Catholics Media and Culture

What’s the most resilient parasite? An Idea. A single idea from the human mind
can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules.”

Those words, spoken by Cobb, the dream manipulator portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the just-opened sci-fi thriller Inception form the basis of a film that could be thought as a sort of Mission: Impossible of the mind.

In a nutshell, the plot concerns an elite IMF-like team on a covert corporate espionage mission to plant an idea in the mind of the heir of a deceased corporate titan that will cause him to dissolve his father’s empire.  They do this not through hypnotic suggestion but by manipulating and literally entering his dream world. Naturally, severe complications ensue.

As dreams can be confusing, so can the plot which makes director Christopher Nolan’s twisty Memento sometimes seem like an old episode of Barnaby Jones by comparison.

But, while I’m not sure I caught everything, I basically kept up and was rewarded with a riveting story, strong performances (particularly by DiCaprio), several good twists and a thought-provoking theme.

At its core, Inception is about how ideas are seeds that can grow and alter the course of both civilizations and individual lives for good or ill. That’s an idea most people would find to be true and from which we can extrapolate the importance of believing in and promoting positive ideas — such as those that foster ideals such as faith, hope, love, kindness, forgiveness, gratitude, tolerance and personal responsibility.

Hollywood itself has been called a “dream factory” and, as such, enters and penetrates our thoughts with evermore sophisticated technology and imagery. Dreams, ideas, attitudes and values are implanted in our brains in ways that really aren’t too dissimilar from what Cobb and his associates perpetrate.

That’s a lot of responsibility, one I hope the industry will take seriously. Let’s have a little more light and a little less darkness. 


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