Funny enough, it’s been 11 years since The Matrix was released, first asking the masses “what is reality?” The answer, at least according to the Wachowskis Bros, is that reality is a ruined world conquered by robots.
Enter: Inception, the new film from Christopher Nolan.
Like many, I’ve been a fan of his work since Memento, and was eager to see his latest return to the mind-bending genre. Rather than offer a general review, I’ll leave that to the other bloggers and The New York Times. Instead, I’ll share relevant thoughts about the film’s major theme.
“At the heart of the movie is the notion that an idea is indeed the most resilient and powerful parasite. A trace of it will always be there in your mind…somewhere. ” – Christopher Nolan
Dom Cobb, the film’s protagonist, is the best “extractor” there is – he has the ability to steal ideas from other people’s subconscious. But aside from corporate espionage, we also learn he spent much time with his wife in their own deep subconscious realms – co-creating an artificial reality.
The power of creation is a gift. We do it every day, whether we’re aware of it or not.
Dom and his wife spin their own fantasy world, filled with their own imagination and memories. Unfortunately, the nature of fantasy is that it isn’t real. Dom realizes this, and attempts to wake up from the dream. His wife chooses to remain lost, forcing him to take more drastic measures.
Don’t worry, I won’t offer any spoilers. But I do believe this potent love story is the heart of Inception.
Whereas The Matrix asked “what is reality?” this film asks “what is meaningful?” In their dream world, Dom and his wife were able to create anything they desired – but ultimately, it’s a false reality. And it’s impossible to create meaning in a meaningless world.
You might assert that the “real” world is just as meaningless; therefore the false reality is just as valid. In response, I can only offer: if you can’t find magic in the real world, you’re not looking hard enough.