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Last night, my wife and I saw “Inception,” another brilliant film with depth and strong meta narrative themes by Christopher Nolan, director also of “The Dark Knight” and “Memento,” as well as “The Prestige,” all excellent films. Inception was an unbelievable movie and completely lived up to my expectations. If anything, it went deeper than I thought it would. I don’t want to act as a spoiler but I simply wanted to give it a shout out and lay out some basic themes to look for. This movie, just as The Dark Knight, can feel really dark to viewers, on top of the mental engagement needed to keep up with what is happening in this mind-blowing imaginative masterpiece, so I think having some themes to keep an eye out for may be helpful.

Themes to Watch For

1. A man as a husband and father

To fail as a husband or as a father is extremely crushing and humbling to a man. Watch for this in Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Dom. You can hide this hurt or harden your conscience or disengage as a man, but you know this statement is true. Our identity is impacted by these failures. The hardest part is that there is no avoiding it. I am a sinful father and husband. Will I wallow in it and let guilt and my failure control me or will I trust Jesus in The Gospel as my much needed Savior? Will I accept my sin and see my darkness as it is and walk in humility to let Jesus change me and The Holy Spirit fill me? This might be the most difficult thing you face as a man.

2. How your father impacts so much of who you are

This is an obvious theme that the characters even discuss regarding Cillian Murphy’s Robert Fischer Jr. (the mark of the inception). Who you see your father as is huge in your life. Time and time again I see this in myself and in my wife and in my friends. It can be so frustrating at times especially if you were exceptionally wounded by your father because you can feel like you cannot change it. But ultimately we all have to go through a process of replacing the perceptions of our earthly father with who are Father God is for us. We all have to let God be our perfect, loving, primary Father. This is no simple process.

3. Let The Gospel be that “idea”

“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.” – Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio)

What is that idea for you? It’s simple really. What idea dominates you? What is it for Robert Fischer Jr.? What is it for Dom Cobb?

4. Do we actually believe that we are entirely physically beings?

The depth of our minds displayed in this movie is insane and feels true. Can we really believe we are all matter and just brain? Do we really think that our ability to generate a reality in our minds actually evolved over millions of years? It’s laughable. The ability to think and create is the most powerful “physical” evidence for me that evolution is a crock and con.

There is so much you could discuss with this movie. One last thing that I appreciate about this movie along with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, is that the basic concept of this movie would be enough to make a movie out of and a cool movie at that. But Nolan is not content with that. Nolan seems to want to push you to think about our depravity and who we are, to think about the fathers and family, and to wrestle with what it means to care for others and sacrifice for them. I don’t know where he stands with Jesus but, wow, does he seem to grasp some powerful meta narratives that stir us because of how God wired us and what He desires for us.

Movies are Modern Art

We, as a culture, watch a ton of movies. Music and movies are the mainstream art of today. We hardly read but are significantly visual. Don’t just sit back and passively watch movies, especially a movie like Inception, to check out and vegetate. Honestly, it won’t be refreshing in a right direction. Engage with why the movie stirs you, with why movies like Inception haunt you, and engage with The Gospel. If you go see Inception, let God use it to edify you. Then draw out these spiritual themes for those of us struggling with or who have never grasped The Gospel.

Thank you, Christopher Nolan, for this creative, original movie of depth, for giving us helpful imagery and pushing us to think and not simply escape for 2 hours.

Thank you, Father God, for creating us in Your own image, with the ability to think, with the mental capacity to generate imaginative realities that help us understand who You are and to give a tiny glimpse of Your infinite capacity. You created the universe with merely a Word, with merely a Thought. I was a thought in your perfect mind that became reality and You loved me before I even existed in physical reality. You had a thought and plan in Your perfect mind to send Your only Son to suffer a horrendous death for me long before I even moved a muscle.

For my further analysis with spoilers, check out this post: Inception: The Idea that Changes Everything

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