To me the appeal of Inception is not about the plot making sense. Or even about how it's not about the plot making sense. (If that makes sense.)
To me Inception is a die that's a dodecahedron instead of a cube. Every time I roll the die I come up with a completely different way of reading the film. And every single side the die lands on is emotionally satisfying to me. Every single side is so pleasing. Every single side tells me something awesome about human connections or the meta-layers of meaning at work in the film. Every side is just plain cool.
The side where Ariadne's Jane Eyre and Mal is the madwoman in the attic. The side where it's what happens when the inmates at Shutter Island have their therapy sessions. The side where it's Marion Cotillard's dream after winning the Oscar for La Vie en Rose. The side where it's all a prequel to House of Leaves. The side where the film is what happens when Jack washes up on the shore of his own subconscious and Rose is all, excuse me, you said you'd never let go, wtf. The side where it's all taking place inside of the mind of an autistic child. The side where that flight from Sydney to L.A. ended on a strange island full of smoke monsters. The side where they're all just random people he met on the plane and no one knows anyone else. The side where Mal woke up. The side where it's real. The side where Saito's the Extractor, Mal's the Architect, and Dom's the Shade. The side where Ariadne's his daughter. The side where Robert's his son. The side where they don't even have kids. The side where the ring's the totem. The side where Saito and Cobb are stuck in limbo on constant
The side where the film is *actually* a dream, because they spike all our movie theatre drinks with a mild sedative and we all go to sleep for two hours, and then we all wake up and walk out of the airport, I mean the theatre, with this slightly dazed, slightly jet-lagged feeling that we all just experienced something together.
That last side is maybe my favorite.
My mind is riveted by the fact that the Inception fandom, which sprang up in overwhelming volume overnight, is literally a bunch of people populating, with their own projections and world-building, a narrative about a bunch of people populating a narrative with their own projection and world-building.
(I feel like every fic I read in this fandom is so fantastic that I'm rapidly losing my grip on reality, because in reality most fics in a fandom, the first that you come across in your heady rush of excitement, are never this consistently and immediately full of pleasure and happiness and thinkiness--especially not when most of them are coming from a kink meme. *doublechecks totem*)
I didn't tear up at any point during the film, on any number of re-watches (shut up, how many times I've actually seen the film at this point is a personal thing ok). But I curled into a little ball and cried for love and joy at this thread on this fic (which is completely wonderful):
I think with a canon like Inception, where the story is more concerned with spectacle and concept, most fic-writing becomes a struggle to determine whether we're fleshing out a character from the core outwards, or filling in a character from the details inwards. It's hard to know. And I think that uncertainty makes it almost literally like building someone. So it feels like, everyone holding a piece of Arthur -- who then ends up being right for everyone -- is something close to what we're doing in fandom, or something like that. Like together we're building Arthur (most everyone, really) to be the right Arthur for all of us.
A few months ago alestar and I had this late-night alcohol-induced conversation that blew my mind about how RPF is a projection of the fan creator's best self onto the person that they idolize; so the person isn't just what they adore but what they wish they could become. It calls to mind Maggie Stiefvater's fantastic quote (which sadly I can only paraphrase) about how love triangles can be so unsatisfying because the outcome of the triangle represents a choice about who the focal character chooses to be. And sometimes the character makes what is, for us individually, the wrong choice.
I feel like Inception has no wrong choice. It's not merely that the film invites you to question reality; it's that the film invites you to populate it with your own projections. What you think about the film has more, ultimately, to do with you than the film itself.
What I love most is that what we, locally and globally, as a collective world of people-who-go-to-movies-and-then-talk-ab
And now for the most important thing Inception has brought to the world and that the world has brought to Inception:
PEOPLE MAKING SQUINTY FACES!!!