vote on Inception's ending (spoilers obviously)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Temis the Vorta, Jul 31, 2010.

?

Inception ends with

  1. reality

    65.2%
  2. dream

    30.3%
  3. other

    4.5%
  1. Level 2 Diagnostic

    Level 2 Diagnostic Captain Captain

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    Can't you see that if you don't know the spelling of a minor fictional character's name, you're a total idiot who shouldn't even be allowed to use a computer? Now, please stop interrupting the circle jerk where everyone congratulates each other for being smart enough to understand this movie.
     
  2. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    I'd rather not know. If Nolan comes out and says either way it'd lessen my enjoyment of the film.
     
  3. EyalM

    EyalM Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That doesn't make a lot of sense. If the top still won't stop spinning, then all Mal had to do was to show it to Cobb to prove her point instead of framing him for her murder. The more likely scenario is that Mal span the top, it fell, but her paranoia led her to believe it wasn't her top (otherwise it's a big plot hole.
    Also, if Mal was right and they were still dreaming, then what's stopping her from "kicking" Cobb back to reality? Or if she can't, just come back into the dream (rise from the dead, from his POV) and show him she survived?
    The fact that Mal stayed dead in what Cobb perceived as the real world proved it was indeed real.

    Now, did Cob return to the real world at the end? I think so: the top was wobbling and since we didn't see the kids' faces before we can't tell if they changed or not.
     
  4. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    Cobb's rejection of Mal can only mean it's reality.
     
  5. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    It's the opposite of that. After decades in limbo Mal laid the top down and locked it away herself. She actively chose for their dream world to be "reality". Cobb eventually realized Mal had lost her grip. He went into her subconscious where he was able to find her totem and start it spinning again. That was the inception.
     
  6. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Exactly. What Mal did made her believe Limbo to be the real world, what Cobb (Leo) did made her believe Limbo was the dream world it actualy was and then want to wake her up. Unfortuantly the spinning top's influence in the dream-world/limbo carried over into the "real" world, drove Mal mad and made her kill herself believing she's simply going to wake up in the real "real" world.

    As Cobb himself says when you do implantation this deep it'll define that person and virtually make them into a new person driven to accomplish this "idea" that they had in their head and they would not rest or be satisfied until he accomplised it. This is why Mal and Cobb struggled so much after waking up Mal was utterly certain the "real world" was still a dream and the only way she could get to the real world was to wake up by killing herself. Now, her logic is flawed in that she should realize that the decades of time she's lived would mean she's in a deep dream state, so deep that if she tried killing herself she'd be more likely to "wake up" in Limbo than she would the "Real Real World" but regardless of that the deep implantation meant she pretty much had no choice. Spinning that top convinced her on a subconscious level that her world was not real.

    This is why the "ending was a dream" people have it so wrong because the driving force of this movie was for Cobb to let go of Mal, let go of his regrets and get back home to see his kids. Mal was no longer good enough for him and he had to let her go to move on with his life. If the ending was a dream then this is bullshit because it means Cobb didn't get what he wanted and, pretty much, Mal got what she wanted.

    The ending has to be in the real world for the character arc of Cobb to make any sense and to be worth a damn; if he's in a even "deeper" dream state, in a different version of Limbo or something along those lines then Cobb didn't get what he wanted and his coming to grips with the past and letting Mal go (doing both by killing her in Limbo) is all pointless. Also it does matter than "even if he's still in a dream he got to see his kids" because seeing his kids in a dream wasn't good enough for him and not what he wanted.

    He wanted to see his "real" kids, the kids he had always known. That the kids look (more or less) the same is meaningless and can be written off as simply movie slieight-of-hand. If they used noticably older kids then the audience wouldn't immediately recognize them. No real, good, indication is given in the movie on how much time has passed between Mal's death and the events of the movie, the conversation Leo has with his kids over the phone suggests that they're still pretty young, his son still young enough to think that mom is coming back home even though he's been told she's gone, for all we know only a year could've passed between when Leo left home and the events of the movie. Also the point seemed to be that he could not see his kids faces in the dream is because he didn't know what they looked like in that final moment; in a way we could probably extrapolate that seeing his kids' faces were his uber-totem. Seeing them told him, for sure, he was in the real world and what happened with the top didn't matter.

    It's also worth pointing out, in conclusion, that I think Leo was back in as much of the real world as he thought he was in during all of the "real world" scenes througout the movie. As there's little reason to even believe anything in this movie occured in the "real world."
     
  7. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    You're right. I misremembered the scene. Still, I think I was trying to make the right point. :p
     
  8. coolghoul

    coolghoul Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    While watching the movie, I didn't quite understand this point.

    So - they have gone into dream state and are living for 50 years. I take it that they entered via various levels since in order to live 50 years, it wouldn't be possible in first-level dreaming. Are we shown their different levels? (I know you might think this is a silly question but I am going to ask anyway).

    Then, evidently in the level where they are alone doing world-building or whatever, they decide to stay on for 50 years. Why is it that this level doesn't have people besides them? Shouldn't their "projections" populate this level? Why is it that they were able to keep their people-as-projections out of this level?

    From what I understood, Mal starts treating this world as reality and locks the totem away. How does Cobb remember that this is a dream? He doesn't seem to have an individual totem of his own? Are we to take it that he doesn't somehow succumb to the dream-world's charms?

    So anyway Cobb decides to do something. What is it? It involves him going into that house-replica and open the safe and do what to the top? And why does it work?

    (After thinking a little, all he does is set the top spinning. Since this is a dream, it will continue spinning and so whenever Mal next chooses to open the locker, she will see it still spinning and realize that this level is a dream. Is that correct? But she will also realize that somebody else has tampered with the totem - how would she know that this is the same top as her totem? Couldn't a projection (either of herself or Cobb's) go in and swap the totem out?)

    Ok - so anyway, the idea that they are in a dream - she gets it. But (in a different sequence in the movie) they are shown to be old. So how do they die (since the kick thing doesn't apply to this particular set of dreams) in that world-building level? We are (elsewhere in the movie) shown a shot of the train but both are young at that point so it shouldn't be the same world-building level of dream but a higher level, right? So did they just die of old age in the world-building level or something else happened there? For that matter, what happens, if you die of old age in the dream? Do you automatically move back to the higher level?

    Why does the totem "change" hands and come to Cobb? Is it because she no longer trusts the totem? And since she can't trust the totem, there really is no way for her to know if she's still in one of their dream levels or in reality? (Did I get that part right?) But here's a question - would one person's totem work for another person in the dream world? Evidently the totem is created in the real world but how is it transported with you into the dream? Ans: It's a projection of the person's subconscious knowledge of the totem. But *if* Mal died (or went up a level), how would her totem remain?

    Who's the architect of the 50-year dream that Mal and Cobb are in and who's the dreamer?

    Only Ellen Page and Cobb enter the 4th level - but whose fourth level do they enter? The third-level Mal's? Page's? Cillian's or Cobb's? (I thought that they entered third-level Mal - who is just a projection of Cobb's, so in effect they are entering Cobb's as architect and dreamer as the 4th level with Page joining in for the ride. So - how come Cobb finds himself at the same world-building level as Mal? Would all his attempts at 4th levels lead to the same place? I would think not - Dreams differ from time to time? How would he be able to "visit" the same dream-level at a later "period" from the previous time he had been there? I'd think what really happened is that he "recreates" the world-building level including projecting Mal as he remembers it.

    Meanwhile on the third level, Saito dies and enters Limbo.

    So, how is Cobb able to go from his 4th level to Saito's Limbo? Saito is already dead in the third level, you shouldn't be able to enter his dream (he's dead - you can only enter a living person's dream?).

    But somehow (How? Cobb enters Saito's limbo? or Cobb enters his own Limbo level and in his Limbo meets Saito - is that the true Saito or a projection of his? ) they get together. Saito recalls vaguley and now has to decide whether he wants to be young again and "be rescued" and reaches for the gun. The idea being that if you die in Limbo, you will go back to your previous level?

    Here the movie cuts away from the decision. Did they tell us how one can "escape" from Limbo?

    Also re the (in)famous top-twirling end - we see the top stumble and right itself a few times. Do we see it slowing? I couldn't make it out as slowing... How can it "right" itself like that? I still think he's in a dream (kids don't age, he seems to be weirded out in the plane when he "wakes" up, how come Michael Caine is meeting him when he should be in Paris (but he could have gone back to the US) and the top itself that seems to take a long time in deciding) but that's dissatisfying from a movie standpoint - (The protagonist dies without satisfying any story arc). Also, he leaves his top and goes out to meet his kids but later on, he would come back and turn the top again and figure out anyways whether he's back or still in a dream.
     
  9. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Wait.. she was called Mal? We (myself and the people I saw it with) all thought she was call Moll.
     
  10. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    We're not shown the different levels in Mal's and Cobb's shared dream, it seemed they were pioneers in the dream field and were the first to do the "dream in a dream" thing and get "down" to Limbo.

    [LEFT]
    [/LEFT]

    I'm not sure why Limbo was unpopulated, probably because it was less "dreaming" and more "coma."

    Mal was "enjoying" Limbo so much she locked the totem there, inert, which implanted in her the idea that Limbo was reality.

    Cobb spins the totem. He must've deduced it was the reason why Mal was so accepting of Limbo as "reality" in spinning the top he puts in her the idea Limbo is what it is, a dream. Unfortuantly this carried over into the real world.

    It works because it's the rules of this movie's world.

    She may have simply never gone back to check the safe.

    Kicking does apply. They just never used it because they were having a goog time. As for the age thing, movie "magic"/story-telling shrug off. They couldn't die of old age, since they weren't really aging, and the sedative they were on didn't preclude kicking from working, much like the climax of the film.

    Limbo was nothingness. They built what was there within their own minds.

    Dialogue in the movie indicates that if they were to fall into Limbo it would be Cobb's limbo since he's the only who's "been there." Saito wasn't dead since you can't die in a dream, only fall to limbo.

    You can escape from limbo, you just need a kick to do so/not be on a heavy sedative where dying won't wake you up.
     
  11. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    Cobb and Mal struck me as a Marie and Pierre Curie type. They seemed to be exploring the bleeding edge of the technology rather than executing a structured plan like with Fischer. They probably used something like the elevator in the scene with Ariadne to move that far down.

    We did see projections. That's what Mal and Saito's guards were.

    It's definitely gnawing at him. Remember, that's Cobb's subconscious at the end telling him to stay in limbo. We can just assume he had a totem and we never saw it.

    Forgetfulness is a side effect of being in limbo for long periods (the movie opens with Saito having almost forgotten Cobb). Mal doesn't even remember she tampered with the top so she certainly wouldn't realize Cobb did.

    Dying in limbo is a kick. We saw Mal and Cobb lay down in front of the train which kicked them straight back to the real world.

    Symbolism. It's part of the idea that's "infected" Cobb. It's also a representation of the guilt he's carrying around. They never do say why she just didn't test the totem but it's possible the idea is so entrenched in Mal's mind nothing would have convinced her.

    Sure. The only prerequisite for a totem is someone else can't know it well enough to duplicate it in the dream world.

    There is no dreamer like with the other levels. Limbo is pure unconstruced space. Since Cobb was the only person who'd ever been there before what they landed in were the remnants of Mal and Cobb's world.

    Mal, Cobb, Ariadne and Fischer all killed themselves to escape limbo which raises all kinds of questions about why it was even dangerous to begin with.
     
  12. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's all a dream. The totem was his wife's, not his, so it could follow whatever dream rules his mind set for it. You have buildings closing in on him while being pursued in the 'real' world (classic dream imagery), plus the paranoid pursuit by a shadowy organisation fits within the dream logic of the movie. There are also some inexplicable elements, such as miraculously being allowed through customs within minutes of completing the mission.

    It WAS about letting go of his wife (perhaps his subconscioius guilt at accepting his dream state or his real wife trying to pull him out) so he could get back to his 'dream' children, who in the final scene appear exactly as they did earlier in the movie. As soon as he lets go of Mal, her totem keeps spinning - he no longer cares on a subconscious level that it's a dream.

    Brilliant ending though - leaving enough doubt for this kind of debate.
     
  13. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    It being a dream at the end pretty much makes Leo's character arc pointless, meaningless and depressing given that in 'reality' he's either going to eventually wake-up and not be with his kids and possibly still be a fugitive or he'll be a vegetable (given the rules laid out for spending too much time in Limbo/a dream state.)
     
  14. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I am not sure which theory I lean more toward, but the whole idea that the film was all a dream seems credible to me for some reason, for the reasons Pauln6 particularly pointed out above.

    I think the ending was supposed to signify the one true constant in both the dream world and the real world -- emotion. That's what Cobb and consequently the audience feels at the end, and really the film was about overcoming grief, so I feel like it doesn't really matter if Cobb was dreaming or not. The whole film is about the idea that the act of inception literally translates to your real world, and Fischer's emotional catharsis occurred in the dream world, so why not Cobb's? There's a lot of speculation that the entire film was trying to achieve inception for Cobb, so that he could get over Mal's death, so that perhaps when he does wake up, he'll be truly over her for good.

    However, I do see how the film points out to various interpretations. I don't think any of them is either right or wrong. You can either choose to believe Cobb is dreaming, or in reality, or any other interpretation you see fit (i.e. it was all a dream). The ambiguity and expansiveness that the ending implies is indicative of the limitless possibilities cinema and the dream world have to offer, so in that sense I think the ending was absolutely perfect given the intent of the story and premise of the film.
     
  15. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I voted other -- the movie ended with the credits and a cinema employee wandering in to pick up the trash. :p

    Actually, I subscribe to the theory that the movie serves as a metaphor for the film-making process and
    the various ways that a director can attempt to implant memes in the minds of the audience.
     
  16. T'Baio

    T'Baio Admiral Admiral

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    Inception was the audience's dream, and the annoying cut to black was our "kick." ;)
     
  17. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Not a bad analogy there! I voted real but don't wish to explain my reasons. I want to see the movie again still and haven't composed my full review yet for the film because I'm still settling my thoughts on the film. I pre-ordered the shooting script from amazon and can't wait for the DVD which probably will come out first week of December.
     
  18. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    Another of these amazing polls where the people who post are always in the minority. Everyone else just votes and leaves.
     
  19. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Or the whole thing was a dream, and when he wakes up, he'll be in his bed next to his wife with his kids in the next room. Or maybe he's actually a woman who dreamt that she was Leonardo DiCaprio.
     
  20. Set Harth

    Set Harth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ...if past experience is any indication.:techman:
     

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