With everyone in various stages of isolation and practicing social distancing, we’re kicking off our Atom Movie Club. What better way to celebrate our love of movies than watching one together and tweeting about it? This Friday at 8pm EST/5pm PST, we’ll be watching a movie that’s free to stream and we’re inviting everyone to watch with us. You can join in on the livetweeting fun with the hashtag #AtomMovieClub.
This week’s movie: INCEPTION (2010)
Check out the deets below:
Inception is currently streaming for free on Netflix. Sync up the time with the World Clock and hit play right as the clock strikes 8pm EST/5pm PST on Friday, April 3rd.
In order to prep you for the watch, we’re putting together this quick and handy guide to refresh your memory before our watch party.
The twisty-turny narrative of Inception is one that’s hard to summarize. Those of you who have seen it know what I’m talking about it and I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who haven’t. Dominick Cobb is a master thief who is highly skilled in the art of extraction – that is, stealing valuable information and secrets from the subconscious mind of a dreaming person. Cobb’s abilities have made him a valued gun-for-hire in the world of corporate espionage, but it’s also put a target on his back and cost him everything. He gets a shot at redemption if he can pull off the heist of his life. But there’s just one catch: This time, he won’t be extracting a secret but planting an idea in an act of inception into the mind of Robert Fischer, CEO and heir of Fischer Morrow.
It’s a complicated plan with multiple levels and Cobb pulls together his team of specialists to get the job done: His business partner & team Point Man, Arthur; the Architect, Ariadne; the Forger, Eames; the Chemist, Yusuf; Saito, their employer and Tourist on the mission, and Dom himself, the Extractor. However, things get even more complicated and dangerous when they enter Fischer’s mind only to discover that he’s been trained to defend himself against extraction. Suddenly, the team is trapped on multiple levels of a subconscious that is ready to spring traps on them at every turn. And Dom has a secret he’s keeping from everyone…
- Dominick Cobb/The Extractor (Leonardo DiCaprio): Once a gifted Architect, Dom is now a skilled Extractor. Though he’s the best in the business, he’s wanted as a fugitive after being blamed for the death of his wife, who went mad after Dom pulled her too deeply into an unconstructed dream space and getting stuck in subconscious Limbo. Now a wanted man, Dom uses his skills for corporate espionage. But his past has left him deeply tortured and disturbed, and the fracture in his psyche threatens to put his entire team in peril.
- Arthur/The Point Man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt): Arthur is Dom’s right-hand and the Point Man for the team. Cobb might be the master strategist, but Arthur is the one who ensures it gets done, handling all the planning, coordination and research. No step of a heist goes unplanned by the logical Arthur, who can be counted on to be calm and collected in a stressful situation. Though fastidious and skeptical by nature, Arthur truly loves his work and has never stopped being fascinated by dream sharing.
- Ariadne/The Architect (Ellen Page): Ariadne is new to the team and the world of extraction, but, though young, she’s a promising and brilliant Architect, put in charge of designing the complex dream levels for the heist. Initially, she refused Dom’s offer to work together due to its illegal nature, but her natural curiosity and intellect soon made her relent. Her perceptiveness and attention to detail lead her to becoming the first and only one on the team who figures out something’s wrong with Dom and exactly what it is.
- Eames/The Forger (Tom Hardy): Eames is a vital component of the team, a Forger who can impersonate anyone in a dream state and convince a mark that he is exactly who the team needs the mark to see. Suave and James Bond-like, Eames relishes the chance to flex his creative muscles when he gets the opportunity to impersonate someone. His skill in manifesting as a physical projection of someone else is abetted by his knack for nailing someone’s mannerisms and behaviors.
- Yusuf/The Chemist (Dileep Rao): More hands-off than the rest of the team, Yusuf is nonetheless just as valuable. As the team’s chemist, he’s responsible for creating the compounds that knock a mark out, help them dream share, manipulate them and keep them under while the team does its work. He’s a master of his craft, but when the mission requires all hands on deck and he gets pulled into actually dream-sharing, he makes a number of rookie mistakes that put a kink in the carefully-orchestrated heist.
- Saito/The Tourist (Ken Watanabe): Saito is an immensely powerful and rich businessman and the employer of Cobb and the team for their heist. Saito uses his money to help the team and smooth out the rough spots of their plan. Saito insists on joining the team on the mission to ensure that it all goes smoothly and his investment is secure, prompting Eames to give him the nickname of “The Tourist” as he has no particular skill set and is just a tagalong.
- Robert Fischer/The Mark (Cillian Murphy): Robert is the son and heir of Maurice Fischer, wealthy magnate and head of energy corporation Fischer Morrow. His relationship with his father is strained, with Robert wanting nothing more than to earn his cold and distant father’s approval and the team plans to use this insecurity as the crack in his psyche to plant the seed. However, Robert proves surprisingly calm and collected when kidnapped and his lack of physical ability is countered by the fact he’s had rigorous training in the art of deflecting extraction. His defensive mental projections are hostile, fast, and aggressive and the team soon learns he’s more than they’d bargained for.
- Mal/The Shade (Marion Cotillard): Dom’s late wife, Mal was instrumental in developing the concept of using a totem to anchor a team member to reality when entering someone else’s dreams. After she and Dom went too deep into subconscious territory and got stuck in Limbo for what seemed like years, Mal’s mental state deteriorated. She ultimately killed herself, an act that continues to haunt Dom both metaphorically and literally: Mal materializes as a Shade in Dom’s subconscious and sabotages his plans, growing ever more dangerous.
10 Fun Facts & Trivia Bits
Christopher Nolan has explained that he borrowed from what he knew and based the team on similar roles in filmmaking: Cobb is the director, Arthur is the producer, Ariadne is the production designer, Eames is the actor, Saito is the studio and Fischer is the audience.
Despite the complicated visuals of the movie, Nolan tried to shoot most of the pieces practically, like the Penrose steps scene or the floating hallway fight scene. A standard visual-effects heavy blockbuster has upwards of two thousand CGI visual effects; Inception only has about 500.
Speaking of that spinning hallway fight scene, Joseph Gordon-Levitt performed all his own stunts save one. He spent two weeks perfecting the sequence and practicing wirework, timing all of his moves to sync up with the music that was playing. They’d first rehearse the scene with no rotation of the room, then rotate it a little in the second rehearsal, and then finally work up to it spinning at full speed for the actual shoot.
The first letters of the main characters’ names spell “DREAMS”: Dom, Robert, Eames, Arthur, Mal and Saito. If you add in Peter, Ariadne, and Yusuf, they spell “DREAMS PAY.” Pretty literal, Nolan.
Kate Winslet was approached for the role of Mal but turned it down as she said she couldn’t see herself playing that character.
Édith Piaf’s song “Non, je ne regrette rien” is used as a plot device throughout the movie. Ever the Easter egg lover, Nolan timed the movie’s run time (two hours, twenty-eight minutes) as a reference to Piaf’s song, the first recording of which is two minutes, twenty-eight seconds.
Inception was Nolan’s first movie since his feature debut, Following (1998) to be completely original.
The number that Fischer gives Cobb/Arthur is 528491, and it keeps reappearing in various ways throughout the movie: The two hotel rooms used are rooms 528 and 491, the number that Eames (as a woman) gives to Fischer is 528-491, the combination to the strongroom starts with 52, and the combination to the safe is 528-491. Mathematically, the number 528491 is a prime number.
All the character’s names have deep meaning, but the most interesting is Robert Fischer, who was named for chess champion Bobby Fischer. It’s a nod to the fact that entering Robert’s mind is a game of chess, with Fischer predicting and countering the team’s moves in their subconscious fight.
DiCaprio makes a reference to one of his own films in the movie. When Cobb and Miles are first shown together, Cobb says, “Extradition between France and the United States is a bureaucratic nightmare,” a cheeky nod to 2002’s Catch Me If You Can, where DiCaprio’s character is arrested in France and extradited to the U.S.
Join us this Friday and tweet away at #AtomMovieClub!