Inception: A random collection of afterthoughts about the movie

Slowpoke accusations be excused, I finally got to watch Inception on the big screen last night.

It was so utterly brilliant and mind-bending. Half of my mind is currently inaccessible, pondering and de-constructing the whole movie in my background of my subconscious; a huge problem at work. But then again, this always happens to me whenever I finish a story so brilliant and cathartic at the same time. It’s exactly the same state-of-mind I was stuck in when I first finished Evangelion*1 (up to EoE).

Inception is one of those rare productions that not only is brilliantly layered and steeped with imagery, it also manages to touch out to something innately in my soul.

An example is the time-dilation effect in the movie is something that I experience daily, as a master of catnapping. I always wake up feeling as if I’ve just experienced a period of time a few times much longer than the real duration of my naps, and I daresay many will find that similar. Inception using that as a central plot device really resonated with me.

The overriding consensus about Inception is that it is a movie about filmmaking, and it’s something I highly agree on. But one of the best views about it that I subscribe to now after watching states the whole movie is basically a dream and there isn’t a ‘solid’ reality grounding it, which is basically as meta as fuck as you can get.

This brings me to a book I believe that really should be read in accompaniment to watching Inception; The Stories of Ibis. The idea of layered “realities”*2 that is shared between both works offers a really interesting complementary view between each other, yet it is amazingly contrasting in origins. More importantly, while “inception” is the device driving the plot in the eponymous movie, Stories of Ibis ends with the inception of an idea; both works masterfully using the concept as a cathartic device.

Ah, but enough of the literary-wannabe comparisons. That is the problem I have with my own string-of-consciousness writing. The really appealing part of Inception is just how it captures my imaginations so easily, leaving me changed yet still feeling essentially same apart from the feeling I’ve had a new dimension opened up to me. A new angle and view that feels it has been a part of myself for a long time, but only just noticed it was there.

Inception is utterly brilliant, smart and left a parasite of an idea and worldview in my mind; staying rooted in my mind and making it’s indelible excellence in it. It is an example of works that transcend boundaries; of media, enviroments and even plot holes. The fact that the ending is kept ambiguous*3 is icing on the cake.


1One of the interesting similarities I noticed with Inception and Evangelion is the concept of a whitespace – a Limbo – that is the depths of our subconscious and can be molded and shaped by the characters themselves. It’s also interesting to note that whenever characters in Inception dive down to Limbo, they end up on a shoreline, which instantly recalls to me the memories of EoE’s enigmatic ending. Not actually a surprising similarity but Christopher Nolan uses it in a more utilitarian manner than Anno did, although Anno’s creations arguably had a more grounded reality compared to Inception, relatively speaking.

2Forgive the liberal usage of “reality” here, but in a sense, the ideas are relatively similar between both works. The dreams in Inception are the mind’s subconscious constructs, while in Ibis the Layers are also similar excepting that it is created by the AI’s own self-conscious programmings based on their learning experiences. I really should finish that Ibis article languishing in my Drafts folder for a month or two, by now.

3I believe that the top eventually stopped spinning. I must add that the totem idea was severely underutilized in Inception.


  1. NovaJinx Said,

    August 13, 2010 @ 3:00 pm

    Still haven’t watched it, hurr. Likely never will either, getting movies is bothersome.

  2. Rei Said,

    August 13, 2010 @ 3:33 pm

    Wow Kurogane, you’ve managed to put how I felt after the movie into words. I was just lost for words and more absorbing what I watched and letting it wash over me. It was similar to what I felt after Iron Man 2, but more. On almost a whole different scale.
    The linked article was very, very impressive. A fantastic review and read.
    I must say though, Fischer sometimes put me off because he’s Scarecrow in Batman XD
    Brilliant movie. I remember seeing promo pictures of Arthur and wanted to watch the movie – isn’t he awesome xD;;. So glad it turned out to be a memorable movie that I’ll never forget.

  3. J3N0V4 Said,

    August 13, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

    mailto: sage

    not Animu related, thread reported and sage’d

    sorry couldn’t resist

  4. Chaos2Frozen Said,

    August 13, 2010 @ 4:13 pm

    Call me shallow, but I love the fact that somehow they are able to bring guns into a movie about dreaming and make total sense to me =D

  5. sage Said,

    August 13, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

    sage for non-anime related material


  6. Nestor Said,

    August 13, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

    What I like about this movie is how they actually bothered to give a reason on why a recursive dream within a dream, saving me from the potential “OMG is this real or not” mindf*ck. Well, at least until the ending :D

    Btw, if my interpretation is correct, then it doesn’t matter whether the top stops or not. Why? Because the purpose of the totem is to confirm whether we’re on a dream with SOMEONE ELSE as the host, with the reason that only WE know it’s unique characteristics. If he is really in Limbo, then his subconsciousness will make the top stop.

    PS: Don’t worry for being slow. I’ve only watched it last monday :D

  7. Kherubim Said,

    August 13, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

    I liked the hotel scene (2nd layer), while Arthur is setting up the “kick” just as the van in the first layer is in freefall. Surprising that the gravity in the 3rd layer wasn’t messed up…

    Who else thought of Zhuang Zi and his butterfly dream after watching this?

  8. AznCoffee Said,

    August 14, 2010 @ 12:16 am

    Actually, it’s an opening ending to whether or not the top kept spinning, or stopped.

    Also, did anyone else notice that you never see the Forger after they wake up? (After they plant the seed of course)

  9. Kaisos Said,

    August 14, 2010 @ 2:50 am

    Frankly, I thought this movie was awful; not because I didn’t understand it, but because I DID.
    For something billed as a “cerebral thriller”, it was extremely simple and straightforward, and for a movie about dreams, it wasn’t very imaginative.
    Felt more like a waste of ten bucks than anything brilliant, in my book.

  10. Shin Said,

    August 14, 2010 @ 3:19 am

    If you have learned how to lucid dream like me, Inception doesn’t seem that amazing.

  11. Yue Said,

    August 14, 2010 @ 7:50 am

    don’t know about you guys but did this thing about meta stuff remind you of umineko ?

  12. vucubcaquix Said,

    August 14, 2010 @ 11:01 am

    In case you’re interested, here’s a little clip concerning the music that plays with the idea of time dilation that you mentioned:

  13. Ker-bleh! Said,

    August 16, 2010 @ 10:48 am

    If you liked Inception you should seriously consider checking out some of Roger Zelazny’s books. Especially The Dream Master/He Who Shapes, which Inception likely took a lot of inspiration from. Wikipedia can explain the concept of it better than I can:

    Also try checking out Zelazny’s The Chronicles of Amber. The main character (and his siblings) can essentially walk to other worlds, and one of the minor themes or whatever is do these people create these worlds (called shadows in the books) by walking to them or are these worlds already there.

  14. cory nguyen Said,

    September 11, 2010 @ 5:51 am

    “Inception” was a great movie. I absolutely loved it. It has a very defined premise. It slightly resonates for me with some concepts from Eastern philosophies about self realization and, to some degree, about reincarnation. Directing and cinematography were wonderful, script was great, cast did a great job. Loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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