Nolan’s mind-boggling dream film is a stunning and outstanding experience.
Although the idea of existing in another person’s dream is not new, Inception combines together several thoughts on dreams and presents them in an original and thrilling way. In the book Through the Looking Glass (1871, sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), Alice is told she is not inhabiting her own dream, but the Red King’s. (“Life, what is it but a dream?”) In Inception, when Mal and Cobb are in limbo (before the events of the movie), Mal seems to echo Alice in her denial of the dream world: “‘I AM real!’ said Alice and began to cry.” But then, plot twist occurs.
Inception definitely reminds the viewer of The Matrix, which also has actors switching between illusion and reality. The scene where Cobb teaches Ariadne the foundations of the dream world strongly evokes the scene where Morpheus teaches Neo the foundations of the Matrix. Nolan’s film, however, goes into multiple dream layers, which have very important roles in the story. And yet, overall the two films are different, and both have their crowning moments.