cinema review: Inception (2010)

The major theme of this movie might seem to be the power of an idea, which is compared to a virulent virus which overtakes minds and can overtake societies. We can receive ideas, or conceive them ourselves, but to deceive someone to think they conceived the idea is the act of inception. In this sci-fi world, people have learned how to invade other's dreams to steal secrets, which leads to the real theme of the movie, haunted minds. Regret, unforgiveness, guilt are all emotions that can cripple and destroy us and those around us. Inception is about a dream burglar, the best in the world, whose ghosts put his team and his mission in danger.

If you don't like spoilers, don't read any further, but go enjoy the movie then come back here.
Inception (film)Image via Wikipedia

Dom Cobb is the best dream burglar in the world because he has gone where no others have. Time slows in dream world, and minutes in our world can be hours in a dream and weeks in a dream within a dream. Only Cobb and his deceased wife have gone deeper than that. They lived together for 50 years in a dream world, but only a day in reality. But she didn't like this world anymore. She was no longer in charge of it. And, because of his suggestion while they were in dreamworld, she doubted which world was real. One way to escape from a dream is to die. She sought to escape the real world and killed herself, inviting her husband to join in, but also implicating him as her murderer should he not join her. He didn't join her, but had to flee the country and his children, to escape the charges.

He continued to work in the field of corporate espionage, but was handicapped by the ghost of his wife, who would try to sabotage his jobs. It wasn't really her, just a projection of his sub-conscious. When this problem is revealed by a new dream burglar, recruited for the biggest job ever attempted, the inception, she tells Cobb that the only solution is to let go of her, to forgive himself, to let the guilt go.

All this is true, but it's even better when we let Jesus forgive us. I discussed this theme with my adolescent kids after the movie. I told them to not hold onto bitterness and unforgiveness and to not plan revenge or hold onto hatred. I exhorted them to trust Jesus when he tells us in his famous sermon on the mount, to daily ask God to forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sinned against us. At one level, I agree we need to forgive ourselves, but to ask God to forgive us, to acknowledge that our actions offend Him as well, cleanses us at a deeper level.

In my view, writer/director Christopher Nolan gave us a beautifully packaged lesson on forgiveness. He started working on this movie in 2001. If it was only a movie about dream burglars and ideas, the movie would have been vapid. But making it about forgiveness brings it deeper and is worth watching.


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