“Listen, there’s something you should know about me… about inception. An idea is like a virus, resilient, highly contagious. The smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.”

What happens when a celebrated movie director tells a fairly simple narrative about a man who misses his wife with a faux-complicated story that not everyone understands? Usually, you get people calling the movie amazing because they don’t want to admit that they didn’t really get it…

Inception (2010)
Written and Directed by Christopher NolanĀ 

See? It’s just embarrassing. But I don’t really think there’s that much to “get” here. It’s a pretty standard thriller-drama. A criminal is tasked with a job – instead of stealing information through dreams, Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is asked to implant a suggestion in the mind of the heir to a corporate fortune. The idea of inception is rife with challenges, especially from the subconscious defenses of the mind being invaded, so Cobb gathers a team of professionals to go several layers into the mind of Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) to make him think it was his own idea to sell off his father’s business.

The movie jumps between the levels of Fischer’s mind as Cobb and his team fight off the defenses and Cobb’s baggage of his dead wife (Marian Cotillard). The switches between the levels of Fischer’s mind apparently is what confuses people, so much so that on Japanese TV broadcasts, there’s text on the screen reminding viewers what level they’re on. That’s pretty crazy, considering some of the anime the Japanese produce. If they can follow that, they should have no problems following this movie.

None of this is to say INCEPTION is a bad movie. It absolutely isn’t. It’s visually stunning, especially in the dreamscapes, and tells a fun story. And lots of things in the movie go boom, so that’s fun, too. Nolan reportedly spent 10 years writing the movie before it went into production, so he obviously put a lot of time and effort into getting things right. It’s worth watching, but I’m not sold on it being this great transcendent film.

But if you really need a refresher on what happened during the movie, here’s Betty White.