Inception Movie: Explain Inception Ending?

I am so confused about Inception's ending. I enjoyed the movie a lot, every single part of it, although the ending is really confusing.

What does it mean when the top is spinning at the end? Does it mean that he is still dreaming? If so, what was the indication that he was dreaming?
Personally, I think he was in reality because his totem started to wobble as it continued to spin, causing me to think that it would probably drop soon and he would be in reality, but the credits rolled before we could see it fully stop, do you think it was reality?

Also i was a little confused about how cobb actually performed the inception. could someone please explain that?
what did you think about Inception's ending? I had a goosebumps at the ending.

Man this movie was brilliant, absolutely a cinematical masterpiece, anyone who dislikes this movie, they did not understand this movie.

asked by Catch in Movies | 55873 views | 07-17-2010 at 09:53 PM

I absolutely loved this movie. It ended exactly a movie like this should end.
I think there are 2 possible outcomes to this movie...

1. He awoke on the plane and was in reality.

2. He was wrong all along and his wife was right. When they awoke from the train tracks together on the living room floor, that realm was still a dream. So when his wife jumped she killed herself and went back into reality. That's why they called it the leap of faith.

answered by Bolt | 07-17-2010 at 10:03 PM

The top is still spinning he dreaming or did he succeed? I think that he succeeded. I base this on the architect girl's statement to Joseph Gordon-Levitt that Leonardo DiCaprio could pull it off and get Saito out of limbo.

I liked the ending and it left me feeling the same way that I did when I watched Leonardo DiCaprio's other movie Shutter Island which was a little bit similar to this one.
These movies mess with your mind.

answered by Stopit | 07-17-2010 at 10:04 PM

After Saito died in the 3rd dream layer and entered limbo, Cobb didn't enter until a few minutes, which translates to decades in the limbo stage for Saito.
But if this is so, why isn't Robert Fischer ALSO old?, he died before Saito did, meaning he stayed limbo longer than Saito, but yet he was young when they brought him back!

I'm confused!!

answered by Katherine | 07-17-2010 at 10:04 PM

In the ending Leonardo is still in a dream. The proof is that the object did not fall when he tossed it. Which means it is going against the law of physics. The movie ended him thinking that he was out of the dream which isn't true. When you look carefully at the end of the movie. He tossed it and somewhat he got carried away when he saw his kids. Hence did not check if the object fell or not.

Inception is definitely the movie of the year.

answered by Infinite | 07-17-2010 at 10:05 PM

I think there is an important distinction to make between Saito's and Robert Fischer's death. Robert died on the 3rd level, but Saito was wounded on the 1st level which means that he would have died on the 1st level first before he died on the third level(even though they should him dying on the third) I can't explain entirely but I believe the levels of death play into the age of Saito when Cob finds him. now to confuse everyone some more.

Cobb was in his wife's dream and he altered here perception of what's real or not. His wife came up with the idea of the totem to discern reality and to know if you are in "someone else's dream". The totem is not Cobb's it's his wifes.

So can Cobb tell the difference between reality and a dream? Anyways cobb died on the 4th level which would have kicked him down a level. (There are 5 stages of dreaming) How did Saito to get to the 4th level and why didn't Robert go there.


answered by Mark | 07-17-2010 at 11:52 PM

Great movie. You have to decide if he is still in a dream or made it back to reality.

I believe what Cobb said was: Your totem ensure's that you're not in SOMEONE ELSE's dream. It is not an absolute indicator of dream vs. reality. Think about it, YOU know your totem's trick exactly so if you were in your own host dream then you could replicate it perfectly. It is only when you are in someone else's dream that your totem does not behave in it's trick form since that host cannot architect it so.

What a wonderful movie.

answered by Bailey | 07-18-2010 at 04:50 AM

Alot to think about.
I'm not sure about a lot of this but this statement-

"Anyways cobb died on the 4th level which would have kicked him down a level. (There are 5 stages of dreaming)"

Isn't true because cobb died after the kick, with saito (i think its a safe assumption that when cobb meets old saito, saito shoots cobb then himself so they can get back to "reality" and be "young men again."

answered by Paul | 07-18-2010 at 04:51 AM

i just saw Inception today, it was confusing but it was a great movie.

When the movie ended, everyone at the movie theater screamed NOOO!
If you think about it, the entire movie was his dream. The wife died only to wake up. She woke up, he still lies there believing its real therefore the top is still spinning. I mean its either that or hes still in limbo.

answered by Alien | 07-18-2010 at 08:32 PM

Figured it out

Dream 1.) Cobb and wife enter dream in hotel room. (5 min wife's dream)

Dream 2.) Cobb and wife re-enter a new dream (a couple of days now in their house).

Dream 3.) Cobb and wife grow old together (50 years) and die of old age. Back to dream 2.

Dream 2.) Cobb wants out of dream so convinces wife to lay down in front of railroad. Back to dream 1.

Dream 1.) Wife realizes they are still in dream. She jumps off building and lies and tries to trick Cobb to jump w/ her. Remember she can tell b/c it's her dream. She continues to try and kill Cobb throughout the movie to bring him home.

Dream 1.) Cobb invents new characters in movie to escape the loss of his wife who isn't really dead. This is where movie begins.

Dream 2.) Train in city street and gunfight.

Dream 3.) Hotel scene.

Dream 4.) Snowy scene. 3 dreams back.

Dream 1.) End of movie, he is still in his wife's first dream when she killed herself. She is still living and Leo is stuck in dream. Top is still spinning....

answered by Guest | 07-19-2010 at 02:18 AM

alright here's my question. Why did they end up awake in the van under water? The kick was supposed to bring them back to reality which was on the plane!

answered by Guest | 07-19-2010 at 04:14 AM

The kick
Originally Posted by Guest View Post
alright here's my question. Why did they end up awake in the van under water? The kick was supposed to bring them back to reality which was on the plane!
Because the waking up was in stages, each stage its own kick, that's why they had to set up all those charges in the deeper levels.

See this for why Cobb is still dreaming:

answered by He's dreaming! | 07-19-2010 at 05:02 AM

the end he was still dreaming. the Asian man (name escapes me) told him he could get him back to his family. What he doesn't know is its a dream he's been sent in. When he gets back and sees the top spinning he'll know he just hasn't seen that part. The Asian man tricked him.

answered by Mackenzie | 07-19-2010 at 05:15 AM

He Wanted To Be There
He wanted to go deep enough that he would achieve being guilt free and with his kids. He always wanted to be with them. They were the same age as he left them, and one dream beyond dealing with Mal. Its silly to think he magically went home and all his legal problems went away. He found a "job" where he could only go deeper and deeper into dreams.

answered by Kurt | 07-19-2010 at 05:52 AM

It's an ambiguous ending with no definite answer. Only interpretations and theories.

The top looked like it was wobbling, so I'm inclined to say he made it back home. Though, naturally, we never saw it fall, so it's up to each individual moviegoer to interpret it.

If you remember back earlier in the film, Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) tells Ariadne (Ellen Paige) that you need a totem to know the difference from what is real and what is not. He says that you cannot let anyone but yourself touch it because it defeats the purpose. If you remember, Cobb says that his totem was Mal's (his wife) totem. Therefore, his totem didn't work because his wife had already touched it.

answered by Johnathan | 07-19-2010 at 06:04 PM

I'm convinced.
I've just read through all of these posts and absorbed most of these thoughts to (hopefully) further explain/simplify a theory of what this movie is about. One of the 'Guest's on this thread simplified it beautifully, but I just wanted to incorporate the other thoughts in this thread. There are some key things to remember before I proceed:

1. It is VERY important to note that, throughout the duration of this movie, Cobb has thoroughly convinced himself that he is the sane one and that anyone who says otherwise (most notably, Mal) is insane. Therefore, he allows himself to break his own rules (like constructing more dreams from memories) and creates false reasons as to why Mal behaves the way she does in these dreams (such as becoming depressed and performing suicide).

2. With each level of dream, time is extended. 5 minutes in reality is a week in a dream. 5 minutes in THAT week of the second level of dreaming is possibly a year in the third level. 5 minutes in THAT year of the third level of dreaming could possibly be 10 years...and so on. This should explain apparent (or lack thereof) aging in some of the levels. It should also explain why Saito takes so long to bleed to death from the gunshot in Dream 1a.

3. If, at the very beginning, some of the dialogue and action seems so unbelievably corny, it is done so in a purposeful way. As you will read in my explanation, Cobb is stuck in Dream 2 and so things happen in a corny, predictable dreams often do (such as meeting your Prince in Shining Armor on a predictable white stallion at the moment of danger).

4. A totem is something you, yourself, construct to ensure YOURSELF that you are not in someone else's dream. You are not allowed to let anyone else touch your totem because IF THEY TOUCH IT, THEY WILL FIGURE OUT HOW TO RECONSTRUCT IT IN OTHER DREAMS. If they can reconstruct your totem in other dreams, they can mess with you and trap you in further dreams. For example, with the spinning top, Cobb always checks if the spinning top falls. If it falls, it ensures him that he is in 'reality'. If it keeps spinning, it means he is in another level of inception/dreams...meaning he is in someone else's dream. However, as we will see, Cobb has deceived himself because it is not his totem. It is his wife's (Mal) totem. This means that she is the only other person who can reconstruct the exact physics of the spinning top and can trap him in a dream. Therefore, it is meaningless if the top stops spinning and falls because it is not Cobb's totem. Mal might as well have spun the top herself to check if she was still in her own dream. As long as the top stops spinning and falls, Cobb is still in Mal's dream because it is Mal's totem.

5. Please know the characters.

6. Mal's name means "bad" in Spanish. Shallowly, one sees that she is out to sabotage everything and kill Cobb. However, this is a deception and she is not mal. She is bueno.

Duly noted, we can proceed onward towards my attempt at an explanation.

Here it goes.

REALITY (not seen by audience but is deduced): Cobb and Mal are a married couple. Cobb experiments with inception on his wife and she is romanticized by the concept. Cobb and Mal undergo inception to enter Dream 1.

Dream 1 (a few scenes seen by the audience): They are married and happy here. We only see scenes where they wake up in their house. It is assumed that they live a while in this new dream. Here, Mal comes up with the concept of the totem. Her totem is the spinning top. Cobb does not have a totem yet. This dream is the dream where Cobb becomes convinced is reality because he has lived in it for so long. He convinces his wife to undergo inception one more time. She agrees. Enter Dream 2.

Dream 2 (a few scenes seen by the audience, Limbo): Mal and Cobb enter Limbo. Here, fantasies become real. They are the "Gods", as he puts it. They architect and construct anything they want. Mal is in love with this state and puts her totem in a safe in a house she constructs to model her childhood home. Because she puts her totem away, they both forget to leave Limbo. After aging something like 50 years, Cobb desires to get back to "reality" (Dream 2) and convinces wife Mal to commit suicide on the train tracks with him. Once you die, it is a "kick" where you "wake up" back into the previous level of dreams where you performed inception. She complies and they wait for the train to run them over on the tracks. Enter back into Dream 1.

Dream 1 (a few scenes seen by the audience): Enter Mal and Cobb, lying on the floor of their house. Mal and Cobb continue living, convinced that this is their reality, but Mal senses something is wrong and threatens suicide. She believes that they are still dreaming and there is one more level of dreams to leave. Cobb is not convinced and tries to convince her to not commit suicide. Finally, Mal tricks Cobb into meeting her in a hotel room for an anniversary. There, she wants them to commit a suicide together, but he refrains. She falls from a window (a free fall; falling is a reoccurring theme in this movie). Mal is presumed to wake up from Dream 1 into reality. However, Cobb is still trapped in her dream because he refused to kill himself.

Dream 1 (Mal's Dream, this is where the movie is based in): Cobb continues living in this dream, truly convinced that this is reality. He is a fugitive because Mal's projections in this dream world are out to kill/arrest him. He is the foreign body that has invaded the dream and the projections are the white-blood cells that are sworn to rid of this invader. This metaphor is told to Adriadne when she first learns of inception as an explanation as to why Mal stabbed her. Mal hunts Cobb down in all of these levels of dreams to kill him and bring him back to reality. She is the only true protagonist/white blood cell, if you will.

Still in Dream 1, Cobb assembles a team of thieves and an architect to help Saito break up an unbreakable Solar Corporate Empire, the Fischer Empire. He hires Cobb to get into young Fischer's dreams to convince him to break up his dead father's solar legacy, which proves to be a complex task. Cobb hires Adriadne, a Harvard architect student. Stepping outside of this plot, it is important to note that Cobb had created Adriadne to further convince himself that Dream 1 is reality. This is because Adriadne spends her energy throughout the movie convincing him to somehow relieve himself of guilt of his wife's apparent suicide. By relieving the guilt, he is erasing Mal from these dreams and stopping Mal from trying to bring him back to reality.
Cobb meets Yusuf who has created a sedative that keeps you in the dream world. Death does not bring you back to reality. It drags you straight into limbo, leaving your physical body in reality as a vegetable while your mind swims in this limbo. To counter this downside, they create the "kick" that simulates the feeling of falling because, in dreams, the feel of falling wakes a person up.

Saito buys an airline with a 10 hour flight to Los Angeles. The flight also seats young Fischer. Here, Fischer has only become narrowly familiar with Cobb's face. This gives them enough time to fall into inception together. Enter Dream 1a, Yusuf's dream.

Dream 1a (Yusuf's Dream): Enter the city where there is a downpour of rain. They kidnap Fischer and get him acquainted with the fact that he needs to open his father's safe upon saving Berenger from being tortured/killed. Saito has been shot and is dying. They undergo inception again inside of a white van, forcing Fischer into it. Yusuf is the only one who remains and drives the van. He creates the 'kick' by running the van over the side of a bridge later in the movie. As the van is entering free fall, none of the team members wake up. This kick is unsuccessful and so they wait in free fall for the second 'kick', aka the impact of hitting the water. Though this is seconds in Dream 1a, it translates to tens of minutes of zero gravity in Dream 1b. Enter Dream 1b, Arthur's dream.

Dream 1b (Arthur's Dream): Enter an elaborate hotel. Cobb has convinced Fischer that there are others trying to break into his dreams to steal his father's legacy and that Cobb is here to help Fischer save the legacy. Here, Fischer gets acquainted with the others (including Arthur and Adriadne). Cobb has manipulated the situation where it seems like Berenger has sole intent on stealing the legacy from young Fischer's hands. This apparent backstab convinces Fischer to willingly undergo inception with the rest of the team into Berenger's dream to find out what Berenger is hiding. This is a twist in the plot because they are NOT entering Berenger's dreams (who is only a projection in Dream 1b) but actually entering Eames' dream. Leaving Arthur behind, they enter Dream 1c.

Dream 1c (Eames' Dream): Enter a snowy desert with a hospital for older Fischer. The team's goal is to get young Fischer into the hospital to confront his father and understand that his father was "disappointed that [Fischer] wanted to be like him". It is important to know that this idea was PLANTED in his head and is not necessarily true in Dream 1 (aka Cobb's reality). Before reaching the hospital room, however, Mal enters and kills young Fischer. Young Fischer thus enters limbo. Cobb shoots Mal and thus Mal falls into Limbo. Adriadne and Cobb chase them through another inception. Saito and Eames stay behind to fight off armed soldiers. Here, Saito's wound has finally reached him through two levels of inception and kills him. Saito is dead and enters limbo minutes later (which translates to years later through the dream-time theory). Enter Dream 1d, Limbo.

Dream 1d (or Dream 2, Limbo): Enter a world where Mal and Cobb had created together before they left. Cobb confronts Mal here, who is still trying to convince Cobb to die and come back to reality. Here, it is further apparent that Mal is the protagonist, trying to save Cobb, and Adriadne is the antagonist who is trying to keep Cobb in Dream 1. This is because antagonist Adriadne shoots and kills Mal. Fischer is found and pushed off the balcony as his 'kick' and he wakes up back into Dream 1c. Adriadne jumps off after him and also wakes back up into Dream 1c. Cobb is slow to follow, reconciling with Mal.

Dream 1c (Eames' Dream): Enter snowy desert. Fischer wakes, reconciles with his father, and is convinced that he is supposed to break up the Fischer Empire and start his own legacy. Eames simulates a 'kick' by bombing the hospital. Adriadne wakes up before they are all 'kicked' back into Dream 1b.

Dream 1b (Arthur's Dream): Enter elaborate hotel. Arthur has meanwhile created a simulated 'kick' by tying up the team and keeping them in an elevator set up to fall. Arthur waits, after the cueing of the music, to let the elevator fall and crash to 'kick' them back into Dream 1a. Adriadne, Fischer, and Eames wake up to be kicked back into Dream 1a.

Dream 1a (Yusuf's Dream): Enter the falling van. Professionally timed, the impact of the water kicks back the living team members. Adriadne, Fischer, Eames, Arthur, and Eames exit the sinking van. Fischer confesses to have miscalculated his father and that he knows what to do now (break up the legacy). The idea has worked. Saito and Cobb are still trapped in limbo. It is assumed that the sedative wears out and the team members reenter Dream 1, having completed the job.

Dream 1 (Mal's Dream): Enter the 10 hour plane ride. Cobb and Saito are still under sedative.

Dream 2 (Limbo): Cobb has presumably drowned in Dream 1a in the sinking van AND possibly bled to death after being stabbed by Mal in Dream 1d. This enters him into Limbo. Dream-time theory means that it has been decades for Saito in Limbo, while it has only been minutes for Cobb. Cobb finds Saito and reminds him that they can go back to Dream 1 where they are both "young men". Saito presumably shoots both Cobb and himself. Enter Dream 1.

Dream 1 (Mal's Dream): Saito and Cobb wake up and find themselves on the plane with 20 minutes until landing in Los Angeles. Fischer is now unfamiliar with the team members as it was all a dream for him. Saito keeps to his word and clears Cobb's name, allowing him to get back to his family in the United States.

END SCENE: Cobb meets his children at least, but fails to wait to see if the spinning top acquiesces to the laws of physics. We don't know if it stops spinning. It sounds like it is about to topple over, but we don't know for sure. However, it is spinning rather well for a long time, so assuming that it will continue to do so, we can also continue to assume that he is still dreaming. But the question that we can't answer is, in whose dream is he stuck in? It is not Mal's because the top is spinning. It could possibly be his own dream because he has not created a totem for himself and the top is certainly not his.

answered by Jeni | 07-20-2010 at 02:14 AM

Wow Jeni, that was an awesome read.
It really opened my mind.

I guess I'll be watching the movie again this weekend.

answered by Noah | 07-20-2010 at 02:40 AM

The question is if he was in the first level of his wife's dream, than why did that dream last so long. If it really was the first level of sleep it seems like it would have ended in the time frame that it made it seem like he was there.

answered by Guest | 07-21-2010 at 02:50 AM

I thought someone should point out something I find important. The all important top is not his totem, its Mals, meaning it has no revealing nature as to whether he is truly free. He actually has no true totem he brought into the dream, in essence what defines his reality is Mal.

answered by Guest | 07-21-2010 at 05:10 AM

Good Job, Jeni
Yes, Cobb is stuck within his own idea/dream.
1) he cannot sleep; 2) the kids never change their clothes. Cobb was able to safeguard his wife but forgot to safeguard himself. The human mind can be very complex but yet so simple, if you pay attention to the details.
Consider this... an idea is only a thought that may become a dream. Whereas, Cobb's idea became his inception.

answered by Phyllis | 07-21-2010 at 09:07 AM

Yes, Jeni, that was extremely well written and thought-out. You nailed many points, I feel. If I many, I'd like to add some of my own...

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is a very distinct dialogue snippet and its ramifications:
Upon waking from Limbo after the train-track double suicide, in the scene detailing the argument between Cobb and Mal over whether they were still dreaming or not:

Cobb (voice over, explaining memory): She said our children were only projections.
Mal: "Don't you think I could tell the difference!?"
Cobb: "If this is MY dream then why can't I [change things/control it]?"
Mal: "Because you don't know you're dreaming!"

I think this distinction that, according to Mal, they are still within Cobb's dream, rather than hers, is a key point and truly reveals the totem top as a red herring. As well as the fact that Cobb is actually in control of the dream, on a subconscious level.

Remember the circular diagram Cobb draws when explaining the lucid/controlled dreaming experience to Ariadne? In a dream (when it's your OWN dream, that is) we create and perceive simultaneously, creating a symbiotic, seamless relationship in which the dreamer is perfectly centered in the middle of the process. How else could Cobb bring a train crashing through the street while they were within the (the alchemist) Yusuf's dream? Think on that for a moment. That was completely at odds with the "dream logic" of the rest of the film. Projections of subconscious personae are one-thing, but a large, complex physical structure like a train? That rivaled the manipulations that Ariadne had made during her lucid dream introduction. This is one of the many details that, to me, reveals the entire film as occurring within a long "base-level" dream in which Cobb is lost. All characters are highly-developed projections of Cobb's subconscious. They even seem rather two-dimensional and theme-based, as if they are particular portions of his mind. Arthur=logic, calculation. Eames=ingenuity, charisma. Miles(grandpa)=voice of reason(or perhaps self-deception). Mal=fear of "real" death, guilt of separation, doubt of reality. Saito=freedom, salvation. Children=that which is denied, lost, forsaken, longed-for. Etc., etc.

Other key quotes: Miles(grandpa) says to Cobb "When are you going to come back to reality?" This line is glazed over quickly, which means we better take a look at it. Now does he really mean "actual" reality? Or the "reality" that Cobb is still lost within? Assuming this grandpa figure really is actually a projection, the latter is my take on it. Grandpa hands him Ariadne as a new architect, and so she becomes the projection through which Cobb will come to forsake his doubts about the reality of his dream. I believe the entire film is Cobb performing inception upon HIMSELF through the projection of these supporting characters in order to release himself from the lingering doubts about whether Mal was right so that he can be "woken up" just like the old men in Yusuf's basement. He is afraid to die, yet haunted within the life of his dream because he has lost touch with reality. So decides, whether consciously or subconsciously, to make his current state(whether dream or not) into his accepted reality. As the old man says: "They come to be woken up. The Dream is their reality now. Who are you to say otherwise?"

People on these various forums keep saying that the top spinning or toppling is a "distinction of reality" and only focus on the obvious ambiguity that Nolan shoves in our faces with the last shot. However, the totem is not the ultimate determinate of reality...far from it. Arthur explains that a totem is simply a way of making sure that you haven't been drawn into SOMEONE ELSE'S dream, because it always contains a simple trick that can not be replicated by another's consciousness due to the secret quality that only the owner is familiar with. As already said, it's not really Cobb's to begin with(it's Mal's), plus he knew the "secret" if you can call a top falling over due to gravity a secret.

This brings us to another issue: Why would the average dreamer envision all the detail and accuracy of a living world with apparently "normal" physics and yet dream that a little top would spin perpetually forever? Clearly this so-called totem is a bit more than that. It's "rules" don't even make sense. Another example of Cobb doing things he says not to. The top has become an obsession that represents Cobb's doubt about whether the world he is now living in is real and whether Mal was right all along(which she was). Remember: an idea is "highly contagious."

And so, at the end of the film the inception upon himself has been tragically successful. He has let go of Mal (accepting that she is gone regardless of whether she is actually dead or has left the dream that is now his life). Along with this catharsis he has released all the guilt, fear and doubt that her projection represented. He can now accept that he is where he is supposed to be (no longer chased by anonymous corporations and authorities -- his own subconscious projections resisting his acceptance of the dream as reality). He can accept that his children are real and he has not actually abandoned them to fantasy(no longer seen with their back to him, faceless and without connection). And as a final representation of all of the above, he spins the top and leaves it -- no longer obsessed and infected by the "is this reality?" idea. He has accepted reality for what it is, regardless of whether it is real or unreal. And who is anyone to say otherwise?

answered by Guest | 07-21-2010 at 02:07 PM

One more thing.
IMHO, he's still in the dream at the end. The children are not one day older and they're still wearing the same clothes throughout. And Michael Caine is wearing the same clothes too.

answered by Guest | 07-21-2010 at 07:16 PM

Also, when they get to the airport, there’s a guy holding a sign that says “LAM,” which of course is “MAL” backwards.

However, I think he did wake up. The point of the top wobbling at the end is that Cobb, because of the inception in his (and Mal’s) mind from Limbo will always doubt his reality, and never be sure. We as the viewer are intended to feel the same way – and that is why the ending is ambiguous.

The kids wearing the same clothing is strange though.

Also, Saito and Mal have similar vocal delivery, and echo many of the same lines.

After Cobb wakes up in the Mumbasa dream den, he spins the top, and it crashes off the sink. He picks it up when Saito walks in; we never see him spin the top again until the very end.

Once Saito is on the team, a lot of convenient things happen, i.e.: Saito “buys the airline,” etc.

However, I think all of these are red herrings just to put the viewer in the same frame of mind as Cobb.

answered by Justin | 07-22-2010 at 06:17 AM

What I don't get is: when Mal and Dom commit suicide by laying on the train tracks, they "wake up" out of limbo and into the previous dream in the house, right? But then where did their growing old together play in? If they grew old together in limbo, how did they commit suicide in limbo? so confused...

answered by Guest | 07-24-2010 at 06:15 AM

Yeah, the growing old together bit sort of throws a monkey wrench in most of my attempted interpretations also... I mean, the little clip of them holding eachother's wrinkled hands doesn't seem to jive with them laying their heads on the train tracks as a young couple. Maybe just a movie-making flaw due to it being a visual medium? Maybe Nolan just felt having them look all old and full of make-up would ruin the emotional impact of the train-track suicide scene?

Not sure. Only other thing I can think of is that they died of old age and found themselves washed up on the proverbial "shore of their subconscious" once again, rejuvenated to their current "real-world" age and remaining trapped within limbo. After all, isn't that the whole point of limbo? Isn't that why it's such a scary concept to these people? The rules all fall away, time loses all meaning, etc. If it's as simple as killing yourself or experiencing a "kick" to get out of limbo, then what's the big deal? Why even call it "limbo"?

If you ask me, a good analogy for this whole concept of delving into the depths of the mind is climbing down a rope ladder that's hanging down into a bottomless pit. To me, the "dream levels" are like rungs of the ladder. While you're still on one of them, you still have a way to climb back up into the waking world. However, falling into limbo is like falling off the ladder completely.

answered by J.R. | 07-24-2010 at 09:27 PM

Dear Friend - I think you are missing one important thing here...with the lines below.
Conn did not bring that train and other attackers in Yusuf's dream ... they all were surprised and the reason was explained by Cobb himself - there are people who wants to steal information from you - they are called Extractors, but then there are security companies that can train you -to keep your secrets inside your mind. Since Robert Fischer, Jr. is a pretty rich guy in the movie - so he had done all this arrangements - if someone kidnaps him in the dream - there are people who can save him ( actually kill him so that he can come back to reality ).
In the second dream -in the hotel where Cobb meets him and tell him that he is the head of the security company that has trained him for situations like this. He tells him that he is in dream and needs to follow him - he tells him so many times to remember the training- breathe heavily-relax etc.

Originally Posted by Guest View Post
Remember the circular diagram Cobb draws when explaining the lucid/controlled dreaming experience to Ariadne? In a dream (when it's your OWN dream, that is) we create and perceive simultaneously, creating a symbiotic, seamless relationship in which the dreamer is perfectly centered in the middle of the process. How else could Cobb bring a train crashing through the street while they were within the (the alchemist) Yusuf's dream? Think on that for a moment.

answered by Shammi | 07-26-2010 at 05:09 PM

If Cobb is still living in a dream and Mal is in the real world. why can't she just....tip him over to wake him up?

answered by edwincj | 07-27-2010 at 10:59 AM

I've just read through this thread and was impressed with some really detailed explanations of this movie, but i think everyone is missing the beauty of this movie it was made for the viewer to have his or her own explanation of it, of how you truly perceive what is going on just like in life. I could give you my explanation of what I think of it but it doesn't really matter its made for each viewer to think of it a different way. I really think this is the best movie I have ever seen, the time and thought to make this is truly brilliant and unbelievable

answered by Guest | 07-27-2010 at 10:18 PM

Originally Posted by Shammi View Post
Dear Friend - I think you are missing one important thing here...with the lines below.
Conn did not bring that train and other attackers in Yusuf's dream ... they all were surprised and the reason was explained by Cobb himself - there are people who wants to steal information from you - they are called Extractors, but then there are security companies that can train you -to keep your secrets inside your mind. Since Robert Fischer, Jr. is a pretty rich guy in the movie - so he had done all this arrangements - if someone kidnaps him in the dream - there are people who can save him ( actually kill him so that he can come back to reality ).
In the second dream -in the hotel where Cobb meets him and tell him that he is the head of the security company that has trained him for situations like this. He tells him that he is in dream and needs to follow him - he tells him so many times to remember the training- breathe heavily-relax etc.
Hello again. I certainly don't dispute the fact that Fischer's subconscious mind had been militarized as a self-defense against extraction. My point was that there is a BIG difference between a projected persona from the subconscious of an "outsider" propagating within the dream of another person and an "apparent reality" shift occurring in said dream such as a massive, raging train appearing in the middle of Main Street. That particular dream belonged to Yusuf, certainly not Cobb. (at least not apparently)

So my claim is that such a feat would not be possible (given the mythos of the movie) unless that dream (and by extension, all the rest) were actually being created by Cobb, himself, through the workings of his own subconscious. Hence my interpretation that every other character in the movie is, in actuality, also a projection -- just as Mal had claimed about their children.

Of course, there are those who say "but wait, there are scenes where Cobb isn't present - where there are interactions between characters that you say only exist within Cobb's would that be possible if they were merely projections???" My answer is: why the heck not? I mean, we even see an example of this in the film: during the hotel dream, Saito runs into Browning (a projected persona from Fischer's subconscious) not realizing that he is a projection rather than Eames in disguise.

"Browning" acts any normal person, doesn't he? Yes, his character and qualities are determined by Fisher's internal conceptualization of "who" the real Browning is, which is now a person whose loyalty is doubted and called into question. This is why Eames and Saito observe this projected Browning to see how they were doing with their ploy. But the point is this: "Browning" doesn't realize he isn't "really" Browning.

Projections don't know they aren't real. They have personalities, quirks, nuances as rich and diverse as their conceptual model within their creator's mind. But they still act autonomously within the dream and within the subconscious. Do you see what I mean? Fischer wasn't present when Saito bumped into his projection of Browning. And yet this "Browning" still interacted with Saito as if everything was normal and actual. You know, that little moment of awkwardness and a bit of charisma on the part of "Browning".

I think it's pretty obvious that Nolan is quite deeply versed in the occult, judging by the themes, symbolism, and messages that he works into his films. If you really want to get into the grit of what went into this film, you would need to study thoughtforms, servitor creation, lucid dreaming, astral/inner realm projection, etc. This film is an incredible modern work of art and sorcery. What could be more worthy of discussion and debate?

And to the guest who mentioned that the film is more about personal reflection of meaning, rather than analysis and debate -- can't it be both? This film is a work of art, plain and simple. How many millions of people have discussed the meaning and significance of any worthy piece of art over the thousands of years of civilized human history? Do the rules change in modern times? I see no reason to try and shut the door on discussion, particularly when there are clearly many people who enjoy that aspect of appreciating a particular work. Not to say that you were being disrespectful at all, but I see a lot of growing unrest and so-called "back-lash" on the internet in regards to this film and the buzz it has generated. It's pretty easy to avoid the discussion, if one wished. So what is the problem? Again, not personally toward you since you were respectful in your comment. The sentiment simply struck a chord with me in regards to all the negativity and the "can we just stop talking about it?" mentality.

Thanks for reading and I welcome debate on any point I attempted to make.


answered by Guest | 07-28-2010 at 01:09 PM

perhaps this will help?
I found some explanations here:

to be pretty interesting

answered by Guest | 07-28-2010 at 10:53 PM

Holy Moly
I think I am more confused after reading all this :-). My feelings were that his children were is totem that is why in dreams he couldn't see their faces, and when they would turn around he new he was back in reality. The top was Mal's totem so maybe it was to symbolize that he can still go back because she is caught in limbo, and is trying to find a way to bring her back. I think maybe the movie isn't to be dissected, but to ponder. I will need to watch it again, however, at home because it made me feel seasick. I had to stop watching to scenes with too much movement or I was going to toss my cookies. Great Conversation here!

answered by AMarie | 07-29-2010 at 08:57 AM

I don't think there is an answer. When the car went under the water, he never got out of the car and it was made clear that the rest of his team were not going to do anything about it. Then, he awoke on the plane and walked out of there so there is no way he was in limbo (or a dream). But, without another kick in the dream where he was underwater in the car, he couldn't have woken up into that dream. Also, the movie never explains how all of them were able to wake up into the real world if they never got a kick on the plane. Though an amazing movie to watch, once you think about it, the plot has many gaps.

answered by Guest | 07-31-2010 at 06:08 AM

Saito's fate
Originally Posted by Paul View Post
I'm not sure about a lot of this but this statement-

"Anyways cobb died on the 4th level which would have kicked him down a level. (There are 5 stages of dreaming)"

Isn't true because cobb died after the kick, with saito (i think its a safe assumption that when cobb meets old saito, saito shoots cobb then himself so they can get back to "reality" and be "young men again."

I find it hard to believe that Saito was found... It might seem crazy , but I think the old man sitting at the table wasn't Saito, I believe it was Cobb. I thought when I saw the old man in the beginning it would be Saito, but I noticed in the end that the old man had blue eyes and I don't think that was by mistake. So it confused me more than the topping. Did anyone notice that or am I just going insane ?

answered by Guest | 08-02-2010 at 09:06 PM

Is it possible that the faces of Cobb's children was his "totem"? If so, then he knew when he saw their faces, he would know he was in reality.

answered by Guest | 08-05-2010 at 02:41 AM

Airline Ticket??
In a few scenes Cobb is seen pulling an airline ticket from an envelope. In one he is told by an unexplained man that this is the only way. WAY TO WHAT/THERE??
As the audience we assume it his way to escape the police about his wife's death. But,...what if he has to 'dream' again to let go of the guilt/sadness of her death and the fact that he could not stop it and they didn't grow old together. Basically she gets depressed, commits suicide and the movie/his dreams are his way of handling it until he can come back and take care of his kids.
What if the airplane ride was for him and they hacked his dream to help him. The movie is his levels and sub levels of dreams to find the thing he had 'locked' deep in his subconscious. The thing being he had the right to let her go (the last scene with Mal) and continue living in Reality not in a Level 1 dream state, as previously described.

This would explain maybe why the kids r still in the same clothes and haven't changed because in REALITY time moves much slower. While it felt like yrs it was in fact a few seconds. He was wearing the clothes in the end that looked like those shown on him when he looked at the ticket. It also may explain why when he wakes on the plane he looks around but doesn't acknowledge them or speak in the airport. Didn't he tell the architect that 'people' stare at the designer/dreamer??? Each projection played a role in getting him to release the demons that made him want to live outside of reality. Maybe the phone call is to let them know he has returned to reality. He never says he is calling authorities only that he will call someone to help Cobb get back to his kids.

When he spins the top he leaves it and doesn't check to see if it works. Maybe because it was actually Mal's not his and he has figuratively and literally left that behind. The kids and their faces are his 'reality check'.

I may be way off but I will watch it again just to see what that ticket says.

answered by Guest | 08-05-2010 at 05:45 PM

my interpretation
correct me if i am wrong

time becomes slower 20 times every level you go down:
5 mins reality = 1 hour dream level 1
1 hour level 1 = 20 hour level 2
20 hour level 2 = 400 hour level 3 (or around 17 days)

to get into a stable dream state, you must be anesthetized/drugged

limbo is where you go so deep into dreams that time is slowed down so much you are unable to wake up naturally (drug wears off in reality) and limbo occurs only under 2 circumstances:

1) they voluntarily go very deep to further dream levels
2) they die when heavily anesthetized/drugged

I don't think that the whole movie was a dream, because if the whole movie's "reality' was in fact dream 1, it would mean that he's been anesthetized/drugged for a minimum of weeks or even months in real life, which is highly doubtful i think. the only way to claim this 'reality' is actually a dream is to say that it is already a dream within a dream (or perhaps already in limbo)

anyways, i totally loved this movie and i personally feel that cobb finally got home to his family!

answered by Lawiez | 08-05-2010 at 08:38 PM

I watched it a couple times just to see if he was still in his dream or not, but in the end if you pay attention to the totem as he's with his kids it seems to be slowly wobbling. Whereas in a dream it would just continue spinning. So to me he came back to reality, even though i questioned myself many times about it.

answered by Guest | 08-07-2010 at 08:18 AM

Maybe Cobb was in coma in real life, and the whole movie is therefore an unsuccessful struggle of getting out of a lethargic dream? Totems are then merely symbolic and distract us from a bigger picture. IMHO the idea of people being able to share their dreams is also created by Cobb's mind in his own dream...

answered by Guest | 08-07-2010 at 09:38 AM

Even If it was Cobb's wife's dream she would have no way to tell it was not reality because the top would stop spinning because the top is only used to tell if you are in someone else's dream.

answered by Guest | 08-14-2010 at 01:39 AM

alright a lot of people seem to think since the totem doesn't stop spinning in the end it means he is dreaming. but if is true that mal made the totem in dream 1 then you totem only can tell you if your in that dream, because in every other stage of dreaming up and down it would be different, so since it does not stop spinning i think that he is finally "home" in reality because when he kills himself in limbo it would bring him back to reality.

answered by Guest | 08-29-2010 at 04:07 AM

Originally Posted by Guest View Post
Figured it out

Dream 1.) Cobb and wife enter dream in hotel room. (5 min wife's dream)

Dream 2.) Cobb and wife re-enter a new dream (a couple of days now in their house).

Dream 3.) Cobb and wife grow old together (50 years) and die of old age. Back to dream 2.
To whoever wrote this: You are brilliant. I believe you've got it. Thank you.

answered by Guest | 09-12-2010 at 07:02 PM

the best explanation is the most simple explanation
Guys, remember that the best explanation is the most simple explanation.

I believe that it is actually impossible to explain the movie, as the movie was intended not to make sense in order to keep people talking about it. But if I had to try i would put forward two assumptions:

1) His wife was right and he never left limbo he was in with his wife. this limbo made him crazy and he invented all the other things that dont need to make sense.

2) it was never his totem but the one of his wife. So it does not work for him. Also it only shows that you are not in someone else's dream, you could be in your own. That is why it can sometimes stop spinning without meaning anything.

answered by Guest | 10-08-2010 at 01:32 AM

Idea Here
Ok, I liked the movie a lot. But for a movie that uses laws of physics (not the totems) as an idea for grounding reality, it is filled with a lot of holes. Example. Drowning. When he gets dunked in the tub while breathing he is able to come out of it and cough up water. When they all go in the van they all wake up under water. Not possible. If they were not in dream would be dead or vanished to wake up from being under.

Also throughout the movie we never see him hallucinate Mal or his kids during the "awake" scenes but sees them in ever other single one almost.Anyways here is an idea.

Dom's Dad (Michael Caine) is doing the "Induction" to his son so he can get back home to his kids. He introduces him to Ellen Page as Ariadne, the Architect, a graduate student who is recruited to construct the various dreamscapes, which are described as mazes. The name Ariadne alludes to a princess of Greek myth, daughter of the King Minos, who aided the hero Theseus by giving him a sword and a ball of string to help him navigate the labyrinth which was the prison of the Minotaur. You can do a jump into someones dreams at anytime like she does to him to learn about Mal. A jump within a jump.

Also possible is that he brought in the forger and others. He knew his sons teammates from jobs prior and Grandpa sure knows a lot about shared dreams. He created them didn't he?

British director, Michael cane British thats not a hard Jump to make, Top wobbles at end so he got the idea daddy sent him and he is with kids.

answered by Justme78734 | 11-22-2010 at 05:13 AM

Inception Conclusion
Wow, well the only thing I can say that's 100 percent a fact is that this movie was so great it has everyone coming up with fantastic theories. My question is... Inception 2?

answered by StanB | 12-10-2010 at 08:01 PM

The point of the movie is that it is a movie based upon dreams and the subconscious. There are no answers. The whole move is a dream and it doesn't matter whose dream. It is the inner workings of the mind and we may have even dreamed we saw this movie!!!

You cannot unravel it or explain it- because it is the interpretation of a dream and it makes no sense! To unravel layer upon layer is what the director expects us to do. A lot of time to just come to the conclusion that the movie is just based on how we dream. You cannot enter into someone's else's thoughts or dreams. A perfect premise for a movie!

Have a good day!

answered by EGK | 12-11-2010 at 08:24 PM

This movie could be nothing more than a man who fell asleep on a long business trip airplane flight, had dreams on the flight and incorporated all the people on the plane, came home to his kids and spun a top because maybe he is superstitious and does that when he comes home safely after an airplane ride. To search deeper, since there are feelings of guilt and his wife in his dreams, maybe he just lost her and is alone to take care of his kids.

The director does a great job in getting you involved to think this is more than a man dreaming because he starts the movie in the middle of his dream. Would not be much of a movie if he showed a man falling asleep and dreaming!!!

answered by Guest | 12-11-2010 at 09:01 PM

After watching this movie...i couldn't believe how confused I was. I just got through watching maybe...30 mins...and hour ago perhaps..and I'm still in shock! What really threw me off was the fact that the movie cuts off before the viewer can actually see if it falls down...or continues to spin...
I think this detail was add purposely as a way for the viewer to have his or her own opinion. Was this movie really a dream all along? Was there ever really an "actual reality:"? Did Cobb really wake back up and into the real world?!?
If I were to meet up with the director/writer of this movie...i believe that he or she (I'm not sure who directed/wrote this film) would say that the ending is entirely up to the viewer. Everyone perceives things in different ways. We have our own thoughts...our own ideas!
The only thing I really want to know at the moment is...what in the world gave the writer of this movie the IDEA to write Inception? A dream? If so, then that must have been one heck of a

answered by Oktavia | 12-12-2010 at 03:42 AM

If Cobb is not himself a projection, I think he likely has to be in reality at the end for one simple reason. The team. Projections would not have cooperated with him that far. So unless he is the true mark of the entire rest of the team, who is performing a variant of the Mr. Charles, he is likely in reality.

answered by Guest | 12-12-2010 at 02:55 PM

well, i thought that if he had been away for all that time (leaving after his wife's death), why were his children still so young if not the same age as when he left to when he came back home?

answered by Guest | 12-12-2010 at 09:31 PM

OK so if Mal created her totem in the dream world and Cobb had it after her "death" it wouldn't really matter what dream Cobb was in. It would stop spinning in any dream he was in because it was created in a dream world and it wasn't his. To me the only way to know he is back in the "real world" would be for it TO continue spinning. It was created inside a dream after all.

answered by Guest | 01-11-2011 at 04:39 AM

Like most of Leonardo Dicaprio's movies there always is two possible outcomes to the final end. In this as you all have seen he returns home but to make sure he is not dreaming he spins the top. As he spins his dad says to the children look who's here the children run up to Leonardo and he hugs hem back. Then the camera goes to the top and the top is still spinning however right before the credits the top appears to topple but it goes to credits so u dont know if it did or not.

So they are two possible outcomes:
1. Since the top was still spinning he was not in the real world.
2. Maybe the top appeared to topple because it was just about to so that he was in the world of the dream.

answered by Guest | 01-16-2011 at 07:11 PM

He is in reality at the end
Main points: If Cobb were still in a dream at the end, that would mean everyone he talks to (Saito, Arthur, Ariadne, etc) are projections. These projections would try and kill him (i explain why). When you read this, you will see that if the ending were a dream it would have to be Cobb's dream, and assuming that it's supposed to be Cobb's dream i can prove it is reality, and not a dream at all.

- Now people say this is Mal's dream. My take on this is that if it were Mal's, the world would've fallen apart, or at least she'd be able to reenter the dream from "reality" if suicide really brought her back. Cobb goes years without her, and according to the idea of time conversion in dreams it wouldn't be less than a few days in a higher level ("reality"). At some point she'd have to go back to sleep.

- Hypothetically, let's say that the world doesn't fall apart when she dies (in case someone has a good argument against that). If it were Mal's dream (or a dream at all, for that matter), everyone (like i said) is a projection. So EVERYONE who helps him would actually try to kill him when he talks about inception and dream manipulation. This is how you know that they are in reality, because the people act like people, not projections. (unless everyone is stuck in Mal's dream.) People will also argue that the US is looking for him (the subconscious looking for the threat to the dream/ dreamer). Arthur explains to Ariadne when they are in Fischer's mind (the bar scene where Cobb shows fischer he is dreaming) that the subconscious looks for the architect of the dream (the dreamer). This would mean that in the end (if he were dreaming) Cobb would be the architect of the dream. With that said, everyone in the world (again, if he were dreaming) are his projections. Meaning EVERYONE (not just a few projections) would hunt him down.

- Assuming it is not Mal's dream but Cobb's, he would not have been able to see his children's faces. This is because his dream (for him to think it is reality) must have been created from a memory. But for him to be the architect, he'd know he was dreaming because he'd know the flaws and paradoxes in the labyrinth. He has no memory of his kids looking at him, he would not have anything to base this memory off of and therefore could not imagine his kids' faces (because he never saw them). Another take i have on this is that you can technically use the kids as totems. When he dreams, he doesn't see their faces (same as how the top never falls). But in reality he can, which he does in the end.

-People say that Cobb cannot know the difference between truth and reality because his Totem is actually Mal's. But this is the opposite, because if he took Mal's totem that means he can recreate the totem and actually use Mal's totem, but Mal becomes powerless to HIS influence because he has touched her totem. This is how he convinces her that the world is a dream once she forgets (in Limbo). Cobb, however, is free to use that totem as he pleases once Mal dies, because he becomes the only person who knows the size and weight of the totem.

- Mal always tries to bring Cobb back to reality. But in the "perceived" reality she does not exist or even make an appearance after she dies. If it were a dream, Cobb would project her with his subconscious. Now people would argue that Cobb is in someone else's dream, and his subconscious has no influence. But if that were true, why does Mal appear in every person's dream, regardless of the architect? She is the guiding force to reality, and when they get back to reality she is gone (because she died in reality).

- In the dreams, Cobb's totem spins flawlessly. But in the end it wobbles (NOT flawless), meaning it could also tip over and eventually fall over. Now you hear the argument that it could have been a bump in the table. But we get a close up view of the table: not a bump in the area where the top spins. And even if there were a bump (which, if you watch it, there isn't) the totem would still work flawlessly. It will only topple in reality, regardless of influencing factors in the "dream".

These are points i believe that prove that he is not dreaming in the end. If i have any flaws, please point them out.

answered by Guest | 01-30-2011 at 07:17 AM

waste of time
Hi everyone, I think this movie suck and was a waste of time, I respect opinions that everyone stated and here is mine, the top is not the key, yes I said the top is not the key, The key is the children, no matter how he tried he could not see the faces of his children. not to mention his father in law was there with them at the end when he saw them. The top spinning is to make you think; but the children's faces is the key to the puzzle being they are the one item that is not in his memory. I know, how are they still young and the clothes are the same Here is the catch what if all that mumbo jumbo was the dream and he was at his home all along waking up to his children. Remember in a dream you can be anyone and defy any odds in reality you can't. In reality he can see his kids faces in a dream he can't. This is not the matrix, stop analyzing laws that was broken so easily and make something out of nothing.

answered by guest | 01-31-2011 at 08:07 AM

Jaw Droped
The movie never made me confused, what did was all these post. The way I saw it was the beginning was a flash back to the end. But outta no where the real stuff begins with Satio in the 2nd layer of the dream when they were in that building by the beach.

1st layer was at Satio's fake apartment where the guy who was having the dream (with the hair that came down to his shoulders) it was his dream at that point they just all went under to the 2nd level when coming back for the 2nd level into the 1st when Cobb kicked Satio down on the carpet, Satio out smarted them by realizing he wasn't really in his apartment because the carpet was suppose to be wool. Not polyster. After that they awoke on the train which was "Real Life" After they get off leaving Satio behind he checks his wrist to see if hes under or if life is real.

When Cobb was at the hotel room or whatever that he took out the totem and spun it right? While it was spinning ( He did it to tell if he was dreaming or if it was real) So he picks up the gun while it spinning ( so if it keeps spinning hes still dreaming and hell shoot him self to wake up) But it tipped over which meant its real.

Then Arthur comes in telling him their rides is here. Yada Yada they go up to get in the Helicopter and yet they find Satio. They take the other guy who had the long hair and did something with him who knows what.
Satio told them what he wanted before Cobb could say anything Arthur jumps in explaining the fact that "Inception" cant be done (Giving someone else an idea through dreams) He said it couldn't be done well cus in the end you would still know who gave you the idea. Cobb says hes wrong that it was possible to do Inception. (That's because he did it on his wife when they were dreaming but you find that out later)
Satio made a deal with Cobb that if he helped he can go back to Amercia with his children.

Cobb and Arthur then go to Paris. Cobb goes to his dad asking for a new acktechcher (SP) which is when the girls goes in. The test he made her do where real life. Then when they were at the Cafe it was 1st level dreaming. He showed that to her. When she was killed in that she awoke. They went under again. Rebuilding the dream like she was , she was doing it out of things she already saw or went by ( memories ) so Cobb saw hes wife, because they say you always dream about things you know or experienced so either shes always on his mind therefor always in his dreams or that shes just stuck in limbo no shes passed limbo to 5th level and stuck in his dreams. Because he keeps her there.

Skipping along to when they Kid napped Fisher and all.
The 1st level was the rainy city with taxis and trains shooting and all that. After Satio getting shot they only had to move faster. So the Bristh guy faked being the Brownie guy Fishers right hand man.
They went under again in the Van which lead to the hotel.(level 2)
Cobb was getting into Fishers head.

Which then they only had to go DEEPER into fisher but they told him they were gonna go deeper into Mr.Brownies head they lied so that's when they go to that snowy place ( level 3) Satio got killed leaving him Limbo.
But so did fisher but they kicked him back WHEN the girl and Cobb went under again to get fisher, then Satio. ( level 4 LIMBO) They go to the house where his wife was gonna be , he had to stay with her in order for everything to work so he did only to then find Satio. When the kick came she had to go. Or shed be left in Limbo either forever or a real long time. And you see Cobb already went through limbo he was lucky enough to escape.

When all the kicks made it through all the stages they were back to level 1 the van and then Fisher realized what he had to do which was the idea Satio wanted in his head and Cobb did that. Satio and Cobb drowned in the water right in level one. Which brings us back all the way to the start where they find him on the beach. They brought him to Satio who was old. He TOUCHED his totem ( which your not allowed to do) and spun it, It never stop meaning they were dreaming they knew that though. But basically getting so deep into the stages you lose sight of what is real and whats not.

When Cobb wanted them both to be back. Satio kills him and himself. Bringing them to the plane ( real life) but you cant kill yourself in Limbo because you'll only go deeper, so that's where I get a little question. And then when Cobb sees his kids and he spins the totem and it never fell?

1. The totem was used to tell if you were some one else dream not if it was fake or real.
2. Some people are saying that it was Cobb stuck in the dream the entire time.
3. Reading all your posts made me confused.
4. So what REALLY happen was Cobb stuck in level 5 confused it was real just like his wife ?
and did Satio get stuck to?
5. I think all our theories have right and wrong because look there are so many of them and they all make sense, but well never know. Only the writers will.

answered by Alica | 02-12-2011 at 07:23 PM

Totem and the children
Cobbs has a totem.
The totem belonged to Mal and was personal to her, so it works
Maybe Cobbs can use the totem because she was personal to him and so it works.
But, why can Saito use the totem?
Because the totem can do anything Cobbs wants in his dream.

The children have faces.
In Cobs dream his subconscious didn't ALLOW himself to see the children's faces. Seeing their faces at the end proves nothing. His dreams have taken him to the point where his subconscious allow him to see their faces.

The spinning top at the end.
Cobbs never sees the top stop spinning. If reality was so important to him, why didn't he stay and make sure he was in it; he did spin the top after all. Reality was not what he was seeking after all-- he was seeking the point in the dream that would allow him to see his children.

answered by 4free | 04-02-2011 at 06:36 PM

Totem and the children
BTW, Cobb keeps asking, how did you get here? A person knows it's a dream because they can't remember how they got to this place.
How did Cobb get into Saito's dream at the beginning of the movie? If Cobb's expertise was being tested, Why?

answered by 4free | 04-02-2011 at 06:46 PM

That's perfect and totally solved my confusion... Thanks!

answered by Guest | 06-08-2011 at 09:57 AM

Believe most of the takes are wrong - not Mal's DREAM
I believe that the movie is set in COBB's reality, not in his dream or that of his wife, Mal.
I believe COBB is sane and self-aware throughout the movie, but possibly not at movie's end - about which I have not yet made up my mind. I agree with the minority of posters who feel that if the movie were set in MAL's dream, COBB would have constantly been attacked by a crowd of projections in every scene. There r holes in the plot unless I missed something or misunderstood some subtleties - which I did.

I think Cobb's take on the facts of his wife's suicide is accurate. Her choice to lock away her totem - which Cobb stole in order to make his strategy to wake her effective - led to her lost grip on reality and the dream world with which she replaced that reality. So he convinced her to kill herself w/him to wake her, but once awakened, the seed- the incepted idea that realities were actually fantasies- grew to the point of intolerance and she sought suicide to re-enter reality- although she was unaware that Cobb and her children were the realities and were not aspects of a dream.

Cobb keeps her in his subconscious because he misses n loves her, has guilt about her death due to his act of fatal inception and because they were so intertwined in the dream world. Cobb is only attacked when he seeks the forger but even then none of the main populous even takes note of him (never mind the missing hostility factor, which means it's not Mal's dream but his reality). Mal does not try to hurt COBB. like a projection, she hunts other dream characters n only attacks him when he is trying2 retrieve the rich guy from limbo (Fischer.)

answered by Guest | 06-25-2011 at 07:32 AM

He walked away at the end not caring if it was a dream or not. He was just happy to finally be home. I honestly think that it was reality, also in the dreams where it showed the his totem it did not wobble what so ever.

answered by Guest | 06-27-2011 at 01:17 AM

Guys you are making it way more complicated than it really is.

In the end, no , the totem or whatever you call it is spinning for a very long time, but like 2 seconds before they show credits the totem falls down. So it's not a dream. It is reality. If you don't believe me, watch the movie again.

answered by Guest | 08-20-2011 at 08:08 AM

So that means that the kids weren't real either? Can someone explain this, I'm really confused, I thought the children were real.

answered by Guest | 08-20-2011 at 08:13 AM

Just to put it out there... At the table, Saito touched Dom's totem. (Well Mal's totem whatever.)

answered by Guest | 10-06-2011 at 02:57 PM

Actually everyone who thinks it is a dream still is wrong.
Originally Posted by Infinite View Post
In the ending Leonardo is still in a dream. The proof is that the object did not fall when he tossed it. Which means it is going against the law of physics. The movie ended him thinking that he was out of the dream which isn't true. When you look carefully at the end of the movie. He tossed it and somewhat he got carried away when he saw his kids. Hence did not check if the object fell or not.

Inception is definitely the movie of the year.
The main source of my knowing Cobb is out of the dream is, when he is in his dream, he is still married to his wife. And he still wears his wedding ring. He even states that in his dreams, he and his wife, are still married. However, when he wakes up from reality, it is no longer the case. At the very end, you notice he doesn't have a ring on his ring finger when he tosses the top. Congrats Cobb on getting back to reality.

answered by Guest | 10-11-2011 at 02:30 PM

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