Questioning reality and „truth‟
- what is reality?
- film suggests that the reality of each person is
different based on their own perceptions
- where does the dream begin and end?
- according to the film, there is no definite truth to
explain the world (rejects „truth‟ which is a key part
of the post modern worldview)
“you don‟t believe in one reality anymore.”- Mal to
“is presented as imaginary in order to make
us believe that the rest is real”.
At the start we are presented with a dream (where Cobb is
trying to steal from Saito) we learn quickly that this is a
dream so we think it is real when everyone wakes up in
the apartment during a riot, yet this too is a dream
In the „Inception‟ they tell Fisher that it is a dream so he
will believe that they are there to help
By the end can we tell real from dream?
“their dream has become their reality”
Cobb‟s wife commits suicide because she doesn‟t know
what is real and what is a dream anymore
For Cobb, the dreams he has of his wife are his reality.
The ambiguity at the end when the audience doesn‟t
see whether the totem keeps spinning or not- fails to
conclude whether Cobb is in a dream or not.
You need a totem to tell you if you are in the real world
or not – Hyper reality of all around us like a trap or
prison (Baudrillard was big on this!)
Does Cobb care any more about reality (the ending)? Do
The first stage is a faithful image/copy
The second stage is perversion of
reality, Here, signs and images do not
faithfully reveal reality to us. Reality has
been slightly heighten or exaggerated.
The third stage masks the absence of a
profound reality, where the simulacrum
pretends to be a faithful copy, but it is
a copy with no original.
The fourth stage is pure simulation, in
which the simulacrum has no
relationship to any reality whatsoever.
1. The first level of the dream takes place on
busy city streets. As the analog of the first
stage of the sign, “it is a representation of
reality.” It‟s a copy but a faithful one.
2. The next level takes place in a hotel. Cobb
admits to Fischer that it is all a dream, but
hides the fact that he is a fellow
dreamer, pretending to be “Mr. Charles,” a
subconscious projection of Fischer‟s. In this
way, Cobb “masks and perverts a basic
reality” the way a second order sign does.
3. This level takes place in a snowbound
mountain fortress)the kind usually occupied
by the main villain in a James Bond movie.
Movie-like, the third level “masks the absence
of a basic reality because it is based on
fiction.” There is no real place like this
4. Dying under the kind of sedation necessary
to reach three dream-levels will send
dreamers into Limbo. Limbo is not a level, but
as an “unconstructed dream space.” Anything
can happen there; it is a “pure
simulacrum”, pure simulation/ hyperreality-
“Baudrillard saw our Post Modern world as lacking
in meaning/substance because we have lost
contact with the „real‟
Jameson (yet another theorist) talked about the post
modern world being „depthless‟
Yet this film is full of meaning and tackles some
very big philosophical ideas, the plot is complex as
are the characters and notions of good and evil
Overall, Inception is very postmodern
because it complies with the theories of both
Strinati and Baudrillard. Also, it has
postmodern media concepts and presents a
distortion of reality.