April 30th, 2019

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Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010) is a difficult film to categorize. It partakes of various genres, blurring the distinctions between them. It is science fiction, but it does not contain many of the ingredients associated with that genre. It can also be identified as a kind of heist film, and there are shades of film noir as well, not only because of the heist motifs but also due to its character types. It can also be described as psychological thriller, telling the story of one man's attempt to flee his past and regain access to his family, of his coming to terms with the death of his wife. In addition, it plays with time, questioning the certainty of consciously experienced real time, and revealing that the personal experience of the passing of time is variable. The film also explores the nature of the mind and how dreams are related to the conscious and unconscious mind. David Carter's contribution to the Constellation series covers all of these facets of a complex yet highly successful film, as well as considering it in the context of the director's other work.

Author Information

David Carter is is retired professor of communicative English at Yonsei University and the author of East Asian Cinema (2007) and The Western (2007), as well as Sigmund Freud and On Cocaine, a translation of essays by Freud.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
1. Introductory Remarks8
2. Christopher Nolan: The Director and His Work10
3. The Industrial Context of Inception: from Production to Premiere32
4. The Question of Genre34
5. Dreams and the Cinema52
6. Cobb's 'Emotional Journey': from Guilt to Redemption80
7. Inception and the Arts96
8. The Ending: Dreams, Reality and Ambiguity100
9. Critical Reception102
10. Further Lines of Inquiry106
General Bibliography116