A Brief Reflection on Inception

I just watched Inception for the second time, so here are a couple of brief thoughts:

[Yes, I know this is about six months too late and no one cares anymore.  I’m going to assume that you understand the story, which probably isn’t the safest assumption, but I’m definitely not going to summarize it here…  Hence, there might be some spoilers below, in case you haven’t seen it.]

I’m not even going to talk about the end.  I think that’s largely the filmmakers having fun with us, and there really is nothing definitive I can say, so I’ll just move on.

My interpretation of the lesson Cobb learns is that reality is always better than imagination, or even memory.  It would be an injustice to his wife to continue remembering her, because his memory can never hope to be the equivalent of her real self.  He learns to let go and move on.

Fisher’s story is difficult to interpret.  On the one hand, the team essentially lies to him, which seems wrong.  However, we don’t technically know that it’s a lie; Fisher’s father might have actually loved him and been proud of him creating something for himself.  But, for all the team knows, it is a lie.  So that still seems wrong.  On the other hand, it seems better for everyone if Fisher believes that his father loved him.  He won’t be held back by trying to fill his father’s shoes, and the world will be saved from an energy monopoly.  So, in this case, it seems the reality might be worse than the imagination.

The lesson Cobb seems to learn (that the reality [of his wife] is always better than his imagination or even memory of her) appears to be contradictory to [my interpretation of] the moral of Fisher’s story (that believing the probably false idea that his father loved him is better on the whole than living with the memory of his father hating him).

I don’t know what to do with that.

Overall, I think Inception is largely an enjoyable movie, with some good things to think about.  It’s a very good movie, but it’s not the best movie ever made.  It’s well done, and watching it is fun.  I liken it to a cross between The Matrix and Ocean’s Eleven, with a dash of Memento thrown in.  All good films.

So, those are my two cents about Inception.  What are yours?

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