Monday, July 19, 2010


The movie is great. Go see it. What I'm about to write will be entirely spoiler free.

Inception will leave you distrusting your own perceptions in the manner of Descartes's Demon, more so than The Matrix ever did. It does this I think because the experience of the characters in the movie entering and leaving dreams is so similar to our experience entering and leaving the movie. "Waking up" from a good movie is a very similar feeling to waking up from a dream.

When we talk about "suspending disbelief," it isn't supposed to be something you do, but rather something that happens automatically if the movie succeeds in drawing you in. When dreaming, we tolerate wild violations of physics and causality without it ever decreasing our emotional involvement. The objective of a good movie is to tap into that level of credulity, and it wouldn't surprise me if someone discovered that the same pathways in our brains are involved.

When Christopher Nolan was writing the dialogue about how addictive it is to be an architect of dreams, he must have been really talking about is how addictive it is to be an architect of shared dreams: movies.