Features and Columns · Movies

‘Inception’ and the Phenomenon of Subliminal Influence

Here’s a video essay about why Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’ still has us dreaming big, ten years later.
Inception ending
Warner Bros.
By  · Published on July 31st, 2020

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we look at the lasting subliminal influence of Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

It’s true: Inception is a decade old. Christopher Nolan’s dream-within-a-dream heist premiered in 2010 and, if you’ll recall, took pop culture by storm. Ten years later, the inescapable memes may have subsided, but Inception continues to prove itself as a film well-worth discussing.

One of the more relevant and persistent conversations surrounding the film is the way it acts as a case study for conscious and unconscious influence in the creative process. When Inception first premiered, many fixated on the way the film felt, looked, and indeed, was inspired by other media. From Satoshi Kon’s dream detective anime Paprika to the snowy disc-like fortress of On Her Majesty’s Secret ServiceInception is a fantastic way to explore the idea that everything (yes, everything) is a remix.

In the video essay below, from The Royal Ocean Film Society, looks at how Inception‘s two central ideas—a multi-level simulation within a simulation and implanted memories—are long-standing traditions in science fiction. The video also unpacks how Inception exemplifies the mysterious nature of the creative process, and how genre can build upon itself in both intentional and subliminal ways. Which, for a film about seeding ideas and invading dreams…is kind of perfect.

Watch “Inception – Ten Years Later“:

Who made this?

This video essay was put together by the Texas-based Royal Ocean Film Society, which is run by Andrew Saladino. You can browse their back catalog of videos on their Vimeo account here. If Vimeo isn’t your speed, you can give them a follow on YouTube here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).