Have you ever done something that you totally regret? If we are honest, we all have. How did you live with yourself? Most of us just write it off, explain away our actions, and move on. But not Dominic Cobb.
Dominic Cobb is the main character in Christopher Nolan’s film “Inception”. The film is set as a mind-bending heist film about sharing dreams with people – and stealing secrets out their minds. Cobb and his crew are hired to do the seemingly impossible – to implant an idea into someone’s head, called “Inception”, and make them think it was their own idea. Cobb’s crew is skeptical, but Cobb knows it is possible because he has done it before. He had done inception on his own wife.
He and his wife (named “Mal”) had shared dreams and gone so deep in the dream world that she could no longer tell the difference between reality and dreams. So he implanted the Idea that the world wasn’t real, and the only way to get to reality is to die. Mal believed the Idea and woke up to the real world, but she kept holding onto the Idea – and eventually committed suicide. Cobb is devastated with guilt, and this guilt invades his mind so that in every dream he shares with someone a projection of his wife shows up and ruins everything. His guilt is ruining his work, his thoughts, and the lives of everyone around him.
In one of the final scenes we see Dom and “Mal” (his projection of guilt) at a table (in the dream), confronting each other. She asks him what he feels. He answers, “Guilt. I feel guilt Mal. No matter what I do. No matter how hopeless I am, no matter how confused – that guilt is always there reminding me of the truth.” He is confessing to her, and finding freedom. He is confronting his guilt. He had planted the idea in her to help her, but it drove her crazy and he lost her. The only way he can move forward is to deal with his guilt and forgive himself. At the end of the movie he does.
Inception is an action packed movie that is at times confusing. Some people love it and some hate it (the dreams inside of dreams thing can get a little bit much). I love this movie because it is visually showing the power of ideas, and the devastation that can happen in a mind when it is consumed by guilt.
Let’s look at these two themes quickly. First, ideas are important! We need to be saturated in God’s truth – His Word – more than any other ideas. Unfortunately most Christians know more about pop culture than the Bible. Jesus said “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). You have to know the truth first – so make sure you spend time every day in God’s Word – and be intentional about living it out.
Second, guilt can consume our lives. The forgiveness we have in Jesus is real – we have to make a choice to accept it. At the Last Supper Jesus declared, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt 26:28). Jesus doesn’t say that our sins and selfishness are no big deal – they led to His death. Christ confronts our pride and shows us the path of freedom and peace. Christ also pays the price so that we can confess, let go, and accept His forgiveness – which includes forgiving ourselves. This is not cheap grace but dealing with the realities of sin and guilt: if we don’t deal with our sin we will just do it again; if we don’t let go of our guilt we will be consumed and ruin our lives.
So yeah, I really like this movie, because I see the realities portrayed in this movie play out again and again in people’s lives. And yes, I am always up to watching it again – if you ever want to have a movie night, just let me know!