I N C E P T I O N: A Film Analysis

Satisfactory Essays
Christopher Nolan’s 2010 action thriller Inception provides a discerning outlook into the specificities of human thought processes and dream meaning through exceptional cinematography, labeling it an exemplar of filmmaking. The film follows the ambitious corporate thief Dom Cobb as he attempts to infiltrate a man’s mind and place an idea through the act of inception. Employing “dream sharing”, Cobb controls both the appearance and feel of the subconscious world, but at the alarming cost of being trapped should he fail his mission. Nolan brilliantly combines mise-en-scéne elements of setting and sound design, with inimitable cinematography and editing styles to project the dream world on a film medium, narrating a story that reveals the blurred line between fantasy and reality. By doing so, the film builds upon traditional conventions of moviemaking while developing its own style and motifs that are remarkably distinctive.
The setting of Inception is idiosyncratic for it divides each section of its dream world into distinct sceneries to help the audience differentiate location and tone. Cinematographer Wally Pfister designed the film’s location with diverse color hues and modern decor. Each dream level portrays an exclusive appearance from cool blue mountain peaks to warmly lit hotel floors. This separates the worlds allowing the audience to appreciate each setting in its entirety. Likewise, these settings provide insight into the tone of the narrative structure. The film exhibits expansive, sleek dream environments to contrast with angular, warmly lit locations paralleling a contemporary psychological thriller with science-fiction. The pressure for Cobb to complete his mission progresses from the tonality of each setting in v...

... middle of paper ... substantiates the theme’s noteworthy ambiguity upon the audience.
Inception remains one of the most complex and deeply engaging narratives of this century. By defying traditional filmmaking, Nolan crafts a stunning cinema masterpiece that plays with the human subconscious. Equally, he provides audiences with the question of whether their reality is true, or perhaps the world they know is a dream. Paralleling the film’s ambiguous ending, the line between reality and the dream world is blurred due to the exceptional strategies Nolan and his team utilize. Mise-en-scéne elements of setting, brilliant cinematography, and profound editing techniques institute the film’s prevailing narrative form and motifs. Many film directors manipulate the concept of fantasy versus reality, but instead of providing a mundane exposition, fantasy becomes the new reality in Inception.