Why would a Leonardo DiCaprio movie be included in our reviews of inspiring movies? Well, for one Inception is rated by almost 300,000 people on IMDB at a rare 8.8/10, which puts it right next to the best movies ever. So something must be inspiring about the film. But, there is more.
Variety called the movie a “metaphysical puzzle” and the Washington Post commented: “Inception is that rare film that can be enjoyed on superficial and progressively deeper levels” and that is exactly why I included it here. I have seen the movie twice now, once on the big screen and this weekend again on video and it gets better every time because, indeed, you discover one new layer after another.
What I found really fascinating though, were the many similarities between the movie and Dreamwalking, a spiritual service where people who are transitioning (“dying”) are guided through the non physical realms to their spiritual home.
For example, in the movie you experience different dimensions, or realities, while you are in a kind of dream state. This is the same with Dreamwalking. In the film Leonardo is using a “totem”, to ensure himself that he is back in reality. Dreamwalkers are also using a “reconnection object” to prevent them from getting lost in the other dimensions.
Some background info
The script was developed by Chris Nolan, who also directed the movie. Chris, since the age of sixteen, was intrigued by the idea of trying to consciously perpetuate his dream state after waking up. He also thought of how it would look like if people were able to enter each other’s dreams, creating an infinite number of potential universes.
He worked on the script for about 10 years, inspired by action movies such as the Matrix in which the nature of reality is questioned.
Nolan proposed the movie for the first time to Warner bros. in 2001, but realized that he needed more experience to make the film the way he wanted it, so he first directed Batman Begins and The Dark Night. Can you imagine directing these blockbusters just to get more experience for another movie?
It is said that Nolan kept the computer animations to a minimum as he preferred using practical methods whenever possible. If you see the movie you wouldn’t believe that for one second. Some of the special effects are amazing, like when you see a complete neighborhood in Paris being “rolled up”.
Story about (dream) realities
In the film Leonardo plays Cobb, who is specialized in industrial espionage by entering people’s subconscious minds and stealing their secrets. To do this he needs to bring the other person into a dream state, which he then can enter with the help of a “dream connector”, a technical device that is carried in a suitcase.
As potential targets have become aware of this technique, they are trained to protect themselves at the subconscious level. However, Cobb is a master of creating dreams within dreams and tricks them by using multiple levels of “realities”.
One day he gets an assignment from a wealthy Japanese business man but instead of stealing information he is asked to plant an idea in the subconscious mind of a competitor, an inception.
This has never been done before and Cobb’s associates advise him to refuse the job. However, Cobb knows something they don’t and accepts the assignment. This is where the movie really starts and you are taken on a wonderful journey into the subconscious mind and the world of “dream realities”.
While Cobb is preparing for his new assignment it becomes clear that something from his past is haunting him whenever he is working in a dream state, i.e. his wife, who killed herself, shows up and tries to sabotage him.
As the movie progresses it becomes clear what exactly happened between Cobb and his wife, why she committed suicide, why he had to flee the country and leave his children behind, why he knows inception works and why it is so important for him to always use his totem or reconnection object.
The movie offers you two and half hours of visual pleasure, great action and a traditional Hollywood ending, with a twist for those who pay attention to detail.