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Unraveling Inception: Zimmer's Piaf Riff, Clothing Clues, Nolan's Anxiety

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 3, 2010 at 5:27AM

One of the great pastimes of summer 2010 is unravelling, explaining and debating Inception. Which is the main reason it is such a big hit: repeat business. (The movie's so good that the Chinese government is allowing it to play there, a rare honor for a Hollywood picture.) Here are some recent popular memes:
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Thompson on Hollywood

One of the great pastimes of summer 2010 is unravelling, explaining and debating Inception. Which is the main reason it is such a big hit: repeat business. (The movie's so good that the Chinese government is allowing it to play there, a rare honor for a Hollywood picture.) Here are some recent popular memes:

Did composer Hans Zimmer rip off Edith Piaf? He tells the NYT how he used "Je Ne Regrette Rien" for his main theme. (YouTube video comparison is below.)

What is Inception really about? It's pretty obvious that you can apply it as a metaphor for making movies. This blogger argues that Inception is really about director Chris Nolan's anxiety about delivering a blockbuster.

What happens at the end? Does the top topple? Is it all a dream? Only Inception costume designer Jeffrey Kurland knows for sure. He reveals key info in this interview in Costumes on Film:

Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood

COF: How much does costume reflect the inner machinations of the plot, particularly in a film such as Inception? For example, Cobb’s children are wearing the same clothes at the end of the story as they are in his dream ‘memory’ throughout the film. Is there something to be interpreted here?

JK: Costume design reflects greatly on the movement of the plot, most significantly through character development. Character development is at the forefront of costume design. The characters move the story along and with the director and the actor the costume designer helps to set the film’s emotional tone in a visual way. In a more physical sense the costumes’ style and color help to keep the story on track, keeping a check on time and place.

On to the second part of your question, the children’s clothing is different in the final scene… look again…

UPDATE: Apparently, Nolan got his idea from a Donald Duck comic.

Here's the Zimmer music comparison:

In this College Humor video, the Inception team gets confused about what they are doing.


This article is related to: Directors, Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Video, Summer Movies, Production , Chris Nolan, Inception, Thriller, Leonardo DiCaprio, Costume Design, Sound and Score


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.