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(2010), PG-13 [Lite R-13*] (2hr 20min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
Janaury 22, 2010
January 23, 2101

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2010), PG-13 [Lite R-13*] ... intense and relentless violence ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Syncopy
Distribution (US): Warner Home Video
Director(s): Christopher Nolan
Producer(s): Zakaria Alaoui, John Bernard, Chris Brigham, Jordan Goldberg, Thomas Hayslip, Christopher Nolan, Kanjiro Sakura, Yoshikuni Taki, Emma Thomas, Thomas Tull
Writing Credits: Christopher Nolan
Cinematography/Camera: Wally Pfister
Music: Hans Zimmer
Film Editing: Lee Smith
Casting: John Papsidera
Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas
Art Direction: Luke Freeborn, Brad Ricker (supervising art director), Dean Wolcot
Viewed on Warner Brothers Home Entertainment DVD

The story is corporate espionage -- in reverse. Instead of theft by extracting ideas Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) uses inception to plant them. Mental inception. He enters the dreams of the victims through some futuristic devices that permit invaders to enter the dreams of the hosts. Cobb is master of it. So masterful that he planted in the mind of his wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard) who subsequently killed herself, for which he is blamed. Now a criminal in America, Cobb ventures to the Orient to work for Saito who is trying to convince the owner of the Fischer/Morrow energy conglomerate to break up the business in order to block another energy monstrosity, Cobol Engineering from achieving world domination of the energy market. Cobb is charged with planting the idea of breaking up the company in the mind of Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), heir to the Fischer fortune, in a way that Robert would think it was his own idea. At the third level ... a dream within a dream within a dream.

This is a complex and intricate story and to try summarize it any further herein would be futile. It is not a check-your-brain-at-the-door story. If you saunter to the bathroom or kitchen too long without pausing the DVD you'll loose too much of the story and will have to hit [previous] which can lead to confusion itself. So, if you decide to watch this intensely violent flick, stay with it. But please consider informing yourself about the content of the film with the following findings summary or the detailed listing of findings in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide for which audience the film is fit. With a final score of 51 Inception is a lite R-13 film but a R-13 nonetheless.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
It is indeed possible for any film to earn a much less than zero score in any of the six investigation areas (W, I, S, D, O, M) if the content is thick enough with assaults on morality and decency. But since less than zero scores are meaningless to the scoring distribution, we use display delimiters to display zero for any less than zero score (If SCORE≤0 then DISPLAY=0). I point this out because intense and relentless violence caused Inception to earned a displayed score of zero in Wanton Violence/Crime (W). This means the actual score in Wanton Violence/Crime could be much less than zero. Well, it is. The Wanton Violence/Crime score is actually much less than zero -- minus 507! Inception is very violent film. It is truly equivalent to many R-rated films in violence.

While the scoring distribution may make Inception seemingly "tame" in some of the other five investigation areas, it is intensely violent. With an Examples per Hour figure of 64.3 in Wanton Violence/Crime there is something of the violent or criminal nature about every minute. And our Lord has some specific admonition against embracing such behavior [Prov. 16:29]. He even warns that such behavior can and does beget aggression in the observer, especially youth [1 Cor. 15:33]. So does the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and three others. Imagine that. Man finally agrees with God!

Further, the Influence Density (ID) figure should produce some concern about the fitness of this film for viewing. In our comparative baseline database (the group of 39 films used to perform verification and validation of our analysis model), R-rated films earned Influence Density figures of 0.78 to 2.04, the higher the figure the more severe the density of assaults on morality and decency. Inception earned an Influence Density score of 2.40 which is 118% more severe than the most severe figure earned by the comparative baseline database films. And for a film that is atypically long (2 hours and 20 minutes) such a high influence density figure is rare and clearly indicates a thickness of assaults on morality and decency not usual for even a PG-13 film.

Now let's take a look at the findings in the other five investigation areas.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 50 out of 100
Aside from 19 uses of profanity through the 140 minutes of programming, the only matters of impudent or hateful influence were a rude and unfair even exasperating move by Ariadne (Ellen Page) to manipulate Cobb and the lies. This investigation area, too, found content enough to warrant being equivalent to many R-rated films but mainly due to foul language [Col. 3:8].

Sexual Immorality (S) - 98 out of 100
Since the only matter of sexual nature was a flash scene of sexual intimacy between Dom and Mal, Inception with a Sexual Immorality (S) score of 98 out of 100 is easily equivalent to most G-rated films.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 57 out of 100
One will find booze and drinking in most PG-13 films. Inception is no exception. Because of repeated scenes of alcoholic beverages and drinking Inception earned a score of 57 out of 100 in this investigation area. That score makes the content PG-13 equivalent in Drugs/Alcohol (D).

Offense to God (O) - 24 out of 100
God's name was used many times in vain both with and without the four letter expletive, eleven times without it and five times with it. The Man whom God sent to earth to give up His Life that we may have everlasting life and who spent three days in Hell so you and I wouldn't have to spend one moment there is rather jealous [Ex. 20:5] about abuse of His name. So much so He will not hold guiltless s/he who uses His name in vain. [Deut.5:11]

Murder/Suicide (M) - 79 out of 100
There were many killings in the course of Inception but since each of them were defensive maneuvers or as a consequence of gun battle, none were classed as murder since the CAP analysis model incorporates only completed murders into this investigation area. However, each attempted murder and each instance of gunfire to kill with and without injury and each instance of defensive/gun battle killing was incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area. Regarding suicide, three times the viewer will see suicide, not graphic suicide but suicide nonetheless. Twice by jumping and once by train. The viewer will also see contemplation of suicide, suggestion of suicide as a desirable option and a firearm to the head of one character, but the CAP analysis model only incorporates completed suicides into this investigation area, not attempts at it or talk about it. All such cinematic demonstrations of attempted suicide and talk about it are incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area scoring.

Be sure to visit the listings in the Findings/Scoring section for a detailed accounting of the findings made by viewing Inception.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Ex. 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; [Abuse of His name is certainly a measure of hatred, if not of Him then of His Word.]
  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" ["man" here is enowsh {en-oshe"}: man (collective), mortal, person, mankind; contracted for iysh {eesh}: whosoever, each] can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not since the cinematic display is at the hands men and women, in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil or the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], and filthy language [aischrologia: foul speaking, low and obscene speech] from your lips.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than in prayer, with respect or reverence or in responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus/Christ when I said that" or "It's just words" or "I was acting" or "I was quoting" will not work with God.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Inception (2010) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • firearms, frequent
  • ocean survival peril
  • breaking and entering
  • gunfire to kill, frequent
  • killing by gunfire, frequent
  • firearm to the face, repeatedly
  • firearm to threaten or control, repeatedly
  • intentional gunfire injury to intimidate or kill, repeatedly
  • assault with firearm, repeatedly
  • contemplation of suicide or considering it as an option, three times
  • planning crime, repeatedly
  • dead body
  • coercing to commit crime
  • action violence of varying intensities, frequent
  • physical assault, repeatedly
  • stabbing, twice
  • seeking criminal assistance
  • gambling
  • tantrum
  • auto theft
  • mix of traffic and gunfire to kill
  • gunfire injury with blood, repeatedly
  • abduction at gunpoint, twice
  • false imprisonment
  • suggesting suicide as an option to misery
  • threatening suicide to manipulate
  • contemplating suicide with firearm to head
  • spitting up blood
  • traffic violence
  • fall killing, twice
  • physical assault, repeatedly
  • killing by explosion
  • underwater peril

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 50 out of 100
  • 19 uses of profanity
  • rude and unfair move to manipulate
  • lies

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 98 out of 100
  • one flash of sexual intimacy (without nudity)

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 57 out of 100
  • bar
  • booze, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • illegal use of sedatives

    Offense to God (O) - 24 out of 100
  • 11 uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive and 5 with it

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 79 out of 100
  • suicide, non-graphic, three times, twice by jumping and once by train

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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