I really enjoyed the movie, and I'd like to see it a second time soon, but I can't decide yet if the story has substance to it or just the illusion of substance.
I have a few questions about the complex final act of the movie:
Let's see if I have this straight:
-- Seven characters were asleep on the plane ride, dreaming about being in a rainy city (dream 1). They were sedated so that dying in the dream would not wake them up; the only way to get out of the dream was to wait for the sedative to wear off (which they did after getting out of the submerged van).
-- Six characters were asleep inside the van, dreaming about being in a hotel (dream 2). They were sedated so that dying in that dream would not wake them up, so they used a "kick" instead. The kick was originally supposed to be the van hitting the edge of the bridge, but they ran out of time and ended up using the van hitting the water instead. Why didn't the first kick still wake them up, though?
-- Five characters were asleep in the hotel, dreaming about being at an alpine hospital (dream 3). They were sedated so that dying in that dream would not wake them up, so they used a "kick" instead. The kick was originally supposed to be a slight drop, but the hotel lost gravity due to the van being in a free-fall, so they used an elevator propelled by explosives coming to an abrupt stop.
-- Why did they blow up the hospital in dream 3? I thought they couldn't get out of a dream by dying. Also, I thought the drop in the elevator was supposed to wake them all up.
-- Why did Cillian Murphy's character go into DiCaprio's character's dream when he was shot in the hospital?
One other thing. We saw Page's character making a totem to use like DiCaprio's character used the top. It looked like she cut the top off a chessman. I was a bit disappointed that it never seemed to show up again in the movie, unless I missed it. It seems a bit like a "Chekhov's gun" that was never fired.
Please correct me if I got any of the facts about the movie wrong. I love a movie that clearly establishes the rules of its world and then follows them (or show the consequences of breaking them), but this was a lot to keep track of!