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The Cerebral Ecstasy of Inception

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When watching a film, you hope the makers respect you. You hope that the director, producers, actors and all other members of the crew have enough decency to tug you along for a ride and, when finished, it has all made some kind of sense.

Ultimately, if the writers behind the film manage to lose you in the world of the film, you may be satisfied or, in fact, pleased when the film comes to its ending. However, if it failed to connect all the details, if it didn't explain enough, or if there are major inconsistencies within the film especially the world it created, then you probably will not like the film. You probably will go home unhappy that you spent about two hours in a movie theatre.

For Christopher Nolan's film, Inception, this is also the case.But, unlike many films, he succeeds.

Nolan builds up a set of "scientific laws," which if the viewer can comprehend he or she will see play out consistently throughout the film. He creates a profession known as extraction that does not exist yet, which involves being paid to raid people's minds and extract information usually on behalf of very powerful people in the world who are tied to huge corporations.

Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the main extractor in the film. He has a right-hand man, Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who helps him coordinate extractions. Cobb assembles crews for each extraction and the way an extraction works involves finding time when the subject with the idea can be put into a "dream state" with a device that hooks up the crew conducting the extraction to the subject who has the idea that needs to be extracted.

The idea is extracted from the subconscious and Nolan begins the film in the subconscious of the mind of Saito (Ken Watanabe). Quickly, viewers are plunged and asked to acclimate to the way that Cobb and his crew will conduct operations throughout the film. Nolan shows in the first scenes that in each state of subconscious you can go one level deeper and go into a deeper state of subconscious. And, in the film, characters put the subject that is in a "dream state" with them under a "dream state" in their subsconscious mind to get closer to the information that is needed for extraction.

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Cobb says in the film, "What's the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it. "

This idea of extraction could make for a compelling film on its own. Perhaps, in the hands of a less complex and thorough writer, it would have been enough of an idea to explore the boundaries between dream and reality and to create characters that seemingly get lost and confused by what is dream and what is reality. But, Nolan takes this high concept even deeper and inverts it making it a story of inception--the planting of an idea in someone's mind by entering their subconscious.

In the film, we learn that inceptions are illegal and dangerous. The subject whom the crew is trying to do an inception on can easily reject the idea if the subject is not made to think it is his or her own.

The target for the inception in the film is Robert Fischer Jr., whose father owns a corporate empire that Saito, a competitor, wants to see broken up so he hires Cobb to develop a plot to get into Fischer Jr.'s mind to plant the idea that his father's empire needs to be broken up so it will be less powerful.

In comparison to other films, there is no film quite like it. The concept may remind people a bit of Steven Spielberg's Minority Report, which involve "precogs" being able to detect when a person is going to commit a murder so they can arrest that person and charge him or her with "pre-crime" and prevent the crime from happening. But, the concept pales in comparison to Inception.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for

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