Cobb: What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there somewhere.
Cobb is a corporate spy stealing ideas for a living. He steals ideas by inducing his victims/subjects to sleep and dream. Cobb walks into the dream, and manipulates the mind until he finds his subject’s deepest secrets. Cobb has a price on his head because of stealing ideas. On top of that, he is the prime suspect for his wife’s death. Saito offered him one last job and then he could walk away from it all -a free man.
Cobb: How do I know you can deliver?
Saito: You don’t –but I can. So, do you want to take a leap of faith or become an old man, filled with regrets, waiting to die alone?
This job is so unlike stealing. Saito wants Cobb to successfully plant an idea in a person’s mind –subtly –this person would feel that this idea is purely an inception of his own mind –like a discovery.
The subject is Fischer, an heir to an energy-related business empire. Saito wants Fischer to “voluntarily” decide to break down the empire to pave the way for Saito’s company to monopolize energy. To accomplish this, Cobb has to penetrate Fischer’s subconscious mind.
Cobb: I will split up my father’s empire. Now this is obviously an idea that Robert Fischer will choose to reject – which is why we need to plant it deep in his subconscious. Subconscious is fueled by emotion, right? Not reason. We need a find a way to translate this into an emotional concept.
Arthur: How do you translate a business strategy into an emotion?
Cobb: Well, that’s what we’re here to figure out, right? Now Fischer’s relationship with his father is stressed, to say the least…
Eames: Well, can we run with that? Suggest splitting up the empire as a “screw-you” to the old man?
Cobb: No, cause I think positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time. We all crave reconciliation – we’re catharsis. We need Robert Fischer to have a positive emotional reaction to all this.
Eames: Alright, well try this. My father accepts that I want to create for myself, not follow in his footsteps.
It turned out, Cobb already tried inception with his wife. He planted the idea in her mind that the paradise they were dreaming together was the reality and that they should kill themselves to stay forever in that “reality.” Eventually, Mal’s mind was convinced that indeed, this real, physical world is just a figment of her imagination and that her dream IS the real world. A single idea implanted in your mind –once it possesses you –could change your whole life in ways unimaginable. This is exactly why Mal, Cobb’s wife, killed herself.
In Mal’s case, the inception resulted to her suicide. You can see how important it was for Cobb that the inception with Fischer is a positive idea that will still result to his dismantling his father’s empire.
This is a brilliant film. It is intelligent, original and well-written. It is rather rare in this age where we are constantly bombarded with crappy movies, which makes us hang our poor minds between our legs feeding our depravity.
The idea that someone could just walk into your dreams and manipulate your subconsciousness is both creepy and thrilling. If you are the subject, it is downright scary. Imagine, someone implanting in your mind the idea that you can walk on water or you should rob a bank or liquidate someone. I wonder if one could plead insanity in such case.
If you’re the kind who is so obsessed with how another person thinks or what’s in his/her mind, this would be your thing. In which case, you’re sick psychologically speaking. If you do have the power to get inside my mind, would you take a stroll? Most importantly, will you like what you see? The truth is, if you can get in another person’s mind, after seeing everything in there, you will lose all respect for that person.
I love the movie. Christopher Nolan delivered again. You might like it, too.