As Inception completes 10 years, we look at the sub-story of Cobb-Mal romance in the Christopher Nolan film
Fascinating stories usually contain at least one sub-story that bursts with dramatic potential—one that, if developed, could well be a fulfilling story unto itself. Such sub-stories often remain under-explored on account of grander pursuits of the parent narrative. To set context for this piece, here’s citing a few examples of sub-stories from Christopher Nolan films. Walking out of Prestige, it’s hard not to wonder what the lives of the Borden twins would have been like, growing up. What sacrifice must it have taken for these twins to live their entire lives, dedicated to a singular goal? In another Nolan film, Interstellar, a scientist, Dr. Romilly, is forced to spend 23 years in isolation in a spacecraft hovering in spatial wilderness. What would life have been like for Dr. Romilly, with his hopes of human company getting dashed year after year? Or in the same film, what must the life of Murph have been like, waiting for her father? What must it have been like for this girl to grow up to be a woman, to become a scientist like her ghost-father, while never truly making peace with his disappearance? Or how about in The Dark Knight, when Alfred tells Bruce Wayne about the time he was in Burma—you know, when he learned that some people just like to watch the world burn? Who was Alfred then? What was his life before he took upon the mantle of serving the Waynes?
Here, we look at one such sub-story in a Nolan film—Inception that has completed 10 years now. I’m talking of the Cobb-Mal romance that occurs in a dystopian wasteland, a romance that unravels more in our minds than in the film—which is only fitting, considering that much of Inception happens largely in its characters’ heads. This is a romance fully deserving of a film unto itself… And it’s a story I would argue isn’t the tragedy it is generally thought to be.
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For the remainder of this column (and there’s a lot more left, I assure you), visit https://www.cinemaexpress.com/stories/trends/2020/jul/18/why-the-cobb-mal-relationship-in-inception-isnt-a-tragedy-19406.html