Inception Translation

This is really for my own personal edification, but I thought it might be cool to see how some of my own dream concepts translate to the concepts in Inception.

You can see the list of terms here, or simply click the “Dreams” link in the top right corner.

This should go without saying but:


I’ve updated this from the original version, introducing some of my own theoretical concepts.

1 ) The “Kick” – SHOCK, caused by BLEED, that should cause a BOUNCE. The music that tells you to get ready for the kick would be an example of a PING. A “missed” kick would be an example of DODGE to keep you in the dream state.

2 ) If the “reality” layer Cobb experiences is actually reality, then their shared dream state would be an example of TANDEM.

I used to think that the “Dream Machine” was an INTERMEDIARY, but in fact it only seems to administer a drug:

Therefore the machine in “reality” would actually be an APPARATUS, and using it to enter a dream state would be an example of SINK.

3 ) Regardless of whether or not there is a “reality” layer to Cobb’s experience, each time they “go under” in a dream, it would be an example of SINK. Each “Dream Within a Dream” would be a STEP.

4 ) A dreamer’s totem would be a TRIGGER, a DOUBLE of their real-world totem. Since no one SNAPS in Inception, it would basically be a LINE to the dreamers that initiates KEEN.

5 ) One could say that Eames ASSUMES Browning.

5 ) The floating in the hotel wouldn’t be BLEED, because it’s a reaction that’s happening inside the dream world. All the “layers” of the dream world are simply elements of SINK. Instead, it’d be both a TELL and a form of FEEDBACK. “The van is spinning, therefore the world will spin as well.”

6 ) It should be pointed out that the concepts of extraction, inception, and sharing dreams would all be considered a huge BLUFF, because any TELL the dreamer sees at that point would simply be accepted as part of the COVER.

7 ) When Eames has his famous, “Dream a little bigger, darling” moment, this is just an example of KNACK, not the omnipotence that comes with SNAP. In fact, no one is really ON in the entire movie. All the characters are experiencing KEEN or, perhaps BLUFF.

8 ) The whole bit between Cobb and Mal, including Limbo, the train, her suicide, his betrayal, is pure TOXIC PLAYGROUND.

9 ) The “projections” are prime examples of FURIES.

10) Cobb’s children could be seen as GORGONS, except when they eventually turn around, there’s no problem. They’re also an example of DOUBLES.

11 ) In Cobb’s dreams, Mal is both a DOUBLE and a FURY. If we are to believe that there is a “reality” level in the movie, then what happens to the “real” Mal is a prime example FREAK resulting in a BREAK.

12 ) All of the dreamers can be considered DOUBLES. If we’re never actually outside of Cobb’s dream as some have suggested, however, then any one of them could actually be a WELL-KNOWN STRANGER.

13) If Cobb’s character is dreaming the whole time, the idea that you need an architect to design the dream-world, or a forger to assume forms within a dream, could be seen as examples of QUIRKS, folded into a BLUFF.


About paulgude

Paul Gude writes small books, makes stupid music, draws silly pictures, and does weird things on stage.
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