If you only read one essay about the hit dream-heist movie Inception today, make it this one. Lazenby takes the idea that we already raised, that Inception is about the act of making movies, and goes one further: It's about Christopher Nolan's anxieties about making movies, the fear that at any moment, the inspiration could drain away and you'll be left with a sterile action movie. [Lazenby on Tumblr, via Roger Ebert on Twitter]
The movie also plays on themes of wish fulfillment and catharsis. Viewers get so caught up in the mechanics of the heist and Cobb's struggles with Mal that they forget that Fischer Jr.'s emotional payoff is quite possibly bogus uplift. For all we know, the elder Fischer could have thought his son was a spineless idiot who didn't deserve the family name; by breaking up his business empire, Dom and Saito could have destroyed any chance for him to become his own man. (After all, Saito isn't doing this to provide the opportunity for insight and self-improvement, but to take out a dangerous rival.). But like Fischer, the viewers fail to recognize the inception as a ruse and see it as a grandly life affirming moment. It's a great comment on the manipulative nature of movies and filmmaking.