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Watch All The Layers of “Inception” Unfold Simultaneously

Watch All The Layers of “Inception” Unfold Simultaneously (photo)

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“Inception,” with its dreams within dreams and worlds atop worlds, is the sort of movie that demands repeat viewings (that’s the nice way of putting it; the less nice way would be to say that it was kind of confusing the first time through). I had a feeling that once people got their hands on the film in the form of DVDs and Blu-rays and the like they’d be dissecting it like the Zapruder film.

Sure enough, Christopher Nolan’s dreamy heist film doesn’t hit store shelves until tomorrow, and we’ve already got an interesting attempt to examine the film’s structure in YouTube video form. It’s entitled “‘Inception’ in Real-Time” by user weikang:

What’s most fascinating is to watch the way time in the other three deeper dream levels fluctuates to accommodate beats that sync up with the driving-the-van-in-the-rain level (in the upper left hand corner of the screen). In the world of “Inception,” time moves slower the deeper you move into these dreams within dreams, so a few seconds driving in the rain could be hours to the people in the second looking-very-dapper-at-a-hotel level. So obviously, when played simultaneously, time in that hotel level needs to move very quickly in order to cram all of its story into the allotted time of the van level.

But time doesn’t seem to move consistently throughout. For example, the hotel level’s story is zooming by in super-speed until Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character gets into that zero-g fight. Suddenly time moves at something close to normal speed, as the hotel level’s gravity is being directly affected by the van rolling down the hill in the van level (God, I’m getting sick of typing the word level, already). As the van continues to roll down the hill time accelerates again in the hotel level, then slows down even further as the van comes to a halt. I suppose if the movie were playing fair with its own rules, the flow of time would be constant and all the beats between the levels would match up perfectly. But watching the video, you can see how time has to occasionally dilate during the film in order to make beats between the various dreams sync up (that’s the nice way of putting it; the less nice way would be to say it cheats).

It’s also kind of fun just to see the top dream level re-edited to play out in continuous fashion and to see how most of the movie lasts just four and a half minutes from the perspective of Dileep Rao’s character (or technically a little bit less than that since Nolan uses slo-mo during all of the shots of the van flying through space, a device that could also account for some of the time fluctuations elsewhere). Because his beats are interspersed throughout the film, we never feel like we’ve lost Rao’s thread, but watching the movie’s chronology this way you have to admit: the dude kind of got shafted in the screen time department.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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