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 has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.