Cinema of the Subconscious: Extracting Inception

Cinema of the Subconscious: Extracting Inception

Static Mass Rating: 5/5


Release Date: December 6th, 2010
Certificate (UK): 12
Running Time: 148 minutes

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine, Lukas Haas, Tohoru Masamune, Johnathan Geare

Inception (our movie review here) is the story of how a simple idea, once planted in someone’s mind it can destroy everything from one’s way of life, to an empire.

Using dream-sharing technology, a group lead by Dom Cobb (Di Caprio) infiltrate the mind of a wealthy and powerful heir to an empire, Robert Fischer (Murphy), with the aim of planting such an idea for Fischer’s business rival Saito (Ken Watanabe). But with Cobb’s mind filled with memories and regrets, it makes his dreams a minefield for anyone he shares them with and the task becomes all the more dangerous.

Director Christopher Nolan had long dreamt of such a film. In fact, he spent the last 10 years grappling with the idea once it had been planted in his own mind:

“About ten years ago, I became fascinated with the subject of dreams, about the relationship of our waking life to our dreaming life. I’ve always found it to be an interesting paradox that everything within a dream—whether frightening, or happy, or fantastic—is being produced by your own mind as it happens, and what that says about the potential of the imagination is quite extraordinary. I started thinking how that could be applied to a grand-scale action movie with a very human dimension.”

When it comes to dream-sharing, a pivotal point in Inception, Nolan says:

“At the heart of the movie is the notion that an idea is indeed the most resilient and powerful parasite. A trace of it will always be there in your mind…somewhere. The thought that someone could master the ability to invade your dream space, in a very physical sense, and steal an idea—no matter how private—is compelling.”

Cinema of the Subconscious: Extracting Inception

With the movie arriving on DVD on December 6th here in the UK, we wanted to bring you a look at what you can expect from the special features with our very own Extraction! Alongside Disc 1 which contains the movie, there’s Disc 2 which features over and hour’s worth of bonus material. The first item is an in-depth documentary narrated by Joseph Gordon-Levitt which features leading scientists talking us through their dream research, together with Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio and real-life accounts of dreamers.


Dreams: Cinema of the Subconscious
Running time: 44 minutes, 27 seconds

Starting with Freud and the sub-conscious, the psychoanalyst brought attention to dreams but thought we only dreamed when there was conflict. We know different now. Nolan says:

“Dreaming is a very positive and healthy experience.”

The documentary also highlights the notion of Paradoxical Sleep. This is when the brain is turned on as much as it can be when it is detached from the body while dreaming. Di Caprio summarises:

“You create the world and you perceive it simultaneously in the dream.”

Throughout the documentary, Gordon-Levitt demonstrates in a series of skits which show him asleep and venturing into lucid dreaming. As he meets with a scientist to understand how one can achieve such a level of dreaming he also remarks on the similarity of lucid dreams and what is known in film and television as “the fourth wall”. This is when a character becomes aware that he/she is in a film or television show.

It’s a fascinating documentary but only represents a small portion of what we know about dreams and the dream world. Ancient philosophers such as Aristotle and Confucius wrote in detail about dreams and I would have liked to have seen the documentary go deeper into history and cinema to see the many different approaches.

Cinema of the Subconscious: Extracting Inception


Inception: The Cobol Job
Running time: 13 minutes 57 seconds

Serving as a prologue to the actual film, The Cobol Job is directed by Ian Kirby and features Cobb, Nash and Arthur in the events which lead to them finding Saito in Tokyo. Hired by the Cobol Company to extract information about Saito’s Expansion Program from his chief engineer Mr Kaneda, they encounter one slight problem – they have the wrong guy!

The motion comic fully captures the mood of the film and helps explain how the team ended up going after Saito in the first place. Although the characters do not speak their dialogue, instead they appear in speech bubbles but Hans Zimmer’s score can be heard throughout, together with additional sound effects.


5.1 Soundtrack
Featuring 10 tracks from Hans Zimmer’s score

  • We Built Our Own World
  • Dream Is Collapsing
  • Radical Notion
  • Old Souls
  • 528491
  • Mombasa
  • One Simple Idea
  • Dream Within A Dream
  • Paradox
  • Time…

This is not the complete score from the film. “Half Remembered Dream” and “Waiting For A Train” are missing, as are the pieces composed by Zack Hemsey for the trailers. These notable exceptions do not detract from overall enjoyment of Zimmer’s music though. In its shortened form, they are to-the-point and immediately recall the excitement from the film. In one of this year’s most remarkable musical collaborations, the former Smith’s guitarist Johnny Marr joined Zimmer in the studio to create the score using a 12 string guitar.

Cinema of the Subconscious: Extracting Inception


Conceptual Art Gallery
32 images

Sketches you can click through, beginning with Saito’s fortress. They move through to dream sequences such as Ariadne’s street-bending and finish with the snow fortress.


Promotional Posters
12 images

The 10 which we’ve all come to know plus 2 other posters used on large buildings, one shows water pouring out of the windows the other shows the Inception poster “peeling” off.



  • Teaser 56 seconds
  • Short Trailer 2.10
  • Long Trailer 2.14

3 similar trailers are presented here. The first one is a short teaser which is textless, meaning that it does not feature any speaking, with only Zimmer’s score heard throughout. This is followed by a short trailer and a slightly longer one.


TV Spots
13 TV Spots are included.

  • 1 minute 57 seconds
  • 1 minute 57 seconds
  • 1 minute
  • 1 minute
  • 1 minute
  • 30 seconds
  • 30 seconds
  • 30 seconds
  • 30 seconds
  • 30 seconds
  • 30 seconds
  • 30 seconds
  • 30 seconds

The 13 TV Spots are the most tedious of the special features. Starting with the near-2-minute versions and working down to the 30-second versions. After the first batch of trailers, they become really tiresome and if it wasn’t for the sake of noting down the running times, I would have not gone through them.

This brings us to the end of our Extraction! It’s not a bad collection of special features for a DVD release, although there is a noticeable lack of deleted and extended scenes or an alternative ending. We can only assume that Nolan is thoroughly happy with the theatrical cut but that doesn’t stop us from hoping for a director’s cut later on down the line. Will we see it before the sequel surfaces? Once an idea starts spinning, it’s hard for it to stop, something which Nolan and his fans know about.

Cinema of the Subconscious: Extracting Inception

7 Responses to “Cinema of the Subconscious: Extracting Inception”

  1. World Spinner Says:

    Cinema of the Subconscious: Extracting Inception | Static Mass ……

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

  2. aCtDeltAS Says:


  3. Mr_Phelps Says:

    does the digital copy come with dvd or just blu ray? might admit that i have been looking forward to watching this on my ipod at the gym

  4. soulsk8ter225 Says:

    I want to thank you for actually listing the track listing from Hans Zimmer’s composition. No one else seems to want to do that, because there are actually two tracks missing from the disc. Thanks for informing me, they are the two I actually hoped weren’t on it!

  5. Mr_Phelps Says:

    thanks for info. think I will just buy it off of itunes and it actually comes with those features on there.

  6. Nolan Fans Says:

    That DVD special feature mixup is pretty interesting. I’ve heard some people talking about this on our forums.

  7. Lirael_Goldenhand Says:

    I’ve just watched Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Cinema of Subconsious documentary…the whole thing was very engaging but what really got me the most was the idea that even when awake, we don’t percieve reality- rather we percieve our interpretation of it…so in a way, our whole life can be likened to a dream state. And the quote at the very end- “A dream is real as long as it lasts. Can we say more of life?” And when you think about it- we really can’t. [[smile]]

    Oh, and Nolan…I swear the guy has a PhD in Psychology we didn’t know about?? I wouldn’t be surprised.

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