If there’s one thing that Christopher Nolan excels in, it’s mind-bending twists and turns. For the 2010 thriller, Inception, his fantastical world of lucid dreaming, is no exception.
From the very first second, you are hooked on the life of a Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a thief with the rare ability to enter people’s dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious. This skill has made him a hot commodity in the world of corporate espionage but has dire consequences.
With a chance to have his criminal history erased, Cobb must implant an idea into a target’s subconscious — but a dangerous enemy anticipates Cobb’s every move.
The film was so well done that it won four Academy Awards in 2011, including Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects, with four more nominations.
It was the things you saw, and subsequently didn’t see, that it made it incredibly appealing to audiences around the world.
For a decade, old fans and new are constantly searching for easter eggs within the intricate web of the film and it wouldn’t be a Nolan success without them.
We’ve rounded up the top eight things you may have completely missed in Inception.
1. The first letters of the names of the main characters spell out “Dreams Pay” — which is how they earn a living.
Reddit user FlySolid pointed out that characters Dom (Leo), Robert (Murphy), Eames (Hardy), Arthur (Gordon-Levitt), Mal (Marion Cotillard), Saito (Ken Wantanabe), Peter (Tom Berenger), Adriane (Page) and Yusuf (Dileep Rao), spelled out “dreams pay”.
2. Dom Cobb’s name also has a hidden meaning
In many languages, Cobb — spelled khwab — literally translates to “dream.” That’s the case in Sanskrit, Urdu, Hindu and Panjabi.
3. Each character represents an integral role in movie-making
Entertainment outlet Fansided pointed out that Nolan incorporates commentary on the “stressors of filmmaking” and each character “embodies an on-set role”.
Arthur (Gordon-Levitt) is a producer, Ariadne (Page) is a production designer, Eames (Hardy) is an actor, Saito (Watanabe) are the studio execs and Murphy’s Robert Fischer is the audience. How meta!
4. The hotel hallway was an actual rotating set
This is by far one of the most famous effects in Inception and was fans were shocked to discover in 2013, that the hallway scene was a rotating set.
In fact, during one of the film’s most iconic season, Gordon-Levitt actually free-fell in a van.
5. Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack helps to add another layer in Inception
This is perhaps one of the most clever easter eggs in the film.
The characters in the film play Edith Piaf’s Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien to signal a “kick” into another layer of the subconscious.
Zimmer, took it to a whole other level when he built subdivisions of the song by changing the tempo of Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.
He pulled specific notes from the adaptations and built on them to create the score. Genius.
6. The film’s runtime is a reference to the film’s theme song
Je Ne Regrette Rien may have made up the score, but it also determined the film’s runtime.
The song runs for 2 minutes and 28 seconds, while the movie runs for 2 hours and 28 minutes. Coincidence? I think not.
7. Ellen Page’s Ariadne is named after a character in Greek Mythology
In Inception, Ariadne is our way into the entire storyline and ultimately designs each level of the dream.
Her name is actually part of Greek mythology, wherein one story, Minos asks Ariadne to take control of the labyrinth and even draws a maze for Cobb (“dream”).
8. Number plates in the first level of the dream are named “The Alternate State”
Like on any number plate around the world, your car has the name of the state you bought it in. Well, in Inception this is no different.
When characters go into the first level of the dream, they are met with cares from “The Alternate State” — which is literally where your mind goes, when you’re dreaming.