Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discussion

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Aragorn, Jul 15, 2010.

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Grading

  1. Excellent

    71.0%
  2. Above average

    23.7%
  3. Average

    3.6%
  4. Below average

    1.8%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. marillion

    marillion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Ok.. Saw it.. Really loved it a lot.. Now.. Bring on Tron...

    Oh.. my review.. Short and sweet..

    I was SOOOO glad that Nolan stayed away from the trite and jaded "dream sequence" stuff that takes place in so many movies from the past.. Lots of swirling mists and colors.. Goofy stuff that really adds up to nothing more than filler.. Kind of like the Enterprise flying into V'ger.. What seems like an endless excuse to blow the budget on FX. Sure there was stuff that was obviously "unreal", but it was firmly planted in the "real world"..

    My only issue.. Leo.. I really just don't like him as an actor.. I'd like to see him without the stubble sometime... I know he looks 12 without it, but c'mon.. There was very little difference between his look and attitude between Inception and Shutter Island.. Dead wife.. Longing for his kids.. I realize that's related to a plot device and not his performance, but he played it the same way..
     
  2. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Murphy's character is making a life changing choice, even if on a dream/movie level. That makes him a protagonist, even if the movie structure can't properly place it in juxtaposition to DiCaprio's supposed choice. Since in your version DiCaprio both rejects and accepts dreams/movies, strictly speaking he doesn't make any choice. Which means he is not much of a protagonist in a dramatically meaningful sense.

    DiCaprio's got a pathetic story and a basic motivation and the movie is structured to focus on whether he wins. The simplest interpretation is that he does. The forced and selective interpretation is that he's chooses the dream, i.e., loses. The movie focuses on the mechanics so much that DiCaprio's character is not that compelling, making a lousy tragic hero.

    I'll see your "bah," and raise you a "humbug." No, it is impossible to live in a dream or a movie, because they end. Despite the (scientifically preposterous) premise that the deeper the level, the more time seems to pass, DiCaprio will not stay in "limbo." His character will wake up! Apparently you've confused the premise of the movie with mediaeval theology.

    It's nice for you that you were enthralled by all the action sequences and the complexity of the characters. I saw things quite differently. I suppose you're implicitly claiming greater sensitivity. Permit me to disagree.

    But, beyond the irresolvable question of who has better taste, there is the simple fact that the movie made quite a bit of sense, for the very simple reason that Nolan devoted a lot of thought to exposition of the complex rules of the fictive universe. It is only the forced and selective misinterpretations that reduce the movie to nonsense.

    The movie is plagued by wooden characters; dull action sequences; over generous use of movie cliches; a too exclusive on the question of whether the hero wins at the expensive of the implicit themes; an unnecessary motivation/subplot impelling DiCaprio into the unconstructed dream space; improper structuring of Murphy's counterparallel story. The notion that the end is a dream is in defiance of the previously sensible rules, in defiance of the simple on screen fact the top is falling (yes, it is falling, that is what the precessing, the wobble means! It would have been boring to wait til the thing actually hit the table as well as unnecessary,) and in defiance of the scene where DiCaprio rejects Cotillard for insufficiency of dreams/movies.

    Oh, my. When DiCaprio rejects Cotillard (the evil/"mal" one,) you just know he's going to be rewarded for his virute by getting his kids back. When the top starts to fall, you know he's won and you are immensely satisfied.

    If it is a dream, it is not even the ending for DiCaprio. The character will wake up. Moving beyond the movie Inception, to the notion that this is a metaphor for real life, in which it does not matter whether we tell ourselves lies, in which questions of reality are academic, I can only say: This is not just nonsense, but pernicious nonsense, if anyone actually believes it. Positive thinking does't make you happy and refusing to look at reality has consequences.
     
  3. Ubik

    Ubik Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Well, Stj, as for everything but your last point, we've both had our piece, and I agree, I think it does come down to a matter of taste, and we'll have to agree to disagree. I am not someone who blindly follows all movie illogic just because I think the action is cool (I despise Fight Club and Usual Suspects, for example, and never seem to be able to convince anyone that these movies make no sense. It's absolutely frustrating.) But, for whatever reason, all intellectualizing aside, I just loved this movie. It worked on me. Emotionally. The way a Philip K. Dick novel (often a badly constructed and ill-thought-out one) does. I see your points, though, and all I can say is, "None of that mattered to me, because I loved it." Maybe that makes me a bad movie critic. Or a good one. I'm not sure.

    As for your last point, though, this one I stand by, and I believe you're objectively wrong. The statement I believe the movie is making may be pernicious, and it may be nonsense, but I believe it to be arguable. I would argue, in fact, that most people, perhaps including even you and I, are not perceiving the "objective" reality as much as we think we are (if such a thing even exists), and that we are, rather, living in worlds of our own creation. I'm not talking about whether the world is round or flat, or whether pigs fly, but about all the stuff that's more vague, more subjective, having to do with perceptions and values and emotions and opinions - I think most of us tell ourselves (unknowingly) what we need to tell ourselves to be sane, and never do we test that world against any kind of objective reality. That is what I found myself thinking about the last scene of the movie, and again, that's why I find the ambiguity both present and interesting.
     
  4. Trippy

    Trippy NaNoWriMo Victim Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    My son and I saw it this afternoon...we both enjoyed it a lot! The effects were great, and I loved DiCaprio in it, and the supporting cast too :techman:

    And yes, we were talking about the ending for hours afterwards :lol: That's a good movie!
     
  5. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Amen to that! As much as I love Inception, Tron remains my most anticipated film of the year. Like I said in my review post, I was floored by the trailer I saw in IMAX. I can't wait. :D
     
  6. M'rk son of Mogh

    M'rk son of Mogh Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    There were a few things I was a little hazy on.
    Why were some things (Watanabe getting shot) transferred from one level to the next, but others (weightlessness) not?

    Shouldn't everyone in level 2 be flying off the mountain because of level 1? (Also, when I've dreamed I was falling, I've never had that gut in your throat feeling of falling, I'm just... falling. As in, it's simulated, I might as well be watching it on TV. Wouldn't that apply in dreams as well? ie, falling in level 1, because it's not a REAL fall, wouldn' t affect level 2? Since there is no true sensation? I dunno, we can't exactly prove this can we. ;))

    And I admit I don't understand how Murphy's character died and went to "limbo", while Leo and what's her name go to level 4 and that's the same as limbo, but he's alive and that brings him back to life in level 3?

    I admit, I could just be kinda dumb when trying to keep up with the movie. But it really just didn't do much for me. And I don't like Joseph Gorden Lovett (sp?) as an actor. He doesn't seem natural, everything about him screams "Look at me, I'm an actor, I'm acting in a movie." It's tough to explain. I felt the same way when I saw him in Brick.

    But Tom Hardy was awesome! Nice to see him moving on from Shinzon and doing well with the part!
     
  7. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Watanbe's injury didn't carry over between the levels when they arrived at the hotel level and the Goldeneye level he was fine. The poor clod simply got shot again during the firefight in the Goldeneye level. I have no idea on the weightlessness it does seem to make sense it should've transfered over too.

    FWIW: The mountain was Level 3, Level 2 was the hotel and it does seem to me the weightlessness/falling should've transfered over -at least by an "logic" I could come up with on why it wouldn't- As far as how you respond to falling in dreams that may depend on the dreamer or it might just be one of the ways this movie looked at dreams differently than they are in the real world. For example, last night I actually had a dream where I was asleep in the dream! Using this movie's logic my sleeping in the dream should've compounded the "dream time dilation" but in actuality it didn't as I was just... asleep and nothing more. (Though near as I can tell I wasn't dreaming within the dream, though've I've had that happen to me too.)

    Him dying and going to Limbo had something to do with the heavy sedative they were on (he died instead of waking up.) For this movie's logic "dying in a dream" and not waking up sends you down a dream level. Now, when they go to Limbo and it's Leo's limbo is one of two things. Either Leo's character was controling all of this so it was "his Limbo" -much like they were all controlling the city level, hotel level, etc.- or Limbo as an actual "place" that'd be the same for everyone everywhere anytime. Him "dying" in Limbo brought him back to life, I think, because Limbo is the bottom level so like "dying in a dream" wakes you yp if you "die" in limbo you go up a level. The problem is in Limbo the time dilation is compounded many times from the real world so decades pass compared to the hours in the real world and (it seems) one cannot "die of old age" in the dreams so you have to kill yourself in Limbo to get out of it.

    So they had to go into Limbo, find Murphy, kill him, to get him to "wake up" in the Goldeneye level (again he can't fall any further so he goes up a level, but if he dies again he still cannot wake up in any of the other levels because of the sedatives so he'd go to Limbo.) Ellen kills herself in Limbo, again to go up a level, while Leo stays behind to find Wantabe to kill him so they can all go up a level.

    Now the sedative they used was powerful enough to knock them out for several hourse yet not powerful enough to keep them so sedated that the "kick" wouldn't work. For this reason everyone pretty much had to be in the same places at the same time to ride the kick up a level.

    So. :deep breath:

    Ellen and Murphy "die" in Limbo to get back to the Goldeneye level, Leo stays behind, catches up with Wantabe to kill both of them to go up a level (and remember Leo has years to do this compared to the time in the Goldeneye level) to put all of them, accept for the guy in the hotel level, in the Goldeneye level the building is blown-up to get them all to wake up in the hotel's level.

    The elevator crashes to "kick" them awake in the van.

    Awake in the van, here, I think they had to hide-out and wait for sedative to wear off.

    Also keep in mind their whole plan had to be accelerated and made up pretty much as they went along due to the "immune system" Murphy had been trained with. While they would've had something like a week's worth of time in Level 1 it was decreased to hours because of the immune system.

    IIRC "factors of twelve" compounded through the dream world so something like eight days needed to pass in the city dream world, three months in the hotel world, three years in the Goldeneye/snow world and almost 40 years in the Limbo level.

    Can't say I recall seeing JGT in anything that sticks out in my mind, I'm sure I have, so I guess he's not an actor who leaves an impression on me. Neither does Leo, for that matter. As for "being dumb" don't fret it. There was a lot to keep track of in this movie and, honestly, I'd probably have to see it again to make sure. Hell, if I wanted to be overly critical of it I'd say the entire movie is exposition to "teach the audience" how things are going to work during the third act and they just kinda tossed in the stuff with Mal to make it seem like there was a plot. So, in essence, the first two acts of the movie was their little "How Our Climax is Going to Work: For Dummies!" But it was interesting and fascinating for me. I love mind-bending things like they presented here that just gets me thinking.

    You're like the umpteenth person in this thread to mention Hardy "moving on" from Shinzon or something along those lines with NEM. You guys realize Hardy's done other movies and work (likely more stage work) since Nemesis, right? And that his Nemesis role is likely not notable to anyone but Star Trek fans, right? I mean, Nemesis was made like eight years ago.

    EDIT - I did miss something. I forgot about the building collapse being the Goldeneye level's "kick."

    So the building blows up to "kick" them awake in the Hotel. (Man that must've been awkward. "What the fuck are you doing to us, man?!")

    The elevator crashes and they "kick" awake in the van. Now we seem them scrambling to get everyone out of the van and ashore. IIRC they had to... hide out here for several days to avoid the immune system until the sedative wore off? Because there's nothing they can do in the dream due to sedative to wake themseleves up, right? That was the problem they had with the immune system and "dying" there not really waking them up, and instead sending them to Limbo. :scratches head:

    Dammit. I need to see this movie again! :lol:
     
  8. Small White Car

    Small White Car Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    99% great.

    Last 5 seconds are total BS.
    F- for those 5 seconds.

    I hate that kind of #*&*$%. It doesn't matter which way you decide to see it, it's still done wrong either way. If you think it stayed spinning then why the wobble? If you think it fell, why didn't we see it? No matter which choice you pick, Nolan decided to kick you in the crotch.

    And here's the thing, I can see the appeal in either reading of the film. BOTH directions open up countless explorations into thought and dreams. BOTH would be great endings. But we are robbed of those discussions with that ending. Need proof? Look no further than this thread which consists of people talking ad-naseum about what the ending meant. We shouldn't be doing that. This insipid "Lady or the Tiger" crap is a waste of time and prevents us from talking about the really interesting parts of the movie. Nolan created wonderful puzzles and then blew fairy dust in our faces to distract us FROM all the wonderful concepts he created. Totally crap move.

    Great film, otherwise. :techman:
     
  9. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    I saw the movie last night, and I liked it, but I wasn't in love with it. Outside of DiCaprio, the characters are mostly chess pieces. Lukas Haas, Peter Postlethwaite, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine each have parts that are almost inconsequential. It's perhaps a sign of Nolan's growing power in Hollywood that he could cast such performers in roles that are barely more than cameos. The rest of the cast fits their roles, but do we ever learn much about Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, or Dileep Rao? Not really. Page is an exposition machine for the audience to learn about the sf conceit, and DiCaprio. The others are interchangeable action heroes. Ken Watanabe at least has a slightly different goal than earning a buck (splitting up a corporate empire in order to earn a buck), and both Cillian Murphy and Marion Cotillard manage to have a little shading to them, but they're not terribly complex, either.

    Where the movie succeeds is in its imagery and concept (alas, the most imaginative images were shown in the trailers, but that's hardly the film's fault). The two key scenes, visually, being the folding of the city upon itself, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's action scenes in variable gravity.

    It's good enough that it earns a B or a B+, depending on my mood. But it's not quite good enough to earn an excellent rating. It's still better than everything else released this summer--at least that I've seen.

    stj -- It seems odd to be insisting that the top falls at the end of the movie--it simply doesn't. It wouldn't become boring to wait two more seconds and see the top fall, but it would become definitive, something the end of this movie does its very best to avoid. We see the faces of the children for the first time, which suggest reality. They appear unchanged in appearance from the dream, which suggests it isn't reality. It's ambiguous and designed to fit more than one interpretation. If you view that as a drawback, fine, but don't ignore it. Nolan has shown that he likes ambiguity in his endings in the past--witness his commentary on Memento. It has three different endings, which play back randomly, suggesting a different interpretation each time.

    Also, a question. If DiCaprio is indeed dreaming at the end, then he won't wake up, will he? It was my understanding that somebody caught in limbo would spend so long dreaming that they would live a full life and "wake up" a complete vegetable. In other words, DiCaprio will have his life with his children and then, at the end, die.
     
  10. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Not quite.

    The idea is that while in limbo you, as I understand it, cannot die. He and Mal had lived a lifetime there something like 40 or 50 years -long enough to be old and gray by the time they ended it. But limbo does leave your "real world" body comatose and the length of time it's like this could be days, weeks, months or years or until your body dies/is taken off life support. So when you do wake up you'll have all your faculties -as he and Mal did after a fairly short time passing in the real world- but if ages pass in the real world it's possible that your body will be disabled, like how if someone were to wake up from a PVS they'll mostly be mentally capable but their body will need rehabilitation.

    So if at the end Leo is still "in Limbo"/a dream he could someday wake-up and still be -mostly- mentally sound but his body may not be up to snuff depending on how long he was in a PVS, and they be a bit disoriented -as Picard was when he woke up at the end of The Inner Light.

    But he would wake up and likely have most use of his mind depending on how badly his brain was messed up during the coma he'd be in during the intervening time.
     
  11. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Ah, I see.

    Another interpretation of the ending, which I'm sure has been suggested but I haven't caught, is that Mal was right. Thus, DiCaprio wakes up in the "real world," but it's all a dream, anyway. His totem casts this reading in some doubt, though, I suppose.
     
  12. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    The way I saw it, since Saito was dying in the dream state, that instead of waking up, because the sedative Yusuf gave everybody was so strong, that his mind would be mush when he woke up. The same would presumably happen to Cobb -- since they were so deep into the sub-conscious, and the sedative was so strong -- that he would be lost in limbo for a very long time, and when he woke up, he would have very limited mental capacity.

    That was the concern on Cobb's part when Saito got shot, since if he died in the dream, when he woke up he wouldn't have any mental capacity thus forgetting the deal he made with Cobb in the first place.

    So I would assume the same would've happened with Cobb -- he would have lived, but when he did wake up, his mind would be pretty much gone.
     
  13. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    This is how I saw it as well. Cobb spelled it out pretty plainly.
     
  14. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Mostly how I, sorta, saw it. But I guess it depends on how long they'd be in the limbo state as the guy said it could be weeks or years or forever and, much like being in a coma, the longer you're in that state the more useless you'd be when you woke up.
     
  15. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Inception made $13 million on Friday, just narrowly beating out Angelina Jolie's Salt which opened to $12 million. It looks like it'll be a close race for #1 this weekend, with Inception getting the slight edge. If estimates hold, Inception will make anywhere from $30-$45 million this weekend. Not bad for its second weekend, especially since it has been making strong numbers during the week as well.
     
  16. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Well, yeah, but Saito was in that state long enough to become a super old man, even though only 10 hours in the real world had passed. You'd have to be stuck there a LONG time before your body would start to atrophy.

    I think the reason Cobb and Mal were okay (aside from Mal's obvious suicidal desires) when they woke up was because they were trapped in Limbo together and were keeping each other's minds working. Unlike Saito, who was just an old man, full of regret, waiting to die alone. He was lucky that he woke up with his brain still intact.
     
  17. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    See I'm not so sure it's a matter of the "time spent" in Limbo so much as the time spent in the real world and what physically happens to your body. People in comas who wake up after even a couple of years still have a lot of recovery to go through to even begin to be functional.

    Mal and Leo were asleep for a "normal" ammount of time which, yeah, translated to decades of time in Limbo but in the real world their bodies didn't atrophy. The problem comes, as their chemist said, is that they could (in the real world) be stuck in Limbo for any ammount of time due to the circumstances of their situation. (The drugs, the immune system.)

    So it was a matter if Watanabe was "in a coma" in the real world for even one year that'd translate to twenty thousand years in limbo (going by the "factors of twelve" thing.) So yeah that'd problaby make him loopy in the head a bit and mess him up when he awoke. The 16-hour flight only translates to about 38 years a normal life time which is how when he awoke he was -mostly- OK and same for Leo and Mal (aside from Mal's "inception") they had only lived a normal life span.

    So, -to me- the time spent in Limbo wasn't as big of a problem as how long their bodies were in a coma because the longer their bodies were in a coma the longer they'd be in "Limbo." Sleep a normal ammount of time and you'd, more or less, wake up ok. Disoriented, but okay. But if your body goes into a coma, either by itself or from the situation they were in, you'd sepnd an eternity in Limbo which would severely fuck you up in the head.

    So when Wantabe woke up he'd only been in Limbo for close to 40 years and, like shaking off a dream when you wakeup, it was probably fairly easy to shrug it off as a dream, come out of it, and go on as normal.

    But if the situation had put him in a coma for a year, 10 years, whatever he'd go mad in "Limbo" and would wake up in that madness having lived an eternal length of time in a surreal nightmare. Everything he'd know would, from his prespective, have been eons ago and probably harder to shrug off.
     
  18. M'rk son of Mogh

    M'rk son of Mogh Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    That just got me wondering.... how do you get to limbo again?

    For the climax, it was going 4 (or was it 5? I'm losing count) levels deep, right? But in order to go that deep, one person has to remain behind so that you enter "their" dream. As I understand it.

    So how did Cobb and wifey go that deep with just the two of them?
     
  19. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    They had to keep someone awake in the upper levels to provide the "kick" to get them back up a level. Someone being awake in the upper levels isn't needed to get to the deeper levels, just a way to get down to them.

    Without the drugs they used on the plane to but themselves in such a deep sleep they'd wake up if shot/died/whatever, that's why they used the drugs. They had to leave someone behind in each level to provide the "kick" (which the drug was designed to still allow). Mal and Leo simply put themselves in a deeper and deeper dream state and provided their own kicks to go back up the levels into the real world.
     
  20. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Harvey, the top is spinning so fast that it would have taken considerably more than two seconds to fall, additional time that would have added zero to the point. When the top starts to wobble, it's falling. That's the way spinning object (that aren't in free fall, anyhow) act. The movie makes a point of justifying the virtual reality approach by announcing dreams always seem real. And the only exceptions, the tilting and the free fall and so on, are explicitly justified by the rather remarkable sedative that does not affect the inner ear. Best not to look under the hood to see how that works.

    It's kind of baffling that people can imagine there's any ambiguity about whether the top falls. We see it falling!
    By the rules so extensively established it means the scene is real. Moments earlier, DiCaprio rejected dream/movie Cotillard as inadequate. And the contrast to the fake catharsis Murphy experiences adds ambiguity, by presenting two answers as to whether dreams/movies are as good as or better than reality.

    The business with the gun when DiCaprio finds the aged Watanabe is ambiguous, though. By the rules established, death in a dream when the dreamer can't waken is how you end up in limbo. The train suicide was to fool Cotillard into thinking she had escaped from limbo. "Suicide" or "death" in limbo makes no sense as the way out. The hint that DiCaprio and Watanabe kill themselves raises the question of whether they have actually wakened in the next sequence. That question is answered by the top falling.

    I am curious as to what people think happened to Watanabe if the final sequence is a dream while somehow the rest is just as depicted. DiCaprio's off hand claim that it is mind destroying ignores his own experience. Cotillard's subsequent mental illness was caused by DiCaprio's inception. It is just a case of inflating the peril to raise the stakes. Kind of corny but Nolan is not a very good writer.

    The assumption that Nolan intended for us to see the top falling, but to wonder what happened when we didn't see it fallen is the same as assuming that neither Nolan nor anyone else associated with the movie knows how tops behave. This seems remarkably ungenerous to me.
     

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