Sunday, 25 July 2010

Inception : Conclusion

"What's the most resilient parasite?

- An idea."

So, I watched Inception a few days back.

It was... mind-fucking!

I must say, this is the BEST movie I have ever watched.
I didn't even realize it was a 148-minutes movie.
It left me wanting MORE.

I couldn't take my mind off the movie even after I left the cinema and even accidently went into the male's toilet.

*WARNING : Spoilers ahead!"

You wouldn't understand what I will be talking about if you didn't watch the movie anyway. LOL!

The ending of the movie was unclear whether Dom Cobbs (Leonardo DiCaprio) was still dreaming or in a reality because the spinning top did not stop.

I wished that he was in reality because I've always liked happy endings.

Anyway, I researched about it and I don't think the director did published the ending anywhere.
The movie ended in such a way so that we can end it the way we wanted.

Based on many opinions in the web,
these are a few points that needs consideration before making a conclusion :

1. The spinning top is not his, it's Mal's.

In Mal's dream the spinning top never fell, but it could be different for Cobb.
Cobb first touched the totem in a dream world also.

Besides that, remember Arthur (Joseph-Gordon Levitt) told Ariadne (Ellen Page) that you cannot let other people touch your totem because you should be the only one who knows its weight etc?
The older version of Saito (Ken Watanabe) and his security guards also touched Cobb's totem when they captured him.

2. The children did not seemed to age BUT in the credits, there are 2 people hired for both characters :

Claire Geare - Philipa (3 years)
Magnus Nolan - James (20 months)

Taylor Geare - Philipa (5 years)
Johnathan Geare - James (3 years)

However, I didn't see any difference about the kids including their hairstyle and clothes and they were at the exact same position.

BUT, the movie did not specify how long he left his home, maybe it was just a month or so, that is why there were no changes?

I read a comment somewhere saying that the children on the beach looked smaller, maybe that is why they have 2 sets of casts (not sure).
It could also be because the kids in the telephone are different.

3. It wasn't shown whether Saito killed Cobb and himself, 'kicking' both of them into "reality".

4. There are many debates on whether the ENTIRE film was just a dream after all.
Cobb is performing inception on himself.
He is the architect of the dream but he used another architect inside his dream.

Besides that, in the dream phase 1, hitting the water was supposed to be the kick to bring them back to the plane ("reality") and yet we saw them swimming out of the van, sitting on the side of the water and talked some crap.
Not only so, the unstoppable projection army that is just above them on the bridge is letting them be.
This is because Cobb wants to see Robert Fischer come to the decision and it can't happen in the "real" world of the airplane where Robert Fischer will think it as a dream.

On top of that, there wasn't any complete scene in the movie and it kept jumping,
like what a dream is supposed to be.

5. If the whole movie was a dream,
it means Mal jumping down the building 'kicked' her into the REAL world.

BUT, if she really did, why wouldn't she wake Cobb up?

6. The last time we saw the spinning top fall was in Paris.
MAYBE, the master of inception, Miles (Michael Caine) manipulated the whole event so that Cobb forgives himself about Mal's death.

The rest of the crew are not projections but real people probably working for Miles perform inception in Cobb's mind that he is not responsible for Mal's death.
Besides, the rest of the crew also hardly questioned Cobb's decisions although he did put them in danger in the dream.

7. Ariadne could be the movie's real extractor.
Miles hired the best extractor he knew of (better than Cobb) to perform inception on him.

Her skills was so good even in the first exercise and she was able to manipulate the streets of Paris to fold up onto themselves.
How could she be so skilled in the first round?
Because she is a professional extractor of course!

8. It was mentioned that Robert Fischer was trained to protect his sub-conscious
(with the projections of army etc).

Who trained him?
Could it be because they were in Cobb's dream all along and since Cobb is a profession extractor, he has been trained to protect his sub-conscious?

Or, Ariadne trained Robert Fischer?

9. Cobb and Mal were in the dream world for 50 years.
It was said that 5 minutes (real world) = 1 hour (Dream Phase 1).
Thus, the calculation should be :
It would be illogical that they slept for 4 years.
It is also humanly impossible that their body can be at that stage for that long without food and water.
(I don't remember what's the ratio for Dream Phase 2 though, sorry!)

That being said, this means they should be in deeper dream phases.

10. Limbo : a state of uncertainty.
Since the sedate was so high, when they die in the dream, they will not wake up but be in a Limbo instead.

Cobb died simultaneously in four dream stages
(drowned in the second, then blew up in the elevator, blew up in snow place in third, and Mal stabbed him in the fourth).

It means he was in a limbo.

11. It could be possible that Cobb never woke up from the chemist's place in Mombasa.

When Cobb "woke up" after using the new potion, he went to the toilet and tried to spin the top but Saito interrupted him and it wasn't shown whether the top fell.
This is so that Saito learnt about Cobb's plan to incept Robert Fischer and at the same time, make Cobb believe he "returned" home.

12. Cobb performed inception on himself but refuses to accept his current state as a dream because he believes it as a reality.

13. Someone also pointed out that Cobb always has his wedding ring during the dream world but never in the real world.
He did not have the ring in the last scene.

Cobb's wedding ring could be his totem!
Read this!

14. The top wobbled in the end and we did not get to see if it actually fell after that.
Earlier in the movie, it was shown that in the dream world, the top has a perfect spinning motion once it is up to its full momentum.

Flaws :
1. Cobb and his people incepted in Robert Fisher's (Cillian Murphy) mind that his uncle, Maurice Fisher (Pete Postlethwaite) kidnapped him.
So why did Robert still saved him from the sinking van?
Furthermore, Cobb and the gang mentioned that they were destroying one relationship but building Robert Fisher's relationship with his dad.

2. How could Robert Fisher didn't recognize Saito when they are supposingly head-to-head competitors?

3. Okay, this is not a flaw but just another question in my head :
Why was Mal at the opposite window of the hotel room?

4. Why isn't there any other projections in Mal and Cobb's world?

Conclusion :
The director, Christopher Nolan introduced rules and limitations to the story and structured itself within the same confines.
The debates about the conclusion can go on and on and on like the Penrose Staircase.

Personally, I think he was still in a dream. =(
Cobb told Ariadne not to recreate reality in dreams but in the end, he was embedded in a world of his own memories.
He was able to see his children's faces because his sub-conscious was finally free of guilt over Mal's death.

So, what do you think?
Was Cobb awake or dreaming in the end?

"You're waiting for a train. A train that will take you far away. You can't be sure where it will take you. But it doesn't matter - because we'll be together..."

Sources : 1,2,3,4,5,6


  1. read thru.. but i dont understand.. will be watching tomorrow! =)

  2. I actually watched the movie and was actually still quite mind-fucked by it. But now,after reading your post,I feel even worse! hahahahahah super confuse weh.but good movie :) and yes,I didn't realized the movie was that long and I actually feel dizzy(like don't know I am dreaming or not) after the movie for 15mins

  3. Wah!what a long review,looks like have to watch it to know.

  4. Wow, you actually analyse everything. After watching, I can't even remember the details!

  5. Great movie! Good job on the analyses :) Personally I agree with you .. he was still dreaming and just chose to stay and be happy ..for once.. free of guilt ...

    MY LATEST ENTRY: Inception (movie review): Awesome!

  6. haha. WOW. yea, i loved the movie too. must watch again!!!

    About number 9, the deeper they went in thru the "levels" the faster their brain worked or whatever.
    remember? in the big mission when they "died" they went to the bottom level. or the forth actually.

  7. dorothy : haha. yeala. tats y im saying they weren't on stage 1 dreaming only. they must have went deeper somemore. the entire film could be a dream.

  8. I think the ending is real. Coz right after the screen turns black, I swear I heard the top/totem 'dropped'. But thats just me xD

  9. jas : haha. tats 1st. i din hear any1 said tat! mayb someone dropped their things in the cinema is it? LOL. haha. but it could be real, based on the ring as Cobb's totem theory. =)

  10. I think it to be a dream because the kids are still wearing the same clothes and in the same pose. He could have just finally removed the ring because he could not bare to remember her since he caused her to kill herself.

  11. Dorothy: Hi, big mission means the inception on Fischer right? At first I thought Saito and Cobb ended up in fourth stage of dream on the mansion. But then here is my new theory:
    Towards the end, Cobb(dreamer) and Ariadne enter into a dream (fourth level) to save Saito and Fischer. Then Fischer and Adriadne escaped. When Cobb's in the van (1st stage died), fourth stage collapsed and bring Cobb to a limbo to join Saito. haha, howz that? But i still dont understand how did Cobb find Fischer by going deeper. Fischer is suppose to join Saito in limbo. Unless, the Fischer we saw in fourth level is not Fischer and just a projection. And the real Fischer is saved by Eames through a kick back to 3rd level from limbo.

  12. anonymous: I saw ppl wrote about the differences in their shoes, haha

  13. I love that movie! Great conclusion review! Hope there'll be someway that we can find out what's the real conclusion. You deserve to be in first place in Google Search!

  14. For me the hole movie is a dream. If you notice, when Cobb meet the Forger in Mombassa, Mrs Eames is playing some game and he only has 2 chips, but when Eames go to change the chips for money, he already has 2 full hands of chips. Another clue that the hole movie is a dream, is that Cobb works for a company called Cobolt, and for me that looks like a product from Cobbs imagination. Above all, Cobbs totem was toutch by many people and is corrupted. Mal was right when she commited suicide because it was the only way to wake from the dream. Nice movie, after Batmans 1 and 2, is the best. Chris Nolan is a genius.

  15. Cobb's wedding ring IS the totem for the audience. However, the producer did a good job in protecting Cobb's ring finger throughout the final scenes. There is no revelation of whether or not his ring is on. I have watched this move countless of times and have always tried to find another totem that would allow me to see if he entered reality or was simply just in another dream phase.

  16. HannahP : thanks for your info! I'm so gonna watch it again one of these days to find out. have to find time. LOL best movie ever made.

  17. inception conclusion

  18. Your math on #9 is wrong. The prolonged periods are 3 and 4 layers deep. Three dreams deep would result in (((50 years/12)/12)/12) which would result in about 10 days. 4 layers deep 50 years is 21 hours. Besides, ratio for deeper dreams is very uncertain. Only the first dream ratio is closely established

  19. hes wouldn't use the ring bc its like a coin. he could have removed it bc he had let his wife go. he said when they shared the dream u have to choose whose dream u go into, then fill it with their subconscious mind projection. also he said u only know u r not in the dream when u wake up and realize how strange it was. so why the importance on keeping it real. dreams by their nature are surreal. why run from the projections when they can create whatever they want? they only did this in practice, not while on the job being chased?
    why didn't they fly or do any of the things most commonly remember when they dream. he was a lucid dreamer trying too hard to keep it real bc he was in mal's subconscious. no one else had projection issues. mal was trying to wake him up. he killed her a few times and it didn't stop her.

    Arthur: So, a totem. It's a small object, potentially heavy, something you can have on you all the time...
    Ariadne: What, like a coin?
    Arthur: No, it has to be more unique than that, like - this is a loaded die.
    [Ariadne reaches out to take the die]
    Arthur: Nah, I can't let you touch it, that would defeat the purpose. See only I know the balance and weight of this particular loaded die. That way when you look at your totem, you know beyond a doubt you're not in someone else's dream.


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