Friday, January 14, 2011

Inception the movie

I just watched the movie Inception and I was very impressed and delighted with it, it give me a great deal to think about, even if I wasted it being able to only think about one thing.  It was a modern Shakespeare, with the director having the guts to actually hand the audience a part in the movie. 
I don't have any intention of reviewing it or talking about the story, but I did want to share my take on the ending and the clues the plot gives you, and then share what one thing is incessantly running in my mind since watching it.

Warning, Spoilers Below
The end of the movie is a moving, happy experience, when the main character Cobb gets to go home to his sweet children who have been left bereft of their mother since her suicide; only the totem keeps spinning, which means although he is blissfully happy he is really still in a dream.  This is the brilliant part: you have been watching a dream sequence the whole time. In fact, you as the audience are Cobb. Here are the clues:
  1. The dreams are shared by people in the movie.  Cobb can enter into Fichers dreams and direct his mind, which is symbolic for us as the audience entering the directors dream world and story.
  2. Cobb told Ficher while they were at the hotel bar: if you are somewhere without explanation as to how you got there, you are in a dream.  This was for our benefit: when the movie opens we meet Cobb's waking reality only though a series of scene jumps: a helicopter, a train, a plane, a hotel room, a bar, a street, but never do we see him actually experiencing a reel of time. This is our totem, our measuring stick, with it we realize that the movie is about a series of places, in other words, that we are in a non-reality.
  3. In the subconscious world with Mal, she points out that he is being run down by faceless global multinational goons who have power over the U.S. government. Does that sound like reality?  In reality a terrorists father calls to warn about his son and they ignore him, letting him buy a ticket anyway. A movie can get away with these plot liberties because it's fake.
  4. Cobb begins to explain the dream world: it has to be complex enough to be engrossing, but it can never be about an actual place, and it must obey the laws of physics.  This is all really a metaphor for the audience. If your characters are inconsistent or shallow, or your plot line full of holes (Dawn Treader, I'm looking at you) the audience will wake up and remember they are watching a movie.  If you break the laws of science or reason without a good explanation the audience is going to wake (Who didn't think it stupid in Independence Day when a Mac computer virus brought the aliens down.) Lastly, if you show a real place the audience is going to wake up. If you showed me my house on the big screen you have just reminded me of my actual life.  Our mind fills in the gaps of an engrossing story naturally, so a director has to be only good enough to keep us in a trance while our mind does the rest.
The great joke then is that just as Cobb lays down the rules to Ariadne and precedes to break them, so the director breaks all the rules with his audience. No gravity?  Floors bending at 90 degrees? Trains through the middle of a street?  Buildings built on water, the list goes on, we accept them all, which is his way of smiling at us or joking with us.  Our subconscious never turn hostile to try to destroy the director because he has provided a framework for make it acceptable.
The ending has to be this way, the top must spin, because you as the audience are watching it.  Of course it's not real, you are sitting there in reality watching a fiction, this is not reality, it's your dream after all.  As long as he is on the screen it's not real.  But in the end of the movie he gets his kids, his family is reconciled, the U.S. is on his side, his dangerous career is behind him, the dream ends well.  And you walked away having had a pleasurable time out from your normal day.

The thing running through my head for a long time after watching this movie was this: reality is defined not by a continuous thread of time elapsing (we sleep, and as children we may fall asleep one place and wake up elsewhere) but by the nature and existence of God's handiwork.  Reality is what God has made, for He stands above and beyond the natural universe, as an unshakable, immovable, invincible rock, and everyone who builds their foundation on Him will not be swept away or shaken.  Failure to accept Him as the source of reality is disastrous, or as the Scriptures say, a Rock of offense, the cornerstone, whomever He falls on will be crushed and broken.  He is reality, He is real, for He is the creator, all truth and experience flow from His decrees, we are alive because of Him, see because of Him, we think because of Him, we enjoy things because of Him. To accept Christ is therefore to accept reality itself.  Giving your life to Jesus isn't just a good idea, it's imperative- it must be done. It's the rational duty of all men.

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