Caine and Marion Cotillard, in addition to Juno's Elliot Page, Batman Begins' Cillian Murphy and Oscar® nominees Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) and Tom Berenger (Platoon).
posted by DirtyOldTown (24 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Inception (2010)
A thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a C.E.O.
Inception (2010)
Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) perform illegal corporate espionage by entering the subconscious minds of their targets, using two-level "dream within a dream" strategies to "extract" valuable information.

87% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on HBO Max. Also available for digital rental on multiple outlets. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:43 AM on October 17, 2022 [7 favorites]

I haven't watched this since I saw it on DVD shortly after it came out, so I won't comment on the actual film, but I can't think of it without hearing the Unspooled episode where Paul is so gobsmacked that Dom Cobb's name is Dom Cobb that he can't stop saying it. It's just such an absurd name for the protagonist of a huge-budget action-thriller.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:57 AM on October 17, 2022 [3 favorites]

Related comedy bit: Matt Braunger - A Dream Inside a Dream.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:59 AM on October 17, 2022

I literally had a dream inside of a dream last night and woke up thinking about this movie.

I haven't seen it since we saw it in the theater; I'm probably due for a rewatch now.
posted by octothorpe at 9:19 AM on October 17, 2022

Coincidentally, I rewatched the Rick and Morty episode in which R&M's attempt to incept Morty's math teacher into giving him a passing grade is interrupted by a blatant Freddy Krueger knockoff, Scary Terry.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:31 AM on October 17, 2022 [3 favorites]

Inception is half-baked in my opinion. If the time had been taken to really think about the world they were creating, some of the dreamstuff could have been more than just cool plot filler, but really really out there and mind blowing. But as is, it's just a heist movie where the thieves rob your head and not your safe. So when Nolan tried to make it more than that, the whole Dom-side of the movie, leaving it ambiguous about just where Dom ends up, I didn't care.

That said, Inception was a pretty cool movie. Entertaining, well produced, excellent acting.
posted by Stuka at 9:41 AM on October 17, 2022 [12 favorites]

I agree with all of that, Stuka.

I find Nolan's films to be entertaining and showing positively superlative technique and skill.

But for my money, people are often overly willing to ignore his frequent clumsiness and occasional wrongheadedness in actual storytelling because they're enamored of those skills.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:32 AM on October 17, 2022 [5 favorites]

Nolan's films are like Stanley Kubrick films minus everything human about Stanley Kubrick films.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:35 PM on October 17, 2022 [5 favorites]

I don't mind it when his stuff is cold. I mind it when it tries to be human and is a clunky mess, like Interstellar.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:46 PM on October 17, 2022 [7 favorites]

Around 2008, my spouse and I came across a quote from J. Michael Straczynski: "It's been pointed out that TV-SF is generally 20-30 years behind print SF." This rings true for me; the issues and premises and speculative ideas that we see in film and TV science fiction often feel like stuff that print writers were developing 20-30 years prior.

I find Inception an example of this. I seem to recall that, right after seeing Inception, in the theater hallway, a few other scifi-reading nerds and I agreed: it was a perfectly good, visually amazing story that -- if you were already a frequent sf/f reader -- was not particularly novel or confusing in its plot.
posted by brainwane at 1:10 PM on October 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

My dopey college RA told me he thought I'd like this because, quote, "It's like Mulholland Drive."

I guess my one opinion about this movie is that that's a really terrible way to try and sell Inception to somebody, and you shouldn't do it.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 3:04 PM on October 17, 2022 [3 favorites]

I’ve always felt that Nolan films get better the farther back in time you go. Which is such a Nolan thing to do.

Inception is kind of middle-Nolan.

I thought it was amazing the first time I saw it, then pretty vapid and dumb the second. Things are so on the nose and there’s loads of mouth feelings. Once you see it in his films, it’s hard to unsee.

Which is such a bummer because the mystery is gone. But nonetheless, Memento and The Prestige are still in my all time Top 10.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:22 PM on October 17, 2022 [8 favorites]

My dopey college RA told me he thought I'd like this because, quote, "It's like Mulholland Drive."

That's funny; I said to someone that it was like a really slick, dumbed down Inland Empire by someone who actually has no understanding of the unconscious.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:13 PM on October 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

In my rewatches it's the Page Training section that I want to skip over. Maybe it's just a part that doesn't survive rewatches for me as well as the other chapters, but some time from some other parts of the movie would have been better used firming up the worlds within worlds. Whatever my misgivings, the hallway fight is one of my favorite action scenes of all time.
posted by rhizome at 10:34 PM on October 17, 2022

Oh, Leo's Shot Not Taken bugs me too.
posted by rhizome at 10:35 PM on October 17, 2022

This is probably the least imaginative movie about dreams that has ever been made. Apparently the one guy's dreams are all just the beginning of that James Bond movie where he skis around shooting goons. The only really uncanny element it has is the bit where everybody looks at you if you start to disturb the dream. I wanted it to have more of that kind of thing and fewer shootouts, or at least make them dreamy shootouts.
posted by whir at 12:52 AM on October 18, 2022 [7 favorites]

Yeah I do like this film, and enjoyed it in imax, but this is the film that began my disillusionment with Nolan. From the quite bad script, to the messy action scene at the bond level, this film just doesnt quite work.

There are some genuinely stunning scenes, and the core story around Cobb was compelling enough that I was carried along, but I agree that this ideallly needed another pass on the script and the world building.

It is also not a particularly confusing film, with the possible exception of Limbo, which I dont think makes any sense.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 9:17 AM on October 18, 2022

At this point, Nolan is so enamored with large-scale technical challenges that he's really becoming Michael Bay for people who don't move their lips when they read. You could find a worse niche, I guess.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:21 AM on October 18, 2022 [8 favorites]

As someone who has not seen this movie but has read a bunch of fanfic about it anyway, it's interesting to me that the fic interpretation is pretty solidly convinced that the minor characters Arthur and Eames are the actual main characters. I guess Eames calls Arthur "darling" in a throwaway line in the movie? Thus are a thousand ships launched.

Like, nowhere in the summaries in the post does it mention either Tom Hardy or Joseph Gordon-Levitt. They get zero billing.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 10:46 AM on October 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

At this point, Nolan is so enamored with large-scale technical challenges that he's really becoming Michael Bay for people who don't move their lips when they read. You could find a worse niche, I guess.

I think Nolan must have taken to heart Tesla's spiel about man's grasp exceeding his nerve.
posted by Stuka at 11:50 AM on October 18, 2022

I've only seen this once but it changed my life - reading Inception fic lead me to meeting one of my BFFs in a roundabout way!
posted by Gin and Broadband at 1:26 PM on October 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

I just rewatched for the first time since 2010 and really loved it. The pacing, music and editing are all phenomenal and Nolan really loves those perfectly tailored suits.
posted by octothorpe at 6:13 PM on October 19, 2022

Speaking of the wardrobe, the defunct blog Clothes on Film had a few Q&A posts with costume designer Jeffrey Kurland. Here they are via the Wayback Machine, though the images weren't included in any of the captures of the 2020 follow-up post.

Inception: Jeffrey Kurland Costume Q&A (July 31, 2010)
Inception: Jeffrey Kurland – Follow Up Costume Q&A (August 20, 2010)
Inception Revisited with Costume Designer Jeffrey Kurland (July 17, 2020)
posted by Strutter Cane - United Planets Stilt Patrol at 5:21 PM on October 21, 2022

It's nice that I can usually rely on MetaFilter to agree with my unpopular opinions.

Inception: pretty overrated.
Hulk 2003: Actually pretty great.

Anyway, people should enjoy whatever they like, but I agree with whir's sentiment 100%.
posted by Alex404 at 6:05 AM on October 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

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