Inception: The Names Within Names May Offer Clues
In its second week, Inception appears to be yet another successful blockbuster movie for director Christopher Nolan. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone describes Inception as “James Bond meets the Matrix.”
However mind-bending the plot might be, there’s a lot of speculation about what the movie really means. Is it about dream thieves, or is it more of an allegory about movies in general? Is the movie filmed from the main character’s perspective of reality or was he in a dream himself?
The basic plot of the movie revolves around how the main characters can enter other people’s dreams and extract important information. Extraction can be tricky business because the line between dreams and reality tend to blur. The dream team all have their own totems to help them make that distinction; a token that lets them know whether they're in a dream or not. The totem is supposed to be the dream extractor’s tether to reality.
Names can mean a lot and this movie has its fair share of intriguing names. In fact, I wonder if the names in this movie serve as a sort of a totem for the viewer, tethering us to what is real and what is imagined. Let’s take a look at some of the character names in this movie:
Dom Cobb is the main character. He is the head dream thief. Or is he? Some speculate he may be caught in a web of dreams himself, which makes his name all the more interesting. The character is mainly referred to as “Cobb” and a cob is another word for a spider, but it can also mean a conspicuous person. Both meanings are relevant here.
Mal is the main character’s (Cobb’s) wife. However, she also plays the role of Cobb’s subconscious (it’s complicated – you need to see to movie to understand this). Whatever her full name might be, she is referred to as Mal. Latin is the foundation for all the romance languages and in Latin, “mal” means bad.Continued on the next page