Inception: Movie Review

Inception:  Movie Review

Review by Stacey Tuttle

“The most resilient parasite is an idea.”
“The smallest seed of an idea can grow to destroy or define you.”


Once in a while I see a movie whose ending I don’t really like.  I prefer happy endings and I like things clear cut.  However, once in a while there is a movie whose ending is so fitting, so right, that though I might not like it, I have to concede that it was the right choice, enjoy it or not.  Inception had one of those subtly brilliant endings.  I was annoyed at first, but then as I thought on it I realized that they got me – they got us…all the viewers. 

The idea stated in the movie is that we both create and perceive the world around us.  Granted, it’s dealing with dream states.  And while it is easier to think about this and accept the proposition from the perspective of a dream state, the concepts aren’t limited to dreaming.  I’m not talking about some complicated New Age concept of creating your reality, but a very basic concept that our future isn’t written yet, so our actions create our future which is then our reality.  Furthermore, our perceptions color the lenses we look through and that in turn has this amazing self-fulfilling nature about it such that, in a sense, we create what we expect and our expectations are largely based on what we perceive[1].  And so, because we are both perceiving and creating the world around us, the question is asked, what happens if you plant an idea in someone’s head?

 There is awesome truth and power to the idea that the most resilient parasite really is an idea.  This is fantastic if the idea is a noble one, an inspiring one.  This is why the Israelites were told to pass down the stories of great deeds God had done for their forefathers.  The very ideas that God would save, that God would provide, that God loved were powerful enough and resilient enough to sustain the Israelites through extremely difficult times.  This is why we love stories about greatness like Braveheart and Gladiator.  They are based on wonderful ideas that a man can make a difference and that there are things in life which are worth dying for.  We take for granted the awesome power for good that ideas, stories, even simple thoughts can have.  We do so little to truly wield that power.

If it is true that we do little to use that power for good, it is also true that we are blind and ignorant to that same power for evil.  We are so careless with what goes into our minds.  We do not take seriously the command to “take captive every thought” (2 Cor 10:5).  We do not realize how infectious a negative, bitter, or jealous thought can be.  Not only are we careless, but there is an enemy who is fully aware of the power of our thoughts.  He is the master deceiver, the father of lies.  He is ever trying to confuse the truth, to plant seeds of doubt, seeds that can grow to destroy us.  In the movie, the dream creators did all they could to create a dream reality that felt like the truth (the actual reality).  They did not want the dreamer to recognize the deception.  Our enemy is no different.  He does not want us to recognize his deceptions and he does all he can to mask them with truth and familiarity.

If you remember, the young heir was trained to protect his thoughts.  He was very hard to deceive.  He was ready and watchful, even in his dream state.  He was constantly looking out for those who would steal into his mind.  He was vigilant and prepared with a strong defense.  T he dream creators also had a defense against the deception of the dream world.  They each had something private, something that was a reminder to them of the real world.  It was something which they could hide and keep with them at all times which represented truth.  They clung to this memento of reality and protected it jealously.    As Christians we are to be as well prepared, guarding our thoughts and our minds in Christ Jesus and the truth of His Word.  Truth is our defense.  The Bible is what we hide in our hearts that we might not sin against God.  It is what we are to jealously guard and keep close so that we recognize the enemy and can ward off the his endless deceptions.  Not only are we to keep the Word in the forefront of our minds, but we are to be self-controlled and alert, looking for our enemy who, lion-like, is looking for someone to devour(I Pe 5:8).

Inception makes me think of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Othello.  The tragic couple had a great love.  But the villainous Iago simply plants the smallest seeds of doubt, about the love, about each other’s faithfulness.  It’s a simple case of inception.  And, as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “When love is great, the littlest doubts are fear.” 

Sadly, in Inception, Cobb’s wife began to be obsessed with the ideas in hear head, preferring them to the reality of life.  So much so that she choose to lock the truth away.  She chose to feel pleasure rather than seek truth.  And in the end, she killed herself, believing that reality would be better if she died.  We are surrounded by people on this earth who choose to ignore reality.  People who are addicted to surreal worlds that are created by alcohol, drugs, online addictions, alternate realities, etc.  Sadly, many people around us prefer feeling pleasure, no matter how fleeting, to knowing truth and reality.  And in the end, in fares no better for them than it did for Cobb’s wife.

I said the ending, while not my favorite from a pure enjoyment standpoint, was subtly brilliant—that they “got” me and viewers as a whole.  You see, the movie played “inception” with its viewers.  They plant a seed of doubt about Cobb.  They plant a seed of doubt about whether or not he can be trusted to know truth, and as you are seeing things through his perspective, you aren’t sure in the end whether what happened was reality or just a dream.  You are left with a small doubt, a seed, an idea—that most resilient parasite.   Viewers leave the theater knowing just how easy it is for inception to occur.  Let it be a cautionary tale, a reminder that we need to use the power of inception for good and be equally ready and prepared to fight against its misuse fiercely with the Truth—God’s Word.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Did you like the ending of Inception?  Why or why not?
  • How have you seen the power of inception put to good use and/or bad use?  In your own life?
  • Are you aware of times when Satan has tried to attack you with inception of some kind?
  • Do you know God’s truth well enough to protect yourself against inception?
  • What are some scriptural guidelines for what kinds of things you should think about, things which will help protect you from inception?  (Hint: you can start with Philippians 4:8-9!)
  • How can you use the power of inception for good in the lives of people around you? 
  • I think the influence of adults in the lives of youths is one of the easiest places to see the power of inception – both good and bad.  How does the idea of inception play into the roles of teachers, parents, youth workers, etc.?  Do you have any good examples?


[1] A simple example would be the person who perceives that no one likes him.  He goes to a new school, meets lots of new people.  He assumes they won’t like him.  He interprets benign actions of others through his assumptions and perceptions so when teacher doesn’t call on him first, he assumes it’s because teacher doesn’t like him.  Then, to further the problem, his negative attitude and low self-esteem are revealed in his posture, his countenance, etc.  Classmates notice that Johnny is kind of a “downer” and aren’t as likely to want to be Johnny’s friend, confirming Johnny’s original suspicion that no one likes him.  He perceived and created his “world”, his reality.