Inception Aftermath: Theories, Thoughts, Oscar Buzz & More
by Alex Billington
July 21, 2010
To put a final cap on our two-year coverage of Christopher Nolan's Inception, I wanted highlight a few of my favorite articles found around the web discussing different theories, explanations, and so much more related to Nolan's mind-bending action movie. One reason I absolutely love Inception is that it inspires such an immense amount of intellectual discussion, and there are a lot of great articles that I wanted to point out in that realm, for the sake of anyone looking to delve further into that discussion on Inception. Since there's so much out there, I thought I'd highlight the best pieces to read. So without further ado, let's dive right in!
Warning: This post contains major spoilers related to Inception, so please do not continue reading and discussing unless you have already seen the movie, as I don't want to ruin it for anyone who wasn't seen it.
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.
I've been discussing different theories on Inception for the last week since it was first released in theaters. Almost every friend I've talked to that has seen it usually ends up in a heated debate about what they think did or didn't happen in the movie, and I love talking about those ideas. I loved Inception and there really is no end to the discussion about the movie, which is what makes it so brilliant. I hope you found some great ideas to consider from the articles I highlighted above. For those wondering, the theory that I personally like the most is one that the end may have still been a dream or a part of limbo. Who are we to say otherwise?
Finally, this visual guide to the 5 Levels of Inception is mesmerizing to look at and very informative, and deserves the final spot below. Although I'm sure most readers already understand all of the different levels, this is still a great guide that should help clear up any confusion. (Designed by and found on Cinema Blend.)