This essay provides a critical reading of the 2010 science fiction film Inception, advancing two theses about contemporary mass culture. First, mainstream cultural products contain certain utopian moments. Yet while they may offer glimpses of a world radically transformed in certain respects, this transcendent impulse rarely extends to the depiction of social relations. In fact, such products can be effective in consolidating dominant ideologies and naturalizing the existing political-economic order, because their sharp break from scientific or metaphysical realities may serve to conceal a symptomatic silence on matters of social organization. Second, this tension internal to commercial culture poses an opportunity for political intervention. The mass-cultural product, insofar as it must appeal to broadly felt desires, frequently makes a utopian or transformative promise that cannot be realized by the commodity itself. A culturally attuned Left could highlight this inadequacy by reappropriating mainstream cultural symbols in order to draw broader attention to struggles for social transformation.