Put in a lot of words for one of my densest Overthinking It articles yet, trying to figure out how much an inception costs. Not the movie, but the actual dream-heist.
Saito has a sense for how much an inception could cost. Powerful people in Inception already know about dream extraction – both the technology and how it’s done. Saito and Fischer have both had training in recognizing and resisting an extraction. So Cobb, Art and their team aren’t genies offering them a pearl beyond price. They’re professionals in a rarefied field. Buying an inception is like buying a yacht big enough to land a helicopter on: by the time you’re rich enough to afford one, you’ll know where to start looking.
(Tangent: this is one of my favorite things about Inception. It cuts down on the amount of exposition needed by presuming everyone already knows what dream extraction is. Even the team’s one neophyte, Ariadne, accepts what’s happening to her as soon as it happens. There’s no awkward moments of, “No! This can’t be real! How are you inside my head?” This is a refreshing change of pace, presuming that the protagonists are at least as smart as the audience. It’s also fortunate, as Inception is a rather talky movie already)