Inception: Your mind is the scene of the crime
In a world where technology exists to enter the human mind through dream invasion, a highly skilled thief is given a final chance at redemption which involves executing his toughest job till date.
Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible-inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming.
Inception is a 2010 American science fiction action film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, andCillian Murphy. The film is inspired by the experience of lucid dreaming. The film, a variant on the heist genre, centers on Dom Cobb, an “extractor”, who enters the dreams of others to obtain information that is otherwise inaccessible. His abilities and questions about the death of his wife have cost him his family and his nationality, but he is promised a chance to regain his old life in exchange for planting an idea in a corporate target’s mind. This process of planting an idea, known as “inception”, is less familiar and far more difficult than Cobb’s usual job of “extraction”.
Inception was first developed by Christopher Nolan, based on the notion of “exploring the idea of people sharing a dream space — entering a dream space and sharing a dream. That gives you the ability to access somebody’s unconscious mind. What would that be used and abused for?” Furthermore, he thought “being able to extract information from somebody’s brain would be the obvious use of that because obviously any other system where it’s computers or physical media, whatever — things that exist outside the mind — they can all be stolen … up until this point, or up until this movie I should say, the idea that you could actually steal something from somebody’s head was impossible. So that, to me, seemed a fascinating abuse or misuse of that kind of technology.” Nolan admits that Inception shares some basic ideas with short stories by Jorge Luis Borges such as The Circular Ruins and The Secret Miracle.
Nolan had thought about these ideas on and off since he was sixteen years old, intrigued by how he would wake up and then, while falling back into a lighter sleep, hold on to the awareness that he was dreaming, a lucid dream. He also became aware of the feeling that he could study the place and alter the events of the dream. He said, “I tried to work that idea of manipulation and management of a conscious dream being a skill that these people have. Really the script is based on those common, very basic experiences and concepts, and where can those take you? And the only outlandish idea that the film presents, really, is the existence of a technology that allows you to enter and share the same dream as someone else.” Harvard University dream researcher Deirdre Barrett points out that Nolan did not get every detail accurate regarding dreams, but that films which really do that “… tend to have illogical, rambling, disjointed plots which wouldn’t make for a great thriller. But he did get many aspects right,” she said, citing the scene in which a sleeping DiCaprio is shoved into a full bath and water starts gushing into the windows of the building he is dreaming, waking him up. “That’s very much how real stimuli get incorporated, and you very often wake up right after that intrusion.”
Hans Zimmer scored the film, marking his third collaboration with Nolan following Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. According to Zimmer, it’s a “a very electronic score”. Nolan asked Zimmer to compose and finish the score as he was shooting the film. The composer said, “He wanted to unleash my imagination in the best possible way”. At one point, while composing the score, Zimmer incorporated a guitar sound reminiscent of Ennio Morricone and was interested in having Johnny Marr, former guitarist in the influential 80s rock band, The Smiths, play these parts. He asked Nolan, who agreed and then Zimmer approached Marr who accepted his offer. Marr spent four 12-hour days working on the score, playing notes written by Zimmer with a 12-string guitar. For inspiration, Zimmer read Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter because it combined “the idea of playfulness in mathematics and playfulness in music”. Zimmer did not assemble a temp score but “every now and then they would call and say ‘we need a little something here.’ But that was OK because much of the music pieces aren’t that scene specific. They fall into little categories”.
While writing the screenplay, Nolan wrote in Édith Piaf’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” but almost took it out when he cast Marion Cotillard, who starred as Piaf in 2007 film La Vie en rose. Zimmer convinced Nolan to keep it in the film and also integrated elements of the song into his score.
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