Inception: Was it all a dream?

And, check out Kyle Johnson’s article at Psychology Today: “Inception and Philosophy: It Was All Just a Dream.” What does it mean to think of the entire movie as a dream? Could Inception in fact be both a bad movie, but a really, really good dream? (Or vice versa?)

And whose dream was it? As Kyle points out, there are more than a handful of unaccounted for weird details within the movie (what’s with Cobb’s children at the end? what about the wedding ring?) The fun part about such wonderings, of course, is the kaleidoscopic nature of Inception itself: look at it one way, and see something; look at it another way, and see something else —

“In fact, Christopher Nolan seems to have left multiple clues that suggest Cobb is dreaming—dreaming the entire movie, even when he is supposed to be in the real world. The chase scene in Mombasa, for example, has many dream-like qualities. Not only do the overhead shots establish that Mombasa is a maze—just like one of Ariadne’s designed dreams—but agents (projections?) inexplicably pop up around every corner and the walls of buildings literally close in around Cobb—just like they do in a dream.”

No one clue is likely to ‘solve’ the movie for you, but that doesn’t mean we don’t all have our favorites —

“Still not convinced? (This one is my favorite.) The song the dreamers use to herald the end of a dream is Edith Piaf’s original recording of “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” (No, I Regret Nothing.) When the song is done, the dream is over. That recording is 2 minutes and 28 seconds. Inception is, exactly, 2 hours and 28 minutes. (It’s timed down to the second; watch the count on your DVD player!) Could it be, just like with shared dreaming, when the movie is done, the dream is over?”

Which interpretation of Inception makes the most sense to you?


Also, check out this great chart of the different dream levels in Inception. Great for reducing viewer confusion.


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