Inception Analysis & Explanation?

I thought Inception was incredible. The story line was fresh and original and the acting was just phenomenal.

In the ending of the movie Inception, I didn't understand what happened, I had so many questions and doubts. A lot of people think at the end he was stuck in limbo like he explained when the Chinese dude got shot.
Where can I read a good analysis of the movie? I feel like watching he whole film again because I still can't understand some of the things I saw in the movie.

Does anyone have a good explanation or analysis for the ending of Inception? It was so confusing.

asked by Lorelai in Movies | 29523 views | 07-19-2010 at 06:00 PM

You really have to see this film more than once to get it. I think the ending of Inception is deliberately left open to interpretation. I see the wobble as significant, but my other half thinks it isn't and that Cobb is still in the dream world.

The ending is up for discussion. We don't know if that thing stopped spinning. Leo could be stuck in dreams forever, or he really could've came back to see his kids.

One hint that gives it away that this is no dream, is that you see the kid's faces.

When I saw the previews of Inception a few months ago I thought I would have never liked it. I went to see it and was blown away by it.

To read good analysis and explanations of the ending go here > Explain Inception Ending

answered by Roman | 07-19-2010 at 06:00 PM

Great ending. They leave it up to you to decide how you want it to end. The movie ended where it did so that the audience would ponder over it, making it a memorable movie.

Seeing the ending for the first time confused me too, so i watched it again.

In my opinion both Cobb and Saito are still in limbo at the end of the movie. Cobb's top was still spinning at the end and his children do not look any different from before.

The ending is open to interpretation if there is never a sequel. If there were a sequel down the road, I think it would involve Cobb and Saito's attempt to return home or the team's attempt to bring them home.

answered by Callie | 07-20-2010 at 02:49 AM

Yes you do see the kids faces but along the same lines; they are wearing the same clothes as they were in the dream. They were doing the same exact thing as they were in the dream. My opinion, he never got the kick and is in limbo forever more with Saito.

answered by Guest | 07-28-2010 at 09:27 PM

Here's my interpretation.

The entire movie is a paradox that could be played in an endless loop. I think the entire film is Cobb's dream/subconscious in his quest for lucid dreaming, which is itself a paradox. He has to prove to himself he isn't dreaming, in order to dream.

For example, in order to be with his wife forever, he has to leave her.

He has to plant multiple layers of subconscious thought in his own mind in order to make himself believe he is not doing it. He talks about making an idea work by making one believe it's their own idea, not implanted elsewhere. He does this to himself through multiple layers of dreaming. Many of the scenes he is seemingly trying to convince himself of this and block out "intruder" thoughts.

With lucid dreaming, he can be with his wife and kids and live the rest of his dream blissfully.

The first and last scene with Watanbe proves this. How can a totem only you know about, it's weight and feel only known to you be the final thing that sends Cobb into lucid dreaming or inception? Because it was Cobb's totem as well as Watanabe's, answering the paradoxical question.

The film is Cobb's concious fighting his subconcious IMO.

answered by Guest | 07-30-2010 at 01:19 PM

He's Japanese not Chinese...

answered by ypypyp | 07-31-2010 at 02:54 PM

The movie leaves open the possibility that
1. He is still in the dream
2. His wife is alive in reality (as he planted the thought in her head), they both moved from the 3rd dream to the second by death on the train tracks, then she killed her self again and moved to reality, where as he remained in the 2nd dream believing it was his reality.

As for the top, the mind creates what it wants as projections, therefore the totem's behavior would be a projection of his minds reality as gravity is not a constant in dreams.

Therefore he created this entire facade so that he could see the faces of his children again. His wife maybe hope he would die by execution and be transported to the real world, another possibility when she implicated him in her murder.

So he convinced her to seek reality without first believing his own INCEPTION

The dream appears to be more like a penrose square, always leading back to the same point.
But its all up to each's own interpretation

answered by Hmmm | 08-01-2010 at 05:27 AM

I'm probably going to ask more questions than give answers here but what the hell, here goes. I think Cobbs still dreaming at the end. I don't think the totem is relevant as a few people have indicated that this wasn't his totem anyway but his wife's. So it's immaterial what it does. The fact that the kids are still the same age, doing the same thing throughout and wearing the same clothes is significant though. This just wouldn't be the case in any 'real' life situation, hence a dream I believe. Also I do not believe that just because Cobb is wanted for the murder of his wife that the American authorities would track him across the globe attempting to kill him. In reality this would be very strange but not in a dream.

I like an idea that one person has just put forward as I believe this may be the right line of thought. Throughout the film Cobb goes on about the inception of the idea needing to come from the individual concerned to work and grow right? So why could the whole idea of the film not be the implantation into Cobb of him needing to do this job to earn his reward back to his family. A kind of double bluff smoke and mirrors thing. This would be the only way he would believe the ending with his kids, if he fails he looses, but of course he doesn't fail does he?

Another point that I question but can't really explain is if the reality is where Mal kills herself from then how come when they get killed by the train to bring them out of Limbo that when they wake up in the room they are not connected by the wires. Wouldn't they be connected to the machine if they were both coming out of a dream and into reality?

I have issues with the timelines as well. Someone rightly points out that if Cobb's still dreaming at the end then the dream is too long and therefore has to be reality. Perhaps but haven't we all had dreams that have felt like months or years, I know I have on the rare occasion, if he is drugged up I guess the dream will last as long as the drug takes to wear off.

I don't really get limbo either, if you have to build your own world in limbo as Cobb and his wife did and as the Japanese guy did (forgot name sorry) then you would know you were there instantly and just kill yourself wouldn't you? Surely for Limbo to exist it has to be where you believe reality is so you will not kill yourself, hence be forever in Limbo.

Apologies for jumping around a little but it is a complex film! If my theory that the whole inception idea is implanted in Cobb rather than in Fisher and that this is just the hook to make Cobb believe the whole ending then I believe the train and the hit men etc make more sense. It seems a little too convenient that everyone they attempt to infiltrate is protected against the dream invasion already. But it would make more sense to me that Cobb is creating the defensive hit men, train etc as protection from the inner inception that is taking place on himself as he would protect himself in this way.

Confusing I know. Please feel free to enlighten me if I'm way off base.

In essence not real definitive answers and of course there won't be due to the nature of the film. The film is good and thought provoking but its not the best for me I'm afraid. Too many flaws in the plot but although I'm not as much of a fan as most of you, I'm not going to rubbish it either. It was entertaining and has spurned a lot of interest. I'm just the type of person who likes all the loose ends tied up and with this film it's just not going to happen... Inception is open to interpretation.

answered by Guest | 08-01-2010 at 12:58 PM

inception PoV
I think he is dreaming at the end because when they get on the plane the two business guys (the one working with cobbs and the one that they break into his mind) they dont notice each other for christ sake there are 2 major business partners going for the top spot in the energy spot in the world. Also when he comes home the children are wearing the same clothes and doing the same thing also they haven't aged at all. just like his dream.

But one thing that counters my theory that he was dreaming the whole movie is that for him to be dreaming the hole movie he would have gone 7 levels of the dream and the farthest that they say anyone as gone is 3 so for him to 7 levels down is insane. But that's just my PoV hope u liked it

answered by Guest | 08-05-2010 at 05:24 AM

if Mal really woke up through jumping from the hotel window, why would she not kick Cobb in reality?

Either the ending was reality, or the concept of Cobb and Mal entering the first dream was itself a fiction...

answered by Guest | 08-14-2010 at 04:50 PM

he must be back in reality in the end because he can see his children's faces.
in the dream world he can never see his children's faces.

answered by Guest | 08-16-2010 at 11:57 AM

the Japanese guy lived, di caprio died.. at the start of the movie, the Japanese guy is already old while dicaprio never aged at all. this proves that the Japanese guy lived to be old and dreamed about dicaprio (who looks the same as the last time the Japanese saw him alive) imho

answered by wends ang | 08-16-2010 at 03:38 PM

The top will stop spinning because this top was made by his wife in the particular world. She created it so they can understand whether they are in a dream or not. But if the initial world is a dream indeed the top is a part of this world so it should stop spinning. You cannot create something in a world to understand if you are in a dream or not.

Secondly the dream where Cobb and his wife got aged shows that aging can be done in a dream world too, so it does not make sense to say that the initial world (where the kids faces are shown) is dream because they didn't age.

answered by stavros | 08-16-2010 at 04:27 PM

to answer your question..
If you want a full analysis of this outstanding film, read

It is all explained in one person's point of view.

answered by Guest | 08-25-2010 at 10:36 PM

Over analyzed
It's the Matrix rehashed with a half hour segment devoted to a van falling off a bridge and you all fell for it.

answered by Guest | 08-28-2010 at 02:27 AM

The endings real. A quick look on IMDB will reveal two different actors for the children. The costume designer said that they wore different clothes, and Cobb's wedding ring. All factual hard evidence.

answered by Guest | 08-30-2010 at 07:00 AM

This film is one of the best I have ever seen. I thought I have understood it but now I read all these post and is obvious that there are as many interpretations as viewers and all of them seems equally convincing. I think at the end of the movie Di Caprio finally come back to reality as the totem is not moving the same way than when he was dreaming and it seems that it is going to stop. On the other hand, his children are with the same clothes and in the same place they used to be in Di Caprio memories, which suggest the possibility of limbo, but there are also facts which denies it such as the absent of his wife. In my opinion Inception needs to be watched two or three times in order to really understand it and to discover the many interpretations it offers.

answered by Gabriela | 08-31-2010 at 04:30 PM

Cobb was stuck in limbo throughout the whole movie.
He decides when the top spins or stops through his conscious.
That's my interpretation of the movie.

answered by Guest | 09-04-2010 at 05:00 PM

In this article there are several possible interpretations listed:

But since I've watched the movie just once I cannot say if all of them are feasible.

answered by Guest | 11-30-2010 at 05:16 PM

Several points can be made throughout this movie.

I believe that Saito is in limbo because in the snow chaser dream he dies and in the first dream when Fischer is kidnapped, Cobb explains to the team that since they are so far under if they die they will be stuck in limbo. In the beginning of the movie we see Cobb find Saito and Saito's words to Cobb are that he has been waiting for someone from a dream (Cobb) and at the end of the movie we see this scene again but with all the knowledge that we gained throughout the movie.

Also, the dream with the van where Fischer has been kidnapped is the first dream. The team misses the kick when the van hits the bridge and so they have to wait for the van to hit the water. Although the entire team is pulled out of the snow chaser dream and manages to escape the van without Cobb you only see Fischer and Browning emerge out of the water. Browning in that dream is actually the forger, so it is not actually Browning. And as I already said, it is only the first dream. We are then taken to the plane and led to believe they all woke up but there is no kick to bring Fischer and the team back from the van dream. So how would they have woken up? Unless you look at it from the viewpoint that at the beginning of the movie Saito wakes up naturally after the sleeping device is taken out. So the airline stewardess who puts them under could have easily woken them up as well.

Cobb missed the kick while he was with Mal and therefore he is stuck in limbo and we are taken back to the scene with Saito in limbo. But Cobb is unaged and Saito is much older. Cobb says to Saito "I came back for you to remind you of something you once knew that this world is not real...come back so we can be old men together again" Saito reaches for a gun and then Cobb awakens on the plane. So it can be said that Saito shot them both as to waken them.

As for the issue of the children, there are two different actors who play each child and are both different ages. Phillipa is 3 then 5, and James is 20 months then 4. And the outfits are similar but the shoes are not the same.

The totem is really just a metaphor for how we all feel after a dream, "was that real?" although the wobbling of the totem would suggest its upcoming rest.

Leave it to your own interpretations.

answered by Guest | 06-20-2011 at 07:52 PM

here's my take...
First of all great movie, just watched it again. I think he is in limbo. Just as everyone else says about the children having on the same clothes but also so does his dad. Remember when he went to France to meet his dad for help in finding a new architect. His dad was wearing the same clothes then as he was in the end.

I believe he was reality then because before that he tested his spinning top and it show that he was back in reality. Now when he went to go find the chemist, he was put under and supposedly had awaken. He tried to test the spinning top then but he saw his wife in the mirror and Saito dropped in as he had just dropped the spinning top. I believe he was still hook to the machine that the chemist put him on. If you pay close attention Leonardo was kind of curious in how long they were under and how well. When explained that these individuals come here to go to reality (their dreams) he rushed to be apart of he's still at the chemist shop.

answered by rlyles | 06-25-2011 at 06:35 AM

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