Inception (2010) Poster



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The slow, gloomy, blaring trombones in the main theme of the film score are actually based on an extremely slowed down version of the fast, high pitched trumpets in the beginning of the Édith Piaf song "Non, je ne regrette rien," which is used as a plot device in the film. Furthermore, when music is heard by someone who is currently within a dream, the music is perceived as slowed down. Thus, the main theme of the film score is almost exactly what the beginning of "Non, je ne regrette rien" would sound like to a dreamer. This thematic device is brought to its logical conclusion when the song plays at the end of the credits, signaling that the audience is about to 'wake up' from the film.
If you take the first letters of the main characters' names - Dom, Robert, Eames, Arthur, Mal and Saito - they spell "Dreams". If you add Peter, Ariadne and Yusuf, the whole makes "Dreams Pay", which is what they do for a mind thief.
In an interview with 'Entertainment Weekly', Christopher Nolan explained that he based roles of the Inception team similar to roles that are used in filmmaking - Cobb is the director, Arthur is the producer, Ariadne is the production designer, Eames is the actor, Saito is the studio, and Fischer is the audience. "In trying to write a team-based creative process, I wrote the one I know," said Nolan.
In an effort to combat confusion, television broadcasts in Japan include text in the upper-left corner of the screen to remind viewers which level of the dream a specific scene takes place in.
In spite of the films extensive surreal effects sequences, the majority special effects throughout the film, such as the Penrose stairs, rotating hallway, mountain avalanche, and zero gravity sequences, were created through practical methods, not through the use of computer generated imagery. The film only has around 500 visual effect shots, as opposed to most other visual effects epics which can have upwards of 2000 VFX shots.
According to Cinematographer Wally Pfister, Warner Brothers executives approached Christopher Nolan about making the film in 3D, but he refused the idea, claiming "it will distract the storytelling experience of Inception".
Joseph Gordon-Levitt performed all but one of his own stunts during the fight scene in the spinning hallway.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt went to his audition after a brief character summary, wearing a full suit "just in case", unknowingly matching his character's wardrobe perfectly.
Leonardo DiCaprio was Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas's only choice for the role of Cobb.
During production, details of the film's plot were kept secret. Christopher Nolan, who wrote the script, cryptically described it as a contemporary sci-fi action thriller "set within the architecture of the mind."
The fifth Christopher Nolan movie (out of the seven) to enter the IMDb Top 250, along with Memento (2000), Batman Begins (2005), The Prestige (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and Interstellar (2014).
"Yusuf" is the Arabic form of "Joseph", the Biblical figure from Genesis 37-50, who had the gift of interpreting dreams. He was sold out by his brothers to slavery. Through his gift of dream interpretation he helped Pharaoh to prepare for the disaster of the "seven lean years" and was rewarded as a result. The same story is also told in the Quran.
Christopher Nolan first pitched the film to Warner Bros. after the completion of his third feature, Insomnia (2002), and was met with approval from the studio. However, it was not yet written at the time, and Nolan determined that rather than writing it as an assignment, it would be more suitable to his working style if he wrote it as a spec script and then presented it to the studio whenever it was completed. So he went off to write it, thinking it would take "a couple of months", but it ultimately took nearly eight years.
The running time of 2 hours 28 min is a reference to the original length of Édith Piaf's song "Non, je ne regrette rien", which lasts (on its first recorded edition) 2 minutes 28 seconds.
Dom Cobb's main objective is to get Home. Dom is the word for 'home' in most Slavic languages (e.g. Russian), derived from the Latin word "Domus". Words like 'Domesticated' and 'Domicile' all share the same "dom" root.
Christopher Nolan has said that the snow-based third-level dream was inspired by his favourite James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).
When explaining why he thinks implanting an idea is not possible, Arthur says "don't think about elephants" to actually make Saito think of them and thus "insert" an idea into his mind. The line is a reference to the title of a famous cognitive semantics book, 'Don't Think of an Elephant' by George Lakoff. The book describes conceptual framing, the use of certain words to literally insert certain ideas about a subject into the listener's mind in a surreptitious way, e.g. implanting the idea that taxes are a bad thing by using the phrase "tax relief."
Just like Christopher Nolan's previous movie The Dark Knight (2008), no second unit team was hired for making the movie. All the shots were filmed by Nolan himself with his usual DP Wally Pfister.
Kate Winslet was approached for the role of Mal, but turned it down, citing that she couldn't see herself as the character.
The name of the character Cobb references Henry N. Cobb, an American architect notable for designing skyscrapers. The world Cobb and Mal made in Limbo consists mostly of skyscrapers.
The role of Saito was written exclusively for Ken Watanabe because Christopher Nolan felt that although he had appeared in Batman Begins (2005), he did not have much screen time, and should therefore be given a more prominent supporting role.
One of the reasons why Christopher Nolan cast Tom Hardy as Eames was because of his performance in the film RocknRolla (2008). Hardy stated that he thought he was cast because of his role in Bronson (2008). He arrived on set only to learn that Nolan has never even seen Bronson.
It took ten years for Christopher Nolan to write screenplay for this movie.
A direct translation of the lyrics for the song "Non, je ne regrette rien" as performed by Édith Piaf is: "I regret nothing/no, I have no regrets/I regret neither the good things that were done to me nor the bad things/They are all the same to me/...The past is payed, swept away, forgotten/I don't care of the past anymore/I set my memories on fire/My agonies, and my pleasures/I don't need them any more/Swept away in the agonies of love/Swept away forever, I'm restarting with nothing..." Christopher Nolan has made a point of saying that he chose the song specifically for the movie, which is heavily concerned with the effect of memories on the psyche, and specifically the disastrous effect that not letting go of memories of love-gone-wrong can have on the subconscious--exactly what the song discusses. Also of note: in the original French, "I regret neither the good things done to me nor the bad things" is "Ni le bien qu'on m'a fait ni le mal," and since Cobb's wife is named Mal, that gives the line a double meaning.
The Édith Piaf song "Non, je ne regrette rien" is used as a plot device. Marion Cotillard played Piaf in _La môme (2007)_. Christopher Nolan has stated that this is "pure coincidence". After Cotillard was cast, Nolan intended to change the song to eliminate speculation on the subject, but composer Hans Zimmer persuaded him to keep it.
Despite prominent billing, Michael Caine only gets three minutes of screentime.
In the city scene on the first level of the dream with Fischer, the state motto on the license plates of the cars reads "The Alternate State".
Marion Cotillard's character is called 'Mal', short for name 'Malorie', a name derived from French word 'malheur', meaning misfortune or unhappiness. The shorter version 'mal' means wrong/bad or evil (when a noun) in French, as well as some other Latin-based languages. Years after starring in this film, Cotillard starred in From the Land of the Moon (2016), whose original title is "Mal de Pierres" (Stone Pain/Stone Ache).
As of 2015, this is the last movie shot on film, not digitally, to win an Academy Award for Best Cinematography; all of the winners since have been shot digitally.
Ariadne, in Greek mythology, was the daughter of King Minos of Crete and his queen, Pasiphaë. She aided Theseus in overcoming the Minotaur by giving him a ball of red fleece thread that she was spinning, so that he could find his way out of the Minotaur's labyrinth. The myth was also the basis for Richard Strauss & Hugo von Hofmannsthal's opera "Ariadne auf Naxos," a play within a play, just as the movie is about a dream within a dream.
A series of numbers keeps appearing: the number that Fischer gives Cobb/Arthur is 528491, The two hotel rooms used are rooms 528 and 491, the number that Eames (as a woman) gives to Fischer is 528-491, the combination to the strongroom starts with 52, and the combination to the safe is 528-491. This is all to reinforce the importance of the number throughout the film.
The running time of the movie INCEPTION in DVD is exactly 8888 seconds.
Leonardo DiCaprio's highest rated movie on IMDb.
The "Penrose stairs" (with a woman perpetually picking up papers) that Arthur shows Ariadne is a reference to a lithograph print by the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher. The print is usually called "Ascending and Descending" or "The Infinite Staircase", and was first printed in March 1960; Escher is well-known for his drawings exploring optical illusions and real architectural, mathematical, and philosophical principles rendered in fantastical ways.
Just as Cillian Murphy's character was named Robert Fischer as a tribute to champion chess player Bobby Fischer, his father's (Pete Postlethwaite) character is named Maurice Fischer as an homage to artist M.C. Escher (full name Maurits Cornelis Escher), whose art was clearly an inspiration for many of the special effects in the film.
Christopher Nolan's first film since his feature debut, Following (1998), that is a completely original work. All of his films between them are either remakes or based on comics, novels or short stories.
While shooting the snowmobile chase there were intermittent wind gusts. In order to preserve continuity during the takes without natural wind the camera helicopter was used to blow snow into frame.
Contrary to popular belief, Hans Zimmer did not compose the music that appears in the third trailer for this film. The track, titled "Mind Heist", was actually composed by Zack Hemsey.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy co-starred together again in The Revenant (2015), but this time playing enemies. DiCaprio convinced Hardy to read the script and do the film with him.
There is a series of numbers that keep appearing, on the front of the train the number is 3502 and the taxi number is 2305.
The exterior of Fischer's snow fortress is based on, and actually contains some elements of, the Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego, designed by famed futurist architect William L. Pereira.
The labyrinthine style of the movie's logo resembles the logo of Christopher Nolan's production company Syncopy.
The Hollywood Reporter reported that Brad Pitt and Will Smith were separately offered to play the role of Cobb, but both actors passed on the role.
The IMAX 65mm format was earlier considered, as used in The Dark Knight (2008), but it was eventually ruled out due to extensive hand-held camera usage throughout the shoot. Due to its weight, it cannot be operated hand-held.
The character of Eames is named after Charles Eames and Ray Eames, a married couple well known in the fields of furniture design, buildings architecture and avant-garde / documentary filmmaking.
When Cobb and Miles are first shown, Cobb mentions "Extradition between France and the United States is a bureaucratic nightmare." In Catch Me If You Can (2002), Leonardo DiCaprio's character is arrested in France and later extradited to the United States.
James Franco was in talks with Christopher Nolan to play Arthur, but was ultimately unavailable due to scheduling conflicts.
Evan Rachel Wood was Christopher Nolan's first choice to play Ariadne, but she turned it down. Before Ellen Page was offered and accepted the role, Nolan considered casting Emily Blunt, Rachel McAdams, Emma Roberts, Jessy Schram, Taylor Swift and Carey Mulligan.
There are a total of five Academy Award nominees in the cast (Tom Berenger, Tom Hardy, Pete Postlethwaite, Ken Watanabe and Ellen Page) and three Academy Award Winners (Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Caine and Marion Cotillard).
Inception is one of the top 50 highest grossing films of all time. [2015]
The only characters that call Dom Cobb by his first name are Mal (Marion Cotillard) and Miles (Michael Caine).
Prints of the movie were shipped to theaters under the name "Hour Glass".
Mal's totem, a spinning top, is (probably) a reference to the Clifford D. Simak's story 'Ring Around the Sun' where the spinning top is used as a way to skip from one parallel Earth to another (by way of helping characters to concentrate).
The theme music for the movie, composed by Hans Zimmer is named Time.
This is the fourth of six Christopher Nolan movies in which Michael Caine acted. The others are: Batman Begins (2005), The Prestige (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Interstellar (2014).
According to Christopher Nolan, when he was writing the story of Inception over the course of several years and was establishing the main character of Cobb, he always envisioned Leonardo DiCaprio in the role. Ironically, DiCaprio would end up playing that very role just as Nolan originally envisioned the character being several years prior when he was writing the story.
Early in the film, during Mal and Cobb's conversation in a room within Saito's estate, Mal comments on a painting in the background. Cobb replies stating that Saito "is partial to postwar British painters". This is referring to the artist, Francis Bacon. The painting, "Study for Head of George Dyer", is of his late lover, whom he painted long after Dyer's death to perpetuate his memory.
The character Cobb is an architect in this movie. The actor Alex Haw, who played another character also named Cobb in Christopher Nolan 's earlier movie Following (1998), is actually an architect in real life.
This is the third film starring Marion Cotillard to feature a song by Édith Piaf. The previous were Chloé (1996) and Love Me If You Dare (2003), both films have "La Vie en Rose" in the soundtrack, while Inception has "Non, je ne regrette rien". Cotillard won the Academy Award for Best Actress portraying Piaf in La Vie en Rose (2007).
The barrel chairs in Saito's dining room were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1937 for Wingspread, the Herbert Johnson house in Wisconsin. Saito sits at the head of the table in a copy of the Willow Chair designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1903. This further plays on the Architect theme that is prevalent throughout the movie.
In 2014, Harper's Bazaar magazine chose Marion Cotillard's Mal as one of the 'Best Film Femme Fatales'.
Working title: Oliver's Arrow, after both Christopher Nolan's second son Oliver and the character "Oliver Queen, Green Arrow" from a comic book published by DC, who also produces Batman, of whom Nolan made 3 movies.
Former The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr played the guitar on some of the film's soundtracks.
Don Johnson was Christopher Nolan's first choice for the role of Peter Browning, but he turned it down.
Marion Cotillard and Ellen Page star in this movie together. They both were nominated for 'Best Actress' category at the BAFTAs and for the Academy Award in 2008. Cotillard for 'La Vie en Rose' and Page for 'Juno'. Cotillard won both awards.
Except Dom and Robert, every other person working in the extraction job including Saito are never called by their second name in the whole film.
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Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy appeared together on the Season 2 of Peaky Blinders (2013) in 2014.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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The word "Cobol" from Cobol Engineering, the company Dom Cobb worked, is actually a high level language for business data processing.
The film contains many castmembers from the Dark Knight trilogy, which was also written, directed and produced by Christopher Nolan - Michael Caine appeared in all three films as Alfred Pennyworth, Ken Watanabe appeared in Batman Begins (2005) as Ra's al Ghul and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy and Marion Cotillard were in The Dark Knight Rises (2012) as John Blake, Bane and Miranda Tate, respectively.
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This is the second film in which Marion Cotillard appears in a scene where she is about to be hit by a train, the first was Love Me If You Dare (2003).
A sample of Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard dialogue in the train scene ("You're waiting for a train...") is featured on the song "Far Away" by nExow at minute 03:28.
Lukas Haas plays The Architect, the member of the team who designs the dreamscape i.e. the world of the dream. In Lathe of Heaven (2002) he plays George Orr - a draftsman (similar to an architect) whose dreams change reality.
One of Japan's famous "Bullet Trains" is seen early in the movie. This is a 700 Series Shinkansen on the Tokaido line from Tokyo to Osaka. Its distinctive "duck bill" nose and tail design helps to reduce the air piston effect as the train enters tunnels at speed.
Sir Michael Caine acts in six of Christopher Nolan movies. The music of each Christopher Nolan movie he acts in is composed by Hans Zimmer, except The Prestige (2006), which had music by David Julyan.
The music for the third trailer is Mind Heist, composed by Zack Hemsey. He later released an EP "Mind Heist" in which each song has a different artwork. The change in the artworks (from a dark area with a rail to a train coming closer to revealing the scene was in a tunnel) is a reference to the scene where Cobb and Mal lay on a rail waiting for a train to come and kill themselves. The names of the songs also referenced this scene.
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Earl Cameron - listed as playing the 'elderly bald man,' was in the iconic The Prisoner (1967), in which he played the supervisor. The Prisoner is legendary for many reasons, but, in relation to this film, in The Prisoner, the unknown controllers used various methods to find the answer to why N°6 resigned - including hallucinatory drugs, as well as entering into, and trying to control - N°6's dreams.
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This is the fourth of six movies in which Marion Cotillard played a femme fatale. The others are A Private Affair (2002), A Very Long Engagement (2004), The Black Box (2005), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Macbeth (2015).
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The cast contains a large number of lead actors who started in movies and TV as children: Leonardo DiCaprio first started appearing on TV, including as a regular in Parenthood (1990) and Growing Pains (1985), as a young teen; Joseph Gordon-Levitt had his first TV roles at age seven; by age ten, Ellen Page had started as a regular on the series Pit Pony (1999); and while still in kindergarten, Lukas Haas made his film debut in Testament (1983).
The father of Robert Fischer is Maurice Fischer; Maurice Micklewhite is the birth name of Michael Caine, who plays Stephan Miles, Cobb's father-in-law.
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The movie is 148 min long. The song, "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien", used in the movie is 148 seconds long.
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Dom is short for Dominick in the film. Actor Michael Caine, who plays his father-in-law, has a son named Dominique in real life.
When the crew arrives at Level One of Robert Fisher's dream, Yusuf is standing on a street corner in the rain. When Yusuf enters the car, Arthur and Eames tease him because the downpour was the result of his need to urinate after drinking too much champagne on the ten-hour flight to Los Angeles ["Couldn't have peed before you went under?"]. Dileep Rao also plays Dr. Max Patel in Avatar (2009) and has a scene with Grace Augustine where she tells him, "You see, they're just pissing on us without even the courtesy of calling it rain."
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The painting that Mal stares at in Saito's dream, greatly resembles work done by artist Francis Bacon. Both director Christopher Nolan and Heath Ledger used Bacon's artwork as a visual reference for the character of The Joker in Nolan's previous film The Dark Knight (2008).
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Between them, the cast of Inception currently as of the 2016 Academy Awards has 4 Oscar wins (2 for Michael Caine and 1 each for Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard) and 13 Oscar nominations (4 for Caine, 3 for DiCaprio, and one each for Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Tom Berenger and Pete Postlethwaite)
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Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have played characters named Jim. Leo as Jim Carrol in The Basketball Diaries (1995) and Joseph as Jim Hawkins in Treasure Planet (2002).
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Miranda Nolan: Christopher Nolan's cousin appears as an air hostess.

Director Trademark 

Christopher Nolan: [Murphy's bag] The third Nolan movie in five years in which Cillian Murphy's character spends a significant portion of his on-screen time with a cloth bag over his head.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Not counting flashbacks, Cobb's wedding ring only appears in scenes where he is dreaming. Many times in the film, the scene cuts away just as Cobb's left hand comes into view.
Ariadne's hair is in a tight bun in the hotel sequence so filmmakers didn't have to figure out how her hair should move in zero-gravity.
When Cobb gave Ariadne the puzzle test, Ariadne's final solution was a diagram of King Minos' Labyrinth. Ariadne is the name of King Minos' daughter in the same mythology.
During an interview Christopher Nolan addressed the ambiguous ending, saying he believes Cobb makes it home to his children, although it is open to interpretation by the viewer. He further claimed that the point of not seeing whether or not the top stops spinning is that Cobb no longer obsesses over his dreams.
When Cobb asks his kids what they have been doing at the end of the movie they answer (turn on captions), "building a house on a cliff," referring one back to the beginning of the movie of Saito's house on a cliff. The movie explains to the audience the significance of Fischer's number in that it will subconsciously keep reappearing in dreams (e.g. the phone number, hotel rooms, safe combo); in light of this, the audience can watch the whole movie prepared and notice that the train that ran Cobb and Mal over in Limbo had a number on it. A combination of those numbers is used on the taxi cab that Mal and Cob get out of in the "real world," as well as in their hotel room in the "real world." Suppose the whole movie was a dream. If it was, then Nolan cleverly made the movie exactly 2 hours and 28 minutes for a reason, the song continually played to wake people up "from the dream" is 2 minutes 28 seconds.
In the end when Cobb uses his spinning top the answer (Real vs. Dream) is foreshadowed when he clears Customs earlier and you briefly see his left hand as he hands over his passport.
Although Tom Berenger appears in several scenes, the only scene where his character is "real" (That is, when he's not a projection of someone else's subconscious or being impersonated by Eames) is his first appearance in Maurice Fischer's office.
There are 399 questions asked in the film, including "tag questions" (i.e. - "Subconscious is motivated by emotion, right?"). Cobb leads all characters with 113, followed by Ariadne (93), then Arthur (44).
Cobb gets off the train he gives the reason that he hates trains, this is foreshadowing him and Mal's time together as she always says "You are waiting for a train." and that's what kills her in limbo to take them back to real life.
Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) intentionally dreams because he can't let go of his deceased wife. In the 2010 movie, Shutter Island (2010), with Leonardo DiCaprio, he had visions of his deceased wife and she came to his dreams several times throughout the movie.
DiCaprio has stated in an interview that in his mind Cobb makes it out to the real world and his kids.
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Leonardo DiCaprio's character couldn't be with the woman he falls in love, in films like Titanic, Revolutionary Road (both played by Kate Winslet), Romeo and Juliet, Shutter Island, Inception and The Revenant.
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