Inception: What’s It Really About?

We dig into the deeper, hidden meanings that are a part of one of director Christopher Nolan’s greatest films, Inception.

Movies are much like dreams. This, of course, is according to the visionary Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Christopher Nolan. Nolan is responsible for such cinematic treasures as The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Prestige, Interstellar, and among his most beloved, Inception. Inception is the story of a man’s desperate attempt to implant an idea into the subconscious mind of his mark. Over the years, the film has received endless amounts of analysis and theories to speculate on what the movie’s true meaning is and what it all means by the time the credits roll. Now, as is the case with all art, the movie is subjective and the Director himself has gone on record stating that he’s not interested in validating any of the existing theories floating around the internet since the film’s release. 

While the parallels have since been highlighted between Nolan’s filmmaking philosophy and the philosophy of dreams, to say that Inception is nothing but a metaphor for making art- I think there’s some details hidden within the film and its production that suggest something much simpler and perhaps even more meaningful. 

See, Nolan has gone down as saying “I actually don’t want people to have me in mind when they’re watching the films.” and is notably private about his personal life with his wife, Emma Thomas, and their children. Nolan is a family man. But he’s also a filmmaker with a story to tell. Cobb in Inception is a man out of reality who specializes in building dream worlds in order to extract secrets from his mark’s brains. Basically, he’s a heist artist- but his jobs take place within others’ minds.

In the film, Cobb is desperate to complete one last job in order to allow himself to retire and return home to his two young children. Cobb is haunted by the dedication he’s had to his work and how it not only pulled him away from his family- but even caused the untimely death of his own wife, Mal. His obsession with following his dreams and making his passion into a demanding job definitely seems to be similar to Nolan’s life and career as a director of film.

Now, in today’s episode we are going to break down the story and its themes to formulate our own theory on what Inception is REALLY about- but in order for us to truly know- we watched Inception back-to-back with another Nolan favorite, The Prestige. The Prestige is a film about two rival magicians who drive themselves to any length in order to discover each other’s secrets. The film helped us see Inception with fresh eyes and come up with our theory on what Inception is REALLY about. Find out what we have in store in today’s episode of What’s It Really About!