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Transcript of Inception
The opening scene of the movie actually takes place at the end, showing that it has a non-linear timeline. Not only is the timeline not linear, but time can travel at different speeds depending on what dream level they are in. Throughout the entire film the viewer has a hard time figuring out if they are in a dream or in reality. When they go into a dream time passes faster from their perspective because their brains are working more, 1 hour in a dream is equivalent to 5 minutes in reality.
Throughout the movie there is hardly any distinction between what is real and what is not. Cobb has his ring on when he is not dreaming but when he is inside a dream it is never present, this gives us a reliable sense of which scenes are real for the doubtful. This ring represents his projection of Mal, in the dream he treats her as his wife and in the real world there is no ring because his subconcious understands that she is dead.
Consumerism and the greed that accompanies it is a large driving force in Inception. The entire reason for going inside Robert Fischer's mind was to convince him to split up his father's energy empire, allowing Saito to come in and rebuild the pieces into his own empire.
The entire premise of this movie revolves around a futuristic technology that allows the user to enter other people's dreams and change them. They use this machine to simulate reality for the subject in order to extract valuable information from them. According to Lyotard knowledge is the most important thing, and Inception is all about stealing information and putting it to use. All of the dreams stages are hyperreal environments designed to fool the dreamer into believing they are real.
Each dream level is a simulation of the previous one. This leads to the issue of not being able to determine which simulation was the original. This threatens the difference between the “true” and the “false,” the “real” and the “imaginary.” Mol lost her grip on reality and chose to believe that the simulation she was living was in fact reality. The totems that the dreamers use can be compared to a ‘system of signs’ or ‘code’ to show whether they are in a dream or not. At the end he tells mol that she is only a cheap imitation of herself without the depth and character of the original.
Irony and playfulness
The entire set of dream worlds inside Inception are very maximalist. They are consistently excessively detailed and set on a massive scale. The complexity and sheer scale of the limbo world demonstrates this.
There are many references to other works in inception including the Penrose Staircase and the infinite mirror from citizen kane.
There is a recurring theme of faction in this movie, many of the dreams feature real world locations interwoven with fictional events and conversations. Ex: Paris, LA, Mombasa, London, Tokyo.
"what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe." - Matthew Strecher PHD . This is an extremely common theme in Inception, every scene in the dream world is full of magic realism.
Ex: when Adriane folds Paris, the use of penrose staircases, sudden shifts in gravity, etc.
The set of dream rules laid down in Inception can serve as a guideline for how to write stories.
1. You have to make the audience forget they are dreaming. By immersing the audience (or dreamer) completely in the illusion they forget that they are in fact watching a movie. The more aware they are of the falseness of it the better. The goal is for them to forget it isn't real.
2. You must guide the audience with an unseen hand. If the audience is going to get what they want from a story, then the storyteller must control them. Just like in the dream worlds where there must be an architect, when telling a story you must craft entire worlds that are believable. The audience doesn't want to feel herded towards a conclusion, they want to think they got there all on their own (Just like Inception)
3. You must sometimes relinquish control and let the reader fill in the gaps with their subconscious. Not everything must be described because of the ability of the human mind to imagine and create.
4. The audience will rebel if they can feel too much outside influence impacting the narrative. Just like in dreams where the subconscious will fight back when it knows it's being lied to, the audience of a book or movie will rebel if they start to see evidence of Deus Ex machinas or similar things.
Paranoia plays a central role in this movie; it is Mols paranoia about not actually being in reality that causes her to kill herself. She spent so long in Limbo and convinced herself of it's realness to such a degree that once they left Limbo it didn't feel real.
Cobb performed inception on his wife to leave the dream world, but left her to think that she is still dreaming, resulting in her suicide. Cobb wants to plant an idea in someone's mind to get his kids back, after planting an idea in someone's mind made him lose his kids. There is payfulness in between two of the people on Cobb's team throughout the movie. In the second dream level JGL's character asks Adriane to kiss him just for shits.
There is a lot of pastiche throughout the film.
Near the beginning we see the cliche of the "gang
getting back together for one last job". Then closer to the end we have the battle scene with all the bad guys with terrible aim. Inception is a movie made up of small callbacks like these. The main character isn't what he used to be like because of a tragic event that happened in his past.
Christopher Nolan imitated the style of Martin Scorsese while filming Cobb washing his face after taking sedatives. It is shot exactly like the opening scene of Shutter Island which also features Leonardo Dicaprio.
Arguably the biggest double meaning in the entire film, the final scene when Cobb spins his top and it wobbles but we don't see if it falls or not. This means that it could have gone either way. Cobb could be stuck in this false world of dreaming or he could be in reality actually enjoying the rest of his life. Either way Cobb is a happy camper.
Cob in realizes that his simulation of mol is not as perfect as she really was. He comes to understand the difference between his projection (simulation) of his wife and who she really was and that his projection is only a "shade" of her real self. Thus he prevents the simulacra from becoming his reality of who his wife is and can maintain his image of her real self.
3 Orders of Simulacra
The first level is such a good copy that it can be mistaken easily for the original. In the first dream stage Fischer is convinced that it is real and he is actually being kidnapped.
The second is a perversion of reality, an unfaithful copy that perverts reality. In this dream stage they tell Fisher he is dreaming.
The third and final level completely abandons reality and acknowledges the fact that it is not real. In Inception this is demonstrated by Limbo. The simulacra becomes the reality.
Only play for half.
Cut a bit off the ends.
Music in Inception
The soundtrack that is used in the movie reinforces the idea of 'inception' by implementing the song 'Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien' (Edith Piaf) into the views mind. This song is used in the film as a signal that the 'kick' is coming. A 'kick' is something that will wake up the characters from the dream that they are experiencing, for example the sense of falling. As the characters move down the dream levels time is effected. Through each level time is multiplied by 12, resulting in the song that is played through level to level being slowed down. Therefore the song 'Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien' that the characters hear at the first level is slowed to the point that the dramatic sounds effects you hear when Cobb and Ariadne weak in limbo are actually ''Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien' at a super slow speed.
Ariadne creates this from her memories. Cobb tells Ariadne not to use ideas from real life in a dream but only concepts. As a dreamer you can lose concept of the difference between reality and the simulation because as that architect you can design the world anyway you like. Thus attempting the simulacra from becoming your reality (evading the third order of simulacra).