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Massawyrm loves almost everything about INCEPTION, and goes into detail about what he doesn't

Hola all. Massawyrm here. Let me be absolutely, 100% percent clear about something upfront: I think INCEPTION is a great film. And while I do not agree with many of my colleagues who have ascribed such words as “brilliant”, “genius” and “masterpiece” to it, I do agree that it is likely better than 95% of anything else that will come out this year and is a MUST SEE. It is an incredibly good film that I like quite a bit – the epitome of mind bending science fiction in this day and age, drawing as much from William Gibson as it does Philip K. Dick. But it is NOT a perfect film. Nolan makes one, small, somewhat pretentious, mistake in the film that undercuts its power and keeps it from attaining the level of brilliance it stands upon the precipice of achieving. Some will see it as a minor moment and dismiss it entirely – others will find it a profound, meaningful few seconds, and will no doubt define it as existential in nature. It made me angry and drove me up the wall with the implications that one, silly shot had on everything the film works to build. Telling you what it is or where it is located will potentially spoil elements of the film – so I won’t…until after the jump. What is to follow is rare for me – it is purely an after the fact review. With a film like INCEPTION – one in which almost every piece of it is spectacularly executed – simply heaping more praise on it seems moot. There are already hundreds of other reviews out there detailing the magnificent editing, the soon to be classic score, the wonderful acting and the sharp writing. Read some of those. I agree with them on all but one point. I have no complaints about 99.9% of this film. But there are 2-3 seconds that I will complain about. In fact, I’m going to spend the better part of 1800 words talking about it in detail. So please, see the film, digest it, then pour yourself a cup of coffee or an ice cold Dr. Pepper and join me back here when you are ready to hear how one shot spoiled the film for me.

***************HERE BE SPOILERS********************

So what’s my problem? The film’s final shot. Up until that point I was absolutely in love with the film. The final shot of the film – the spinning top left by Cobb as he makes his way out the back door – is what I like to call a Schrodinger’s Ending. Rather than wrapping up the film, it instead offers up a series of possibilities of what the film might actually have been about, challenging you to rethink or even revisit the film to figure out which possibility you believe to be the dominant reality. This happened accidentally with the ending of LOST when ABC tacked on footage of the burning wreckage of Flight 815 to the credits, forcing many to wonder if anyone had even survived the original crash at all. In that case, producers quickly came to the rescue, pointing out that this was not part of the story and simply a boneheaded decision by the network that hadn’t thought about what that footage might mean to an audience looking anywhere and everywhere for clues and answers. The ending of INCEPTION is intentional, and it takes a film that is operating entirely with one set of rules and splits it into distinctly different stories – offering multiple possibilities, but like Schrodinger’s cat, making it impossible to know the answer without opening the box – in this case, asking the director. The spinning top offers us four possible realities. One: that everything we’ve seen is above the board and is a solid, internally consistent film. The top is about to wobble and fall. Two: that the movie has been mostly honest with us, but Cobb never actually made it out of Limbo and, now - lonely from of Mal’s departure - has constructed an elaborate fantasy involving his escaping. It doesn’t matter whether the top falls or not. Three: most or all of what we’ve seen is real until Cobb descends into Limbo to save Saito, but everything after that is an elaborate construct to ease his suffering before he goes mad and scrambles. The top does not fall. Four : most or all of what we’ve seen is a fiction and Cobb is a dreamer in some dream world that may or may not involve dream invasion technology at all. It also does not matter whether or not the top falls over. The most likely possibility from the evidence that the movie offers is the first reality; the movie is everything it appears to be and the spinning top is just a cheap joke at the end to make you question everything you’ve just seen for the purpose of seeming even smarter than it already is. While the top creates the second, third and fourth possibilities, there is only some evidence to support the second, little to support the third and absolutely none to support the fourth, save the top itself. Cobb could still be in Limbo and Mal may have actually gotten out – the second possibility - but were this true, the film would suffer from a complete and utter lack of a reality to ground it to. Reality, in this interpretation of the film, never – or barely ever - appears in the film; only the dream world does. This version is most like the ending of THE USUAL SUSPECTS, in which you discover that the entire story you’ve been told for an hour and a half is a lie. However, what THE USUAL SUSPECTS has that INCEPTION does not is a framework story to ground it. Kaiser Souze *does* exist. We see him. And there really was a crime committed on a boat and all of these players really did come together. How much of what we see is actually the truth? That is left to our imaginations. But at the end of the day, the movie is about Kaiser Souze getting one over on the cops and disappearing into the criminal underworld; that story is not nullified even if every word Spacey utters is complete and utter bullshit. If Cobb is still in Limbo, and Mal has gotten out, then the movie is a story of a guy stuck in limbo creating things that don’t matter at all to kill time and quench his loneliness while his mind scrambles. This ending means almost nothing we watched carries any real weight or matters at all – Cobb simply managed to attain the dreamstate equivalent of morphine to dreamily live out his days in bliss. There are no consequences to his actions and he achieved success because he simply willed it – as he does with the rest of the world. The best argument one could make for the second reality is the complete and utter lack of characterization in the film outside of Cobb and Mal. Each character is an archetype and nothing more. While they have dialog and each is assigned a personality quirk, none of them have any development whatsoever. They exist only to serve Cobb’s story. This is best illustrated by Ellen Page’s Ariadne, who, despite her excellent performance, possesses no character traits outside of those that allow Cobb to explain to the audience the rules of the dream world. She is a student and is excited about learning – and that is all the information you will ever learn about her. What this means is that everyone but Cobb and Mal are either A) underdeveloped for the sake of expediting the story or are B) constructs of Cobb’s dream world. If it is the latter, this actually makes this a better movie. The film’s only other failing is its complete and utter lack of character depth, with some major characters serving as nothing more than plot devices upon which dialog rests; if this is so to serve a much more esoteric story, than it actually does lean closer to the early-earned label “Masterpiece”. The third possibility is likely, but again, there is little evidence leading us to believe he stays in limbo after the raid on the third level. The film opens there and has the end of its climax there, but little else is mentioned about it. The only way this possibility can exist is if the top never stops spinning. There is no other evidence to support this theory. The fourth possibility – that everything is a whacked out dream in the mind of dreamer Cobb - is an aberration, a terrible idea resulting as a logical flaw from forcing the audience to question the reality of the ending. I give it no credence outside of acknowledging its existence. Consider a very similar science fiction film, TOTAL RECALL, in which our hero is offered a chance to go on a memory based vacation only to end up saving Mars. Or does he? The film plays out as one thing and ends perfectly, satisfying the audiences’ desire to see the hero win out. But as fans of the film will note, the second time through, a second structure begins to appear – one in which Douglass Quaid lays down in the chair and becomes locked within the fantasy that was supposed to be his vacation. As he begins to believe this alternate reality, people enter his memories to try to save him, but he, now paranoid and delusional, kills them in order to maintain the reality he is very happy with. The film is never clear which reality is the truth – that is up for the audience to decide – but where that film is superior is in the fact that it does not punctuate itself with a question mark. Verhoeven never feels the need to elbow you and go “Hah? Hah? You get it? You’re not supposed to know!” Nolan does. He punctuates the shit out of this movie. I love that this film has the structure that it does – that there are two entirely different stories layered upon one another that can exist simultaneously. And I love that we as the audience get to question the validity of each. But this fracture exists long before we see the top. And since we’ve seen the top fall over during scenes of “reality”, we have to assume that the top was going to fall over regardless – that in Cobb’s Limbo state, he has convinced himself that the top actually *can* fall over. Unless of course we entertain the third possibility, that everything we see is legitimately occurring until Cobb goes to Limbo and from that point on everything we see is a construct of his imagination. What I don’t love is that Nolan feels the need to highlight this structure and point out the layers. The final shot is something of a middle finger to the audience, refusing to allow you, even for a moment, to relish Cobb’s triumph. Instead, Nolan robs all the power of the mainline story by forcing you to question it at all. This type of story is best served as an underlying, quiet, alternate take on the film, allowing less intellectual members of the audience to walk away feeling like they understood it, while those who love to dissect and argue films have something they can really sink their teeth into. There’s no reason to leave an entire audience intentionally in Limbo – it is a wholly unsatisfying exercise, that here finds itself at the end of an incredibly satisfying (up to that point) film. It is an amateur hour choice made by someone known for making mostly solid ones. I don’t mind an ambiguous ending, but I do mind a last second highlighting of information already present. The top could have fallen over and both the first two interpretations would have existed and made sense, but by leaving us the way it does, INCEPTION creates two unnecessary possibilities to muddle what is, until that point, a fantastic duality. This is where I depart from the rest of the critical mass heaping praise on the film. I can forgive any number of small things about the movie – from unexplained magical briefcases with chemicals that let you enter other people’s dreams, to strange temporal anomalies involving exponential time dilation in a dream-within-a-dream and the minds ability to perceive it – because it is a wonderfully original framework with which to tell a story. But trying to point out how esoteric it is being only puts stress on the film’s already thin logic and forces audience to ask questions like “Why can’t another person touch someone’s token?” and “If another person can’t touch your token, why is Cobb’s token his wife’s?” and “If Cobb’s token is his wife’s, then isn’t it worthless and the last shot simply cinematic masturbation?” It is okay to create your own seemingly illogical logic as long as you play by your own rules. When those rules are tweaked for the benefit of story, you begin to force the audience to ask too many questions. I’m not convinced these are inherent flaws in the film, but I do think Nolan calls too much attention to these details by focusing too heavily on the top as a device. I’ve spent more time reflecting on the problems the top creates for the film then I’ve spent reflecting on any other part of it – and I hate that. That’s not what I want to walk away from a film thinking about. But that’s what Nolan wanted us to think about. He put the top front and center. And that’s where I think he went terribly wrong. Every other element in this film is near perfect. This soils it. In the end, I believe the top falls over and everything that occurs in the story is “real” and “happens”. The top is simply irrelevant in the second option and the third is only supported if the top keeps spinning – which Nolan refuses to show us. The only logical answer, if the top matters at all, is the first, obvious conclusion. But then, why show the top at all?
Until next time friends, Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback
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  • July 16, 2010, 9:16 a.m. CST


    by JohnnyThanatos

  • July 16, 2010, 9:16 a.m. CST

    Some day I'll have an opinion about this...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...just you wait!

  • July 16, 2010, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Just wanted to take the thunder from "firsties"

    by JohnnyThanatos

    But really, I am getting tired of endings that try to prove that a director is thinking in levels of deception just a little deeper than the audience. Sometimes an ending... should just be an ending.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:20 a.m. CST

    That's sort of the point though, right?

    by aceattorney

    I left the theater almost believing I was living in a dream. Nolan's entire point was to make the audience face that question themselves: How do we know we aren't dreaming?

  • July 16, 2010, 9:20 a.m. CST

    Haven't seen it yet...

    by coolwhip

    Going tomorrow.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:22 a.m. CST

    One thing that makes it the FIRST POSSIBILITY

    by aceattorney

    You didn't mention that he sees his kids' faces at the end, something which he wasn't able to do since he didn't have that memory.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:28 a.m. CST

    FIFTH possibility and what I think really happened...

    by AtaxianTheMagnificent

    I think that the top will continue to spin after the cut to black and here's why. Much earlier in the film when Cobb is assembling his team, directly after we're introduced to the chemist who created the strong sedative, we're shown a room full of people dreaming. Cobb then goes under, looking to experience the sedative and seeing it's effectiveness. Now here's the catch. We never actually see him wake up. Rather, as best my memory serves, we cut to him splashing water on his face and slapping himself. Also, he spins the top to test his current state. Arthur walks and asks if he's okay and he catches a glimpse of his wife in the window, immediately snatching up the top. We never see if it falls. Now, I may be remember the order/specifics of that improperly but I do remember the two important factors. Cobb, who is supposedly "awake" at that time see's an incredibly quick glimpse of Mol and we never see the top fall. My thoughts are that everything after that moment, anything that takes place after Cobb is put under the sedative, is his creation.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:28 a.m. CST

    The last shot is Nolan's parting gift to the audience

    by AxeEmAll

    It is less to do with the movie than a question that Nolan poses to us regarding what we believe to be real or not. It is for our own self-reflection of our own perception of our own existence. That's why Nolan is a genius. That last shot directly "speaks" to us.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:28 a.m. CST

    The top

    by Nordling

    was never real. It's established as Cobb's totem, a memento of his dead wife's - until it's revealed that he pulled it from her dream-safe. From that point on we have to question every reality.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Cobb's totem...

    by WavingFlagsInSpace

    It bothered me that his totem was in fact his wife' what was originally his?<p>This led me to think that the entire thing was a dream because you need the totem to distinguish appearance from reality and Cobb, seemingly, never had one...therefore never wanting to distinguish between the two.<p>THAT'S IT! He was dreaming the whole thing from a shitty bedsit in Dagenham. I knew it...

  • July 16, 2010, 9:32 a.m. CST

    Nagging irritations

    by kenji

    Though visually impressive and certainly worth catching on the big screen -- its lack of 3D is ironically regrettable in this season of unnecessary, cash-grabbing conversions -- Inception bugs me too. Massa points out that the ending is distractingly vague. I agree, but how about that it is also distressingly specific, i.e. it changes the entire theme of the movie away from dreams and rather about whether our perceptions are real. That makes Inception another Matrix or Dark City or Jacob's Ladder; a "how can we trust our senses?" exercise. It is not, actually, about dreaming at all. This made me wonder how much Inception's dreams reflected my understanding of what dreams look like. (They don't. Inception's dreamers are always lucid and coherent and their visions don't flicker or change without deliberate chemical control.) This adds another distraction to a movie that is chockful of them. For example, Cobb embarks on a gambit which Arthur (I think) tells us is dangerous because it can inform the mark that he is dreaming, not awake. Well, isn't that Nolan winking at his own cleverness, his own ability to walk up to the fourth wall without shattering it? Things like this make Inception more of a glittering, brilliantly machined moving sculpture than an immersive story in which one has, y'know, feelings.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:33 a.m. CST


    by kenji

    By the way that was my first post here after many years of lurking. Inception is the kind of film that you need to shoot the shit about, isn't it!

  • July 16, 2010, 9:34 a.m. CST

    The difference between a dream totem and a real totem

    by aceattorney

    Is there any?

  • July 16, 2010, 9:36 a.m. CST

    AtaxianTheMagnificent - that scene had me thinking as well

    by aceattorney

    Good point

  • July 16, 2010, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Arnold winking at the camera is not ponctuating Total Recall?

    by daveyf

    You're argument is weak on that front. The ending to Inception is what makes it a masterpiece. It was an excellent movie before that and it became a classic for it. I say FUCK the less intellectual people in the audience. I'm so tired of everything being dumbed down so the lower IQs of the world can enjoy. There's enough stupid movies like Knight and Day for those intellectually challenged. Your review is very disappointing in spite of your positive stance.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Massa, you're wrong.

    by JackBauer24

    I just love the fact that you preface this review by saying you thought the film was 95% great but there was this one thing that lets it down - then go into a detailed, multi-paragraph analysis of the implications of that final shot. I think any ending that can provoke that level of thought, introspection and analysis is in fact a great ending. And I wouldn't be surprised if, in time, the very thing you think you hated the most about this movie turns out to be the thing that in fact makes it great. I HATED the reveal/twist in FIGHT CLUB the first time I saw it. I felt cheated and insulted - now it's one of my favourite movies of all time. I could be wrong - but I think you might change your mind about this someday. Also Total Recall DOES punctuate the question. Much moreso than Inception - Arnie actually SAYS 'Hey, what if this all actually was a dream?'. Then he kisses the girl and it suspiciously fades to white with Goldsmith's dream-theme playing over the shot.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Conventional Endings are so...

    by WavingFlagsInSpace

    ...satisfying because they tend to be so shallow. They're easy meat to digest, Massa...why should Nolan be obliged to include your, or any other person's, concept of a satisfying ending?<p>It reminds me of when Baz Bamigboye (a true "Citizen Dildo" film reviewer here in the UK) demanded that Lars von Trier justify the making of 'Antichrist' and von Trier laudably told him to 'get fucked': it was his film, his work of art, and he didn't need to justify any of his decisions to anyone. Nolan has that right too, he doesn't have to give you what you want...

  • July 16, 2010, 9:39 a.m. CST

    Massawyrm disliking the last shot...

    by AxeEmAll precisely what Nolan wants to evoke in us - to force us to form an opinion of what we believe the movie is. Inception is a hyperbole for the way people form opinions about their individual perception of things that shape our own reality. It is forcing us to come up with our own IDEA, to make us realize the viral power of its influence in defining who we are and those who may believe in us. This, I believe, is the whole point of the movie.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Welcome kenji...

    by WavingFlagsInSpace

    Glad to see you here! Enjoy...

  • July 16, 2010, 9:41 a.m. CST


    by Levon Swift

    They don't tell us how long Cobb has been "gone," but didn't it seem like it was kind of a long time for his kids at the end of the movie to look exactly like his last prior memory of them? The top keeps spinning.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:44 a.m. CST

    I'm coming back here tomorrow.....

    by Righteous Brother

    after I've seen the film, enjoy the rest of the talkback folks!

  • July 16, 2010, 9:47 a.m. CST

    The top

    by kafka07

    Symbolically what does the top mean? Does it represent Cobb's control (or lack of) of his surroundings?

  • July 16, 2010, 9:49 a.m. CST

    The very fact...

    by FatCharlie

    ...that Nolan was able to draw you in to such a degree that the ending gave you an almost Hyperbolic reaction of anger....speaks volumes i think. Personally i thought the film was perfect top to bottom, frame 1 to the end. loved it.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Hey Massawyrm...

    by AxeEmAll

    ...I think you fell for the trap Chris Nolan set for all of us with that final shot.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:56 a.m. CST

    The point is not whether the top falls ...

    by Nickytea

    It's that we are not shown. He can't know. WE can't know. The movie is about his journey as a torchured character, evolving to the point where he can WALK AWAY from the top. As much as people will interpret one way or the other -- the top falling or not -- the movie does and will continue to support both. Neiter is so important as the middle truth: his emotional reality. Cobb transcends his existential doubt through reconciling his emotional reality.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:58 a.m. CST

    Nickytea nailed it.

    by Nordling

    Well done.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:11 a.m. CST


    by BP_drills_america_a_new_asshole

    I've just seen it, and oh boy, there is so much context and subtext to this film I have to see it at least once more to even begin to dissect it. But it is a cerebral masterpiece, something Kubrick would have been proud of. The spinning top shot was THE PERFECT ENDING. It makes the audience question everything, it invites you to discuss it to death. Those going to film school from now on can expect the exam question : "Discuss the significance of the spinning top in Inception" on a regular basis. The spinning top image is destined to become legendary and be forever associated with the maestro Chris Nolan.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:11 a.m. CST

    Verhoeven doesn't punctuate the ambiguity? Really?

    by denzacar SPOILER: The final scene fading into white is intentionally done by Paul Verhoeven to leave some question marks regarding whether everything was a dream and Quaid got lobotomized in the end. Also: Melina: I can't believe it. It's like a dream. <Looks at Quaid> Melina: What's wrong? Quaid: I just had a terrible thought. What if this is the dream? Melina: Well then kiss me quick before you wake up. <They kiss> <Tu-ru-ru-ru music a la Twilight Zone starts as sun beams into the camera.> <Whiteout>

  • July 16, 2010, 10:15 a.m. CST

    Oh and what does the PREQUEL COMIC prove, if any?

    by aceattorney

    Someone pick the comic apart for the rest of us please.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Plotholes - indication of a dream?

    by aceattorney

    The movie jumped from scene to scene, emulating the way we dream - but it did so even during the "reality."

  • July 16, 2010, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Blue sky on Mars...

    by Billyeveryteen

    Bud Cort says it before the injection. Hence...<p>Quaid wakes up after the kiss, and goes home with Sharon Stone.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Long Live The New Flesh


    If INCEPTION makes $$$, it can only mean more money for Ehren Kruger's VIDEODROME remake for Universal. If it makes $$,$$$,$$$,$$$ wouldn't surprised if Ratner's given BRAZIL to re-make too.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Wow, Nickytea

    by The Bicycle Sharer

    Well fuckin' done. Haven't even seen this yet (tomorrow, hurry up!) and I got a feeling that's gonna be my interpretation. I've no problem with the ambiguous ending that allows the audience to decide ("Total Recall," yup!). So glad that even the thing that Massawyrm decries is intelligent enough to draw me in. As opposed to the inanity of Lost's final season.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:22 a.m. CST

    And I disagree with the whole "Haha! It drew you in!" concept

    by The Bicycle Sharer

    Of a film's "greatness." What does that even mean - an accomplished asshole? "Haha - look at me I'm so good that I can make you invest then fuck you up the ass!" I'm sure rapists feel the same sense of accomplishment. Does that make their "product" good?

  • July 16, 2010, 10:23 a.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    Because it's working.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:24 a.m. CST

    I'm with Mas

    by subfreq

    Thought the way he left the top at the end was ill judged.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:28 a.m. CST

    It's all a dream. Everything.

    by estacado1

    The scene in Mombasa where DiCaprio was being chased by several men and being shot at several times, he dodged every single bullet while running. It was way too many bullets for a person to dodge. It must be a a dream.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:31 a.m. CST

    the comic SPOILERS

    by cekma

    sets up why they are in Saito's mind in the start of the movie. Establishes the two different corporations and what they both want. Why Cobb is in bed with the one and why he needs to get to Saito. Dives lightly into without showing, how they learned about the technology with Michael Caine's character.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:33 a.m. CST

    "Did IQs just fall sharply while I was away?"

    by BP_drills_america_a_new_asshole

    I think I know the reason why some are trashing Inception. IT MAKES THEM FEEL DUMB. People who thought of themselves as being quite intelligent came away frustrated...that frustration made them question whether they are smart enough to apprecite the film, hence insecurity and some savage reviews. Maybe that's an over simplification, but its a theory.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:35 a.m. CST

    many crazy thoughts

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    Great movie but I say EVERYTHING was a dream. Like cobb being on the run seems really weird. Him and mal both goin into dreams (why?) To just hangout? How the team has the tech. The fact the tech exists. I say cobb was depressed after mal died (in however way), took heavy drugs, went to sleep.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:35 a.m. CST

    My take on it....

    by wildphantom07

    SPOILERS............<p> The spinning top may well have fallen down. The final shot for me had me literally pleading for the thing to fall down, hence ramming home the point that I was so caught up in Cobb's end goal that I couldn't bare to see it not be confirmed.<p> I can kind of see where you're coming from Mass, but it didn't bother me at all. I expected them to leave it open. That it infuriated me was part of the fun I thought.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Focus on Michael Caine

    by badgers340

    *SPOILER* His character is key to understanding the movie. In the end it doesn't matter if the top stays up or falls down - Cobb has been coerced to join his father (Caine) in Caine's dream reality. Apply everything you know about Cobb's role to Ariadne - she brings Cobb to the deepest levels of his dreams/memories, she tells Cobb to trust her with his deepest secrets, she convinces Cobb to shoot Mal. All this after 'an idea' is implanted in Cobb's brain early in the movie - when Saito suggests that he can live his life happily with his children if he does one more job. They also made the point over and over that only the dreamer can populate a dream landscape - his kids and Mal keep showing up. One last hint - after escaping the van Ariadne states "He'll be fine" - because she orchestrated everything, and the rest of the cast (including Fischer) were part of her team, working for Michael Caine's character. There's no conclusion to the 'Level 4' story because he had already parted with Mal - goal accomplished, at which point the rest of the team (on the plane) woke him up.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:41 a.m. CST


    by godhatesusall

    i am surprised no one yet has done the math The spinning top shot at the end =Inception of an idea

  • July 16, 2010, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Everyone in the audience yelled

    by antimcgyver

    WHen the screen cut to black. Then started clapping. It is a good movie.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:45 a.m. CST

    No mention of...

    by Big_Daddy_Nero

    Verhoeven's other much better ambiguous ending movie? Basic Instinct anyone? Very similar ending to Inception. In any case, the ending of Inception irritated me too, because I wanted to be told a story, I didn't necessarily want to be asked questions by the movie. However, I recognize that as my own personal taste and not necessarily a fault with the movie itself. In fact, much as it may irritate me, Basic Instinct is one of my favorite movies of all time. But for Inception, I just can't buy that Cobb's happy ending was reality - it was just a little too neat and convenient and perfect. One almost conjures up images of the ending to Pan's Labyrinth in that regard. That said, man, what a great movie. LOVED it. WILL SEE AGAIN AND AGAIN, WILL BU ON BLU RAY.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Godhatesusall - I already said that

    by aceattorney

    The whole point of the movie was to make you question everything.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:46 a.m. CST


    by antimcgyver

    I never thought of that! so he's being "incepted" upon maybe? That would be crazy! it could be the father's first mission or test with an inception, putting Cobb in so deep he doesn't remember reality anymore. A Super black gambit!!

  • July 16, 2010, 10:48 a.m. CST

    michael caine

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    I think it was caines dreamworld too just for the fact he spoke english and leo spoke american lol...didn't that seem weird? And why was he in paris?

  • July 16, 2010, 10:50 a.m. CST

    we are not unique snowflakes

    by vincebell

    "...allowing less intellectual members of the audience to walk away feeling like they understood it, while those who love to dissect and argue films have something they can really sink their teeth into..." in suggesting that people who don't get into our internet/talkbacks/etc world are of lesser intelligence, you doom us all to be lumped into some kinda lame ass uppity elitist crowd that just sucks. but this will never change, and i doubt you'll even acknowledge how arrogant all this is.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:51 a.m. CST

    fair enough aceattorney

    by godhatesusall

    sorry didn't see that but i was more making a direct reference to the title as the whol eof the story, but your right

  • July 16, 2010, 10:52 a.m. CST

    You don't allow anyone else to touch your totem

    by The Shroud

    so that no one else can re-create it in a dream with the exact hidden specification (weightage etc). Arthur's weighted dice has a specific centre of gravity and we saw Ariadne made modification to the chess piece recognizable only to her. That way when they test their totem they'll know if they are in a dream or not. Same way Saito figured out the 2nd dream because the carpet wasn't wool. Since his wife is dead he can use her totem because no one else alive knows the properties of it

  • July 16, 2010, 10:52 a.m. CST

    MASS: I also thought Nolan really "punctuated"


    I thought the shot of the top was laying it on too thick. I love TOTAL RECALL, and Verhoven does kind of put a question mark on the end...when the girl asks Ahnuld if he is sure he isn't dreaming, and he says "Kiss me before I wake up." Personally, I suspect that INCEPTION will play on repeat viewings like TOTAL RECALL and you will pick up a bunch of indicators that the whole movie is Leo's dream...I already think the movie plays that way. But although I thought the final shot was a little on the nose, it was a great moment as the whole theater started murmuring and leaning forward in their seats to see what the top would do, then groaning, laughing, and saying "What the fuck!" when the credits start to roll.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Badger and Nickytea are on top of it but..

    by subfreq

    The audience still doesn't need that cinematic wink/? right at the end of the top, I think it's a cop out. <BR> Wouldn't it have been smarter to have the Michael Caine character pick the spinning top up from the table?

  • July 16, 2010, 10:55 a.m. CST

    "Token"? Isn't it "totem"?


  • July 16, 2010, 11 a.m. CST

    Caine could have picked up the top...

    by badgers340

    But I think we're left to wonder, does it really matter if the top stays up or falls if Cobb doesn't actually have the free will to choose his world? Does it matter if it's a dream or reality - either way it isn't his because of the inception. The only real question that leaves is where does dream world start and reality begin? My personal feeling is that no one scene in that movie was reality - what we thought was reality was actually level one of the team trying to pull off inception within Cobb's mind.

  • July 16, 2010, 11:01 a.m. CST

    The Usual Suspects?

    by ME_M

    As good as that movie is, it was given away halfway through the film, well before the closing scenes. Anyone who has watched enough Sesame Street (and read a few spy novels) saw the scene with the gang in the jail cell and would start asking "which of these things is not like the other?".

  • July 16, 2010, 11:02 a.m. CST

    Why the last shot is just fine


    I don't think the ramifications of seeing it like that undermine anything of the rest of the film. The film opens in limbo and robs us of any sense of reality. All the way through we feel like we are glimpsing into a world we can barely understand. I was totally prepared for an ending ambiguous in meaning and something that FEELS like its relfective of the heroes journey, the self-conscious storytelling and unsure of what reality we're in. I mean thats the bloody plot isn't it. I was very emotionally satisfied with Cobb's journey for whichever reality he is in, he succeeded in his ultimate journey of relieving his guilt and saying goodbye to Mal. Period.

  • July 16, 2010, 11:03 a.m. CST

    So, "The Wrestler's" ending was too ambiguous for you, Massa?


    No, actually. You didn't mention that in your review at all. Would you have preferred that Aronofsky cut to Ram's funeral or Ram having lunch with Marisa Tomei's character instead of that brilliantly ambiguous and haunting cut to black (accompanied by an awsesome Springsteen track)? Your argument is inconsistent. The only thing that IS consistent here is Inception and its ending.

  • July 16, 2010, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Massawyrm: Easy Answer About The Top

    by Triliflops

    With the rules that the movie gives us, we know that in the "dreams," the top spins not just indefinitely, but PREFECTLY. Never in one of the dream states did the top faulter or swivle while spinning. In the last shot, when it does fault, even though it doesn't fall, we are to understand that this is reality. I feel that with Nolan not showing the top actually fall, he's not telling us that WE can't be sure if this is true reality, but that Cobb can't be sure because he's been in and out for so long and too many times. I never even thought about it as a cheap shot until you mentioned it, and while you seem to have a good arguement for your "second reality," I think it's the result of overthinking the final shot. That's not a bad thing, because it creates a good discussion, but at this point, it's ruining the film for you.

  • July 16, 2010, 11:08 a.m. CST

    And if he did pick it up

    by subfreq

    Then Cobb would definitively never know whether he was in a dream or not and the audience could still have these conversations about whether Caine was a sub conscious defense mechanism or a real person. <BR><BR> Great film though even if this tiny moment gives me a jolt out of how near to perfection the film is. Nolan's best by a country mile and hopefully a wake up call to all the recycled garbage we are getting served up every summer.

  • July 16, 2010, 11:10 a.m. CST

    did the audience clap or cheer for jgl fight?

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    I smiled once I heard the theater erupt into applause....jgl is about to be a supersta! And handsome bob also

  • July 16, 2010, 11:12 a.m. CST

    and one complaint besides Leo

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    I hate how nolan never does a good opening shot of a char...its just next scene, character talks...he's done this with batman too

  • July 16, 2010, 11:15 a.m. CST

    I knew it, i just knew it!!!

    by AsimovLives

    It had to be. It had to be Massa!! Dude is starting to get terribly predictable.

  • July 16, 2010, 11:15 a.m. CST

    The best theory we could come up with...

    by GoDFaDDa42

    It's all Caine. The tragedy was real, and Cobb is fucked. His wife made it airtight, and she can't ever go home. Caine, the master dreamer, puts his son in a dream to escape this life. However, Cobb's own hang-up that won't let him be happy in his dream with his wife and children. So, Cobb has to believe in this world of "anonymous corporations" to believe that there is a power great enough to "fix" his problem and that he can win it through his own actions. Once Cobb believes that he has "earned" the right to go back to his kids, he can be happy with his kids in the dream world. Ariadne and the others, including Saito, are working for Caine. The top never stops spinning.

  • July 16, 2010, 11:15 a.m. CST

    aicn needs a poll

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    Was it all a dream? Limbo? Reality? A wet dream (get it, cuz there was so much water)? Or is this Jacks afterlife after drownin in that icey lake?

  • July 16, 2010, 11:17 a.m. CST

    *he* can't ever go home...

    by GoDFaDDa42

    Not *she*, from my previous post. The audience loved the gravity-fight scenes with JGL. Of all the "okay, let's just accept that" rules of the movie, the one thing that kept bothering me was that the gravity shift only went down one level - the van's shift messed with the hotel, but the fact that they were in freefall in the hotel didn't affect the snow-hospital.

  • July 16, 2010, 11:18 a.m. CST

    So, let me get this straight:

    by AsimovLives

    Massa makes a huge big fuzz about what he things is some bad 3 seconds in a great movie that last for about 160 minutes. And yet, he did nothing but praise for Jar Jar Abrams's FUCKING HORRIBLE PIEC EOF SHIT TREK whihc 122 minutes of complete shit from star to finish. Who can understand this dude? Science is yet to explain the way Massa's mind works. There's some inception to be made to his mind, with 3 bad seconds included.

  • July 16, 2010, 11:19 a.m. CST

    i agree godfadd

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    Dunno if the team was in it too but I agree...or maybe he was in mal dream and that explains why she tried to kill him so he could wake up? I dunno

  • July 16, 2010, 11:20 a.m. CST

    this movie is closerr to repo man than anything

    by yourSTEPDADDY

  • July 16, 2010, 11:24 a.m. CST

    So, Harry reviews Airbender and Twilight... but not Inception?

    by chains

    Just sayin...

  • July 16, 2010, 11:29 a.m. CST

    It is a masterpiece

    by RobFromBackEast

    That is some serious nit-picking, Missa. But the fact that Nolan has gotten such a response speaks volumes for the production. I personally can't see any fault with logic at the centre of it and loved how it ended. The audience response where I seen it was priceless. Everyone left the cinema debating it.

  • July 16, 2010, 11:36 a.m. CST


    by wildphantom07

    How come Saito had aged so much, yet Cobb hadn't? Anyone clear that one up?

  • July 16, 2010, 11:36 a.m. CST

    can someone explain jgl job?

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    What exactly was he the best at?

  • July 16, 2010, 11:51 a.m. CST

    To answer your question, Massa . . .

    by stillwater79

    I simply assumed that when Mal died, her token could be taken and used by Cobb. As for the main argument of your review, I think that you see what you want to see in the film; I like the fact that it can go either way. While I wouldn't go so far as to say INCEPTION is the best movie ever, it certainly was entertaining, and I will be seeing it again.

  • July 16, 2010, 12:02 p.m. CST

    Nitpick away...

    by MarionRavenwood

    That's the entire point of loving film. I hate it when people say that it's inconsistent to not have the exact same opinion from movie to movie, like Kid Idioteque says. If you tried to do that, you'd find yourself ruling out entire genres and eventually not being able to watch anything anymore. Maybe, "The Wrestler" did a better job with an ambiguous ending for some people. With, "Inception", the whole point of the movie is to discuss your personal interpretation of the ending. You can't say someone is "wrong" if they didn't like it. Why attack a critic for having an opinion? That's the entire reason we come to AICN.

  • July 16, 2010, 12:13 p.m. CST



    This bodes well for B3

  • July 16, 2010, 12:24 p.m. CST

    There's always a flaw in Nolan movies

    by cookylamoo

    Like how in the Prestige it suddenly turns into a science fiction movie without any preparation.

  • July 16, 2010, 12:25 p.m. CST

    Despite all the praise and Nolan Kool Aid going around

    by HapaPapa72

    The cast will still get me in the theater. How is the score? I heard a few snippets on iTunes and it just sounded like TDK. Guess I need the whole experience.

  • July 16, 2010, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Incredible film

    by thommcg

    Wish the foreign students that crammed into the cinemas just as the thing started would have shut the fuck up though :(

  • July 16, 2010, 12:42 p.m. CST

    The final shot

    by thommcg

    Look, this wasn't "The Mist", the final seconds did not ruin what preceded it. It's left up to the viewer to determine the outcome (Although, as others here point out, you could argue that that was determined well beforehand).

  • July 16, 2010, 12:42 p.m. CST


    by kickyouinthenickels

  • July 16, 2010, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Massawyrm I want my $7.50 back you fuck!!

    by JarJar25

    I'm not giving up. Predators sucked big time and is one of the worst films this year. There were only four predators to boot, and no homeworld. Predators 2 was better than that shit!

  • July 16, 2010, 12:52 p.m. CST

    OCD much, Massa?

    by JayLenoTookMyJob

    Just sayin'.

  • July 16, 2010, 1:02 p.m. CST

    My wife's Freudian reading....

    by AJH313

    my wife is a psycologist and gave me her very Freudian interpretation of the movie that jives with Masa's #3, seeing as though the entire movie deals with Freudian terms like "Conscious and sub-conscious". Mal represents Cobb's Superego, which is there to remind Cobb of the fact that what he is doing (Stealing) is inherently wrong, and that where he is is merely a dream. When does Mal ever show up? When Cobb is about to succeed (in Saito's dream, in the Mountain fortress). Limbo would be Cobb's Id, a ranging pot of emotions and feelings. A world where you can create anything and go anywhere. Unfortunately, the Superego (Mal) still exists and is constantly saying, "You're not supposed to be here. Because I'm here and I'm dead, so this isn't real. You need to be in your conscious, and not your sub-conscious." The scene where Cobb says goodbye to Mal is a Freudian way of killing or eliminating the Superego, so once she/it is gone the Id has total control and never realizes that everything isn't real. Everything from Cobb meeting Old Saito on (waking up on the plane, immigration, the kids) are all projections of Cobb's Id, creating the world he wants, just as when he was in limbo before. So the top stays spinning. I personally still believe the top falls at the end and everything has been above board.

  • July 16, 2010, 1:28 p.m. CST

    I'll thank Nolan for one thing in particular...

    by ebonic_plague

    ...making Ellen Page look incredibly damn good in that bun and pencil skirt. And JGL was a badass. <p> The more I think about this movie, and hear other people's theories about the meaning, the more I really, really liked it. The bit that Massa hates was one of my favorite parts.

  • July 16, 2010, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Damn straight ebonic_plague


    Page did look damn good in that outfit. And AJH313...the Freudian reading is really interesting. There is also an Oedipus element with Cilian Murphy needing to be told to dissolve his father's empire.

  • July 16, 2010, 1:42 p.m. CST

    I agree

    by mastes360

    The film was very good up until that ending shot which wasn't needed imo. Right after thinking about it, i DO think he was back in the real world at the end. Throughout the film, Cobb was saying he wouldn't look at his childrens faces again until he's back in the real world also if he realy was in Limbo, that would mean them waking up on the plane didn't happen which in turn would mean that they didn't complete the mission and the mission was the whole point of the film!. I think the flickering totem was just Nolan trying to mess with peoples minds.

  • July 16, 2010, 1:46 p.m. CST

    Shutter Island had a dumb ending too

    by RPLocke

    It didn't fit in with the rest of the film.

  • July 16, 2010, 1:49 p.m. CST

    The Totem

    by AmbroseChaseWillRise

    Since the totem was a dream object, then it stands to reason that the whole movie had taken place in the dream world.

  • July 16, 2010, 1:55 p.m. CST


    by AmbroseChaseWillRise

    someone explaining the many levels of the subconscious, and the ways the mind perceives time in the dream state. FINALLY!!!

  • July 16, 2010, 1:56 p.m. CST


    by lost.rules.

    You KNOW from the very moment that the top/totem's spinning is explained that this will be the last shot of the film. It is the very fucking epitome of the "gun on the mantle." If there is a legitimate gripe about the last shot it is how overtly it was telegraphed in the first act. Your rant also clearly comes from a a place of emotions, rather than logic, because you dismiss out of hand the "it was ALL a dream" scenario despite the fact that evidence WAS given in the film. As it was pointed out to Leo, the nameless, ubiquitous agents chasing him around the 1st level "Reality" were exactly the same as the generic ubiquitous agents that came out of the woodwork everywhere in each dream level. And that's just one of the very, very strong indicators that everything was a dream. If you truly believe that "This ending means almost nothing we watched carries any real weight or matters at all," then maybe you need to step back, take a breath, and realize that almost nothing we watch in a theater "carries any real weight or matters at all." It's entertainment.

  • July 16, 2010, 1:58 p.m. CST


    by mastes360

    The totem was not just a dream object hense the new girl making one in the real world and DiCaprio showing his also in the real world. That was the point of the totem, something they could take into the dreamworld as a reminder so they would know if anyone was trying to decieve them so to speak.

  • July 16, 2010, 2 p.m. CST

    echoes of a foil unicorn.

    by Obscura

    Personally, i loved it, simply because of the build up. final moments are very important to Nolan, you can see the from The Prestige, where you never really get all the answers till the very last frame. He wants to make movies that exist in your mind, beyond the theatre. i think, and ending such as Inceptions allows people who didnt entirely get every plot point to have that excitment, as well as everyone else. In the theatre i saw it in, there were very loud audible gasps as the screen went black, followed by huge applause. The ending worked for that audience. it worked for me. i loved it. whats more, it exists so that articles like this one get written.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:02 p.m. CST


    by AmbroseChaseWillRise

    Leo's totem was originally his wife's, which he took from her dream safe(her mind). How does a dream object become real?

  • July 16, 2010, 2:07 p.m. CST


    by mastes360

    I understand what you're saying but perhaps he searched for the totum in the real world after finding it in the safe, you know as a reminder of his wife kind of. I just think the "All of it was a dream" thing would be a bit basic for Nolan, it would also kind of make the whole film a bit pointless in a way.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:08 p.m. CST

    "Blue Sky on Mars."

    by Crimson King

    I think Verhoeven drops enough clues in Total Recall as to what really happens. Quaid get lobotomized at the end. When they're preparing to implant the memory, the tech guy grabs the disk/whatever containing the memory and reads the title, "Blue Sky on Mars" and says, "oh, that's a new one." At the end of the movie there's a blue sky on mars and then everything is drowned out by white light, which I believe is Arnold's mind getting wiped away.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:09 p.m. CST

    by Crimson King

  • July 16, 2010, 2:09 p.m. CST

    It may seem a bit basic

    by AmbroseChaseWillRise

    sometimes things are so basic, we just make them complex.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:10 p.m. CST


    by mastes360

    Surely Cobb himself would realise that he found the totum in a dream!, i'm sure he's intelligent to think "Er why am i walking around with this totum in the real world if i found it a safe in a dream?"!.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Hey, ambrosechasewillrise...

    by Crimson King

    Cobb doesn't take the totem from her safe. He makes it so that the top is spinning in the safe, because she put it in there on its side. He figured out she was trying to forget and made sure she would find it spinning therefore realizing she's still dreaming.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST

    AsimovLives oh shit, he's in this thread

    by RPLocke

    Let's talk about how boring Star Trek is.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Oh shit...

    by Crimson King

    Someone already pointed out what I pointed out about Total Recall. I missed it, my bad.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:18 p.m. CST

    kids never existed imo

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    There was no shots of them beside in the dreams. When they showed cobb and mal wake up from limbo, no kids around. Don't you think it would be weird for loving parents to escape reality where they have kids. The reason he never looked at their face was cuz they didn't exist. Sure in the end he sees them, but then again you see what the top did. So new theory, mal couldn't have kids, for whatever reason they went to the dreamworld, etc etc. Or maybe his kids is the real adam and eve (heh heh)

  • July 16, 2010, 2:19 p.m. CST


    by UltimaRex

    The entire film is about planting ideas in peoples heads. If it had a wrap up ending I'd be pissed.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:21 p.m. CST

    The first one of you who mentions...

    by ebonic_plague

    ...ANYTHING about Star Trek in this thread, goes on my eternal blood vendetta list. I'm not kidding, totem straight through the eyeball.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:26 p.m. CST

    or maybe caine was a forger

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    He looked like cobbs father to him but to us was a'll explain his british accent and why he was in paris instead of america (how many professors you know work in a different continent?)

  • July 16, 2010, 2:26 p.m. CST

    The Totem will always fall..

    by subfreq

    Cobbs emotional journey is complete either way. He has resolved his problem with Mal. <BR><BR> If you think the film is literal then the Totem will fall as he is back in real life with his kids and if you believe he was incepted and that he is now completely living in a construct of his own imagination then the top will still fall over because that is the reality he now believes. <BR><BR> Otherwise he pinches his kids on the cheeks outside and comes back inside sees that the top is still spinning and is gazumped. Back to square one. <BR><BR> Whether the top falls or not is immaterial to his character it is simply their for the audience to force them to re-examine what they have watched. Surely everyone on some level would come out of the film understanding there is a duality to it. I thought it a bit much to be sledge hammered by it at the end. Seemed out of place for such an amazing film.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:27 p.m. CST

    At some point,

    by AmbroseChaseWillRise

    even he had trouble differentiating what was and was not real.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Regarding the last shot...

    by Jared

    The fact that there's an active talkback discussing the nuance of this film already puts it light-years ahead of the crap Hollywood has rolled out this summer. Personally, I think the totem was about to stop spinning...but I appreciate the open ending. I'm seeing it again in a couple hours. Great film.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:30 p.m. CST

    Totem falls in dream too

    by lost.rules.

    It definitely falls, whether it is in the dream world or reality. That is exactly how his mind would pull its final trick to make him believe that he was actually awake.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:32 p.m. CST

    the top is a celebrity now

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    I imagine tb names, youtube sppofs, and maybe a nomination in a awards show...I'm just glad it wasn't a dredel

  • July 16, 2010, 2:33 p.m. CST


    by mastes360

    No not for me, the final shot wasn't needed imo and its only that paticular shot that people are talking about, not the actual film. The film was pretty standard fare but done very well, it was more or less Mission Impossible in the dream world.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:46 p.m. CST

    by Nachostheclown

  • July 16, 2010, 2:48 p.m. CST


    by Datascream

    for Massawrym everything in a movie can be utterly fantastic until ONE fucking thing at the END of the film that he doesn't like completely ruins it. I simply don't trust his reviews at all because of this.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Kids ages and clothing

    by Nachostheclown

    I was only able to see the movie once but his children sounded older when he spoke with them on the phone then what they appeared at the end. They also appeared to not have aged at all since the last time he saw them and where wearing the same clothing. I really am starting to think he never made it out of limbo.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:51 p.m. CST

    the top

    by The_Monkey

    he sets the top spinning but never watches what it does. he doesn't care if it's a dream. he planted the idea in his wife after they lived a lifetime in the dream. maybe inception can be done only after a lifetime spent there. only saito lives a lifetime in the dream. makes me think the whole thing is not a scam against the heir but against saito. to get him to make the call so the hero can re-enter the country and see his kids. the only thing that confuses me is that saito lives a lifetime in the dream two times: in the opening sequence and by the end. so was the opening to plant the idea that ideas can be planted, then the ending to plant the idea that it had been done, so saito could make the call?

  • July 16, 2010, 2:56 p.m. CST

    You may have misunderstood TOTAL RECALL, Massawyrm

    by Drath

    Or I'm misunderstanding you. The alternative to Quaid's heroic fantasy is that he's still strapped in the chair at Recall, NOT that he's delusional and actually going around killing people who are trying to help him. That's a pretty twisted read on the movie--that he was killing innocent people who he mistook for bad guy agents--but the movie doesn't back it up. If it was a dream, then the only character to pierce Quaid's reality told him that he wasn't there, that he was still at Recall, and that was the only alternative to the movie's "reality" that was given. Anything else is just fan-wanking.

  • July 16, 2010, 2:58 p.m. CST


    by AmbroseChaseWillRise

    It's just like Nolan, but the ending was the opening.

  • July 16, 2010, 3 p.m. CST

    then again...

    by AmbroseChaseWillRise

  • July 16, 2010, 3 p.m. CST

    saito, 2x

    by The_Monkey

    so why was saito an old, old man twice in the movie. does that mean they took him twice to the deepest level of the dream? why did they? and why the second time did the hero know what saito would say -- was it actually a memory?

  • July 16, 2010, 3:02 p.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    but the ending didn't repeat the opening: the opener was to prove to saito that the hero was competent to do the real job.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:07 p.m. CST


    by AmbroseChaseWillRise

    now that I think about it, your right.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:09 p.m. CST

    Get over it man...

    by martinez3D

    The ending is what made me love the whole film in its entirety because you had no idea if it was all just a dream, the fact it leaves you to wonder all these things is brilliant after becoming so involved with the characters and being told it could all possibly just be one big dream. I, like the midnight audience i watched it with, yelled out AWWW MAN!!! after that scene cut to black because it didnt tell us if it was real, but immediately started smiling with a sense a movie got to me. I love that Nolan shows its all in our perception in what we feel we want the ending to be and those who cannot decide on their own will puzzle over it because they cant believe something without seeing it, get over it man and stop whining...

  • July 16, 2010, 3:09 p.m. CST


    by subfreq

    That point is so well disguised that it will trip a lot of people up.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:10 p.m. CST

    by AmbroseChaseWillRise

    So Saito went through 2 life time in that dream state, or he was one of Cobbs projections, or I think my brain will turn to jello thinking about this shit.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:10 p.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    yeah, that's the part that screws me up. because he knows the second time what saito will say. whole thing seemed like a long con against saito, to get him to make the call.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:11 p.m. CST


    by AmbroseChaseWillRise

    Someone yelled out, "THAT'S HOW YOU DO IT M.NIGHT, THAT'S HOW YOU DO IT!".

  • July 16, 2010, 3:16 p.m. CST

    Option 1

    by DarthScotland

    definitely, only saw it this morning, but dont you hear the top fall after the fade to black or did i dream that.<p> totems made perfect sense to me, no one else can touch it because its all about 'how it feels' the totem has unique properties only know by its owner, if someone else had it they could replicate it in a dream and trick you. He could use his wifes because she was dead, not sure why but I thought it was also about what way his 'top' ended up facing after it stopped as well as actually stopping.<p> I agree that the last few seconds were a little cheap but i didnt let it affect the overall experience and i think with how well structured the rest of the film felt it was a just a little point to say 'are you sure you understand?' but im 100% that it all happened as we think it does. Option 1 FTW!!! <p> Nolans best work too, his flaw in my opinion is creating well developed central characters that unfortunately happen to be assholes, which can ruin the experience, memento and prestige in particular, but di caprio's despite being a little selfish, who isnt, i fully empathised with and wanted to succeed.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:16 p.m. CST

    What it meant:

    by Executor

    (to me)<p> Nolan's movies work to put you in the mind frame of the protagonist, such as the "how did I get here?" nature of Memento and its structure.<p> I don't think the end is meant to be analyzed and dissected. There are no clues throughout the movie that will lead you to an answer. <p>What it DOES do is, just like Inception's plants an IDEA in your head. Like Mal, it gives you a lingering doubt about reality. Am I in the real world? Am I in a dream? This thought can eat at you (and in fact, judging from your article, it already has). <p>More importantly, it suggests that perhaps that's what lies in Cobb's future: can he ever be sure of what is real? Will his fate be the same as Mal? Has this IDEA been planted in his head as well?<p>It's certainly been planted in yours.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:21 p.m. CST

    This movie was stupid

    by strosmer

    JK. I haven't seen it yet.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:24 p.m. CST

    last thought

    by The_Monkey

    cobb says he can't dream, only re-visit his memories there. that was why he could never see his kids turn to face him. at the end, they do turn to face him. so either it's real or he learned to dream.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:25 p.m. CST

    by AmbroseChaseWillRise

    As much as Cobb spoke about getting home to his children, his mind was stuck in the past. He couldn't let Mol go, couldn't face his children, constantly reliving the past. In the end, it is his memory of the past that gives him comfort. He is unable to perceive his children aging, that is why they look the same as when he left them. Hence, he was still lost in a dream just like Mol wanted in the first place.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:27 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    yeah, i think you're right. and my brain has turned to jello.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:27 p.m. CST


    by pollaxt

    Pardon the shouting, but it's not an open ending. The very last shot is of the top beginning to wobble, leading to its inevitable fall. This is most clear on soundtrack when one hears the unmistakable grating noise that a top makes as it just begins to fall. <br> <br> The shot is not a fuck you to the audience, it is a verification that the ending IS real and Cobb has finally made it home in a film about dream layers. <br> <br> Massawrym...rewatch it. Listen closely. So that you can appreciate that 0.01% of the film.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:28 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    ,,so he spins the top, doesn't check if it falls or keeps spinning, because even if it's only a dream, he'll take it.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:32 p.m. CST

    I think JGL gives the biggest hint...

    by subfreq

    When explaining dream architecture to Ellen Page/The audience. <BR><BR> It's all about designing a 'house of stairs' or repeating design so that the viewer cannot see the boundary of the world they are inside. <BR><BR> As a film Inception is just that. Pick up any piece and it will lead you on to another one and another one and another one. It's a master stroke by Nolan. <BR><BR> This talkback is only just scratching the surface of it.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:34 p.m. CST

    His main issue

    by AmbroseChaseWillRise

    was his deceiving Mol. Once he forgave himself for that, his mind was free to let go of reality. I'm merely speculating on a work of fiction. I have to get the hell out of here!

  • July 16, 2010, 3:34 p.m. CST


    by mastes360

    Thats how i saw it and i'm sure you can hear it fall in the film anyway, it was only when i got home that i started seeing the confusion with the ending but the ending was supposed to be the real world imo and i'm glad we got a happy ending for a change (in these kind of films).

  • July 16, 2010, 3:38 p.m. CST

    Oh wyrm you dim bastard

    by Colin62

    If I take the time to point out all your lapses in clarity, this would be a long post. As it is, I'll address the main one. Actually, fuck it, I'm not even going to tell you. Just watch the ending again and think about the train/faith quote several that Leo used to get Mal back to the real world and she said back to him when she aced herself. Just think about it. Then read your review again and feel ashamed.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Agree Massy

    by Old Darth

    That last shot was coy for the sake of being coy. Inception thoughts. Short version - big budget remake of Primer. Longer version - pretty darn cool! Will it be a blockbuster? Hmmmm....

  • July 16, 2010, 3:53 p.m. CST

    The spinning top wobbled

    by syn_flood

    If it is capable of wobbling, it is capable of falling. End of story as far as I'm concerned.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:58 p.m. CST

    What were expecting? Shakespearre?

    by beane2099

    Actually, yes. Yes I was. And this surpassed Shakespeare (of course I really don't like Shakespeare anyways). Great movie. And for once dammit the use of fx was not gratuitous. They fit the needs of the story. I'm a fan.

  • July 16, 2010, 4 p.m. CST

    Where I Think You're All Overthinking

    by Mr. Winston

    First of all, while I appreciate Massawyrm's well thought-out appraisal of the last shot - and while I even agree with large chunks of the analysis - I don't agree at all that it's a "middle finger" from Nolan. And I think that too many people are walking away thinking about the ending the wrong manner. <br> <br> Here's my opinion: Nolan is NOT making the point of the last shot, "Was it all a dream? Is it STILL a dream?" I certainly think that notion is up for debate, and I think it's interesting to discuss. Is he in the real world? Is he still on a particular level of dream? I've seen compelling evidence towards both. And I think that the POINT of the movie is that it absolutely doesn't matter. <br> <br> When talking to his father, Dom makes one thing very, very clear: his only goal in the movie is to get back to his kids. Everything he's doing is in service of that - he wants to see their faces again. In that very last scene, he accomplishes exactly what he's set out to do. Nolan gave us a character with a goal and showed us his journey getting to the finish line. What I believe he's saying with the spinning top is, "Whether he's still dreaming or he made it back to the real world, Dom got home. End of story." <br> <br> Yes, we're meant to ponder the philosophical ends of the narrative, but the character has completed his quest, and Nolan's tipping his hat to the fact that whether it's all "real" or all a "dream", Dom is satisfied. And that's all that matters.

  • July 16, 2010, 4:01 p.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    Shakespeare's french cousin.

  • July 16, 2010, 4:03 p.m. CST

    You guys should mark this talkback as...

    by AsimovLives

    ... THE SPOILER TALKBACK. Really, guys, you should. The gymnastics i had to do to avoid reading the spoilers, even by mistake, have been epic. Guys, give all of us who haven't seen this movie yet a break, will you? Thank you in advance.

  • July 16, 2010, 4:05 p.m. CST


    by Mr. Winston

    You're being sarcastic, right? About dodging spoilers in the Talkback? I'm going to give you credit for being sarcastic. I hope you're being sarcastic.

  • July 16, 2010, 4:10 p.m. CST

    So you didn't like the final shot, because.............

    by Evangelion217

    it served it's purpose? The ending was perfect, because Cobbs obviously went into limbo, and didn't succeed. That's what I loved about it. The anti-hero didn't accomplish his mission, and failed. Massawyrm, you obviously wanted the hero to succeed. And while that would of been nice, it wouldn't of been as powerful, nor as realistic. A character like Cobbs, isn't suppose to succeed, and doesn't really deserve a Spielberg ending. This is a Nolan film, and he did an absolutely perfect job at executing the ending. :)

  • July 16, 2010, 4:12 p.m. CST


    by Evangelion217

    I LOVE YOUR INTERPRETATION! That actually makes the most sense! :)

  • July 16, 2010, 4:17 p.m. CST


    by Mr. Winston

    Sorry to look like I aped you - skimmed through these responses rather quickly and missed yours. Glad to see someone agrees with me almost word-for-word.

  • July 16, 2010, 4:21 p.m. CST

    Massawyrm, you're an ASSHOLE

    by Mariusz

    Take the movie for what it is and stop overanalyzing the ending. Which by the way, I thought was the BEST part of the film. Your so-called theory could be used for a ton of other movies, but who cares! Inception was a great film and the ending just added to its greatness. I didn't see a problem with the ending and don't know many people that did. Unless, of course, you're a pretentious movie snob. Take it for what it is. It's not the cure to cancer. It's a fuckin' movie!

  • July 16, 2010, 4:32 p.m. CST

    Mr. Winston

    by AsimovLives

    No, dude. Everybody says that peopel should know the least before watchign this movie, and people are already taking about THE LAST SHOTOF THE MOVIE! The last shot!! What's to be sarcastic about this, man? People are really going into spoiler territory here. You dare deny that fact?

  • July 16, 2010, 4:40 p.m. CST


    by Mr. Winston

    I still can't honestly tell if you're being sarcastically obtuse. Just in case: <br> <br> The post is marked on the outside as a "Spoiler". Massawyrm stated several times that his comments on the movie contained MASSIVE spoilers to the point it literally warned you to stop reading. And the people who would discuss such comments have clearly seen the movie or are OK knowing what's going to happen. <br> <br> So...that just makes you stupid for coming in here having not seen the movie and expecting not to learn anything when the declaration of spoilers was so blatantly clear. Several times. So you're either being sarcastic or you're an idiot. I honestly can't tell which.

  • July 16, 2010, 4:40 p.m. CST

    Massa, you're an idiot.

    by DmitryPortnoy

    There is only one alternative explanation to the spinning top, and since you missed it, you missed the central narrative and philosophical question of the film: Was Mal right to kill herself? Was she then, and is Cobb currently living in a dream world one level down from reality? If that is the case, then Mal's interferences in Cobb's dreams are not projections of Cobb's mind but the real Mal, awake in the "real" reality, entering his dream to wake him up (by planting the idea that this is all a dream in his head.) That's the only alternative that makes sense over the whole movie.

  • July 16, 2010, 4:42 p.m. CST

    The top falls at the end... listen closely to the sound

    by DarthBakpao

    it sounds like it is loosing momentum and is about to fall a split second after the screen cut to black

  • July 16, 2010, 4:42 p.m. CST

    inner ear problem

    by Mr. Nuff

    Was no one else bothered by the van crash? They spend all this time setting up that the sedative doesn't mess with the inner ear, but when the van is crashing down the embankment during the car chase nobody wakes up. Plus all the sedative testing shots they show with JGL and then all of sudden the sedative is too strong and if you die you will go into limbo. This pulled me right out of the movie and bugged me for the duration.

  • July 16, 2010, 4:42 p.m. CST

    reality is television

    by heimp

    Ya, I had a similar reaction when it cut before the top fell over. Stupid ambiguity. That's the problem with getting emotionally invested in someone else's story. But, would you do it any differently. If you're making a mindfuck movie then you've got to screw over the audience at the end. Them's the rules. Also, Cobol = Cobb + Mal? (they pronounced it Mol)(what was up with her accent, btw?)

  • July 16, 2010, 4:43 p.m. CST

    Massa, you're an idiot, P. S.

    by DmitryPortnoy

    And the one alternative you didn't mention.

  • July 16, 2010, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Mr Nuff

    by subfreq

    Bigger problem for me was the final jump at the end when the van crashed into the water and instead of jumping out back to the 747 they all woke up and started swimming to the surface. I thought that was the final jump to wake up. <br><br> It didn't take me out of the film or ruin it for me but I thought it was a fluff.

  • July 16, 2010, 4:52 p.m. CST


    by mastes360

    No you are right and thats a problem that doesn't get explained. The whole final third is set up that they only have as long as it takes for the van to crash in the river in that dream level but when it happens, no body wroke up!. It had been clearly set up that the crash was the final 'kick' except it didn't happen with no real explenation why it didn't happen.

  • July 16, 2010, 4:57 p.m. CST

    Both Fischer and Cobb are targets of the inception

    by DarthBakpao

    pardon my English.. The real mastermind behind everything is Cobb's father. When Cobb went to see him, he saw the opportunity to "bring back" his son, by sending one of his most brilliant student to be the dream architect, Ariadne. The Fischer operation is to give Cobb a sense of purpose to see his kids again. But even if he and the team succeed, he will still have to confront and get rid of his inner sub-concious demon, which is his guilt over the death of his wife. It is Ariadne who is suggesting that she and Cobb go further to the fourth later of Cobb's dream (not Fischer's - it becomes Cobb's dream inside Fischer's multi-layered dreams) after Fischer got shot. By going there, Ariadne pushes Cobb to confront his inner demon, once and for all, get rid of it. So, in the end two things accomplished. The mission of planting idea into Fischer's sub-concious and getting rid of the inner demon inside Cobb's.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:01 p.m. CST


    by Mr. Winston

    I like the way you think and I appreciate your theory. But I also honestly think that Noland would have had to have made a conscious choice to go WAY out of his way to make an entire movie in service to the whim of an incredibly minor character knowing that only about 0.05% of the audience would ever be able to grasp what he was trying to say. <br> <br> I think analysis tends to lead to overanalysis, and I think it's happening a lot here. It's a smart way to think about the movie, but I'm inclined to cite Occum's Razor here.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:03 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    dreams-within-dreams aside, jgl's weightless hallway scene was the best thing in the movie.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:03 p.m. CST

    Subfreq and Mr Nuff

    by wildphantom07

    They would only be pulled into the reality if they caused it in the plane. <p> all of the other levels have kicks caused to send them down one by one. <p> They have to simultaneously be pulled from the dreamworlds 2 & 3 because otherwise they'll drown before waking up in dreamworld 1. <p> now although the hitting the water should wake them up completely as told in the opening act, we're actually told the sedative is too strong for it to work during this operation.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:05 p.m. CST

    The Fischer operation is real and part of the job

    by DarthBakpao

    offered by Watanabe's character to Cobb. Cobb's father sees the opportunity to plant his own inception within the original inception by sending Ariadne. He and Ariadne somehow have calculated that near the end of the operation. Mal will manifest and ruins the operation, that's when she sees the "loop" to enter Cobb's own sub-concious and challenge him to once and for all, get rid of his guilt over the death of his wife

  • July 16, 2010, 5:08 p.m. CST


    by inceptionsucks

    Michael Caine is implanting an idea in Leo's head. The whole movie is a dream, ie the spinning top at the end. This took 10 years to write?

  • July 16, 2010, 5:10 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    his dad did say in the classroom scene that he wanted to get cobb back to reality/the real world.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:12 p.m. CST


    by inceptionsucks

    The FIsher storyline is manufactured, none of it is real all manufactured by Michale Caine, to give LEO some peace, because LEO is stuck in Limbo and will never wake up, bit no longer blames himself for wifes death. If the movie showed 3 more minutes, you would see Michael Caine wake up with LEO hooked up to a machine content to dream forever. Csine kidnapped LEO, the whole corporate inception plot was a sham!

  • July 16, 2010, 5:16 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    if caine had been seen with any members of the team, i'd believe it. he is linked to ariadne, but she was too clueless -- and too shocked by cobb's elevator of memory -- to be in on it to that depth.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:21 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    after all, if she had been an expert trained by caine, she would already have made her chess piece and used it, not have been shown fabricating it.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:22 p.m. CST

    The ending of Memento...

    by BP_drills_america_a_new_asshole

    where the Guy Pierce character is basically content with finding his wife's killer in a never ending search, even though we know and he knows for a brief period that HE is the killer...he still finds some form of contentment in continuing his search. The ending of Inception mirrors that - Cobb is still in a dream world but he's content because he's seen his children again. He's content even though it may all be a dream. That's what Nolan is trying to say - both characters have found fulfilment even though it is in a warped kind of way.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:23 p.m. CST

    by inceptionsucks

    Thankyou for making my point exactly. The subject(this was mentinoned ad nauseam in the movie) cannot be made aware that they are dreaming, that they are being manipulated. All the members of the team are constructs of Caines dreams, nobody is real just LEO. Caine is in the beginning and the end of the movie, guiding him to his conclusion, reconciling LEOS guilt and reuniting him with his kids, which were also not real, that is why LEO can never see their faces. Caine uses this device to give LEO an emotional reason to leave his wife.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:24 p.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    i agree, because leo sets the top in motion but doesn't check if it spins or falls. he doesn't care if it's a dream.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:31 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    in classroom scene, caine also said that he wasn't in his office because it was too cramped and clutterd to do any thinking. the dream has to be a labyrinth so you can move around without catching on to the overall shape and size.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:35 p.m. CST


    by inceptionsucks

    This movie is all hyperbole. ANd the snow scene at the end, I thought EMINEM was going to come on the soundtrack, while we were watching a Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 game trailer. Nolan better pray that a featured cast member dies in his hotel room tonite to get the box office receipts up like Dark Knight.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:40 p.m. CST

    bout to see it again at 7

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    I've never watched a movie twice in the theaters except formenace 2 dragged me the 2nd time

  • July 16, 2010, 5:45 p.m. CST

    You are all overthinking this.

    by Mponder486

  • July 16, 2010, 5:47 p.m. CST


    by BP_drills_america_a_new_asshole

    You are such a laughable troll. Your mom sucks. She sucks my hairy dick every night.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:52 p.m. CST


    by inceptionsucks

    I did'nt see trolls or your mom in INCEPTION, the Leprechaun 2 talkback must be in another forum. Did you see the movie we are discussing?

  • July 16, 2010, 5:53 p.m. CST

    Hans Zimmer's score is utter shite

    by mr_bellamy

    Much like all of his scores since The Thin Red Line. Soon-to-be classic, my ass.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:53 p.m. CST

    You are all overthinking this.

    by Mponder486

    Cobb got out fine and was in fact reunited with his children. It does not matter if the top stops or not, notice how Leo does not even watch to see if it does or not, he simply does not care anymore. He sees their faces and knows it is real. The whole idea of not showing the top fall is that of Inception like others have said. Cobb knows the reality, but do you? I know the last shot just made me think about my own reality, not Cobb's. Also as for the token being his wife's; it does not matter because she is dead, therefore she could not use the knowledge of the tokens weight against him. She is just his memory. Leo is the only living person that knows the weight of the top. This is my opinion.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:55 p.m. CST

    also to clear up one thing.

    by Mponder486

  • July 16, 2010, 5:58 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    then it's split: reality is either never seen -- just leo hooked to a machine in caine's office -- or reality is the last scene in the movie.

  • July 16, 2010, 5:59 p.m. CST

    also to clear up one thing.

    by Mponder486

    sorry kept putting token after reading all these responses. Mal put her totem* in the safe to hide her memory of reality - represented by the top and the knowledge of it's weight. She wants to forget and lose herself in her creation.

  • July 16, 2010, 6 p.m. CST

    Hans Zimmer is usually awful.

    by RPLocke

    The score to The Dark Knight was just terrible.

  • July 16, 2010, 6:05 p.m. CST

    Massa the top did drop earlier in the film

    by Tacom

    So I don't think the entire film was a dream. Maybe the last few minutes.

  • July 16, 2010, 6:12 p.m. CST

    The real missed trick

    by Kizeesh

    I spent the entire movie waiting to see that the entire plot was part of a long-con to get at Ken Watanabe and what they failed to find out at the start. Why else have him along for the ride?<p> Other than that, I really quite enjoyed it and the spinning top end was a natural and fairly predictable end. It's Nolan saying, make your own minds up...

  • July 16, 2010, 6:19 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    isaito had possession of the top twice (as old man at start and end) and ariadne, the builder, had possession once. if the forger could say "dream bigger" and pull out a larger gun, she could fabricate a new, correctly weighted top. in the end, i'm going with the corporate thing was reality, because it's bad storytelling to say it was all just a dream.

  • July 16, 2010, 6:22 p.m. CST

    My main question is...

    by Mponder486

    Why does Ellen Paige and Cillian Murphy jump out of the building in limbo? I thought you have to be "kicked" in the level above for it to work. Also, the one thing that has me questioning the end more than the top is the clothes his kids are wearing. They are the same as his memories, so it is possible that the very end is still limbo but Leo made it a happy place... Regardless Nolan did his job.

  • July 16, 2010, 6:22 p.m. CST

    The Top

    by barnaby jones

    I took i took it as it spun and didn't look at it because he didn't care anymore, he resolved his guilt issues and was in happy place. I didn't even consider that he may or may not still be in a dream until waiting for my buddy to come out of the john afterwards.

  • July 16, 2010, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Agreed The_monkey

    by Mponder486

    There is no way the whole thing is a dream, nor was it a dream from the time he tests the new compound. It would just be really bad storytelling.

  • July 16, 2010, 6:25 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    even stranger was that they were in the same posture, framed the same way through the doorway. maybe they just loved that spot on the lawn. but i agree.

  • July 16, 2010, 6:29 p.m. CST

    The top's about to fall over

    by Autodidact

    Seemed pretty clear to me that it was becoming seriously wobbly just before the cut to black. I had a grin on my face wondering whether Nolan would show it drop or not.

  • July 16, 2010, 6:29 p.m. CST

    i've had nine beers

    by barnaby jones

    My last post made no sense

  • July 16, 2010, 6:35 p.m. CST

    Classic to be studied

    by xmanse

    Regardless of real or not, Nolan has created a film that will be studied in universities and schools for years to come. From ideas to super slick editing to writing. The word is bandied about alot, but an actual studied classic has been created.

  • July 16, 2010, 6:36 p.m. CST

    the top was wobbling for sure.

    by Mponder486

    TO be honest it looked like he filmed the top fall but edited it out in post. the biggest mindfuck for me was the kids.

  • July 16, 2010, 6:40 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    imo, the whole thing was a con so saito would get leo back in the country to his kids. the only thing left to explain is how old saito said the same thing in the opening test and the ending. makes no sense to me.

  • July 16, 2010, 6:46 p.m. CST

    the opening was the ending

    by Mponder486

    It was just the old "start at the end then flashback" trick. The opening was Saito in limbo.

  • July 16, 2010, 6:50 p.m. CST

    Why was Saito old

    by barnaby jones

    tell me ! Someone. Anyone !

  • July 16, 2010, 6:54 p.m. CST


    by Mponder486

    he was in limbo for years and years where he totally forgot he was dreaming

  • July 16, 2010, 6:54 p.m. CST

    At first I was like

    by Doggus47

    At first I was like that's a middle finger to the audience, but then I was like that's fine, the top probably falls but he was in a hurry to see his kids.

  • July 16, 2010, 6:58 p.m. CST

    but Leo was unchanged

    by barnaby jones

  • July 16, 2010, 7:01 p.m. CST

    I think but am not sure

    by Mponder486

    That they suggest limbo could be different for people. cause the say it could be weeks or infinite

  • July 16, 2010, 7:02 p.m. CST


    by barnaby jones

    i want a more definative answer

  • July 16, 2010, 7:03 p.m. CST

    my question

    by Mponder486

    I am still trying to get an answer as to why cillian and ellen paige jumped out of the building in limbo. To me that was a big plot hole but maybe i am just looking past something

  • July 16, 2010, 7:04 p.m. CST

    i need to sleep

    by barnaby jones

    but all i can bloody think about is inception

  • July 16, 2010, 7:11 p.m. CST

    No open ending...the top wobbled -

    by Azby

    or so I've been told many times. Didn't see it myself.

  • July 16, 2010, 7:12 p.m. CST

    That was unclear

    by Azby

    I saw the film, just didn't see the top wobble.

  • July 16, 2010, 7:12 p.m. CST

    it did wobble

    by barnaby jones

  • July 16, 2010, 7:14 p.m. CST

    Cobb was the target

    by sexualchocolate

    Saw it last night, and despite being unable to convince any of my friends, my theory was that the Cobb was the target of the Inception from the get go and that the team was being orchestrated by Michael Caine's character in order to help Cobb come to terms with Mal. Caine eventually lead him to his dream world to be with kids that probably never existed outside of Cobb's mind. It seemed to that Watanabe's character was calling Caine's when he awoke to let him know that the inception was successful, hence him waiting for him at the gate and the children appearing to not have aged in the all the time Cobb was apparently "gone". Need to see it again, but, for me personally, seemed like a more satisfying conclusion. In any case, the fact it's inspired such intelligent debate means Nolan did his job.

  • July 16, 2010, 7:17 p.m. CST


    by Mr. Winston

    The point was that if they "fell" to their death in that level, they would be compelled to wake up in the previous one.

  • July 16, 2010, 7:31 p.m. CST

    What woke Cobb and Saito?

    by Autodidact

    Did they "kick" themselves with some improvisational trick? I thought you couldn't wake up from limbo was part of the problem. It just cuts from them talking to them waking up in "real life" on the 747. <p>And one of my complaints: for a place that's "pure subconscious" limbo didn't seem much different from the dreamworld.

  • July 16, 2010, 7:33 p.m. CST

    saito's limbo

    by The_Monkey

    five minutes of real-world time is one hour in a dream. but at each deeper level of dreaming, time moves even faster. by the time you reach the level of limbo, you're living 50 years (or whatever) for each 5 minutes of real-world time. that's why saito was old.

  • July 16, 2010, 7:33 p.m. CST


    by Mr. Winston

    My interpretation was that Dom had to convince himself and then Saito that they were both in Limbo. Then, Saito took the gun Dom brought with him, shot Dom, and shot himself. And then they wake up in the real world because they "died" in Limbo.

  • July 16, 2010, 7:34 p.m. CST

    Two things:

    by Adelai Niska

    1) The top not falling is Nolan planeting a seed of an idea in YOUR mind. He wants you to go crazy trying to decide if the final shot is the real world, just like Mal did. <p> 2) There IS a very clear reason why you can't let someone touch your totem- if anyone else knows how it feels and moves, they can replicate it in their dreams, and trick you into thinking that you're in the real world. If only you know it, then it is a reliable test of reality.

  • July 16, 2010, 7:44 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    true. but since leo's top was twice in possession of old saito and once in possession of ariadne, it's not reliable anyway.

  • July 16, 2010, 7:47 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    seems like the improvised kick of an abrupt death pushed everyone up one level in the dream. because of the sedative, the same thing couldn't push them into the real waking world.

  • July 16, 2010, 7:49 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    so if abrupt death pushed the heir out from limbo to the next level, how did cpr paddles cure his gunshot wound long enough for him to open the safe?

  • July 16, 2010, 8:02 p.m. CST

    Massawyrm Doesn't Get Schwarzenegger Movies

    by Autodidact

    Maybe we should let the adults review Inception.

  • July 16, 2010, 8:02 p.m. CST

    You're a pussy Mass

    by Logan_1973

    Can't take a good mindfuck, can you?

  • July 16, 2010, 8:06 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    heh. real-life could have been leo strapped to a machine in caine's office. we just never saw it. but "it was all a dream" is badstorytelling. i'm going with leo solved his shit in the end, and the top was just a mindfuck to keep people guessing. thanks for all the smart commentary.

  • July 16, 2010, 8:20 p.m. CST

    This Review Was TOPS!!

    by Oprah_Duke

    Despicable Me...

  • July 16, 2010, 8:21 p.m. CST

    "Spoiler Warning"

    by GroolDemon

    We're never given the information on how long Cobb has been extradited from the country are we? But I assume it has been for some time. Why do the children still look the same age as they do in his dream? Perhaps he was the one that was always in too deep and constructs of his father and wife are trying to snap him out of a coma like state? At least that is the question my fiancée and I were pondering upon walking out of the theater. Either way... definitely a head scratcher worth multiple viewings. I think they might be getting my dough again for this one. Great summer flick.

  • July 16, 2010, 8:22 p.m. CST

    Somebody perform Inception

    by batman713

    on massa's mind cause his opinion is fucking stupid.

  • July 16, 2010, 8:25 p.m. CST

    It's like the Terminal. but in someone's head

    by RPLocke

  • July 16, 2010, 8:31 p.m. CST

    I have to say though...

    by GroolDemon

    Out of all the characters in the film I was most impressed by Joseph Gordon Levitts part. There was something really cool about his cold and calculating readiness to figure a situation out, and how you could read what he was thinking all over his face without a single line of dialog in a lot of his scenes. Great performances overall, but something really stood out in his performance for me. He's definitely reached certifiable badass status in my opinion. Never thought the little kid from 3rd Rock had it in him.

  • July 16, 2010, 8:54 p.m. CST

    Ending Explained

    by Swordfleece

    Previously when Cobb enters the real world from a dream he checks the top to see if he's back in reality. At the end, he spins it, and because he sees his children's faces, realises he's rectified and made his peace with Mal so is back in reality and doesn't have to check if it topples. It's just a cheeky ending by Nolan. That's my take on it and figure it's pretty simple.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:05 p.m. CST

    Swordfleece and batman713 are right

    by Logan_1973

    Seeing the childrens faces, and the wobbling of the top spell it out. The top especially: the damn thing did NOT wobble in the dreams.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:11 p.m. CST

    Of course the top wobbled

    by Colin62

    Because it was the real world. But with all else in the film (and highlighted by the train quote everyone kept repeating) all you can be is pretty sure. You never know completely.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:15 p.m. CST

    I Always Thought JGL Was Cool

    by Autodidact

    Just like I thought DiCaprio was cool on Growing Pains. It's all about the hair with those guys.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:31 p.m. CST

    For anyone interested cinemablend tried to answer..

    by odo19

    some questions on their site. <P> How did Mal get involved in all the dream invasion stuff to begin with?<P> A: It’s seems pretty clear from the context of the movie that Mal and Cobb were married and engaged in legitimate dream exploration together before Mal’s death. After her death, Cobb was forced to use his knowledge of dreams to become a thief.<P> How do the never-ending staircases work, and how was Arthur able to use one without Ariadne, as the architect, there to alter the architecture?<P> A: The never-ending staircases are paradoxes (logical fallacies that can’t exist in reality). It’s likely that Ariadne built the paradox in the hotel prior to going in, realizing they might encounter trouble, so that Arthur could use it if necessary. Similarly, Ariadne worked shortcuts into the snow fortress level in case they needed a more direct route. <P> What causes the loss of gravity in the hotel dream world?<P> A: As it is in real life, the dreamers dream can be affected by things happening outside the dream. If it gets cold while you’re sleeping, sometimes people dream of ice or snow. If a person falls out of bed, sometimes they’ll dream of skydiving or falling in their dream. So when the van in the dream level above the hotel falls off the bridge, the equilibrium of those inside the van is thrown off, and that feeling of falling carries over into the dream, making it as though there’s no gravity in the hotel level below the van. This effect does not, however, seem to extend any further than one level in a dream within a dream within a dream. <P> Arthur blows up an elevator to create a Kick in anti-gravity. How does that work? <P> A: We believe that it’s not the explosion which causes the Kick, but the sudden return of gravity when the van in the level above finally hits the water. The explosion is merely Arthur severing the elevator’s connections so that it will drop abruptly when gravity returns. He uses the elevator because he needs a way to insure that the “Kick” occurs simultaneously for all the dreamers, so he puts them in something which will drop them all at once, in much the same way the falling van drops them together. <P> Alternate Theory James Anthony in the comments below believes that the explosion actually propels the elevator, simulating the effect of falling without actually falling. We still like our explanation, but both seem plausible. <P> After he’s shot and killed, they resuscitate Fisher Jr. Why couldn’t they save Saito in the same way? <P> A: Two possibilities here: It could be because the dream Fisher died in was his own, and so different rules apply. Or it could be that Saito was shot two dream levels above where he actually died, while Fisher died instantly in the same level where he was shot. <P> Aren’t you supposed to be alone in limbo? Why are Cobb’s projections of his wife and kids there? A: Our understanding is that limbo only contains things you’ve built in it, which could explain why Cobb’s limbo has so few projections. The projection of his wife is something he tells Mal at the end that he’s tried to recreate over time, so it could be that she’s more than a projection and is actually an intentional creation of his. Similarly, Saito could have created the guards which populate his limbo. <P> Why did Ariadne jump off the building in Cobb’s limbo if Eames was going to wake her up with his Kick in the level above? <P> A: Ariadne may not have been certain Eames’ Kick would work, so she was attempting to kill herself by jumping off the building. Even though we’d been told killing yourself inside the dream would only push you into limbo, Cobb has just told her that once he got to limbo with Mal they escaped by killing themselves so Ariadne knows that death is a way to escape, even though in this case it wasn’t necessary. <P> If the world with crumbling buildings is Cobb’s limbo, what is the place he ends up in with Saito? <P> A: Two different theories possible, let’s break them down one at a time: <P> Theory 1 The simplest answer here would be that this world isn’t actually limbo but a deeper level which perhaps Cobb has mistaken for limbo or misrepresented as limbo. You have to die to go to limbo and neither Cobb nor Ariadne dies in the ice fortress, they merely go to sleep again and enter Cobb's dream, which only resembles the world he and Mal built in limbo because Cobb has created it. (Their kids weren't with them in their original limbo, so if this were limbo again, why would they magically be there with them to live happily ever after?) Also, Cobb could have deliberately been planning how the whole level worked out - he used it to detach himself from Mal, create a projection of Fischer to compel Ariadne to get out and not go into limbo and stayed as the whole thing crumbled to get to the real limbo to help Saito. And maybe that's the reason Fischer can be revived. He wasn't really shot dead. <P> Theory 2 But since Ariadne tried to kill herself to escape it, and we know that killing yourself in any level but limbo will only send you to limbo, it seems as though Ariadne must have believed she was in limbo. If the crumbling city level really is a form of limbo, could that mean both Cobb and Saito in limbo, but in different limbos? If dreams are the machinations of the subconscious, and limbo is the subconscious that Cobb has built, the locations are one in the same. It’s the same reason why Cobb can no longer work as an architect. Perhaps Cobb and Saito’s final locations are the same place. If so, how does Cobb find Saito’s fortress? How does he end up on that beach? We’re full of questions on this one, if you have theories help us out in the comments below. <P> The rest can be viewed here. <P> http://www.cinema hin-The-Dream-19615.html

  • July 16, 2010, 9:32 p.m. CST

    You Gotta Let The Top Go

    by LastPairOfSocks

    The top does play a very pivotal role in this film UP UNTIL THE ENDING. There are tons of shots of the top spinning, of Leo holding it, and of it just sitting there looking all coy. But, the ending, the REAL ending, is Cobb letting it go. He's no longer worried about what's real and what's a dream. He's not afraid of Mol anymore. He's willing to face his children and accept the responsibility of being of father. He's done questioning and ready to just be. He doesnt need to stick around to watch the top fall, cuz THAT'S the true essence of the scene: Cobb walking away from the top. This is Cobb's story, after all. It's fitting that the ending is Cobb shaking off his demons. Is it real? Is it a dream? Does it matter if the man who's been suffering for 2 1/2 hours is finally happy? I think not. I think Inception rocks.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:37 p.m. CST

    I Can SeeMassawyrm's Points. But

    by DutchRudder

    To me, the spinning top in the end was only made to question if, what we just watched was real, only for a second. When it started to fall over, it confirmed that it was real. I like the points Massawyrm brings up, I just didn't look that deep into it.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:37 p.m. CST

    I Can See Massawyrm's Points. But

    by DutchRudder

    To me, the spinning top in the end was only made to question if, what we just watched was real, only for a second. When it started to fall over, it confirmed that it was real. I like the points Massawyrm brings up, I just didn't look that deep into it.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:47 p.m. CST

    Theory: The Team Conned Cobb

    by monolithik

    I think it was all a setup to get Cobb to retire. I think Saito wasn't the employer, but an employee, hired by Cobb's team to con Cobb into 1.) Letting go of the guilt and moving on, and 2.) to finally "retire" in a dream where he gets what he wants: his kids. I think his teammates began to see that he was a threat to them and himself, and that's when they put this into action. In Mombasa, when he first sees the basement where all of the people are drugged and dreaming, he tests it out. At that point, he wakes up, runs to the bathroom to splash water on his face and spin the top, but the top falls off of the counter, and he's distracted as he goes to pick it up. That was when he entered the dream; Mombasa. Getting him there to find his teammate was just a ploy to get to that guys dream farm. Directly after that you see Cillian Murphy's character for the first time(as well as his dad), or his picture anyway, which leads me to believe the whole storyline was made up, Murphy's character not being real at all. Ariadne - the chick from Juno - was made up as well, because - as Cobb said - it isn't wise to have the architect in the dream, so they just conveniently "disposed" of the original architect at the beginning, only to have him create the dream within a dream within a dream from the outside. I say Saito actually went in with him, and was supposed to get shot and go to limbo, knowing Cobb would go after him and finally confront his wife. I'm guessing Saito was just a dude, maybe promised a billion dollars or something to go on a kamikaze mission, heh. Who knows... Well, that's what I have. I think the top keeps spinning -- or not, but it's still a dream. He's still on that cot in Mombasa, eternally dreaming. I think it was all set up to con the conman into finally accepting (a) reality; into being at peace and to retire... and the only way to do that was for him to confront his guilt and let go of his wife. Just a theory...

  • July 16, 2010, 9:54 p.m. CST

    An almost perfect...

    by Hipshot

    popular entertainment. It is wonderful to end a film that hinges on the question of what is reality and what is a dream, by breaking the fourth wall and pulling the audience in. There is no solid answer, only various intelligent opinions. That is exactly what Nolan wanted to provoke--questions about the meaning of film and reality. Never seen it done better. I have issues with the filmmaker, but the film is superlative entertainment. Best movie I've seen this year. "Mission Impossible" meets "Matrix." But...what do I think? I think DiCaprio earned his happy ending. That's what I think. I vote for "he wins." But I sure as hell can't PROVE it. Just as I can't prove I'm not a brain in a vat. What fun!

  • July 16, 2010, 9:57 p.m. CST

    Wasn't just sundering the cables...

    by Hipshot

    with the explosive. He deliberately planted explosives on metal plates under the elevator. The intent seems clearly to propel the elevator with the explosion, thus simulating "gravity" and allowing the kick to propogate through the levels.

  • July 16, 2010, 9:57 p.m. CST

    I'm Less Intellectual. Huh-huh.

    by DutchRudder

    I loved it. The top clearly falls at the end.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:27 p.m. CST

    The Top

    by Maceox

    It was a remark about arts ability to change our perception of the world. When the top spinning turns to black, the audience is released from the dream created by the artist (Nolan).

  • July 16, 2010, 10:28 p.m. CST

    All you guys are missing one great point......

    by bugkill

    I think the ending is that he is in the real world, but he is seeing it through the world he created in his dreams. The biggest reason I believe that is the fact that his kids are wearing exactly the same clothes that he dreamed about and they still look young. Remember what Leo said about his wife? How he convinced her to come back to reality, but she went crazy because the world she built with him was the reality she wanted and she could not handle the "real world. What happened to her can happen to Leo(Dom). Great movie and I gotta see it again.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:29 p.m. CST

    I think the top fell down, eventually

    by Dr. Chim Richalds

    That's my own craving for a "good" ending coming through. It is strange, though, that his children look exactly the same as he remembered him, even though we don't know how long he spent outside the U.S. We also don't see how he and Watanabe successfully escaped limbo (assuming they actually did). There's plenty of room for debate.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:33 p.m. CST

    Academy Awards

    by Maceox

    Best acting by an inanimate object...........................The Top! For the acceptance speech does he just spin or topple?

  • July 16, 2010, 10:34 p.m. CST

    bugkill - the kids

    by fat_rancor_keeper

    I agree....although the film is far from linear the fact that the same shot of the children is repeated (until the last moment when it turns out happy) implies that perhaps most or all of the story is actually a dream. I agree with the notion that Cobb walking away from the top illustrates that he doesn't care and is finally beyond it. <P>The fact that we as an audience fixate on the top says a lot. Everyone in my theater GASPED at that fade to black.

  • July 16, 2010, 10:37 p.m. CST

    Today is an important day in film history.......

    by fat_rancor_keeper

    It marks the BIRTH of "Did the top fall over or not?" <P>I wonder if the question will be as big as "Is Vader really Luke's father?"

  • July 16, 2010, 10:38 p.m. CST

    someone mentioned shutter island...

    by coldharbor

    a movie about limited options after a life-shattering experience. DeCaprio's character knows there is one option if he accepts reality...death/lobotomy...he chooses (for most of the film) denial and its labyrinthine escape as something that works for him. However, his fantasy must be dealt with by society and they treat denial as transitory and not a satisfactory state for an individual. So, they push him out of denial forcefully, into acceptance. The ending (and best part of the film) is DeCaprio's character no longer resisting acceptance and LOGICALLY exercising his options...death/lobotomy. Society as oppressor. The theme resonates with me. I didn't like the film until this 'middle finger' of an ending.

  • July 16, 2010, 11:07 p.m. CST

    after seeing it again

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    The movie is great...there is at least 5 ways of comprehending Inception...1. Everything we saw is true....2. The long con was on saito....3. The long con was on cobb...4. Everything was just a dream...5. Something happened in that mamboosa ba... I'm sure there's more ways at looking at it, but those seem most logical now...either way, still great

  • July 16, 2010, 11:07 p.m. CST

    after seeing it again

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    The movie is great...there is at least 5 ways of comprehending Inception...1. Everything we saw is true....2. The long con was on saito....3. The long con was on cobb...4. Everything was just a dream...5. Something happened in that mamboosa ba... I'm sure there's more ways at looking at it, but those seem most logical now...either way, still great

  • July 16, 2010, 11:26 p.m. CST

    Respect the TOP

    by TheNewDirector

    It did start to wobble, hence, it would fall down. If not wouldn't the last shot be of the top continuously spinning? He is in reality I believe.

  • July 16, 2010, 11:55 p.m. CST

    The first scene of the film was basically the ending,

    by Evangelion217

    Everything else was told in flash-backs. It's a none-linear film. And I also believe that everything was a dream as well. "Inception" is basically "Waking Life", with guns, bombs, and explosions. :)

  • July 17, 2010, 12:20 a.m. CST

    The Monkey

    by Evangelion217

    How is "it's all a dream" bad storytelling? The same thing basically happened at the end of "Waking Life", and many other dream-within-dream films. So "Inception" is no exception. :)

  • July 17, 2010, 12:21 a.m. CST

    Who gives a shit about the top

    by BoopyBeepy

    Reading this talk back is really amazing. I would think there would be alot more negativity about inception. How was this movie intellectual? You know what was fucking stupid about this movie? Leonardo not shooting cotillard when shes about to kill Cillian Murphy. Why would he hesitate? Why would he respond to ellen page with "how do you know shes not real" or something like that. Its like he forgot that he's in an airplane in reality. Like he forgot that its his job to be in dreeams. Was it because he loves her soooo much that he cannot even kill the dream version of her? And why couldnt Leonardo go back to america? As if he couldnt get a lawyer to win a case. His wife falls out of a window. I think there would be some reasonable doubt that he was the one that did it. I'm sure he could get a lawyer to get him off. Silly shit this movie. Leonardo brooding in his one mood the whole film. Ellen Page trying not to act like Juno. The defenders of Cillians dream world were shit, keystone cops, can't catch a pakistani in a shitty white van. That was so amazing when the white van feel off the bridge for the last hour of the movie. The audience laughed at that. Great comic relief to keep cutting back to a shot of the shitty van falling off a boring bridge in super slo mo. Awesome how Levitt spent the last hour floating in a hotel hallway rearranging his partners into a stacked 69 position. That was awesome. Levitt saved this film. Nobody else knew how to act in this movie. Shit this movie was a big bunch of nothing. Why even talk about the top? There is nothing ambigous about this top. If it keeps spinning, its the dream. If it stops its not a dream. The top loses steam at the end and is about to fall. End of the movie. No dream, good job leo you did it. End of the boring movie. Oh this movie asks you to contemplate what is reality and what is a dream. No it doesn't. This movie talks and talks and talks and doesn't let you contemplate shit. This movie was so fucking frustrating, so repetitive, every line of dialogue seemed to be repeated again later on in the movie. Shit this movie is bad.

  • July 17, 2010, 12:29 a.m. CST


    by TheTop


  • July 17, 2010, 12:30 a.m. CST


    by TheTop


  • July 17, 2010, 12:36 a.m. CST


    by Evangelion217

    I think alot of you are over-thinking this. Cain didn't manufacture anything. He's just a memory from Leo's past.

  • July 17, 2010, 12:39 a.m. CST


    by Evangelion217

    You obviously didn't see the same film. The performances were consistently great, the film had real depth, and literally had layers upon layers within it's story. And the ending is ambiguous. If you knew what ambiguity was, you would know that the ending is ambiguous. And the reason that Leo forgot that Mal wasn't real, is because he loves her. How can you kill somebody you love? It also implied that he doesn't know what is real, and what's a dream.

  • July 17, 2010, 12:53 a.m. CST

    That spinning top bugged me

    by FleetingMoment

    Just saw it once. Does any one remember the clothes Cobb's children wore when he finally sees them? If it's the same clothes as the one we've always seen, that makes it one heck of a coincidence.

  • July 17, 2010, 12:54 a.m. CST

    Cobb's daughter played by two different kids

    by DarthBakpao

    Look it up on IMDB, Phillipa (Cobb's daughter) was played by real life sisters, Claire Geare (3 yr old) and Taylor Geare (5 yr old). It means approximately 2-3 years has passed since Cobb flee his country. When he called home, Phillipa sounded older, unlike Philippa we saw in Cobb's recurring dreams who was still a toddler. If we want to know whether the reunion happened at the end was real or not, pay attention to physical difference/growth between Phillipa we saw in Cobb's dream and in the ending

  • July 17, 2010, 1:11 a.m. CST

    My conclusion...

    by jerseycajun

    Cobb realizes that once he missed his opportunity at getting "kicked" from the deepest 'level' to the previous one, there's only the task of resolving Saito's situation, and since Saito is stuck in his predicament just as Cobb is, the only relief for him is by allowing his mind to go to mush faster (shooting himself). You can tell Cobb is showing definite visual cues of resignation and despair in his final scene with Saito. The only task after that is to allow himself a peaceful end, to take the path Mal chose, but only because escape back to his real children is impossible at this point. It is morphine for the dying man's pain. It's a tragic, bittersweet reading, but it makes the most sense to me.<br></br><br></br>If it was an ordinary setup, suicide would wake the individual, but the chemicals prevent that, so the only peace is through 'fooling yourself' in limbo, as Mal did. It's not the choice he would have made had the option to go all the way back existed, but its the best and only way to still get to see his kids one more time, for however long the dream lasted.

  • July 17, 2010, 2:57 a.m. CST

    Massawyrm you legend

    by The Penultimate Gunslinger

    That's pretty much how I felt about the film. It was awesome, but certainly not the masterpiece it's being made out to be by some people. The spinning top at the end was a cheap twist that anyone could see a mile coming. Overall though, I really enjoyed the film - nice to see a movie with some fantastically original ideas for once.

  • July 17, 2010, 3:05 a.m. CST

    Saito Theory

    by Shubniggorath

    This one kind of floors me. For an inception to work, it has to be boiled down to its basic concept: "To be young men together. to honor our agreement." Wow. Also, maybe I misinterpreted but I took Michael Caine to be Mal's father, and Cobb was his former student.

  • July 17, 2010, 3:22 a.m. CST

    A couple things that people seem to be confused about...

    by Hot_Machete

    Totems - The purpose of a totem is to give you a way to make sure you're not being conned by someone else. In any dreamworld, one person is the host, and everyone else is a subject. The host's mind is responsible for creating the setting and objects in the dream world. The subjects then populate the world with their subconscious. As long as you keep something specific about your totem secret, such as its weight or feel, a host will never be able to recreate it right, and this you can always use your totem as a test to make sure you're not in a deeper level of reality than you think you are.<br> <br> Kicks - A kick only brings you back to the reality in which it happened, it only reaches one reality deep, and it only affects you if you're conscious in the reality the kick is trying to pull you from. On top of that, it appears that a trained dreamer can resist the effect of a kick to a certain degree based on the severity of the kick and the strength of the sedative used. When layering multiple dreams, multiple kicks are needed to work backwards through the layers. For example, the crashing elevator in the hotel level would pull those in the ice fortress level back to the hotel. Once they were conscious in the hotel level, they would be susceptible to the kick of the van crashing into the water. There was no kick planned in the airplane, though, meaning that they would have to wait in the van level for the sedative in the airplane to wear off.<br> <br> Hosts vs. Architects - The architect merely designs the level needed for a mission, but the architect is not necessarily the host. It is implied that the architect, likely through other shared dreams, is able to help the actual host prepare the level he will be hosting. In the mission shown in the movie, Ariadne is not the host to any of the levels. In fact, she wasn't even supposed to go along on the mission, and only insisted on going after seeing just how unstable Cobb was. Yusuf, the chemist, is the host to the van level. (His failure to go the bathroom before getting sedated on the plane is the reason why it is raining in his level.) Arthur, the point man, is the host of the hotel level. Eames, the forger, is the host of the ice fortress level. It is implied that in a layered dreamworld, the host can't go deeper than the world he is hosting. This is why Yusuf goes no deeper than van level, Arthur goes no deeper than the hotel level, and Eames goes no deeper than the ice fortress level. (Note: Arthur is able to use the stair paradox trick in the hotel level because he is that level's host.)<br> <br> Guests vs. Marks - A guest's subconscious populates a host's dreamworld. Apparently a guest who knows what he or she is doing can control this to an extent, and thus only the mark's subconscious ends up making up the majority of the world's populous. However, if another guest, such as Cobb, has difficulty controlling his subconscious, parts of it, such as Mal, can start to enter the hosted world.<br> <br> Forgers - A Forger has the ability to alter his or her projection within a level. Weather or not he can do this in a level he is hosting is unknown. What special skills allows a forger to do this is also unknown, but its possible that a forger has developed a very strong control over his subconscious's sense of self. (In the van level, Eames interrupts Arthur's firing of a sub machine gun by telling Arthur that he shouldn't be afraid to dream bigger. Eames then attacks the enemies with a grenade launcher. There are two possible explanations for this... 1. Eames' forger ability allow him to create not just new personae for himself, but also new tools. 2. The teamed worked with the architect to design the van level prior to the mission itself, and it was during this shared dream planning that the various members let the architect know which tools they wanted available in the level. Eame's remark to Arthur was then simply Eame's way of saying to Arthur that next to he plans for a mission, he shouldn't be afraid to tell the architect to give him some truly impressive tools.<br> <br> Time - Time in a dreamworld moves faster than time in a level above it. In a multi layered dream, this effect compounds. It is stated that under normal circumstances, five minutes in the real world allows for 1 hour in the dream world below. This is a ratio of 1:12. It is also stated that a strong enough sedative can increase this ratio. For the mission, the ratio is said to be 1:20. Thus, one hour on the airplane would be 20 hours in the van level, which in turn would be almost 17 days in the hotel level, and close to one year in the ice fortress level.<br> <br> Death - Getting killed in a dreamworld typically causes one to awake in the level above where you were killed. However, a strong enough sedative can suppress this feature, and will instead send the individual who died to limbo. During the mission, Saito is shot while in the van level and slowly begins to die. When he enters a lower level, the wound is no longer on his body, however he is still slowly dieing. (He is dying at 1/20th the rate at each subsequent level, due to the time compounding effect.) When Saito finally dies in the van level, his death propagates down through all the levels and he goes to limbo. Normally he would have returned to the airplane, but the strong nature of the sedative prevented that from happening. When Fischer is killed in the ice fortress level, he does not wake up back in the hotel level, because the same strong sedative was used between the hotel level and the ice fortress level.<br> <br> Limbo - Limbo is an unconstructed dream state of pure subconsciousness. It is apparently very hard for a dreamer to maintain awareness of reality and even self awareness while in limbo. The rate of time in limbo is very unpredictable, and an unprepared dreamer in limbo could find himself stuck there for a near infinite period of time. The only way it is shown to exit limbo is to commit suicide there, or possibly to live long enough in limbo for the sedative to wear off. It is also not clear if someone else can kill you in limbo to set you free, or if you have to choose to kill yourself. It is also implied that limbo is not bound by the normal host/guest rules. Multiple dreamers are apparently able to share a limbo, and with practice are able to both shape limbo to be whatever they want. The movie doesn't give much info on what a truly uncontrolled limbo is like. Its possible that the limbo during the mission would have simply been a jumbled mess of the subconscious of all the members of the shared dream. Cobb, however, has extensive experience shaping and controlling limbo, and thus is able to host limbo, (or at least part of it), as another level beneath the ice fortress level. When he creates this new level, he connects Adaidne and Fischer to himself with a dream machine in the ice fortress level, thus allowing them to be guests in his hosted limbo, and proving the pathway by which to "kick" Fischer back to the ice fortress level. The kicker that Eames uses on Fischer is to shock him with the defibrillator. This apparently provides enough of a shock to the system to trigger a kick. However, since the only way to leave limbo is to die in limbo, Fischer has to jump from the skyscraper when he detects the kick happening. Ariadne in turn has to jump from the sky scraper when she detects that Eames triggers the second kick in the ice fortress level, by imploding the fortress on itself. (When Fischer is "kicked" back to the ice fortress world, his bullet wound is apparently gone. Why this happened it unexplained, however there are several possibilities. 1. The wound was merely a flesh wound that had an unlucky side effect of stopping his heart. 2. Eames, as the host of the level, was able to alter the nature of the wound while Fischer was in limbo. 3. Once Cobb made peace with Mal, the wound she had caused Fischer was undone. 4. The act of dying in Limbo resets Fischer's subconscious self awareness of life and death, and thus when he wakes up from limbo back in the ice fortress level, his subconscious projects a new, non-dead persona of himself. (Note: Cobb, by not committing suicide in limbo, avoided the kick in the ice fortress level. He then spent an unknown amount of time hunting for Saito in limbo. It is implied that this takes many decades since Saito is now an old man, however Cobb is not old, which leads to two possibilities. 1. Limbo moves at a different pace for each person. 2. Cobb, as an experienced dreamer in limbo knew that it was all still just limbo, and this his subconscious didn't age him.) When Cobb finally finds Saito, he hands him a gun and convinces Saito to commit suicide with him, setting them both free from limbo. It is unclear weather or not their subconscious minds cause this event to happen right as the sedative on the airplane is wearing off, or if the suicide sends them to some truly unconscious state that they both wait in unaware until such time as the sedative in the airplane wears off.

  • July 17, 2010, 3:39 a.m. CST

    Final thought as I went to sleep last night

    by subfreq

    Saito was Michael Caine. <BR><BR> Saito's repeated line in his dream is worrying that he will die old and alone. It's a glimpse of Caine's inner worry and what is motivating him to pull Cobb out. <BR><BR> You never see Saito and Caine in the same scene together and it would make sense that if the con was on Cobb Caine would imitate Saito to be able to walk through the long Conn and be the ultimate architect of the whole thing. <BR><BR> Saito turns up at every important coincidental moment and turn the plot by his own circumstance, appearance or action. Think Helicopter, Car in the gun chase, Being shot himself. <BR><BR> Also and last point. The first job was not Cobb stealing something but Caines first set up to see where his head was at and what he would have to do to eventually Incept his mind.

  • July 17, 2010, 4:04 a.m. CST

    The people next to me groaned at the ending.

    by Baked

    But I'm pretty sure we all knew it was a happy ending. The top wobbled, it was going to fall. <p> Anyway, a movie goes from great to convoluted at the point you layer pretentiousness onto the plot in order to make the audience ask questions that make no sense. <p> Total Recall is a perfect example of this. They float the idea that it could be a dream then proceed to have half of the movie take place behind Quaid's back. Sure, you may want ambiguity, but your movie prevents it. <p> Inception avoids this pitfall by having SHARED and SEPARATE experiences within the same dream. But I wouldn't burden Nolan's story with a shitty mindfuck ending I pulled out of my ass. <p> Mindfuck endings are only good when the story rules allow them. If the ending requires you to throw out rules, then it's a SHITTY mindfuck. If the plot contradicts the ending you have selected based on the rules, then it's a SHITTY mindfuck. <p> After the sedation in Mumbasa, Cobb's not in the dream anymore -- there's a time limit remember? 40 hours of dream time as the chemist puts it. If he is still in a dream from then on, then it's a shitty mindfuck because it implies he went straight from the FIRST level of dreaming (40 hours) to the THIRD level (MONTHS to YEARS) without dying in a sedated dream. That would be shitty, I give Nolan too much credit. <p> The story can't be one big dream because, again, it implies multiple levels of dreaming being navigated despite limbo being formless and shaped by the last person there. If Cobb were still in the dream, his dream would still look like limbo. <p> By the way, Cobb refuses to be the architect of his own dream, so if the whole movie's not one big dream he can't be the creator of any of the worlds (other than limbo) which means none of it can be his dream. <p> The only part of the ending that can reasonably be Cobb's dream is the final shot. But that doesn't mean the whole movie was a dream, that may just mean Cobb has learned to dream normally again (as I mentioned before, the kids are dressed exactly the same as when he saw them last). <p> Michael Caine organizing a team to get Cobb to return to his family almost makes sense. Except he's still wanted for murder, so the only way that would work is if the whole thing is a dream which would be a SHITTY mindfuck. <p> Given the limited options, the straightforward reading of "happy ending" with "goofball cocktease" at the end makes the most sense.

  • July 17, 2010, 4:14 a.m. CST

    This movie was the biggest mind fuck ever..

    by ganymede3010

    Sheezus Christ! I've never watched a movie were I had to pay attention each and every second. Every-time I briefly looked away to dip my tortilla chip in my cheese sauce It felt as If I had missed something. Hell, me and the party I went with discussed this movie for 3 hours in front of Starbucks after it was over. Even the know it all's in the group couldn't coherently piece together all of the details. Slowly but surely things are starting to come together though, still need more time to process all of the information.

  • July 17, 2010, 4:18 a.m. CST

    This movie is going to BOMB with general audiences.

    by ganymede3010

    This movie was way to complex for the general audience to begin to understand. Great movie, however there's no way this will catch on. The only thing that's saving this movie is having Leo at the lead. Don't get me wrong, it was a great movie, however it's no where near being a summer "blockbuster". This is the type of movie you release in November.

  • July 17, 2010, 4:29 a.m. CST

    Consider me Sold on Tom Hardy too!

    by ganymede3010

    The man has a remarkably powerful screen presence. He was by far my favorite character in the movie.

  • July 17, 2010, 5:36 a.m. CST

    Caine isn't his dad

    by Murchmo

    I read mostvof the forum but kept getting annoyed by that fact the no one seemed to realize that Caine wasn't his father... He's her father. That's why he's got an accent and in Paris. But while I am intrigued by all these points there is a couple other things I notes. One: as soon as they get into the rainy level a train hits them. Remember Thats Cobbs projection as that's how they commited suicide in limbo. Also Ellen Paiges character ( the architect of everything!) was completely introduced by Caines character. Chew on that

  • July 17, 2010, 5:51 a.m. CST

    Exactly Murch

    by subfreq

    So it makes sense that if you accept the alternate reading of the film Caine would first want to break into Cobbs head to find out what happened to his daughter and once he knew the truth secondly Incept an idea to free Cobb as it was Caine who initially got him into the whole thing.

  • July 17, 2010, 6:39 a.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    Ima catch this today but is it worth seeing in IMAX or is it just as good plain? Thanks in advance,

  • July 17, 2010, 8:22 a.m. CST

    Problem with the traintrack scene at the end

    by theguda

    Think about this from Mol's perspective. After she lays her head on the train tracks she starts to believe the real world is fake and vice versa. Eventually she becomes convinced that the world she and Cobb created is reality. So in essence, the place where a train ran over her head is "reality" to her. This makes no sense to me. How could someone believe somthinbg like that could happen in a reality based world? To me, this is the biggest gaffe in an otherwise sensational movie.

  • July 17, 2010, 8:29 a.m. CST

    The fact that Cobb remembers to spin the top

    by Jor-El23

    Is enough for me. The fact that he thinks to use the totem is an acknowledgment by Cobb that he knows it could be a dream world, or limbo.

  • July 17, 2010, 8:31 a.m. CST

    Here's a scary thought:

    by Logan_1973

    A lot of people felt Nolan had hit his creative peak with DARK KNIGHT. Now we see KNIGHT was just a warmup (shudder).

  • July 17, 2010, 8:51 a.m. CST

    Audible Groan at end

    by BranMakMorn

    from the audience I was in as well. Although I liked the whole film myself, some may find the exposition too much to follow without the payoff they were expecting. A sadder note was the laughter as M Night's name came up at the end of the DEVIL trailer.

  • July 17, 2010, 8:53 a.m. CST


    by doober187

    So, what if he shows Cobb spin the top, top stabilizes, cut away(cobb interrupted) before your sure if it's gonna fall or not, and never show it again? Would that have been better you think?

  • July 17, 2010, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Saito kept talking about becoming old men together

    by Jor-El23

    Which was similar to the promise Cobb made to Mal, about growing old together. I thought it was weird that Saito would say that to Cobb.

  • July 17, 2010, 9:42 a.m. CST

    For those who like their Greek Mythology

    by subfreq

    Check up on the story of Ariadne.....

  • July 17, 2010, 9:50 a.m. CST

    BSB, not worth seeing in IMAX.

    by ganymede3010

    You're spending so much time piecing together the plot you really have no time to gawk or enjoy the splendor of everything you're seeing. This isn't an IMAX movie at all IMO at least, the regular screen will suffice.

  • July 17, 2010, 10:19 a.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    hey. not sure if you'll see this, but there are two things commonly accepted as bad storytelling. one is if the murder in a murder mystery ends up being a suicide. another is to revoke the whole story by saying it was all just a dream. examples commonly given are some season of dallas that was all "bobby's dream" and the entire run of st. elsewhere. old shit i've never seen. the reveal of jacob's ladder was ok because it was a process he was going through. the original ending of brazil was ok -- "we lost him" -- because the hero preferred the dream over really bad reality. but the idea is that people prefer true stories over fiction, so if you get them to believe it, it's unfair to take it all away.

  • July 17, 2010, 10:29 a.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    The bookending idea confuses me. The opener was a test by saito to see if leo could do the job. it kicked up into leo being tipped into a bathtub, where saito figured the green rug wasn't right, then into them all on a high-speed train. leo was then offered the job. if the ending were the same, it would have to kick up the same way -- to leo being offered the job instead of just having completed it. total mobius strip.

  • July 17, 2010, 10:35 a.m. CST

    There is a 5th possibility

    by roguebot

    Almost everything about this film was about storytelling/filmmaking. Other reviews have pointed this out much better than I have, but here are a few key points. Filmmakers have always been aware of the dreamlike nature of film, which Inception constantly takes use of. The central plot is to tell a story, to construct and elaborate lie to give a man and emotional and cathartic climax. There's a scene with a group of people communally experiencing the same dream in a dark and dingy room in a basement (move theater). Everything from the dream-sharing technology, to the men chasing and shooting Cobb through the streets of Morocco, to him finally getting home to his kids are as implausible and unrealistic as a top that never falls. But without any of those things this movie wouldn't have a plot, tension, or emotional payoff. I don't view the final shot so literally. All of Inception is as much a dream as any film is a dream. All the last shot is saying, for me at least, is "this was a film, enjoy".

  • July 17, 2010, 10:44 a.m. CST

    For the Record...

    by azguki

    M. Night blows. My biggest problem was the lack of character development that was all-too-clearly present throughout most of the film. Someone mentioned way back in this thread that that indicated everyone is a projection of Cobb's. If this was intended by Nolan, then it is an absolutely fantastic movie Yet, then again, then the whole movie is just a dream and a waste of the audience's time. It is true that this is one of the first things a writing teacher will tell his/her students. "YOU DON'T WRITE AN ENTIRE STORY AND THEN TELL THE AUDIENCE AT THE END, "OH, BY THE WAY. I'M (the narrator) A MOUSE." or "IT WAS A ALL A DREAM." I thoroughly enjoyed the film, IMAX rocked, but the forty-five minutes of explanation to set up the last hour kind of killed it. Joseph Gordon Levitt is the best thing going in movies today. And Tom Hardy is going to rock as MAD MAX!! Can't wait. The top never falls.

  • July 17, 2010, 10:48 a.m. CST

    It is a TOTEM not a TOKEN...

    by shaneo632


  • July 17, 2010, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Total Recall Was A Dream

    by Ill Clinton

    As already pointed out, the blue sky was the reveal. It was the twist at the end, apparently so subtle as to be completely missed by most who watched the movie.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:33 a.m. CST

    the ending is reality either way u look at it

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    Ecause bcobb accepts it as his reality. I believe it was all a dream, but reality is subjective. With cobb not caring about the tops outcome, he has accepted that as his reality regardless of what happened earlier or what has truly happened

  • July 17, 2010, noon CST

    setting up a sequel(spoiler)

    by AntoniusBloc

    I think cutting away from the top is essentially saying "to be continued" in the clearest way possible without writing it on screen. Haven't seen a second time yet, but almost all the possibilities speculated above make sense: but the problem is, it is just speculation, i don't think, at least upon first viewing, Nolan gives us enough to read into, say perhaps, just one example, Caine as the mastermind, the one trying to plant an idea, makes sense, but not enough yet to conclude that. If the top is shown to fall, then no sequel, and a pretty satisfying ending, but for all the talk of the dangers of limbo, Cobb and Saito almost SEEM to escape too easily. If I had to guess now, the end is not reality, still a dream, guess it has to be limbo, maybe not, but as someone pointed out above, the ages of the kids are important. Now, I do not believe the entire movie is a dream, I don't think there is enough there to make that conclusion. And IF the movie ends in dream, the protagonist did not achieve his goal, to see his REAL kids, and he esablished when he breaks the psychological hold Mal has on him that she was nothing more than a shadow, a shallow memory created only from his mind, not the true complex human she really was, and if the ned was still a dream, that would appply to his kids as well, meaning, the goal not even close to accomplished, so at least for now, my theory, a sequel, and cutting away from top meant: to be continued

  • July 17, 2010, 12:02 p.m. CST

    *end still a dream,that is

    by AntoniusBloc

  • July 17, 2010, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Ending MUST be a dream...

    by nicky

    How could "reality" so closely resemble Cobb's memories of his kids? Their age, their clothes, even the exact staging of their backs to him - then finally turning at the end. Unless you think Nolan is a lazy idiot, there is only one reason to stage it this way. He's not an idiot, but I agree with Massa the end is a bit of FU to the audience. The rest was pretty cool - especially weightless hotel fight but... am I alone in thinking that, for all his smarts & skill, Nolan does NOT know how to stage an action scene? I thought it was intentional in the Batman films but here its just a mess, especially when he's cutting back & forth to the snow seige stuff, which was too cutty to begin with. These kinds of action scenes aren't easy to do, but its the kind of thing Spielberg & Cameron can nail in their sleep.

  • July 17, 2010, 12:23 p.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    their clothes/staging/age is problematic, but it's a great point that his purpose was to see his real kids.

  • July 17, 2010, 12:44 p.m. CST

    As stated way above...

    by The Eskimo

    ...Caine's character picking up the top from the table should have ended the movie, implying (as it was through the entire movie, granted,subtely)) that Dicaprio's reality was actually his fathers (or at least someone other than Dicaprio's) dream world. I think maybe Nolan erred only in not giving the audience enough credit to "get" that particular plot twist and just went for generally ambiguious.

  • July 17, 2010, 1:05 p.m. CST

    my only real problem is inception is too normal

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    There should been a more surreal feel to the dream...sure the sets were but I wanna see a elephant cross the street and other random stuff... one time I dreamt I "flamed on", now that was surrealie

  • July 17, 2010, 1:17 p.m. CST


    by AntoniusBloc

    yeah, and i've had dreams where i can slam dunk a baskeball. Then when i wake up, i get my ball, go to the park, and as soon as i step from the grass to the hard cememt court my knee hurts. I think the idea of no random elephants in inception was that, as best they could, they created and controlled the dream. the random stuff were the conflicts in the film, like Cobb's issues, hence the unexpected train invading from Cobb's subconscious into the pre-designed dream. Perhaps limbo is where the random, crazy, stuff happens, we will see more of perhaps, in a sequel?

  • July 17, 2010, 2:04 p.m. CST

    He IS in reality

    by Swordfleece

    If he was in a dream of getting his children back made by himself why bother starting to spin the top He is in reality - he knows it and doesn't have to check if it falls

  • July 17, 2010, 2:05 p.m. CST

    Massawyrm, the top does fall, you can love Inception wholehearte

    by paladinryan

    After the screen goes black you hear the top hit the table. Maybe your audience, like mine, was too excited and loud to hear this. This is what Dileep Rao was saying about the sound being more important in the last scene than the image. The point of this is to point out the difference between sight and sound, raise questions about reality of film, our reality--not Cobb's story--he definitely made it back home.

  • July 17, 2010, 2:06 p.m. CST

    About Inception being normal...

    by Lacobus

    These aren't ordinary dreams though, there constructs made by someone else. I thought Nolan sorted this out by showing what happens when Ellen Page tries to mess with things too much. <p> Also, I think Massa's point about the top is interesting but ultimately irrelavant. Di Caprio ignores it, he doesn't need justification, he home and real.

  • July 17, 2010, 2:18 p.m. CST

    The Kids are the Same Age

    by doubled2520

    I lean closest to interpretation 3, because of the fact that the children are the same age as he remembers them from years before. Reality holds until the bottom level, where Cobb, and potentially Saito, are trapped, as we never see them 'ride the kicks' from their bottom level on up, as we do with the other characters. We only see their final awakening.

  • July 17, 2010, 2:29 p.m. CST

    Brain-in-Jar Doubt

    by Seven_of_Borgnine

    There's always room for a little tease.

  • July 17, 2010, 2:48 p.m. CST


    by AntoniusBloc

    but the whole point of spinning the top is to confirm he has woken up, since obviously, we can wake up in a dream, and still think we are dreaming. He has taken a major step by turning away from the top, but that doesn't mean he isn't still in a dream.So, Cobb doesn't know, and neither do we. Do we?

  • July 17, 2010, 2:51 p.m. CST


    by AntoniusBloc

    Obviously, we can think we just woke up, but are still dreaming, is what i meant

  • July 17, 2010, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Cobb was in reality/dream

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    the problem we have here is we're looking at the ending from a black and white pov... but in actuality, reality/dreams are subjective...<p>Cobb made the top spin but seeing their faces, caused him to not care about the either way, he is in reality, it just depends on whose view youre looking at him, everything was real because he accepted it as us, he could have been dreaming, but it doesnt matter to us because its about Cobb

  • July 17, 2010, 3:28 p.m. CST

    Massa, You're SUPPOSED To Think Of Those Possibilities

    by LaserPants

    You didn't understand that? You're supposed to go through that mental checklist in your head of possible outcomes. THAT"S WHY IT"S A GREAT FILM. If anything, the top UNDERSCORES how great it is. Think you missed the point, man.<br><br>Btw, for my money, I think the top tipped and everything worked out okay for Cobb. It coulda been another construct, but I want to believe that it's all real and he escaped. Of course, this *wanting* something to be reality, and the consensus nature of reality is EXACTLY what the film was ultimately about. <br><br>So, yeah, in other words, it kinda is a masterpiece. Can't wait to see it again.

  • July 17, 2010, 3:50 p.m. CST

    The only thing I hate about movies like this...

    by dexter cornell

    are the fucking asshole know-it-all's that'll pop up here. I'll never understand why some people cannot engage in a conversation about a film that obviously wants people to talk, without some fucktarded moron bashing other's opinion. It's open to interpretation and if your name isn't Chris Nolan, shut the fuck up. That said, great film, not the masterpiece I wanted, but 10 times better than everything else that has come out this summer. MY interpretation is that the entire film was orchestrated to pull Cobb from his dream. The 'sound effect' at the end is debatable (imo) and also seems very obviously Nolan's setup to plant confusion and conversation in all of us.

  • July 17, 2010, 3:54 p.m. CST

    But, stepdaddy

    by AntoniusBloc

    That would contradict the scene between Cobb and Mal and overcomes her memory and his guilt by realizing that the Mal in his subconscious is only a shadow of her, only HIS projection, something shallow to the complex person she was in reality;the shadow, and think i remember he uses that exact word, isn't enough; so an objective reality IS important to Cobb and the filmmaker, unless you just throw that turn out the window and say it is meaningless. But it spurs him on to get to a REAL conclusion, which is the danger of going deep into limbo to get Saito. I am going to see this again, i'm intrigued by the idea by someone that Saito is Cobb's dad, but not sure if I remember anything establishing that.

  • July 17, 2010, 3:57 p.m. CST

    I Think It's Funny, Dexter

    by LaserPants

    That you come in here yelling at people being "fucktarded", when most of the discussion is civil. Relax. Enjoy. And interesting theory about it all being a mission to get Cobb. I don't agree, but I getcha. But who knows? Seems like the kind of flick that will reward repeated viewings.

  • July 17, 2010, 4:03 p.m. CST


    by dexter cornell

    ...So far, absolutely pretty civil in this one. Unfortunately, with a smart film, it degenerates without fail. And I saw the film with several friends and each of us had a different intrepretation of some film point. Which is pretty impressive for any film (not too mention this summer's choices)

  • July 17, 2010, 4:33 p.m. CST

    Caine says 2 things...

    by coldharbor

    1. In the classroom, he implores DeCaprio to "Come back to reality." 2. At the LAX gate, "Welcome, back."

  • July 17, 2010, 4:35 p.m. CST

    There were three 'marks'

    by coldharbor

    Saito, Fischer, and Cobb. All 'cured' at difference levels thanks to Caine, and his team.

  • July 17, 2010, 5:02 p.m. CST

    He didn't care about the top falling or spinning

    by Nerd Rage

    because he had his kids back. That's all he wanted real or imagined. Either way it's a happy ending.

  • July 17, 2010, 5:02 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

  • July 17, 2010, 5:05 p.m. CST


    by RSSR

    You may a little bit simple minded if the addition of that final shot upset your overall verdict of this movie. The truly great raconteurs one runs into in real life go off on tangents as one story ends and as another begins. Hell, real life sometimes mimics what happens in that last shot!! I just think its cheap and lowbrow to have to neatly wrap up everything in a nice package for EVERYONE.

  • July 17, 2010, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Caine is his father-in-law

    by mortsleam

    He lives in France. Mal is french. Her mother who calls the kids away has a french accent. Caine married a french chick. I could care less whether or no the top falls (tho it does *wobble* which it never did in the dreams). But get the family relationships right, people! Father-in-law!

  • July 17, 2010, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Caine's character is not that important.

    by George Newman

    identifying him as the main dreamer or conspirator against Cobb is a stretch.

  • July 17, 2010, 5:43 p.m. CST

    Inception breaks the Fourth Wal

    by latexjesus

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the interpolation of the actors previous film roles that were included in the film for example: the use of a Edith Piaf song which Marion Cotillard played a couple years back...

  • July 17, 2010, 5:45 p.m. CST

    film has a loose Homer's ODYSSEY framework to it

    by George Newman

    it opens with Cobb washing up on the shore, being found and brought to the old ruler Saito. The film then the tells Cobb's tale of his beleaguered journey home to his family. The story finally catches up to the moment of his arrival at old Saito, the final leg of his odyssey, and he gets to go home triumphant. <p> Odysseus washes up onto the shore and is brought to the king. he proceeds to tell the tale of how he got there, and then he finally gets to go home. Same thing

  • July 17, 2010, 5:51 p.m. CST

    Hitchcock made booboos too...

    by generasputinhole

    I think that, similar to Hitchcock's "lying flashback" in Stage Fright, the final shot in question is a directorial miscalculation. I believe Nolan may have intended it simply as a question to the audience about their own reality, asking "is this the real life," but that it comes across to the audience more as a "fooled ya" moment that throws the reality & conclusiveness of the film's resolution into doubt.

  • July 17, 2010, 5:54 p.m. CST

    no one mentioned this but what if...

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    ...Fischer was apart of the team too...if you believe the "it was a con on

  • July 17, 2010, 5:57 p.m. CST

    no one mentioned this but what if...

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    ...Fischer was apart of the team too...if you believe the "it was a con on Cobb" theory, Fischer couldve easily been apart of the team (who coincidentally had some father issues that he wanted to tackle in the con due to him making piece with his dad)...but yea, i love how this movie can make you view it in so many different ways

  • July 17, 2010, 6:20 p.m. CST

    My gripes are with technical decisions, not possibilities

    by George Newman

    I like Watanabe, but he does not enunciate very well and there were frustrating moments during i could Not understand what he was saying. Cast a english speaker or give me subtitles. <p> I grew to be very impatient with Mal(Mol?) and Cobb's inability to get over it. He gets to the end, to the deepest he could go, and nolan just wasted painful amounts of screen times continuing to dwell on their relationship. It was repetitive drama and i think something more succinct would have served to film better. "But it's about Cobb's journey" some may argue. Well I think that more the majority of the audience would prefer coverage of the resolution for "The Job" rather than Cobb's lady issues. It got to be a serious distraction from the real excitement of the film.

  • July 17, 2010, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Imagine TDK had 15 more min. of anguish over Rachel's Death.

    by George Newman

    that's how obnoxious I found the final sequences of drama involving Mal and Cobb to have become. He craddles her too much. She is on screen teary-eyed for too long. She won't evaporate out of his arms quick enough. <p> this could make for painful home viewings of the movie.

  • July 17, 2010, 6:40 p.m. CST

    Good....but disappointing

    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    The outrageous hype for Inception is not at all deserved, and after viewing it the comparisons to Kubrick are even more laughable than they were previously. Kubrick derived his complexity from subject matter, Nolan derives his from plot mechanics. And that is the difference. Inception is nearly all plot mechanics. <p>And even in this area, do not be fooled - this film is not one iota as complex as reviews have made it out to be. One review that I read said the plot would take a NASA-level genius to fully comprehend, which is utter piffle. The plot, even factoring in the many layers of dream reality, is disappointingly linear and straight-jacketed. <p>And that's too bad, because once unravelled, there isn't a whole else going on in the film. Sure, there are germs of ambiguity and philosophic questions, the kind that Kubrick would have based the movie around and further explored -the cause and effect of chained thoughts in peoples' minds, the idea of a person being no more quite literally than the sum total of their actions, the human 'impulse' to selectively 'heal' unsatisfactory memories - but Nolan pays these only lip service. They are explore in sufficient depth by the standards of most popular cinema, but hardly enough to anoint Nolan among the elite of profound cinematic masters as was frequently touted. <p>Instead, Nolan parlays most of the narrative into a basic heist movie, which is fine, or would be if he'd tallied his metaphysical musings to something that lived up to the hype of a 'Bond movie set in the subconscious'. Unfortunately, the action and surface level 'plot' here is entirely superfluous, totally unengaging (and how could it be otherwise if the protagonists are only fighting off bland automatons of the id?). Why didn't Nolan create interesting 'dream' characters that would have reflected the various worst parts of the persoanlity of Fischer, for example? Of course, that's an aside, and not the main point of the movie, but Nolan clearly wanted to have it both ways, with an entertaining espionage caper coupled with the emotional and intellectual aspect of Cobb's repressed memories. Neither aspect was explored satisfatorily. <p>Nolan has not improved his action direction in the slightest. Beaks' assertion that the multi-layered 'inception' was one of he greatest action sequences ever filmed rings hollow. It's ambition, and its coherence, are fine, however the action segments themselves are worthless - uninvolving, repetitive, and not very well shot. I was expecting OHMSS within the dream world - I didn't get it. Nolan should have junked the expensive set-pieces since they added little to the story.<p>I didn't hate this film at all, though. It was a sufficient, if clinical, clockwork puzzle, like Memento (though without Guy Pierce's engaging and understated central performance, and thus, emotion). The movie would also have been better served if Nolan had made the '$30 million version of the story', as he had originally planned to after Insomnia. By junking the negligible action aspects, we would have had a lean, interesting thriller, instead of something that aspires to grand blockbuster levels of entertainment (which Nolan fails at because he's too po-faced, and his characters are bland, the film largely unemotional and deficient when it comes to extended set pieces, or involving linear drama). It would also have afforded him the breathing space to at least attempt to explore some of the interesting questions raised in more depth. <p>I really would like to see Nolan tackle a straightforward narrative, because I think his mind games and jigsaw plots hide his weaknesses as a director (ditto for Quentin Tarantino, whose time-shifting stories disguise the fact that they are often piecemeal taken as a whole). Yes, he has done the Batman films, but those films are in some ways his weakest because of exactly that. Inception isn't as engaging as Memento or The Prestige, and it lacks an electric performance like Ledger's Joker (which compensated for some of the weaknesses of TDK). Thus, I would rank it fourth out of the seven films he's made thus far - and it gives me no pleasure to say that, because I was really hoping that this was going to be the masterpiece we were promised: Memento x 10, with a side order of the very best of mainstream blockbusterdom (the top Bonds or Raiders of the Lost Ark). Alas, Inception, while solid, just isn't it.

  • July 17, 2010, 6:52 p.m. CST

    I Feel Similarly. Prestige Still My Favourite.

    by Autodidact

    I'm a huge Nolan fan based on Insomnia, Prestige, and the Batman movies. But I don't think I've found a movie as overrated in the past ten years as Memento. I find Memento not just boring but irritating to watch. <p>Inception's a movie filled with dreams where nothing's very dreamy. "You don't know you're in a dream" does not equal "the environment is coherent and indiscernible from reality"... my dreams have fuzzy edges and some seriously weird environments (a lot of glass walls on the edges of cliffs or icy oceas)... I really thought the movie would be packed with awesome dream imagery and constructions. This is even teased in the first act when Leo is training the new architect, telling her "you can create things that can't exist in the real world". <p>So yeah I think it's not Nolan's greatest movie.

  • July 17, 2010, 7:28 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    Thanks - we did end up seeing it on a regular (tho pretty effin big) screen and you're right. This is not an IMAX type movie. Sure, the effects were good but it's really about the performances and story. I enjoyed it. My wife was annoyed by it. Women.

  • July 17, 2010, 7:30 p.m. CST

    I understand this movie better than even Nolan.

    by noiretblanc

    I'm smarter than all of you.

  • July 17, 2010, 7:35 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    Yes, his previous movies I do agree lack authentic, powerful emotions. But I believe Cobb and Mal's performances were real stand-outs along that line. It was a very touching story about enduring love and irresolvable guilt. A nice exploration into how much of ourselves we put into the people we love. Except for MJ_Corpse, as deep love and self-sacrifice doesn't apply to narcissists. Anyways. The Cobb and Mal storyline reminded me of Memento and how such love and guilt can totally a man's psyche. I really enjoyed it. Don't have to see it again immediately, but it's tops on the Netflix queue.

  • July 17, 2010, 7:37 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    is what I meant to say.

  • July 17, 2010, 8:18 p.m. CST



    <P> St. Louis Post-Dispatch Joe Williams Christopher Nolan's "Memento" was a movie-lover's dream come true, a puzzle that was engaging both intellectually and emotionally. But his Inception is a wake-up call, a blaring reminder that cheap tricks can't compensate for personal investment. <P> Philadelphia Inquirer Steven Rea Stymied by a clunking script, crammed with expository exchanges and urgent blather. <P> The New York Times A.O. Scott Though there is a lot to see in Inception, there is nothing that counts as genuine vision. Mr. Nolan’s idea of the mind is too literal, too logical, too rule-bound to allow the full measure of madness -- the risk of real confusion, of delirium, of ineffable ambiguity -- that this subject requires. <P> Chicago Reader J.R. Jones Inception delivers dazzling special effects and a boatload of stars, but it sags and eventually buckles under the weight of its complicated premise. <P> Andrew O'Hehir Nolan establishes a fascinating world, loaded with trapdoors, symbols and hidden secrets, and then squanders the opportunity on an overpriced "Twilight Zone" episode. <P> New York Magazine David Edelstein Inception manages to be clunky and confusing on four separate levels of reality. <P> Village Voice Nick Pinkerton It's obvious that Nolan either can't articulate or doesn't believe in a distinction between living feelings and dreams--and his barren Inception doesn't capture much of either. <P> Movieline Stephanie Zacharek Everything he (Nolan) does is forced and overthought, and Inception, far from being his ticket into hall-of-fame greatness, is a very expensive-looking, elephantine film whose myriad so-called complexities -- of both the emotional and intellectual sort -- add up to a kind of ADD tedium. <P> New York Observer Rex Reed I'd like to tell you just how bad Inception really is, but since it is barely even remotely lucid, no sane description is possible. <P>

  • July 17, 2010, 8:33 p.m. CST

    I love the last shot

    by jimmy_009

    It reminds me of Total Recall, which can still be debated to this day. The sign of a true mind fuck. I love that there are multiple possibilities, it fits with the neverending M.C. Escher reality that the film is built upon. If it can be summed up in one final shot and everything is answered then we're talking about a definitive A to B to C logical story. This is an Escher story, where things fold in on themselves. The ambiguous ending is PERFECTION. It suggests that there's turtles all the way down, or maybe there isn't, but from this vantage point we will never know. I like to think that Michael Caine set up the entire thing to get Cob to let go of the past. That smile at the end suggests to me that he had a lot more to do with the story than is let on. But then maybe he doesn't. It couldn't have ended on a more perfect note. Brilliant movie. Nolan is officially a Master in my book.

  • July 17, 2010, 8:34 p.m. CST


    by Massawyrm 1

    The gulf between "to neatly wrap up everything in a nice package for EVERYONE" and "requires the audience to write the movie themselves" is vast. I've received over four dozen explanations correcting me on what the movie is about. None of them describe the same movie. No one is seeing the same film. They are making up their own movie and calling it a masterpiece.

  • July 17, 2010, 8:36 p.m. CST

    I do agree about Wantanabe, George Newman

    by jimmy_009

    I couldn't understand a lot of what he was saying, and given this type of movie everything said has some kind of significance. That's a bit frustrating.

  • July 17, 2010, 8:38 p.m. CST

    Here's the real meaning of "Inception"

    by aargh

    Massawyrm is a pussy. Way to fail at handling ambiguity.

  • July 17, 2010, 8:41 p.m. CST


    by jimmy_009

    I think that's exactly why I enjoy the last shot. You see what you want to see in it, which is totally keeping with the theme of the movie. I'm curious if you think that the ambiguous ending of Total Recall didn't work? To me it's one of the most enjoyable parts of the movie. You still have a complete storyline (something with a beginning, middle, and end) that if you want to believe is the real story, then you can believe it. But the very nature of dealing with different realities will always lend itself to the possibilities of what you saw isn't what you saw. The bottom line is there is no ending that Nolan could come up with that would satisfy and live up to the universe he created. Rather than try that route he made the ending live by the same rules that the rests of the movie did. I freaking loved it and now for years to come I'll be thinking about the possibilities. If he said "this is how it is" definitively I would have been like "yeah that's pretty good" and probably never thought about it again.

  • July 17, 2010, 8:45 p.m. CST

    I think I see the problem here wyrm

    by Colin62

    You just suck at your job. I'm sure your local community college offers a film appreciation course.

  • July 17, 2010, 8:53 p.m. CST

    coldharbors' 2 Things

    by The_Monkey

    missed the LAX dialogue. thank you. that clears it for me.

  • July 17, 2010, 8:56 p.m. CST

    I think I see the problem here Colin62

    by Massawyrm 1

    is that you suck at trolling. Go spend a few months with some /b/tards and come back to me when there is some hair on your sack. "You suck at your job"? What are you, twelve?

  • July 17, 2010, 9:02 p.m. CST

    There was a change in the sound of the top just

    by SID 8.0

    before the fade to black. Like it was running out of gas. I believe it fell over. This is the best movie of the year. Anyway just that we're all talking about the story and not just the mind bending action sequences shows how great it is. Is it just me or is Tom Hardy a chameleon? Between Star Trek, Bronson, and this, he's not just 3 different characters but 3 different actors. All of them great.

  • July 17, 2010, 9:05 p.m. CST

    Two points jimmy_009

    by Massawyrm 1

    <p>1) you skimmed the review. My thoughts on TOTAL RECALL are in there. I LOVE ambiguity. But there's a difference between ambiguity and infinite unsolvability.</p> <p>2) The main difference between our viewpoints is that you walked out of the movie saying "I'm going to spend years thinking about what the fuck that might have been about! Awesome!" and I walked out saying "Ah, it actually wasn't about anything at all - but it almost was. Fuck."</p>

  • July 17, 2010, 9:05 p.m. CST

    Homeless Dream Dad

    by BandysTract

    I just wanna see my kids!

  • July 17, 2010, 9:18 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    Sure, it was a story told in non-linear fragments. But it wrapped things up neatly, with closure. We went through the chaotic journey with Tom, and we ended up feeling the same coming-to-terms he did. I can't get that movie out of my head.

  • July 17, 2010, 9:22 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    I am thoroughly enjoying the multitudes of interpretation here. Everybody has a valid viewpoint, no one is that far off the track. And that's Inception's greatest accomplishment, is to give us a story that requires us to use our cognitive faculties instead of checking them at the door. That's what a good work of art does. It provokes you, it lingers in your mind and it drives good debate. Bravo, Nolan. Good job.

  • July 17, 2010, 9:24 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    does that change your perspective in the least?

  • July 17, 2010, 9:24 p.m. CST

    There are THREE possible interpretations of Total Recall

    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    1. The narrative is completely on the level - Quaid really was a double agent on Mars, and the events of the film happen for real. The white light at the end is nothing more than the sun coming up in Mars new atmosphere.<p>2. It was all a dream, just as Quaid requested at Rekall. Everything happens as per his requested implant, and even the doctor coming in and trying to convince him the dream is out of control (and subsequently revealed to be an enemy agent) is nothing more than a twist as part of the narrative of his dream adventure as a secret agent, full of double crosses and left turns, to make things more convincing and exciting. The whole dream ran smoothly, and the end 'sunset' is simply Quaid reawakening back to reality. <p>3. Everything from Rekall on is a dream, and everything UP to the point that the doctor tells him he is suffering delirium, and that the dream has gone wrong, is the dream running as requested. However, the doctor is telling the truth and really is somebody at Rekall, not an enemy agent, as is his wife. Quaid shoots the doc, opting to stay in his fantasy instead of returning to humdrum reality, and everything thereafter - which includes the arrival of more enemy agents, his wife turning 'bad', and the doctor being revealed as a bad guy, are all schizoid creations that Quaid creates to keep the dream going, as is the rest of the movie. But his mind is, in actuality, heading to paranoid meltdown. Thus, the 'light' coming in at the end is Quaid's brain being lobotimized to white nothingness, as the doc foretold would happen.

  • July 17, 2010, 9:25 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

  • July 17, 2010, 9:28 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    is they are, after all is said and done, simply fictional works. Unless the author is explicit about what happens, there is no true or false assumption as to what the "reality" is because there really is no "reality" in a fictional world. Any deliberate ambiguity or unresolved questions are simply there to allow YOU to finish the puzzle any way you choose. <P> Therein lies proof that Massa does not suck at his job. Ipso facto.

  • July 17, 2010, 9:33 p.m. CST

    theguda; Autodidact

    by jameshardy

    THEGUDA: You're misconstruing the process of inception as exhibited by the movie. The idea that Cobbs plants in Mal's mind is purely that the world they were residing in at the time was not reality, and consequently convinces her to lay down on the train tracks with him to get back to the real world. What happens then is that, unexpectedly, this idea that 'the world we reside in isn't real' is carried-over within her mind to reality, which is what in the first place results in Cobbs discovering that inception is indeed possible. While lying on the tracks, Mal is at no time coming to a realisation that the world she is about to leave could potentially be 'reality'; she has been convinced by Leo that it isn't. <br> <br> AUTODIDACT: While I agree with you in the sense that the dreamworld, on all occasions sans the first couple of ellen page excursions, was a bit too lucid for my liking, it is explicitly stated in the movie that ellen page's character has been recruited to construct this multi-layered dream within the mind of Fischer in the guise of reality, as so to assure that at no point does he realise that he's actually dreaming. Unfortunately, things don't go to plan, and it turns out that Fischer has had dream-espionage prevention training or whatever, ultimately leading to Cobbs having to tell him (in a Level 2 dream) that he is dreaming. Of course, this is a half-lie, as it is implied that Fischer thinks that he's in a Level 1 dream (in the hotel, which is actually a level 2 dream, of course). Even though they end up telling him this as a last-minute change in plan, ellen page's construction doesn't change, and that explains why the dream layers are so un-dreamlike.

  • July 17, 2010, 9:38 p.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    i loved the review. if cold harbor is right, the last scene doesn't matter -- because the "what's reality" resolution came at lax. in the classroom scene, caine said "i want to bring you back to reality." at lax, he said "welcome back." the rest of the movie was wrapping up the loose ends. so leo spins the top, walks off, and doesn't look back, because he finished his last job and no longer needs the top.

  • July 17, 2010, 9:39 p.m. CST


    by tailhook

    Came out of the film with the exact same gripe. They go through massive amounts of machinations to pull this off. Win. Or did they! That second part just was not needed because it did raise the possiblity this all was just an exercise in brain scrambling. All the interpretations were available and debatable, without making them possible. This is a movie that could have had resonance and viewed as the greatest heist film of all time. Instead, the ending simply ensured the movie got put it in its grave a week or two from now. A second, far funnier ending would have been Cilian Glover on the phone to the office saying "you know.. I have this idea... I think I want to break up my father's companies. Wait.. no.. now that I think of it, thats a stupid idea.", and walks away. Anything would have been better than a Schroedinger Ending so long as it was definitive. The whole point of a heist movie is you either succeeded or failed at the heist. The audience becomes invested in the outcome. A heist film does not work, if there is a possibility the heist never really occured at all and was all just a dream.

  • July 17, 2010, 9:40 p.m. CST

    The top in Inception is nothing more than parlor games

    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    It really doesn't have a great deal more meaning or depth than the aforementioned Total Recall. People are ascribing a whole lot more meaning to it than it can plausibly broker. The idea of the whole thing being nothing more than a dream of Cobb's, or an elaborate sting on the character, is ridiculous, and supported by absolutely nothing in the movie. A twist must be supported by the rules and evidence presented - anything else is fanboy masturbation. That sort of cheap ending would be nothing more than Bobby Ewing in the shower. <p>The other end of the spectrum is people ascribing all sorts of faux-profundity to the top and whether it falls or not - Nolan breaking the fourth wall to address the audience, the correlation between sound and image (the whole 'if a leaf fall and no-one is arounfd to hear, does it make a sound' conundrum), or the idea of an unsolvable puzzle prefaced by Ariadne's explanations of never ending staircases, none of which are really supported by the main tether of the narrative. <p>I'm afraid Massawyrm is largely right, and it can only really be option 1 or 2 - the other two are cheap sub-Twilight Zone-isms. And neither of the two credible option bespeaks of much more intellectual content or depth than that oft-repeated twist 'is Cobb still stuck in the dream limbo or is it reality', much like Total Recall. At least Memento had a more emotional bent to its revelation and said a little about the human condition.

  • July 17, 2010, 9:45 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    on Fischer was cruel or kind. <P> On the one hand, it gave him a sense of peace to think that his father loved him and not have a life of daddy issues. And that's a good thing, even if it weren't true, for Fischer's sake. <P> On the other, it was to put a massive lie into someone's life, and that's beyond cruel. Perhaps Fischer deserved to know how his father felt and come to terms with it himself. That is his right. <P> Anyway we didn't come to a definitive answer cuz she was hungry and pissed that the movie was so long.

  • July 17, 2010, 9:49 p.m. CST

    Cobb is dreaming the whole time(spoliers)

    by idrinkyourmilkshake

    The whole film is in cobb's head. We get proof all the time. The first big chase scene(when Dicaprio begins scouting for his "team"), he is already being chased.We learn later those are projections in the dreamer's mind.So, we know we're in a dream. I think he's being trapped in the subconcious since he and his wife entered.She ESCAPED by killing herself(and thusly waking up in our real world), but he refuses to follow this logic and is getting lost in level after level.He performs the inception on himself, by convincing himself that can "go home and see his kids", to convince himself that he isn't dreaming, and to further motivate.

  • July 17, 2010, 10:03 p.m. CST

    Inception is an Excellent movie.

    by Thanos0145

    Chris Nolan's best movie to date and that's coming from someone who loves the Dark Knight.<p>I loved the hallway scene and that Chris Nolan is still a believer in practical effects. Props to Wally Pfister on his cinematography work for this movie.<p>My favorite character was Eames played by Tom Hardy and I hope Nolan uses him for Batman 3.<p>THE TOP FELL!

  • July 17, 2010, 10:18 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    Can you imagine if Cobb is played by, say, Jonah Hill? Would've been a completely different experience.

  • July 17, 2010, 10:27 p.m. CST

    The whole film is not in Cobb's head

    by Uroboros

    regardless of where the top falls out not. The section after the beginning and the "heist" against Fischer IS real IMHO. theguda, I think you got the train scene with Cobb and his a bit confused. Mol had accepted that the world they were in was reality. Cobb put the idea in her mind that it was fake and that dying was the way back to reality. That was what was happening when they were lying on the tracks. You see her wake up right after this. Of course we know what happen to the idea Cobb planted.

  • July 17, 2010, 10:58 p.m. CST

    I'll assume it fell.

    by The Dark Nolan

    And leave it at that. I like the film a lot however the one disappointment is I won't want to watch it a shit ton. Great film, but on to Batman 3.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:01 p.m. CST

    "I saw Nolan in his office spinning a fucking Menorah!"

    by The Dark Nolan

    "You don't spin a menorah, you spin a dradle." And however anybody wants the movie to be, that's the ending they should decide on for themselves. That's how I interpreted it anyway. Transformers 3 in full action across the street in Chicago. Bay is in the Narrows yelling for more explosions. Just a few blocks down from where the Joker's semi-truck flipped.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:04 p.m. CST

    I agree with The_Monkey and others....

    by amrisharmpit

    The spinning top at the end was Nolan fooling with us. It wasn't a dream, he was back in reality and had left the job behind. At least that's how I saw it. I liked Inception, but I would stop short of calling it a masterpiece. I did like it more than TDK, however. Inception was thought-provoking and ambitious with superb acting and production values, per usual for Nolan. I agree that Leo gave a strong, commanding performance, one of his best. He anchored this movie in a major way.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:10 p.m. CST

    It's a fun puzzle...

    by monolithik

    But it's still just a puzzle. It's entertainment. There's no deeper existential meaning to it all, other than "losing a loved one can fuck you up". It's fun, confusing, with cool fight/chase scenes and some sad stuff, but... it's no Kubrick. It uses every ounce of energy it's given, but never becomes more than the sum of its parts -- no matter how impressive and perplexing those parts are.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:18 p.m. CST

    Watch it again, though

    by monolithik

    with the assumption that everyone is conning Cobb, and it makes uncanny sense. Someone above said it's stupid to break the rules of the movie(and therefore he couldn't still be dreaming in Mombasa). Notice that 40-hour rule was told to him by a virtual stranger who's giving him a new, untested and previously unheard of(by Cobb) sleep-inducing elixir. Who says he has to be telling Cobb the truth? Who says any of them are? That doesn't make the movie stupid, I think it makes it that much greater(I mean, c'mon. What kind of rule is "nobody can lie in this movie"?). The clues are there, all throughout... you just have to find them. Seriously, watch it again. I saw it three times, and I'm convinced He never left the dream farm in Mombasa.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:19 p.m. CST

    I get what you're saying about ambiguity but....

    by jimmy_009's the deal. He does offer you a conclusion. Whether or not you choose to accept it as THE conclusion is up to you. I'm reminded of an episode of Law and Order that pissed me off to no end. They went through the entire show, caught the criminal, went through the trial, then finally the verdict came back and... black screen. Roll credits. THAT is what a BAD ambiguous ending is about. It literally is offering no conclusion. Inception DOES have a conclusion. He ends up back in America with his kids. There IS an ending, but also the hint that maybe that isn't THE ending. You seem to be saying that that Nolan has offered no resolution at all. He has. It's up to you on whether or not you choose to accept it. And having only seen it once I almost hesitate to say that it is up in the air. There could very well be some solid clues as to what he is leaning to.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:23 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    i saw it as a con against saito, so he'd make the call to get leo back into the country. what the chemist said could have been a lie, but since saito was there, it would have been only to trick saito.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:28 p.m. CST

    Bottom line:

    by monolithik

    Cobb was compromising his missions, and had to be taken off of the team; the whole team knew it, and the beginning in Saito's dream(which was a test, of course -- notice how you're never told what secret Saito was really keeping) sealed the deal. Everyone who knew him knew he would never live in peace without his children, and that was something that just couldn't happen in the real world. That leaves the option of retiring him into a dream -- to con the conman. Only, they knew he'd never accept a dream as reality as long as Mal was still haunting him, so it was all a play to get him back to limbo, to confront his guilt and for them to pull off enough slight-of-hand to get him to buy into the dream -- to achieve the dream himself.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:32 p.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    seems reasonable, but how is it that the thing with the kids could never happen? who was watching them in that big old house is a mystery, but they were still alive. he just needed to get back into the country to see them.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:33 p.m. CST

    The reason why "the top fell/didn't fall" is fail

    by aargh

    The real question is, why does Cobb have to spin the fucking top in the first place? Why is he not sure that what he's seeing is real? That's the whole point. He doesn't know anymore. And we don't know either.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:35 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    plus, totally impressed that you saw it three times.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:39 p.m. CST

    The totems respond to the subconscious

    by monolithik

    Not reality. There's no special powers the totems have, they just reflect what the dreamer's subconscious truly believes. Even if it did fall, that doesn't necessarily mean he's in reality, it just means that his subconscious is completely convinced that he is. In that sense, I'm not sure there is a way to test reality, outside of death. It's not a perfect test, but it's the closest thing he has, and he spins it because he's lost himself once, and never wants to do it again... at least until the movie's last moments.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:46 p.m. CST


    by monolithik

    The woman with the kids(who are older in reality/in the phone call, and voiced by different actors than the kids we see) is Cobb's mother-in-law/Mal's mom, I'm assuming, since she sounded French. He couldn't be with his kids because he was wanted for murder, and... if he came to the states, he'd be hunted and sent to prison. I'm guessing - based on her coldness on the phone - that the mom-in-law believes Cobb killed Mal, or at least blames him for her death; that makes it difficult or impossible to get her to take the kids out of the States.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:47 p.m. CST

    monolithik totems

    by The_Monkey

    have to disagree. the top was still mol's when leo left it spinning in the doll house. it never stopped, even though she had convinced herself that the dream was reality.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:47 p.m. CST


    by monolithik

    What can I say? It's been a boring weekend. Nothing better to do than try to crack the movie, hahah. Hence three viewings in... 26 hours. My brain is fried.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:50 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    i bet. i was fried after one midnight showing.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:56 p.m. CST

    The totem was tainted

    by monolithik

    by Cobb, when he broke into the safe and spun it. It no longer reflected her subconscious belief, but his... which is why she doubted it, even when she returned to reality. I'm not sure if that answers the question, heh, but... yeah. The totem/how it works/how it can be compromised is pretty vague.

  • July 17, 2010, 11:58 p.m. CST

    Caine's wife was watching the kids

    by coldharbor

    you hear her tell the kids to get off the phone. Also, how did Caine know to meet Cobb in LAX? Caine had supreme confidence in his architect, didn't hesitate in choosing her. Hers and Levitt's satisfied smiles aimed at Cobb in LAX are very telling. Fischer's and Saito's demeanors seemed humbled in LAX.

  • July 18, 2010, midnight CST

    Also, If Caine was in on it

    by monolithik

    I don't see it as a sad ending; I'd hope it wasn't meant to keep him in the dream farm in Mombasa until he dies, but only until his kids are old enough to seek Cobb out on their own.

  • July 18, 2010, midnight CST

    "Inception" Is "Dreamscape"...But Without Purpose

    by Media Messiah

    Dreamscape is brilliant! It is about a psychic who is using his gifts to gamble and live under the radar. He is brought into a government program along with another man, who is secretly a crazy--and forced to participate in a program where they must enter people's dreams. Our hero, played by Dennis Quaid, learns that those who are running the program, wish to use it to assassinate the unsuspecting president. He, our hero, must enter the president's dreams and stop the conspiracy, before it is too late. The film doesn't have a big budget, but its brilliance is in the story, it has a purpose...and a voice, where Inception does not, beyond being a high-tech heist film.

  • July 18, 2010, 12:02 a.m. CST

    Caine and Saito

    by monolithik

    Were both seen in the airport scene at the end, so I doubt they were one and the same. Someone mentioned that earlier.

  • July 18, 2010, 12:03 a.m. CST

    "Inception" Is Also A Direct Theft Of "Dark City"

    by Media Messiah

    Skip "Inception" and see "Dark City", instead.

  • July 18, 2010, 12:04 a.m. CST

    and the only person other than Cobb

    by coldharbor

    who could know if inception were possible would be...Caine, the person who taught Cobb. The inception he placed in Cobb via Saito was "I can do this with one phone call." Simple enough to be believed by a desperate man. Saito was calling Caine.

  • July 18, 2010, 12:06 a.m. CST

    the kids...

    by The_Monkey

    ...were a total mess. i figured they were in the same clothes/staging because any other visual would have confused the audience. their age, who knows, because dream time is so strange. but i still think leo's goal was to get saito to make the call, which he did the second he woke up on the airplane. i guess if he was powerful enough to buy the airline just to use a 747, he was supposed to be powerful enough to get leo cleared on the murder and let back in the country.

  • July 18, 2010, 12:26 a.m. CST

    Obscura - foil unicorn indeed

    by BubbaDestructo

    But remember that the original Blade Runner had no unicorn dream sequence, so there was no realization that Deckard's dreams were being read by Olmos' character. <p> The director's cut version brings that realization to it's full head, making the moment more powerful. <p> Nolan gives us several possibilities here, and the choices are intriguing.

  • July 18, 2010, 12:32 a.m. CST

    Yeah, the top fell....

    by Billyeveryteen

    Massa getting sand in his vagina about is just sad.<p>Great film, best of a lousy summer.

  • July 18, 2010, 12:39 a.m. CST


    by coldharbor

    When Cobb is recalling Mal's suicide, why did he go to the building across the street from her? And why did he implore her to "Get back in here!"? He didn't say get back in there...hmmm

  • July 18, 2010, 12:44 a.m. CST

    The fact that Media Messiah hates it so much

    by NoQuarter

    is evidence of it's high quality.

  • July 18, 2010, 12:52 a.m. CST

    Twilight Zone

    by AntoniusBloc

    saw a critic mention it above. This was very Rod Serling - like, especially the ending.

  • July 18, 2010, 12:56 a.m. CST

    "Inception" Is Like That Episode Of "Dallas"...

    by Media Messiah

    ...where the whole entire season turned-out to be a dream, and that isn't good storytelling.

  • July 18, 2010, 1 a.m. CST

    The final shot...

    by Thrillhouse77

    The final shot was Nolan's own "Inception" for the viewers. Inceptions should be simple. "If the top falls, it's reality. If not, it's a dream." - and we never see it fall. Simple. <P> Now we have an idea in our heads and it's going to eat at the general viewership like a parasite.

  • July 18, 2010, 1:02 a.m. CST


    by monolithik

    She was on the ledge of the same hotel, and it just had a recess where two walls faced each other. She climbed out her window, walked the ledge across a couple of corners until she was facing her window; most likely to keep him from getting to her in time to stop her.

  • July 18, 2010, 1:09 a.m. CST

    It can't be

    by Mponder486

    It can't all be a dream. if that were the case, Mal would still be alive and they would just send her to get Cobb out. You see if it were a dream then her jumping to her death would be her getting out, hence she would be alive. I also strongly feel that there is no way he is asleep in Mombasa. It would just be really bad storytelling IMO, and just does not seem like Nolan. That would make the first half of the movie pointless and the ending a lie. If Nolan were to come out and say that was what happened, I would instantly go from loving this movie to hating it. That would be just like saying Luke Skywalker never got out of the Bacta tank after being injured and the rest of Star Wars was a dream. The only possibilities to me is A) It is just how it seems, Cobb got out, the top stops spinning. B) Caine decided to take advantage of the situation that Cobb needed his help, and gave him a student that he knew would free Cobb by secretly performing Inception on him. The Saito mission was real but Ellen Page had a hidden agenda to help Cobb. The top keeps spinning but Cobb does not care.

  • July 18, 2010, 1:13 a.m. CST

    Media Messiah Do you Fucking like anything?

    by RPLocke

  • July 18, 2010, 1:25 a.m. CST

    RPLocke: "Dreamscape" Is A Great Film

    by Media Messiah

    Silent Running, Somewhere In Time, Dark City, Dreamscape, The Rocketeer, Lolita, Beau Geste, The Pigmalion, Cashback, Citizen Kane, To Kill A Mockingbird, North By North West, Dances With Wolves, Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, the 70s 3 Musketeers, the 4 Musketeers, The Ten Commandments, and The Terminator, oh, and the original Twilight Zone, etc.

  • July 18, 2010, 1:29 a.m. CST

    Great movie

    by Monolith_Jones

    I haven't seen The Prestige or Following, but of the others this is his best work by far. Kubrick is my favorite director and I get the comparisons. like Kubrick, Nolan displays a complete confidence while working with a complexly structured film. In another directors hands all those jumps between layers of realities would have been a mess.

  • July 18, 2010, 1:29 a.m. CST


    by monolithik

    Well, for starters, Star Wars wasn't about the art of deception in dreams, so I think the Mombasa theory seems wholly apropos. For a man who will leave you with an ending like that, do you really think he wasn't toying with us the whole time? Hating that ending doesn't make it any less viable. Watch it again. Seriously.

  • July 18, 2010, 1:30 a.m. CST

    I Forgot To Mention...

    by Media Messiah

    ...Lawrence of Arabia, New York, New York, Duel, and Scarface.

  • July 18, 2010, 1:43 a.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    i thought the hotel scene was bizarre too, esp since leo and mal were never in the same shot. must've been a helluva suite to turn the corner like that. i also like Mponder486's call that if mal were in a dream, the leap from the window would wake her.

  • July 18, 2010, 1:56 a.m. CST


    by SilentP

    The idea that the whole point of the movie was for him to perform an inception on himself is, imo, awesome. That is now my current favorite theory. It makes the whole movie a dream, but at the same time allows everything to have a point. And on top of that it's just very Memento-ish. I'm sure it's not airtight, but still... good theory.

  • July 18, 2010, 1:57 a.m. CST

    The suite

    by monolithik

    I never thought the window behind her was the same suite, just an open window. She also set the whole thing up, so she could have purchased both rooms and just crawled out the window behind her. I really think we could be over-thinking it, and it was done that way to service the story.

  • July 18, 2010, 2 a.m. CST

    sweet suite

    by The_Monkey

    you're probably right that she crawled around the corner. i guess that she was in an open window threw me off.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:16 a.m. CST

    Who is chasing Cobb through streets in Africa?

    by George Newman

    What organization is it?

  • July 18, 2010, 2:20 a.m. CST

    Inception is the kind of film

    by Teddy Artery

    that could drive people on the edge to commit suicide. With so much focus on needing to 'die to wake up' in the dream state, I felt very depressed after I got out of the movie and contemplated driving off a cliff near the movie theater. I know I'll be trounced on for saying this, but it's the truth. Don't see this movie if you are already depressed.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:32 a.m. CST

    It was all real.

    by JuanSanchez

  • July 18, 2010, 2:34 a.m. CST

    teddy artery

    by The_Monkey

    no one's gonna trounce you. depression's a bitch.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:37 a.m. CST

    George Newman

    by monolithik

    The group chasing Cobb in Mombasa are "said" by Eames to be Cobol agents -- Cobol being Saito's direct rival (and funded by Fischer Sr.) that the team was working for prior to the movie. That's why they were in Saito's mind to begin with, to extract information for Cobol, only they never got it, and were on the run from Cobol after their failure -- until Saito caught up to them on the roof in the helicopter. A lot of this is explained in the (free online) prequel comic, Inception: The Cobol Job.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:40 a.m. CST

    Of course...

    by monolithik

    whether Eames was telling the truth about them being Cobol agents depends on what you believe really happened. If it was all a ploy to get him to Mombasa, then they may have been working with Cobb's team. Hell, Cobol may have never really existed, but was only a setup to get the ball rolling. Cobb never finds out Saito's true secret, so it just as easily could have been his involvement with the team that he was hiding from Cobb.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:52 a.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    love the mombasa obsession. did they jack into the dreams there or just shift to somewhere else?

  • July 18, 2010, 2:57 a.m. CST

    no regrets

    by The_Monkey

    i'm still on the side that the ending wasn't a dream, because caine wants him back to reality and says "welcome back" at lax. so i looked at that song they played. i figured if it plays all the time, it matters. it's called "no, i regret nothing" by edith piaf. in an interview, nolan said he picked it before he cast mal. (the same actress played piaf in a movie.) the last lines are: "No! Absolutely nothing.../No! I regret nothing.../Because my life, because my joys/Today that begins with you!" it's corny as hell. but it probably means nolan thought leo worked out the mal thing, finished his last job, and was starting a new life with his kids. after all, how could nolan get studio financing without a happy ending?

  • July 18, 2010, 2:59 a.m. CST

    Wow, a 3 hour ,movie and we're talking about a top

    by RPLocke


  • July 18, 2010, 3:01 a.m. CST

    I think

    by monolithik

    He's still there in the dream farm, and never left. Likely, the whole team followed him there(with Saito?), and the rest of the movie actually played out from there -- the airplane being level one, the rainy street level two, the hotel level three and so on.

  • July 18, 2010, 3:03 a.m. CST

    MAJOR SPOILERS - Perhaps the top does fall


    In this video of audience reaction to the end of the movie there is a sound right after the screen goes black that could be the totem falling: ?v=PkBYfNWajUU

  • July 18, 2010, 3:04 a.m. CST

    Final thought for the night...

    by monolithik

    Some people say the Mombasa theory is poor storytelling, and hate the idea. I say to have a cocktease ending like it had with no deeper subtext is infinitely worse. That the con was on Cobb, but it's nearly impossible to detect without seriously reading between the lines... that's pretty brilliant, I think. To have it obviously be reality but to leave the ending left open like that, just a big wink-wink, nudge-nudge, "see what I did there?" without anything more to it would be the biggest prick move he could make. It's sloppy. It's something M. Night would do, not Nolan. If there's a hint that there might be something deeper, then there damn well better be something deeper, because that's how Nolan rolls. he's too much of a perfectionist to leave it at that. Also... well, the theory makes sense... As much as anything in the movie did, anyway. Hahah. Goodnight!

  • July 18, 2010, 3:05 a.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    so the airplane/lax/house are just different scenes in level one?

  • July 18, 2010, 3:08 a.m. CST

    Okay, second final thought.

    by monolithik

    I have the soundtrack, and the sound at the end is most likely the score, as it trickles down to just a few piano notes, and then does this reverse fade/build thing(like recording a note that fades and playing it backward; it building louder until a dead stop). just a thought.

  • July 18, 2010, 3:11 a.m. CST

    Didn't have any problem with ambiguity

    by ToMonicker

    Matter of fact, what was lacking was more ambiguity. Someone wrote above that the dreamworlds were not very dream-like, and I agree wholeheartedly, despite defensive responses that it was an orchestrated, constructed dreamworld. Even so, dreams often have a randomness, even in the most lucid ones that I've had. <p> For me, I had to accept this film on its own terms, and although, I think it presents more of a layered possible Virtual Reality, rather than Dreamworlds, it's just too damn good and entertaining to discard based on those qualms. <p> I see what people are saying with the Top, but even though I laughed outloud, seemingly with about a fourth of the audience I saw it with, it didn't irritate me. <p> I did see some people in the audience literally scratching their heads or muttering disbelievingly during the movie and those are probably lost causes to begin with. <p> In the end, I believe Cobb's journey is the most important and whether or not it's real is besides the point. <p> And Ellen Page is damn cute.

  • July 18, 2010, 3:16 a.m. CST

    Ellen Page's Pink Taco

    by JeanGrey_X23_lesboSex

    should have been showcased more. Leo for Azrael in Batman 3: Knightfall

  • July 18, 2010, 3:19 a.m. CST

    ellen page was cute...

    by The_Monkey

    except when she was in a scene with mal. damn.

  • July 18, 2010, 6:48 a.m. CST

    On the Saito/Caine thing

    by subfreq

    That idea hit me only hours after seeing the film once. A lot of Saito's dialogue is loaded and seems too knowing. There is an uncanny serendipity about every time he is in the film as well. I know it's far fetched but certainly when I see the film a second time it's something I'll be looking at. <br><br> The character I can't give a context too is Fischer if it is all a dream in Cobb's head. At the end of the film on the river bank Fischer seems every bit Incepted and not a part of any discernible team. <br><br> I just hope that even though I don't feel Nolan had to use the sledge hammer to get the point across in the last shot it's a sign that he wont go back to make a sequel. <br><br> I hope its simply just throwing the audience back into the labyrinth where as shown in this talkback every scene or component people pick out sends them down a different route. <br><br> The more I think about the film the more it hits how awesome a screenplay it is. To put that together on paper ages before you get to shooting is simply awesome. Should win every award going for original screenplay.

  • July 18, 2010, 7:31 a.m. CST

    by wildphantom07

  • July 18, 2010, 7:32 a.m. CST


    by wildphantom07

    Sorry about that blank post. Accidentally clicked post when reading the talkback.

  • July 18, 2010, 7:55 a.m. CST

    "It was all a dream..."

    by Crimson King

    If, and I do mean IF, the whole movie or a major chunk of what we thought was "reality" was actually a dream, I think in this case it does actually work. The way it's set up in this movie, your dream can become your reality. What happens in your dream state can actually end up defining or destroying you as a person in your real life, as evidenced by what happens to Mal. Basically, unlike any other previous "it was all a dream" tales, what takes place in the dream world has real consequences in reality. So it's not bad storytelling to tell a story that is about dreams/dreaming and have everything we see be a dream...especially if you make the dreams actually matter. Frankly, I think that's a bold move.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:20 a.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    I mean it's possible, but I just don't think so. There's not even a minute shred of a real world to suggest that everything we saw was dream state. If the top continued to spin, then mayhaps. But it fell. Anyway ima go buy me a top today.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:24 a.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    There are the dense layers of cake representing the layers of dream states. Then you have the ganache which is the team itself, holding everything together. Then you have the frosting which is Ellen Page. The two kids are the cake stand.

  • July 18, 2010, 10:43 a.m. CST


    by Colin62

    I suppose, technically I was trolling. But you don't give anyone any choice writing reviews like this. And if you end up furthering your education, then I helped.

  • July 18, 2010, 11:02 a.m. CST

    Analysis - It was all a dream

    by SilentP

    Alright, here's my theory about what happened. <br><br> Cobb never left the dreamworld he created with his wife. Mal did. Mal was right to jump from the roof (depressing as that may sound, lol), and woke up. <br><br> Cobb couldn't believe that she was right. HOWEVER, she had already sent a letter to her lawyer that implicated him in her death. That fucked up his dream world. He had to run from the police, and couldn't see his children anymore.<br><br> SO - Cobb begins an intricate plan to plant an inception on himself. The idea that this IS reality - and that he can go home to his children again, without any further doubts. <br><br> Everything that happens in the movie is a part of this plan. He creates Saito, a character who has the power to get him home with a single phone call. Saito tells him that if he plants an inception in Fischer, he'll make the call. So what's really happening here isn't that Cobb is planting an inception in Fischer - he's planting it in himself. By planting one in Fischer, he's effectively putting the idea in his own mind that he can go home again. <br><br> Note that at the moment when the inception is successfully planted in Fischer (when Fischer meets his father), Cobb is resolving his issue with Mal. He's letting go of her, and accepting that this is reality. At that moment, by successfully duping Fischer, he has in effect successfully duped himself. He's put the idea in his mind that he'll be able to go home, and that he won't have to doubt that it really is home. <br><br> Therefore, all that being the case, it doesn't matter at the end whether or not the top falls over. That's not what's important about the last shot. We've already seen the top fall over a few times over the course of the movie, so assuming I'm correct, and that he's in a dream the whole time, then it makes no difference if it falls over or not. What matters is this: When he gets home, he still has a lingering doubt in his mind that this is real. So he spins the top. But then he sees his children's faces... and he forgets about the top completely. That's the point of the final shot - the idea has now completely taken hold of him. He no longer doubts that this is real, so he leaves the top behind. His inception was successful. <br><br> Well.. that's my crazy theory anyway.

  • July 18, 2010, 11:13 a.m. CST

    mal jumped and woke, cobb stayed dreaming?

    by The_Monkey

    that's kinda brilliant.

  • July 18, 2010, 11:15 a.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    except she thought it would bring her back to the place they had created and grown old in. almost had me.

  • July 18, 2010, 11:24 a.m. CST


    by SilentP

    I don't... think that's true. Cobb planted the inception in Mal's mind in the dreamworld that that wasn't reality, and that's why she agreed to leave. But once they left that world, they returned, not to reality, but only to a higher level in their dreamworld. Mal understood that, though it may only have been because of what Cobb did to her, but Cobb didn't believe it. He thought he was finally out of there. Mal knew she wasn't, and still wanted to get out. <br><br> At least, that's what I think, but it's certainly possible I missed something. :P <br><br> The two problems I have are: 1) Assuming that is what happened, will Mal ever actually be able to accept anything as reality? Will she just try to kill herself in the real world anyway? and 2) Again, assuming I'm right, couldn't the newly awakened Mal just dunk Cobb's head in water or something to give him a kick and wake him up, lol? But maybe he's in limbo, and therefore basically braindead/comatose, so that's why that wouldn't work. I dunno.

  • July 18, 2010, 11:34 a.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    it's plausible. so she repeats the train dialogue because she knows there's a level above? really, mal is much better at dream-world navigation than leo. she created the first totem, and honestly, i thought she was the first to plant an idea -- in herself, that the deep dream, long-lived, was reality. for me, her dad is always reality. i'd have to hear caine's dialogue again to see if he mentions her death.

  • July 18, 2010, 11:52 a.m. CST

    subfreq-in' saito

    by The_Monkey

    saito drives me nuts and is the reason i keep on this talkback. saito and caine were both at lax, so not the same person. the opener was his test of leo's skills. old saito kicked to the bathtub scene then to the high-speed train, so it wasn't a bookend to the ending. but old saito redux (near the ending) said the same dialogue, which leo knew well enough to repeat, and both times, leo reached him by waking up in the waves. ken watanabe's accent was tough, but how that works is beyond me.

  • July 18, 2010, 11:54 a.m. CST

    Yeah, that's what I assumed

    by SilentP

    Regardless of whether I'm right or wrong, and whether or not there really is a level above, I assumed she was repeating the train dialogue because she *thought* there was a level above, and wanted Cobb to wake up with her. I didn't think that she just wanted to go back to the world they had created. <br><br> Of course, everyone clearly has their own interpretation, and many of the other theories I've read so far also seem pretty valid to me... so I'm not suggesting that everyone should subscribe to mine. But it just works really well for me. :P Partly because I love that it makes the movie very reminiscent of Memento. It's a similar idea about a guy lying to himself to achieve happiness, possibly out of a fear of reality.

  • July 18, 2010, noon CST


    by The_Monkey

    agree. he spins the top and walks off without looking back, so he's content with where he now is. for me, that's reality, but i understand the other interpretation.

  • July 18, 2010, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Caine's dialogue...

    by Executor

    Don't think he references her death, but when Cobb says he wants to go home to his children, Caine says, with a sad sigh, "Come back to reality, Dom."

  • July 18, 2010, 12:06 p.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    yeah, and when caine is at lax, he says, "wecome back." that's the basis for me thinking the end is reality. makes the top just a gimmick at the end.

  • July 18, 2010, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Whole movie is a dream because...

    by onezeroone

    Just some points that came to my head before we got to ending:<p> 1. Cobb - Cobol Corporation.<p> 2. Mombasa sequence - The way people respond to Cobb is similar to way projections zero in on Adriane.<p> 3. Opening - Saito says, you remind me of man I knew in a half-dream once [or something like that]. Implying he never met him in real life, though can also mean he recalls reality as a long forgotten dream.

  • July 18, 2010, 12:26 p.m. CST

    SilentP: Great point

    by onezeroone

    If Mal was right, why did she not wake up Leo. We know for sure he wasn't woken up and still in dream [if one belives so]. IF there is some other reason, it should have been alluded but isn't and Occam's Razor says Mal was wrong.

  • July 18, 2010, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Where did my post go?

    by onezeroone

    I made a post about why whole movie ISNT a dream. Now, someone stole that post, someone who doesn't want us to know what the truth about reality is.

  • July 18, 2010, 1 p.m. CST


    by SilentP

    Well, another reason IS alluded to - when Cobb says that if you go into limbo, you may never come out. So I think that would explain why Mal was unable to wake him up, if you believe it was all a dream. He's in limbo for the whole movie. In the real world, he's comatose.

  • July 18, 2010, 1:03 p.m. CST

    if end was a dream...

    by The_Monkey

    the prevailing theories are: 1-caine masterminded it and has leo on a machine in a scene we never see; 2-leo didn't follow mal to a death that meant waking up; 3-leo hooked in at the mombasa dream factory and never left. for me, the end is reality. gotta say, fun movie considering the characters spend most of their time asleep.

  • July 18, 2010, 1:38 p.m. CST

    Wow Monkey and SilentP

    by subfreq

    That interpretation is quite brilliant. What it would do is make me shift Saito onto being Mal and not Caine. It would be a better fit as the dialogue really is on the nose in regard to mirroring her. <br><br> Also notice how uneasy Saito is both times he wakes up, especially at the end making the call. If you go with SilentP's theory it would fit that if it was indeed Mal she knows the Inception has been successful but all that really means is Cobb is happy forever in a lost dream. <br><br> Remember it doesn't matter that two characters are in the same place at the same time. One can be a figment of Cobb's imagination and the other the actual person! Infact that is shown when Ellen page walks into a dream version of Fischers' uncle and then Tom Hardy walks up behind him. <br><br> Confusing as that is it makes sense that Cobb keeps creating Mal in his dream but she is also able to be there masked as Saito. <br><br> It gets to a point where I don't think Nolan has it so water tight that you can find one definable alternate reading of the film. I think he simply put enough ambiguity in it so everyone can derive their own theory.

  • July 18, 2010, 1:54 p.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    i'd go with y'all, but still think mal incepted herself that limbo was reality. if inception worked and the hotel suite jump took her out of level one to waking life, she'd still think it was a dream. kill herself again.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST

    hot damn

    by redkamel

    Some of the theories here are wrong, but most of them are pretty solid. <p>If the top falls, he is back in the real world and the story was either true, or a long con on Cobb to get him to let go of Mal. <p>If the top falls, Cobb is still in dreamworld. I doubt he did inception in himself et cetera, but it is possible the team incepted him so he could go to a happier limbo. The top as a totem is possible, but again, it would be very simple to replace it with a top that keeps spinning...or doesn't. <p>Old Saito in the beginning marks the whole story as a flashback; Cobb was remembering what happened after being lost in limbo looking for Saito. Cobb and Saito share a limbo because they are in the same shared dream<p> Either way, the movie was awesome. You can either be satisfified with one ending or just interperet all different ways. Its definitely going up on my shelf. I can't wait for a diretor's cut....

  • July 18, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    shouldn't they have been super old when they put their heads on the train tracks? point proves nothing about the theory, just points out that as tightly put together as the script was, there's error. if you haven't seen it, synecdoche ny is great too. i'm sticking with end is reality -- or that it's leo's dream as he sinks to his icy death in titanic. heh. thanks for the good ideas. gotta get back to the jungle.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Cobb = ultimate asshole

    by Nerd Rage

    He planted an idea in Mal's head that will force her to kill herself over and over until she's really dead.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:17 p.m. CST


    by redkamel

    I should have writ if the top DOESN'T fall on the third paragraph

  • July 18, 2010, 2:17 p.m. CST

    For you amusement

    by redkamel

    I'll have you know the trailer for Devil played before Inception. The crowd was silent....and then as soon as M.Shymalans name came on screen the ENTIRE audience laughed. I shit you not.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:29 p.m. CST

    something to think about

    by Mponder486

    I really don't think the whole thing is a dream but I need to watch again. I just did not get that from my viewing. If it were a dream, i think it would make more sense that Allen Page is really Michael Caine, using forgery to see what happened to his daughter for himself, but he knew Cobb would not let him in. Then he sees the truth and performs Inception. If I am not mistaken, Page and Caine are never in the same scene.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:36 p.m. CST


    by Mponder486

    I still think the whole movie was Saito's memory flashing back to him in limbo. The Saito and Cillian Murphy story was true, still not sure if Cobb wakes or if Caine performs Inception on him - I need to watch more. Regardless these are some great discussions that have remained enjoyably mature. Nolan did his job well in planting the infectious idea.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:36 p.m. CST

    lol Allen page

    by Mponder486

    Yes her brother, who played Bruno was in the movie... ELLEN page

  • July 18, 2010, 2:38 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    on the Devil poster. Ordinarily that's overkill for a guy who just contributed the idea for the movie. But for Night and his massive ego, one can say it was pretty understated.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:40 p.m. CST

    lol @ all the theories

    by Nerd Rage

    you people do realize the movie was constructed to be open ended. You will never find out "the truth". The only thing that is certain is that Warner Brothers will sell a shit load of dvds.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:42 p.m. CST

    @ Nerd Rage

    by Mponder486

    I completely agree. The endings purpose was this exact reason, no more no less. The whole movie is Inception on us.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:45 p.m. CST

    This reminded me of Pulp Fiction

    by Mponder486

    With the glowing briefcase. There is no correct answer.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Worst Summer in Recent Memory

    by tailhook

    Seriously... how bad has this summer been. All we've gotten is rather lame 80's remakes(Karate Kid, A-Team, Predators) along with another M. Night Bloatfest. There isn't really one movie I can point to outside of Toy Story 3 that I can point to that completely delivered on simply.. a great time at the movies. Inception came very close, but the masturbatory art-house conceit of the top at the end pretty much ensured it wouldn't have legs. Sure.. there will be some fanbois that get all worked up about it(as we've seen here), but by and large most people I know have just gone MEH. You're making a heist movie, its about a heist, you get people invested in the heist as to whether it succeeded or failed. Trying to suggest it didn't actually happen at all or it was all just a dream Wizard of Oz style basically ruins the films rewatchability for most people outside of a few 'film students', who really think too much of themselves allready.

  • July 18, 2010, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Well.. I suppose Eclipse...

    by tailhook

    delivered for the ladies and homosexual audiences.

  • July 18, 2010, 3:02 p.m. CST

    I wish I could get the kick...

    by Mponder486

    And wake up in a world where the masses are not stupid enough to make movies like twilight and saw successful.

  • July 18, 2010, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Toy Story 3 was a funeral.

    by RPLocke

    People aren't even talking about it anymore.

  • July 18, 2010, 3:16 p.m. CST

    @ Nerd Rage

    by monolithik

    Yeah, we get it. The theories are just that; theories. This movie is a master class in plausible deniability, after all. Still, it's fun to theorize about, largely because most people are actually being civil in here - for once - and understand that we all saw what we saw, and the theories likely reflect ourselves more than the movie itself. That's kind of cool. I can't believe it, but... I've actually, finally enjoyed an AICN talkback! I didn't think it possible, heh.

  • July 18, 2010, 3:27 p.m. CST

    @ tailhook

    by monolithik

    Sorry it wasn't the movie you wanted. I never saw it as a heist movie, but about conning people through dreams, and... I got what I expected, and more so. I think adding potentially infinite levels of layers to a movie is a tough trick to pull off, and should be commended. I hear you complain about how every movie this summer was lame and weak, and then complain again when you're finally given something to really sink your teeth into. Tailhook doth protest too much, methinks. (See? That's me using Shakespeare to be all art-house film-studenty and troll-worthy, heh.)

  • July 18, 2010, 3:30 p.m. CST

    I think the ending is all blown out of proportion.

    by The Dark Nolan

    The damn thing didn't wobble in the dream world. It was clearly wobbling at the end. It was a little wink wink joke, nothing else. I don't think Nolan was suggesting that everything we just saw wasn't real. Nolan isn't that stupid. The thing fell, it was real.

  • July 18, 2010, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Why did Mal and Cobb have the same totem?

    by YackBacker

    I thought everyone had their own, unique totem... is Mal even real?

  • July 18, 2010, 3:35 p.m. CST

    Mal was real

    by Mponder486

    If she is dead then it does not matter if it was her totem. As long as no one else alive knows the weight, it is unique to you.

  • July 18, 2010, 3:39 p.m. CST

    How is the weight unique on a spinning top?

    by YackBacker

  • July 18, 2010, 3:52 p.m. CST

    I may be wrong

    by Mponder486

    But i believe Cobb says that top was a one of a kind. Just like JGL's loaded dice had a unique weight.

  • July 18, 2010, 3:52 p.m. CST

    The Totem

    by monolithik

    Doesn't really matter. If you're in a dream, it's a projection, like anything else. Spinning a totem in the dream doesn't respond to reality, it responds to the dreamer's subconscious. If the dreamer really believes he/she is in reality, it'll act accordingly, whether you're still in a dream or not. I think the totem fell - or was trying to - but I also think he was still in a dream. It reflects what he believes, and only that. He was sold on the dream. The inception worked.

  • July 18, 2010, 3:55 p.m. CST

    The giveaway is the kids.

    by monolithik

    They're the same age as in his dreams; they haven't aged. Earlier in the film, when he spins the top and it falls(signaling reality), his kids call him, and they're older, on the phone. Look on IMDB and they even had two actors play both kids, Phillipa(age 3 and 5) and James(20 months and age 3). It's been two years in reality since she died and he ran, but at the end... same clothes, same age. It's a dream, whether the totem fell or not.

  • July 18, 2010, 3:58 p.m. CST

    I really liked the movie, but fuck

    by YackBacker

    I'm too overworked and stressed to sit down and unpack this fucker. Someone smart please do this for me-- I'll pay you.

  • July 18, 2010, 4 p.m. CST

    Cobb's totem was Mal.

    by monolithik

    Mal's totem was the top(and Cobb altering it made it to where she could never trust it again, causing her to kill herself)... so what was Cobb's totem? What constantly showed up in his dreams that instantly let him know he was dreaming? Mal. The kids. The broken glass. They basically played reverse totems.

  • July 18, 2010, 4:08 p.m. CST

    Toy Story 3 was not that good-

    by ToMonicker

    Comparitively speaking to the other Toy Stories. It was overly drawn out, had a weirdly adult Prisonbreak type plot, and didn't know when to stop laying on the shmaltz. It was enjoyable, the intro alone was a hoot, but it needed serious editing and maybe a little more time spent tightening up the plot. Toy Story 2 is still my fave... when Jesse was more an independant psycho woman & Stinky Pete a more entertaining villian. The bear was like weaker Stinky Pete clone with the only the appearance being different. <p> The more I try to sift the talkbacks and the theories on INCEPTION, the more confused I get. <p> Or maybe it's the heat. 98°F with 105°F Heat Index. Jeezus. <p> Ellen Page... hmmm.

  • July 18, 2010, 4:34 p.m. CST

    Yackbacker and ToMonicker

    by monolithik

    There are four basic theories: 1.The top fell. It was real. He made it home. 2. The top didn't fall, and it was all a dream. The whole movie was Cobb in limbo, trying to trick himself into buying the dream as real. If Mal was ever real, then jumping off of the hotel ledge brought her back to reality. 3. The top is irrelevant. It reflects not reality, but the dreamer's subconscious. If Cobb wholly believes it's real, the top will fall, be it in a dream or not. From there, it spins off. I think it was all a setup by his team(including Saito, Ariadne and possibly Fischer, if he was even real) and father-in-law. All he wanted was to be with his kids, but it just couldn't realistically happen. There IS no Saito, no phone call that can save him. Also, his subconscious was starting to threaten his success as an extractor, and possibly even his team's lives. They needed him to retire -- something he would never do on his own, so... they find a dream farm - in Mombasa - and set a plan into play to get him there, where he can live happily ever after with his kids. Only... he'll never accept a dream as reality as long as Mal is haunting him, so they create the Fischer plan to have Saito sent to limbo, gambling that Cobb will follow him back there and confront Mal, knowing that his life with his kids is on the line. It worked, he lets go of Mal, saves Saito and returns to what he thinks is reality - and his kids - but it's still really a dream. he's still in Mombasa, verified by him never verifying reality after he tested out the dream bed in Yusuf's basement. Does the top fall? It depends on his subconscious, and... based on him walking away from the top, I think he believed it, whether the top falls or not. Cobb's inception was successful.

  • July 18, 2010, 4:40 p.m. CST

    Love it Monolithik

    by subfreq

    Caine was the overseer, the Q of this Bond story if you will, and when Cobb became a liability to the operation they put him out to pasture.

  • July 18, 2010, 4:41 p.m. CST

    Sorry the M not the Q

    by subfreq

    Fucked up my letters there.

  • July 18, 2010, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Sorry, three not four.

    by monolithik

    With variations. I personally believe 1. Is boring. Too boring to have taken Nolan ten years to write it. 2. is a cop-out. Too cliche. 3. I love, and it makes complete sense if you read between the lines, but it receives a lot of hate, and a lot of people shouting "Occam's Razor!" Occam's Razor is great for reality, sure, but it would be horrible to apply to movies. If Occam's Razor is a valid counterpoint, then let's apply it to, oh, say... Star Wars. What's most likely: a farmer kid becomes a legendary warrior and overtakes an Empire that his own father ruled, or did a farmer kid just get sunstroke from standing out in the desert, staring into the suns with binoculars like a moron, fall into a coma and dream the whole thing?

  • July 18, 2010, 5:08 p.m. CST

    monolithik, I do remember the scene in Yusuf's basement

    by YackBacker

    He spins he top but never confirms to himself if he's out of the dream. Was that a turning point? Interesting.<p> I need to buy some scotch now...

  • July 18, 2010, 5:39 p.m. CST

    God damnit Ace of Wands

    by Massawyrm 1

    When I saw your name, I eagerly clicked thinking "Finally, some A-game trolling!" But shit, dude. That was weak. I mean, if you're going to be a worthless talkback dick, be a worthless talkback dick WITH PIZAZZ! Not this pisspoor garbage. I mean, come on - even Asimovlives bothered to dust off his semi-retarded Star Trek shit for the occasion. Can't you do the same?

  • July 18, 2010, 5:55 p.m. CST

    I only had 2 issues with this film

    by kuryakin

    The first was the final shot - I didn't hate it so much as I was kind of disappointed that they ended on such a predictable shot. As many people have pointed out above, the clues for all the various interpretations are already out there in the film, so I felt it was kind of unnecessary to be like OH LOOK AT THAT ISN'T THAT INTERESTING?? when the rest of the film was put together so carefully for us to figure out <b> <b> My main issue was Ellen Page - she was just miscast IMO <b> I mean I like her but I just felt she got chewed up in this film. <b> <b> Everyone's banging on about how 'cerebral' this film is but you know, it's really pretty macho, I mean I'd be shocked if there were more than 6 speaking parts total for female actors in this <b> <b> Mostly it's tall handsome guys running about being dynamic, even JGL who's the cool man-with-the-plan of the operation gets to have fistfights. I believe at one point Tome Hardy skis backwards firing a gun FFS <p> <b> And of the two female characters, Marion Cotillard gives such a memorable, forceful, fucking fantastic performance that wee Ellen page just seems to spend the film looking like someone's sister, just hanging out while the guns get fired and punches thrown <b> <b> Like I said, miscast. That or Nolan could have taken 5 minutes to think about including some females

  • July 18, 2010, 5:58 p.m. CST


    by kuryakin

    I was sure I'd put some breaks in that last post & also that I referred to Tom Hardy rather than Tome Hardy <b> <p> Also when you guys are referring to JGL in real life, do you call him "Jiggle" like I do?

  • July 18, 2010, 6:09 p.m. CST

    Massawyrm 1

    by ApeOfWar

    this got posted before but i guess the guy was too polite. so if you're done sucking off donkeys and giving a handjob to your dog, maybe you could respond to the point that the last scene doesn't matter -- because the "what's reality" resolution came at lax. in the classroom scene, caine said "come back to reality, dom." at lax, he said "welcome back." so at the end, leo spins the top, walks off, and doesn't look back, because he finished his last job and no longer needs the top.

  • July 18, 2010, 6:17 p.m. CST

    @ YackBacker

    by monolithik

    Precisely. In Mombasa he tries out the elixir, has a couple of flashbacks to his wife, then cut to waking up, then him at the sink, attempting to spin the top, but it falls -- where he is then distracted by Saito, and he pockets the top, never completing the spin -- and never spinning it again until the end of the movie. Not only that, but he still sees his wife AFTER he wakes up, while washing his face, he sees her silhouette through the curtain, and there's another brief flash of her. Even that whole seen is edited like a dream. He wakes up, immediately cut to the sink. He's still having visions from the dream. He never spins the top. It's pretty obvious that something changed at that point.

  • July 18, 2010, 6:22 p.m. CST

    EP's part was subtle, but vital.

    by monolithik

    Page's Ariadne was an unassuming part, but it had to be(according to the Mombasa theory, anyway). It was subtle, but she was the linchpin of the operation. She had to push him to make the right decisions, and did so, all throughout. She went into his dream, she brought up how dangerous his subconscious was becoming. She was the one at the end that suggested Cobb follow Fischer into limbo(as Cobb had given up when Fischer died), and she even followed him there, to insure that he made the right choice: Saito/his kids over Mal's memory.

  • July 18, 2010, 6:25 p.m. CST

    Caine's dialogue.

    by monolithik

    Could - and I assume was designed to - go either way. His plea to come back to reality in France could just as well be a man's last chance at begging his son and law to give it up, to not go through with the next job, because Miles/Caine knows it'll be his last... he's intending it to be, personally. At LAX, his welcome back, could, well... mean many things. Assuming it's welcome back to reality neglects the fact that Cobb's spent more years dreaming than he has in real life. What if it's his projection of Miles, telling him what he wants to hear?

  • July 18, 2010, 6:26 p.m. CST


    by kuryakin

    Well I'm not buying any of these other interpretations of the film but I get the pivotal role the character plays in the story as presented - I just think the actress was wrong for that part

  • July 18, 2010, 6:28 p.m. CST

    To clarify

    by monolithik

    When I say the totem falls a few posts above, I mean it bounced off of the sink and fell to the floor. It was never spun. Just so there's no confusion...

  • July 18, 2010, 6:30 p.m. CST

    @ kuryakin

    by monolithik

    Well, that's fine. I guess what you believe they were there to do decides how well you thought they did it. I think she played it well; she needed to be the quiet one, looked at by Cobb as the student... so he would trust her to the end, and never suspect she was leading him right where they wanted him to go.

  • July 18, 2010, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Either way,

    by monolithik

    I think it's pretty damn brilliant that there's even the possibility of such things in this movie. To tell a story that makes sense and is satisfying on its own, but each scene could be played in a multitude of ways... that alone is a nifty trick. It's a masterful puzzle, if not a masterpiece film.

  • July 18, 2010, 6:39 p.m. CST

    Why the spinning top?

    by sanzaru

    OK, how about this: the actual "inception" being performed during the course of this film is not on Fischer, but on the viewers themselves; the idea being planted is the same "seed of an idea" that drives Mal (and perhaps critics like Massawyrm as well?) insane: "Your world is not real." To me, the whole plot of the movie, its tangled and tricky labyrinth of events, is basically a MacGuffin to distract us all from from the very real inception being performed on us as the reels roll by (presuming, of course, we're sufficiently hooked by the story and trying to follow the action). That final image of the top, then, if you follow the through-line of Nolan's argument, refers less to whatever reality Cobb ends up in...than the new un-reality the audience will find outside the theater. It's surely no coincidence that the dream "planning" scene between Cobb and Ariadne is set-directed like the pre-production/vizdev room. The cinema is the dream-within-the-lucid-dream of the "real" world (and the movie is yet another level or three beneath that). The spinning top is thus a (somewhat pretentious, yes...but valid) meta-masterstroke. Thoughts? Am I dreaming? P.S. I haven't read through all the comments yet, so apologies if I'm inadvertently beating a long-dead horse here.

  • July 18, 2010, 6:40 p.m. CST

    Caine the Magus

    by coldharbor

    Wouldn't it be a sweet twist if Caine is the uber inceptor in this film? As he was manipulated by Anthony Quinn in the Magus between illusion and reality on a Greek Island. Caine's character there was a callow teacher who ruthlessly broke the heart of his girlfriend and ran from home in England to avoid the guilt.

  • July 18, 2010, 6:44 p.m. CST

    But I think we can all agree

    by kuryakin

    That there is one fatal flaw in this film <b> <p> If a person, lets say me, were trapped in a dreamworld where I'd never have to age , look for food, get up for a stinking job or deal with the usual shit that annoys me so very much in the real world AND on top of that got to sleep with Marion Cotillard evry night, there is NO FUCKING WAY I'd be lying down on no goddamn rail tracks <b> <p> Kids or no kids, in my version of the film Leo would chuck that totem in the ocean when he found it in the safe, never mind spinning the fucker. What a moron

  • July 18, 2010, 6:57 p.m. CST


    by Spazatronik_2000


  • July 18, 2010, 7 p.m. CST

    dom cobb = dummkopf ?

    by coldharbor

    i agree kuryakin, lol

  • July 18, 2010, 7:02 p.m. CST

    Now THAT, Kuryakin

    by monolithik

    Is a theory I can believe in, heh.

  • July 18, 2010, 7:03 p.m. CST

    theseus and the minotaur...and ariadne

    by coldharbor

    ariadne, architect of the labyrinth and aide to theseus, leads cobb (theseus) to the minotaur (Mal), theseus slays the minotaur and returns from the labyrinth...ergo the top falls ;)

  • July 18, 2010, 7:03 p.m. CST


    by ApeOfWar

    might be forgetting the first rule of savage confidence: no matter who she is or what she looks like, someone's tired of sleeping with her. plus they'd be younger when they woke up.

  • July 18, 2010, 7:09 p.m. CST

    The top most likely did fall.

    by monolithik

    But it was still a dream.

  • July 18, 2010, 7:11 p.m. CST

    It comes down to this:

    by monolithik

    Why did two sets of actors play the kids(according to IMDB) in the movie? The kids were older on the phone(in reality), but still young at the end; still in the same clothes at the same age as his dream. You can't ignore that. He was dreaming, whether the top fell or not.

  • July 18, 2010, 7:12 p.m. CST

    Miscellaneous thoughts...

    by sanzaru

    The spinning top is not unlike a spindle without thread. It is hard to escape a labyrinth...doubly difficult if it exists only in your own mind; Something about Saito's reflection in the table...and that one shot of his wrist on the train...I need to see it all again, but for now I can't help but wonder if the whole thing was his dream somehow; Cobb is Orpheus, Mal is Eurydice? Mal is Minotaur? Ariadne, obviously...; Anybody else get a little Metal Gear Solid flashback when they got to the snow level?

  • July 18, 2010, 7:15 p.m. CST


    by sanzaru

    I see aceattorney & AxeEmAll reached the same conclusion allll way up at the top (...pun somewhat intended). Cheers!

  • July 18, 2010, 7:19 p.m. CST


    by ApeOfWar

    the kids weren't 3yrs and 20mos at the end. they were 5yrs and 3yrs. if dream time is that screwed, the time from mal's death to the movie's end could have been a week to two months. minimal aging. why the clothes? maybe they liked them.

  • July 18, 2010, 7:23 p.m. CST

    on the 747, a stewardess linked them up

    by coldharbor

    who did she work for, was she representing and caring for the lst level of dreaming at this point, just as the rest of the team tagged off on their respective levels to allow dom,saito, fischer and ariadne to get forward/lower in the labyrinth...if the ease and fluidity of the appearance of the plane could be argued to be a 1st level shared dream...then i'd posit that dom's phone call to his 'older' kids could be 1st level as well...but this will necessitate a repeat viewing...damn the luck!

  • July 18, 2010, 7:33 p.m. CST

    As far as 'ambiguity' goes

    by kuryakin

    Nolan has form on this <p> In Memento there's that one shot where {{{SPOOOOOILERS}}} you see Leonard in bed, tattooed up but with his wife actually there and "I did it" written on his chest (interpreted by someone further up the board as him being the criminal which I have to admit, never occurred to me) indicating that perhaps the story Joe Pantoliano spins him about the diabetes thing might be true.Or it could just be Lenny imagining how things would be if the story were true. <p> <b> It's more than likely that the scene is there purely for audience interpretation, not to signify truth one way or the other <b> <p> In the Prestige there's the story presented (a duplicating machine made by Tesla creating dupes that get dumped then drowned) versus the IMO more likely story that there only ever was one dumped dupe and it was whatsisname, the drunk duplicate from before. AGain, they go to pains to allow either interpretation to have evidence and support <p> WIth The prestige, I read he directed it to be openly ambiguous because the brother who wrote it and the brother who directed it interpreted it differently themselves <p> <b> Now this one was written by Christopher Nolan alone but I think it's clear that he wrote it with the intention of being read in different ways <p> There's really no point arguing over which interpretation is 'correct' because they all could be, although some are more tenuous than others

  • July 18, 2010, 7:42 p.m. CST

    There is a 5th possibility

    by shield^wolf

    The whole movie is a long con wherein Saito (or somwone else) is planting a thought in Dicaprio's mind; which I think is the idea that he needs to let go of his wife in order to be able to go home. There are hints of this - the sound of the watch clicking throughout the movie etc. I don't think this is the reality of the movie, but the idea that everyone involved is doing INCEPTION to DiCaprio is sort of intriguing and cool.

  • July 18, 2010, 7:48 p.m. CST

    Leo and the Giant Zit

    by Dirk_The_Amoeba

    Anyone else get distracted by that giant fucking ZIT on M. Cotilliard forehead? I mean Jebus H William Macy, laser that shit or at least use some CGI to cover that shit up. Took me right out of the movie -well almost.

  • July 18, 2010, 7:50 p.m. CST

    i agree shield

    by coldharbor

    ...what about ariadne's token... the chesspiece - a pawn? She makes a point of showing it to dom and he moves to hold it, she retracts it rather quickly/defensively

  • July 18, 2010, 7:50 p.m. CST

    New Name: Deception

    by Dirk_The_Amoeba

    Nolan freaking geeks the fuck out. <p>What Nolan did for lead pencils in batman he does again for spindle tops.

  • July 18, 2010, 7:54 p.m. CST

    This is Nolan's Bond Film

    by Swordfleece

    Watched it Friday and probably go again tomorrow. I couldn't help thinking this basically is Nolan's Bond film. The music, action everything was basically Bond.

  • July 18, 2010, 7:56 p.m. CST

    @ Kuryakin

    by monolithik

    Agreed with the last paragraph, and I hope what I'm saying isn't taken as arguing, but... I guess, exploring the different ideas, to see what sticks and what doesn't. There are things that just don't make sense with any of the theories, as far as I can tell. If it's not a dream, why are the kids still young? If it is a dream, why hasn't Mal tried to come back for him, or give him a kick? If it's a dream from Mombasa on, then... why is anybody doing the things they're doing, hahah. We may never know... but the fun is in the hunt, right?

  • July 18, 2010, 7:59 p.m. CST

    exactly monolithik

    by coldharbor

  • July 18, 2010, 7:59 p.m. CST

    Inception makes $60m opening weekend

    by BP_drills_america_a_new_asshole

    Suck it haters. Those who said it would barely make $20m are looking shit faced now. Inception will easily make back its money and bring in a tidy profit. Nolan owns your asses!

  • July 18, 2010, 8:03 p.m. CST

    One thing that disappointed me...

    by CountryBoy

    ... was that they really didn't show dreams as they really are. Almost nothing truly biarre or "dreamlike" ever happened. I mean, think about a dream you've had in real life. In my dreams, people spontaneously become other people, locations change inexplicably, I suddenly have some object in my hand that wasn't there a second ago; really, ANYTHING is possible. Here we had, what? A train? No gravity (and that only happened because of the fall in the level above)? It seemed, to my surprise, very uncreative and unimaginative.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:09 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    Cobb and Mal's world, Ariadne bending the cityscape and constructing paths, coastal city disintegration, etc. <P> What you guys have a problem with is the fact that the construct of the dreams were meant to be as real as possible. It was intended that way. Hello! <P>

  • July 18, 2010, 8:12 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    and there was a loud bang in the score? I fucking soiled myself at that moment.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:13 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    I also remember falling into a very deep sleep watching it.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:14 p.m. CST

    i thought the rules for successful

    by coldharbor

    inception through shared dreams was for the architects to minimize haphazard events that could trigger a dream subject into recognizing his state as something other than a lucid dream. the best architect imo was caine and used to be dom, who now won't perform that task because of his Mal projections (her sudden appearances risk the dream subject being brought out of a lucid state)

  • July 18, 2010, 8:17 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    Cuz in the real world, NO ONE is named Ariadne.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:20 p.m. CST

    Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder!

    by Dirk_The_Amoeba

    This is considered a disorder! Women who need their Shamu stroked 24/7! I need to find me a popcorn kernel with a fine badonkadonk who has this thing! Y'all might not hear from me for a while if'n I do!

  • July 18, 2010, 8:23 p.m. CST

    hallmarks of lucid dreaming...

    by coldharbor

    include the feeling of someone/something approaching/coming for you, along with abrupt sounds and when you awaken you are in often in the room and in a similar position as you were in the lucid dream....lucid dreams inside lucid dreams are called pellucid dreams, where you think you've awakened, go about your business relieved it was just a dream, then bang you awaken again. The deepest i ever got was level 3...shook me up for a while to be sure and i haven't done peyote since.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:24 p.m. CST

    Yeah, but...

    by CountryBoy

    ... the bending of the city only happened in the "learning" phase. Nothing remotely that dramatic occurred during the actual job. And the disintegrating city (I thought) was a result of Cobb's abandoning that part of his unconscious; without a dreamer it was falling apart. It was like the "collapse" of Saito's dream in the beginning. And why would the dream have to appear real at all? Cobb even said outright that you never notice till you wake up "that anything was actually strange." In real dreams, bizarreness is never a clue that you're dreaming. I just really wish they'd exploited the arbitrariness more. The snow assault in particular was ABSOLUTELY prosaic.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:26 p.m. CST

    inception made simple

    by ApeOfWar

    dirk -- thanks for the update. smashed my bong with a brick so my theory stays simple. it's a summer blockbuster. hero's messed up, hero gets fixed, hero finds happy ending. top is so precious, no one's supposed to touch it, yet four characters hold that thing, it's so untrustworthy, it's garbage. but director still needs to show it at end. top spins forever, it's depressing. top falls over, it's pat. short of an earthquake or having the father-in-law pick it up, you're left with the fade to black to keep the rubes going multiple times to watch and listen for a wobble or consider whether everyone was a projection or forger. by the movie's own rules, the top was crap. caine wasn't there [spoiler -- like kingsley and ruffalo -- end] to be leo's therapist. and, yeah, leo may not have gotten the girl, but she was dead, so that would have been real creepy. verdict: happy ending and a lot of wyrm-words wasted on an invalidated top.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:27 p.m. CST

    Also, McG is a better action director than Nolan

    by CountryBoy

    Ouch! But the copter crash and the harvester chase in T4 were totally clear and exciting and creative -- so much so that I actually considered seeing it again. (The rest of the movie dissuaded me.) But I can't imagine sitting through INCEPTION again (although I loved the zero-gravity fight).

  • July 18, 2010, 8:28 p.m. CST

    I have no idea what your're complaining about

    by CherryValance

    From what I gather you're basically pissed that he left you with options and you've come up with four. Three that you don't like but also don't think are likely the real ending. Which means the most likely one is the ending you like so, I don't get why you mad. It's like saying you love McDs fries, and then being angry that they gave you so many, after you just ate them all, and you're still hungry.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:29 p.m. CST

    when trained, bizarreness is always a

    by coldharbor

    clue you're can train yourself to recognize it...there's lots of write ups...i was so fascinated as a teen in the 60's with my night terrors that i read a couple of books...started a diary...self-hypnotized 10 minutes a nite for a couple of weeks...and voila starting controlling my dreams

  • July 18, 2010, 8:34 p.m. CST

    the trick to 'kicking' yourself out of a

    by coldharbor

    dream is the self-hypnotizing for a couple of weeks...come up with a trigger, something you will do in your dream whenever you feel scared, uncomfortable, funky, whatever...say you choose as a trigger that you will do jumping jacks when you feel you want a dream to end, just as an example, it should be something odd, choose it and visualize it repeatedly before you sleep for a couple of weeks.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:34 p.m. CST

    My interpretation

    by ChuckBuried

    is the same as yours. The top falls, it's reality. But why show the top at all? To keep things ambiguous. Not for the sake of simply being ambiguous, but to reinforce the idea that these characters, who've experienced these things, can never truly be sure of what is and is not reality ever again.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:35 p.m. CST

    So the top

    by ChuckBuried

    works fine for me. Beautiful ending.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:36 p.m. CST

    once you get that far, you can train

    by coldharbor

    yourself to stay in the dream and even lead it forwards/'s a lot of fun...especially when ladies are present (in the dream, i mean)

  • July 18, 2010, 8:39 p.m. CST

    Unlikely it's all a dream

    by Dr. Chim Richalds

    I don't know how many people have read, or even know of, the prequel online comic - Inception: The Cobol Job (available through Yahoo), but it explains what the crew is doing for Cobol Engineering and why they target Saito. I suppose one could argue that the comic isn't canonical, or that the prequel story could also be a dream, but this is more evidence that a significant portion of the movie should be taken literally (i.e., not everything is a dream, Saito is a real character and not the alter ego of Mal or Michael Caine's character, etc.).

  • July 18, 2010, 8:43 p.m. CST

    i don't believe it's all a dream either so

    by coldharbor

    i must check out the prequel comic

  • July 18, 2010, 8:45 p.m. CST

    Memento "ambiguity"

    by Dr. Chim Richalds

    It's been quite a while since I saw the movie, but it was clear to me that the tattoo "I did it" meant that he killed the people who broke into his house, as Pantoliano said at one point in the movie. Pierce also accidentally overdosed his wife, as the story about the other person with short-term memory was actually a story about him, but the tattoo had nothing to do with that.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:47 p.m. CST

    The Cobol Job

    by monolithik

    Does nothing, really, but lead Cobb to Saito, and make Saito's claims look more legitimate. It still doesn't mean they necessarily are...

  • July 18, 2010, 8:52 p.m. CST

    I remember one time I realized I was dreaming...

    by CountryBoy

    I was in my house at night, looked out the window and saw countless hands suddenly reach out of the darkness and press against the windowpane. I went to investigate and suddenly said "This is a dream!" I realized I could do ANYTHING... so what did I do? I said "I want to grow Mickey Mouse ears!" I'm not kidding! I turned to look in a mirror, and sure enough, big round ears emerged from my head. Then I woke up.<p>Did they ever say in the movie that if anything weird happened, the dreamner would wake? I don't remember that at all...

  • July 18, 2010, 8:55 p.m. CST

    Cobb was disoriented when he 'woke' up on the plane

    by Dirk_The_Amoeba

    According to his rules: If you do not know how you got to where you are, you are dreaming. The tops spins for an inordinate amount of time. Cobb walks, outside hugs his kids, etc. etc. Top still spinning. <p> Either Nolan is fucking with everyone just because he wants this very type of conversation -which I believe is the case which makes him marketing smart but a bit of a dick as a writer for leaving such a hole, and/or Cobb is stuck in a dream.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:59 p.m. CST

    I always have dreams I'm in TV shows and stuff

    by RPLocke

    after I watch the show. Weird.

  • July 18, 2010, 8:59 p.m. CST


    by Massawyrm 1

    Now that's some quality trolling. While the top no longer matters to Cobb, it matters to Nolan - otherwise the camera would have followed him out the door rather than closed in on the top.

  • July 18, 2010, 9:02 p.m. CST

    ya, the cobol job sheds no light

    by coldharbor

  • July 18, 2010, 9:02 p.m. CST

    Wait a tittty flipping minute Wrym!

    by Dirk_The_Amoeba

    What constitutes a troll nowadays? Just someone who disagrees with the worm who squirms like a man?

  • July 18, 2010, 9:04 p.m. CST

    I just realized RE: Harry and his review

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    isn't his internet down based off a post whose headline implied Harry died?

  • July 18, 2010, 9:09 p.m. CST

    The problem with the last shot is

    by hippolyta

    if it is reality, why try and throw off your audience when you don't need to? It plays out just fine as a straight-forward narrative. There was never anything else in the film that made me doubt the real world. In the last few scenes you see him wake up, get his luggage, meet Michael Caine, who then drives him home, (no unexplained jumps from one scene to another) and then he sees his children's faces. Even if it is a dream, Cobb is in a good place. To me it's a happy ending either way, so why the subterfuge? It reminds me of Haute Tension, which would have been a fantastic horror film without the lame twist at the end that made the entire film nonsense.

  • July 18, 2010, 9:15 p.m. CST

    it would have been more ambiguous to

    by coldharbor

    me to show the top and follow cobb to his kids...then the audience is forced to feel it's most likely a happy dream ending for cobb, who no longer cares how he gets there - dream or reality, it's what he wanted. but panning back to the top which is now slowing a bit indicates to the audience that cobb's reward for killing his subconscious demons is reality.

  • July 18, 2010, 9:22 p.m. CST


    by cptrios

    After seeing the movie I agreed with part of your Mombasa theory. The moment I saw the top fall off of the sink I started taking everything that came after with a grain of salt. However I see two big problems with it (forgive me if these have already been mentioned...I dont' feel like reading the ENTIRE talkback!) <p>1. Are all of the people in that Mombasa basement sharing one person's dream, or are they each dreaming their own? This presents an interesting problem, as in that case the top probably WOULD fall, but it wouldn't necessarily mean he was dreaming, as it was his mind controlling the top. <p>2. If he's hooked into someone else's dream...well, how could his team possibly think that he'd fall for it? Sure, they might say "if all goes well, he'll be so happy to see his children that he'll never spin the top." But how could they possibly be sure he'd never try it? Wouldn't it therefore just make more sense for him to be dreaming in Mombasa on his own, as opposed to being manipulated by the team?

  • July 18, 2010, 9:22 p.m. CST

    by coldharbor

  • July 18, 2010, 9:23 p.m. CST


    by cptrios

    "As it wouldn't necessarily mean he WASN'T dreaming."

  • July 18, 2010, 9:27 p.m. CST

    last paragraph of Inception Screenplay...

    by coldharbor

    Camera direction: Push to follow Cobb past top on table to frame him greeting his children...linger a pans down and frames top on table losing momentum...fade to black. Or replace 'losing' with 'maintaining'. ;)

  • July 18, 2010, 9:30 p.m. CST

    My personal feeling?

    by Lobanhaki

    <br>Inception.</br> <br>The last part of the movie is a wonderful, almost excessively perfect tying up of all the action that had occured in the brilliant sequence before, and the unalloyed success of it all kind of felt impossibly happy as an ending.</br> <br>But the top? Oh, the top tells us that despite the happiness of the ending, it all could be an illusion The idea has been planted in our heads to walk out of the theatre with, that maybe that ultrasmooth success didn't happen quite so smoothly!</br> <br>Just as Cobb's basic faith in perceived reality is undermined, so is ours! That, to me, is just a perfectly brilliant way to end the film.</br>

  • July 18, 2010, 9:30 p.m. CST

    and by the way...

    by cptrios

    We have plenty of that trusty old plothole that plagues every "it was all a dream" story...we see many scenes WITHOUT Cobb in them. Yes, many of those (Arthur kissing Ariadne, for example) could be explained by saying that his team was in the dreams with him, and they obviously had to do things while he wasn't around. But if Fischer was just an actor (or a construct), why would he need to go into that safe and see his father? Why would he be sitting on the edge of the river with the lawyer (whose name I forget)? Why would he have that look on his face, on the plane, of "Hmm, maybe I shall dissolve the company" OUT of Cobb's view?

  • July 18, 2010, 9:33 p.m. CST


    by Massawyrm 1

    I think you missed the part where he deliberately trolled me to get my attention by asking me to stop giving handjobs to monkeys or somesuch. =D I took it as friendly trolling.

  • July 18, 2010, 9:44 p.m. CST

    My bad Wrym. My bad. I feel like a hairless paramecium

    by Dirk_The_Amoeba

    I didn't read up far enough. I will do a penance of letting a mustard seed get friendly with my pseudopod.

  • July 18, 2010, 9:46 p.m. CST

    What was really troubling me...

    by Lobanhaki

    <br>...was whether that was Cillian Murphy who played that architect at the very beginning (the one who gets dragged away by Saito's men)</br> <br>I'm happy to find out that it was Lukas Haas who played that guy, so that possibility is no longer a problem.</br>

  • July 18, 2010, 9:49 p.m. CST

    Oh, and Massawyrm?

    by Lobanhaki

    I believe that one cannot adequately perform a handjob without involving a monkey, so he asks the impossible of you.

  • July 18, 2010, 9:50 p.m. CST

    Anyone think Fay Wray had Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder

    by Dirk_The_Amoeba

    After she had her fling with Kong that is? I mean that Monkey could throw down! And once you go Gorilla (assuming there is something left of you to go after he went) you don't go back!

  • July 18, 2010, 9:50 p.m. CST

    More evidence it was a dream at the end

    by uridylylator

    aside from everyone staring at him: 1. The man holding a “Charles” sign at the airport. (It was the fake name Cobb used to get Fischer to go down one more level) 2. Ariadne who knows Cobb’s situation the best doesn’t have even a smirk or hint of emotion on her face. Reason- its a recreation by Cobb, basically the best memory/projection of her in his mind. 3. Eames’ shirt when they board the flight (notice when he is blocking Fischer while taking his coat off) is purple whereas its pure black near immigration. Again that’s his perception/projection. 4. Immigration scene - Cobb is a US Citizen, but US Citizens DON’T have their passports stamped when re-entering the country. Another clue from director Nolan?

  • July 18, 2010, 9:53 p.m. CST

    Food for thought

    by sanzaru

    This article covers the repeated "old man, filled with regret" dialogue and also points out an interesting link between Inception and Nolan's first film, Following:

  • July 18, 2010, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Chim Richalds

    by kuryakin

    The reason I bring up the Memento thing is that there is a brief flash to Lenny lying in bed with "I Did It" written on his chest. <p> Earlier in the film, he refers to a blank spot on his chest and says this is where he's going to put the tattoo when he kills 'John G' <p> The fact that we see this one flash for less than a seconf if I recall correctly undermines pretty much everything else in the movie - it implies he killed the bad guys a while ago but also that his wife didn't die in the attack at all and that Joe Pantoliano's assertion that the 'Sammy Jenkiss' story he tells is actually a story about him and how he killed his own wife with insulin etc <b> But of course he doesn't have the "I did it" tattoo on his chest anymore, it looks like it was written in magic marker in that flash - it opens up lots of questions: <p> If the wife didn't die why was he on his killing spree? To avenge the attack on her, or himself? Why was she so apparently cool with him going out and going all Punisher with tattoos and shit? When is this insulin story supposed to have happened? How did Pantoliano come in to it? Why wasn't the "I did it" tattooed? Is Lenny remembering something real, a memory created after he apparently stopped creating memories or is he just imagining what might be the case if Panoliano is right? and on an on... <p> That one little flash has no evidence to back it up but casts doubt on everything we've seen so far, there's no definitive way of interpreting the movie which is the whole point I guess

  • July 18, 2010, 9:57 p.m. CST

    uridylylator - thats not accurate about the passports

    by Dirk_The_Amoeba

    U.S. customs (and Homeland security) do stamp U.S citizens passports when re-entering. I just came back from a trip to the Urals - after being chased by a love starved moose (but that is another story) and my passport was stamped.

  • July 18, 2010, 9:58 p.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    let's cool it on this talk of handjobs and monkeys. but i will sit on my hand till it falls asleep, then give myself a stranger.

  • July 18, 2010, 9:58 p.m. CST

    Fuck this shit

    by PTSDPete

    Here's the real question : Who made the inception, Cobb or Mal ?

  • July 18, 2010, 10:01 p.m. CST

    by The_Monkey

    imo, the first inception was mal's. she convinced herself the dream was reality.

  • July 18, 2010, 10:03 p.m. CST

    You mean who conceived the inception? The conception?

    by Dirk_The_Amoeba


  • July 18, 2010, 10:04 p.m. CST

    Massa, you lost all credibility after PREDATORS, brother.

    by zillabeast

    I still enjoy your style though. Keep on truckin!

  • July 18, 2010, 10:08 p.m. CST


    by uridylylator

    <p>A Nolan film is never what it appears to be. There’s always a straightforward plotline, but buried within 5 layers of complexity is a completely diffently story he’s telling us. <p> <p>Like an unsolved Rubik’s cube, a person might twist it and turn it hoping that there might be an actual solution to the whole puzzle – and in a Nolan film, there always, ALWAYS, is a definite solution. The answer of “leaving it to your imagination” is the simple answer, and the Rubik’s equivalent of solving one side. Many can be happy with that accomplishment, enjoy the puzzle, put it down and never think about it again. <p> <p>But there are those of us who can’t let it go. We have to keep twisting and turning the problem in our mind. Because, no matter what, we have the agonizing belief that the entire thing can be explained… and in Inception’s case, there is most definitely a solution. Nolan is that clever, and not that cruel to leave us hanging infinitely. <p> <p>Nolan caters to the intellectual elite who can strip back the main story, dig past the brilliant cinematic misdirection and find out what is Nolan exactly trying to tell us? <p> <p>HERE’S THE ANSWER (after all of that premilinary buildup) – The spinning totem at the end is part of Nolan’s classic misdirection. The totem is the seed of doubt that Nolan plants in our mind, forcing us to wonder that “the movie we’re watching isn’t real.” <p> <p>The truth is that at the end Leo is still asleep, but just about to wake up. He has been asleep on the beach. When the totem stop’s he’ll be kicked into reality and back with his family. <p> <p>The only “real” moments in the film are in the first few seconds of footage. Leo is at the beach with his wife and kids, who are building a sand castle. Leo has fallen asleep too close to shoreline, and is briefly awakened by a wave crashing upon him. In his waking vision, he sees his children from behind, but is too sleepy to awake. He falls back asleep, and the wonderful, bewildering, funtastically complicated dream begins. <p> <p>His dream has one singular mission – return to your children. In the main plotline of the film, Nolan demonstrates how a small seed planted in a dream can have gigantic effects in shaping a life. The demonstration that he’s planted in this film and left us fellow geniuses to figure out is the opposite: how dramatic the effects of the real world can have on our dreams. <p> <p>It is the fleeting, sleepy glance of his children that forms the motive of the dream. It is the waves crashing upon him that provides much of the environment of the dream. Water being “washed over” is prevalent throughout the dream world: <p> <p>- Leo splashes into a bathtub and emerges, just like a wave of water at the beach. <p> <p>- The city on the first level of the dream is drenched in water. The van splashes into the river. <p> <p>- The bar on the second level of the dream suddenly erupts into storm. <p> <p>- The freezing cold nature of the himalayas… a place you might find yourself in a dream if you were wet and cold in real lifem leading to a wave of freezing water (avalanche). Immediately after the avalache, one of the characters cracks the joke “geez couldn’t he have dreamed he was at a beach?” Nolan’s brilliant sense of humor shines again! <p> <p>- Leo wakes on the fourth (and fifth) levels at the beach. <p> <p>Add to this that the very top floor in the elevator of his “dream prison” is a sunny day at the beach with his family. This is the highest level of the dream – the level that is closest to reality. <p> <p>In reality Leo was asleep at the beach with his family. Though he wanted to be with his children he also wanted to stay asleep – hence the struggle over reality and the dreamworld in his dream. Each wave crashing upon him drew him deeper into sleep, producing a stranger and stranger dream, with stanger and stranger representations of each wave in the dream. <p> <p>The really fun nature of the film is that the logic all makes sense in the dreams, because it’s “dream logic” that we’ve all experienced. But this logic can not work in the real world. <p> <p>For example, the “dream machine” that enables sharing of dreams itself is a piece of fantasy. The machine is deliberately simplistic – with simple wristbands and a big rubber button in the middle… something you might find in a dream – mighty in concept but not fully realized in the imagination. Even if such technology existed in the real world, your group would enter the first dream together, but within that dream the machine is not real so it could not then plunge your whole party into a second shared dream. The sedatives in the first dream are not real, so they couldn’t induce sleep strong enough to start the next dreams. However, this planning and logic seems rock solid in your dreams while they occur.

  • July 18, 2010, 10:10 p.m. CST

    have you seen it again monkey?

    by coldharbor

    i'm going tomorrow...with a notepad i think...old age has settled in

  • July 18, 2010, 10:13 p.m. CST

    Maybe he dreamt his kids at their current age?

    by Autodidact

    He's aware his kids are aging... maybe his subconscious is aging the impression of his kids. Maybe he has seen a picture within the last little while? I'm pretty sure they have the internet in the Inception universe. He's probably seen a recent photo of his kids (via his father-in-law).

  • July 18, 2010, 10:16 p.m. CST

    nope, coldharbor

    by The_Monkey

    after all this, probably wait till dvd. have fun.

  • July 18, 2010, 10:16 p.m. CST

    Zimmer drops a big fat clue

    by uridylylator

    <p>As composer Hans Zimmer says, "Out of the gate we’re telling story, and nobody realizes it until they see it a second time. What you hear over the logos is actually scoring the action that’s not on screen. You’re being told everything that’s going to happen." <p> <p>Only the first few seconds with Cobb face down in the surf are "real" - the rest is but a dream...

  • July 18, 2010, 10:17 p.m. CST

    nice uri, but where does

    by coldharbor

    the Cobol Prequel fit in?

  • July 18, 2010, 10:21 p.m. CST


    by uridylylator

    Nolan didn't write the prequel (unlike say Richard Kelly and the Southland Tales prequels).

  • July 18, 2010, 10:21 p.m. CST

    uri - Re: The Dream Machine

    by Dirk_The_Amoeba

    I took it that while within the dream the machine merely represented a 'touchstone' or icon of sorts that was required for the participants to 'know' they are going into a second dream state. No, it does not exist in the dream state, but it is a requirement in order manifest a second or third dream state.

  • July 18, 2010, 10:22 p.m. CST

    All projections from a single mind?

    by uridylylator

    <p>Burrowing further, when Saito is sitting in the helicopter offering Cobb to "take a leap of faith" and take on the Inception job, Cobb accepts. Now, flash back in time, Cobb’s wife is on the ledge and she’s about to jump. She asks Cobb to "take a leap of faith" with her, which he refuses. This use of the same language in a film as precise as this with a writer/director as precise as Christopher Nolan cannot be coincidental. There is a LOT of repetition throughout the movie in the way of shared dialogue or some characters repeating things. <p> <p>Note that in an interview with Tom Hardy (Eames), he says "I think Eames is Chris. To be honest, I think they all are Chris." All the characters are projections of Nolan's mind, so perhaps every character we see throughout the movie are Cobb's (aka Nolan's) own projections. In addition, it's been noted more than once the similarities in physical appearance between Dicaprio and Nolan. Dicaprio/Cobb is Nolan's stand-in/doppelganger.

  • July 18, 2010, 10:25 p.m. CST


    by uridylylator

    Fair enough intepretation. And yet Cobb "wakes up" on the plane without being hooked up to the machine... neither is Saito. It wasn't even there. And the flight attendants were moving around like nothing had happened.

  • July 18, 2010, 10:28 p.m. CST

    Sanzaru, that is an interesting thought

    by amrisharmpit

    That the actual "Inception" being performed is on the audience themselves. Nolan has this "meta" thing going where he structures his films like the characters in them. "Memento" plays backwards because it's about a guy with short-term memory loss, so Nolan wants us to be confused with him. "Batman Begins" was structured like Bruce Wayne. It starts with him adrift and without purpose (represented by the non-linear flashbacks at the beginning), and as he develops into Batman he gets disciplined. Therefore the narrative structure gets tighter and more focused. TDK was done like the Joker - sprawling, frenetic, anarchic. He was an omnipresent force and you never knew what he was capable of, so the sense of chaos on a grand scale was meant to be experienced by the viewer. If something didn't make sense (What happened to the party guests after Batman saved Rachel?), it wasn't supposed to. The tagline was the hint ("Welcome to a world without rules"). As a film about dreams, "Inception" would be a continuation of this trend.

  • July 18, 2010, 10:33 p.m. CST

    Uri - The plane issue

    by Dirk_The_Amoeba

    One of two things: Cobb is disoriented or startled (which can mean he is dreaming) or the flight attendants (who were in on the whole thing) simply cleaned up and removed all apparatus and then woke everyone up.

  • July 18, 2010, 10:33 p.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    i forgot about leo getting startled and dropping the top. where was that -- like right after the dream-factory floor? if it's right there, it's a good argument. I mean, i'll never buy it, but your mombasa agenda is picking up speed.

  • July 18, 2010, 10:35 p.m. CST


    by sanzaru

    Absolutely, a method to the madness. Don't forget Inception's tagline, either: "*YOUR* mind is the scene of the crime".

  • July 18, 2010, 10:38 p.m. CST

    plane thing

    by The_Monkey

    did the sedative go in one shot, then take all that time to wear off?

  • July 18, 2010, 10:51 p.m. CST


    by redkamel

    I like the theory, but I dont know if you have ever fallen asleep at the beach. When the water hits your face you WILL wake up. Unless hes in like 1:10^15 dream time or somtehing. Interesting premise though, simple enough to be possible. I will check it out next viewing.

  • July 18, 2010, 10:54 p.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    i like your line about fragments of dialogue being repeated. i've been hanging around here a few days to get one answer. old saito is seen first in the opener, which is a test to see if leo is capable. it kicks to the bathtub/green rug, then to the high-speed train. old saito is seen again near the end. the kick to the airplane may not be shown, but the scene can't be a repeat of the opener, because the opener leads to leo getting the job. so the question is: how is it that old saito uses the same dialogue both times, to the point that leo ends up repeating certain lines for him?

  • July 18, 2010, 11:08 p.m. CST

    Only Cobb's projections in all dreams.

    by hawks5999

    I unfortunately can't read all nearly 600 talkbacks but in the few hundred I did read nobody made the point that Mal, the train and the children who keep appearing could only be projections from Cobb and only the dreamer can project. Therefore, since Mal, the train and the children appear at every level then necessarily the entirety of the film takes place in Cobb's dream. This then leaves the only question of a) is anyone in the dream with Cobb or is he just dreaming and b) if others are in with him, what is the idea they are trying to incept?

  • July 18, 2010, 11:14 p.m. CST

    Stranger than fiction...

    by sanzaru

    With the exception of the rules of time disparity between dream levels, a good chunk of the dream techniques in Inception seem to be based on actual lab-tested approaches to lucid dreaming. Having skimmed through one of Stephen LaBerge's manuals on the topic a few weeks ago, I was struck at how much of the exposition in Inception seemed to be cribbed directly from it. (@coldharbor seems to be familiar with some of the same material- am I right on this?) Even that spooky dream device they used seems to have a real-world analogue: ever heard of the PowerNap™ NapMachine? ( m)

  • July 18, 2010, 11:21 p.m. CST

    I didn't get to Uri's explanation, obviously

    by hawks5999

    And it perfectly encapsulates everything. Uri, you have nailed it.

  • July 18, 2010, 11:29 p.m. CST

    Your questions answered

    by sanzaru

    Dileep Rao (Yusuf the Chemist) does a nifty deconstruction of the film here:

  • July 18, 2010, 11:32 p.m. CST

    Can't Remember... Did Anyone Read in a Dream?

    by Autodidact

    Were there any scenes of people reading? Didn't DiCaprio read some stuff in the "real world"? <p>And along with the last couple comments, wouldn't any appearance of DiCaprio's kids or Mol indicate it's his own dream? The architect just creates the space, right? Not the people? (I know he's not the architect in any of the dreams depicted in the movie... but he was an architect).

  • July 19, 2010, midnight CST

    I've just seen Inception

    by D o o d

    and I have to first say how I really enjoyed it.<p>As for the issue that Wyrm has with it is really a non issue. It's the way it should be. Is it THIS way or THAT way? Well that's really the question and each viewer must decide for themselves. Make up your own mind and come to your own conclusions.<p>I should make one more point. I watched it at the Pacific Theatre at The Grove and as I was watching the movie I noticed people leaving the theatre. Even the 4 people sitting next to me. Just goes to show that it's horses for courses!

  • July 19, 2010, 12:02 a.m. CST

    great find sanzaru...thank you

    by coldharbor

  • July 19, 2010, 12:20 a.m. CST


    by coldharbor

    i read a lot about lucid and pellucid dreaming in the 70's as i struggled with recurrent lucid dreaming for quite a while- it led me to read about dream-training and that helped me face down my own set of demons...this film resonates quite a bit with me obviously.

  • July 19, 2010, 1:32 a.m. CST

    I loved the ending.

    by Saracen1

    I thought it was the finishing touch on a true masterpiece.

  • July 19, 2010, 1:50 a.m. CST

    jesus christ, you are thinking waay too much.

    by Mponder486

    Theories are getting crazier and crazier. You are all talking like Nolan makes perfectly flawless films with no plot holes. You can't try to pick apart every scene, like his passport being stamped or if a line of dialogue gets repeated - that happens a lot in a lot of movies. I think the level with JGL's hallway scene would make it impossible for it to all be a dream AND impossible for it to be in Cobbs mind. The whole scene Leo is either off screen or strapped to the rest of the team. There is even the scene where everyone is staring at JGL and Page, then they have to kiss - this shows that it is in Page's dream, not Leo's. Just a thought I had. Not saying everybody is wrong, just something I noticed. Some of the theories and points are getting pretty insane though. Just remember, Nolan is capable of making a good film with some big plot holes - many great films do if you dissect every scene like this.

  • July 19, 2010, 1:58 a.m. CST

    proof they are in reality at some point

    by Mponder486

    The interview linked above with Dileep Rao says they are in reality, then his dream (van sequence), then JGL's (Hallway scene), then Fischer's (Shadow moses lol) then they go to Limbo. he does not explain further but I belive they are in Cobb's dream and Adriene is the architect - so very likely she built a world where he thinks he gets out to reality but does not. Hence Page saying "I think he will be fine". cause she knows what she has built. THAT SHOULD BE THE END OF SPECULATION in my book. The only thing left to question is if Leo ever wakes up. The interview settles alot of theories.

  • July 19, 2010, 2:03 a.m. CST

    correction about limbo

    by Mponder486

    Limbo is a shared dream space, so everybody there builds it and it is initially based on the persons mind who has been there before - this would be Cobb. I also had a thought that it would be very heart warming if Cobb goes to limbo, a place where you lose your mind and lose track of dreaming and reality, and he still remembers his children and his mission to get back to them. He fights through a place of being lost and manages to pull Saito out.

  • July 19, 2010, 2:05 a.m. CST

    My problem with "all is a dream" theory

    by onezeroone

    is that it throws everything up in the air. We're saying that it is all a dream based on the rules that were established in what we're calling a dream. If it is a dream, rules of the dream world [totem et al] can't be trusted coz they could just be creations of Cobb/Inceptor's mind. Take this theory further and we end up with a paradox not unlike the infinite staircase.

  • July 19, 2010, 2:59 a.m. CST

    101 - that's why it all being a dream makes sense

    by hawks5999

    Think about the plot holes in this thing: 1) Fischer and Saito have to die to get to Limbo but Cobb and Juno just dream down another level to get to Limbo - breaking the rules inside the dream 2) Cobb brings his projections into every level while no one else does 3) The hotel is in JGL's dream but it's Fischer's subconscious that is filling it - The van is the Chemist's dream but still Fischer's projections are filling it. That breaks the rules as defined. 4) The totem falls and then doesn't at the end in "reality" breaking that rule. 5) Cobb and Saito don't get kicked from the snow, the hotel or the van but wake up on the plan all normal. They shouldn't have made it back out by the rules we're given. There are more, I'm sure, but even these make perfect sense if reality and all the rules are really arbitrary constructs of an actual dream that Leo is having. And it fits with Nolan's motif of making you experience the movie like the character. Everything we were watching seemed "normal" - a world where you enter other's dreams through a briefcase apparatus - until you wake up and realize that there are a lot of things off. That's what pushes this movie over into genius.

  • July 19, 2010, 5 a.m. CST

    HAWKS5999 this answers all your questions

    by Mponder486 - using your link Sanzaru. This tells about each level and who is controlling it and explains in depth why the whole movie is NOT a dream. Straight from the mouth of the chemist.

  • July 19, 2010, 5:14 a.m. CST

    Old Saito...

    by Crimson King

    Ok, I'm sorry, but when I saw this movie, it seemed to me that at the end, when we Old Saito, it's a repeat of the beginning scene. I mean, they show us Leo waking up on the beach, then the guard checking him for weapons. It's a's meant to be the same scene, not a different scene. When it cuts from Old Saito to Young Saito, it's not a kick, it's a flashback.

  • July 19, 2010, 5:36 a.m. CST


    by Crimson King

    They never said you HAVE TO die in a dream in order to reach limbo. What they said was that when you're as heavily sedated as they are, dream death (which normally just wakes you up) sends you into limbo. This is because your mind is physichally/chemically unable to reach your normal state of consciousness. Therefore it has nowhere else to go but into the furthest recesses...which are accessible via the dream-within-a-dream situation. There might even be a way to just reach limbo directly, but I think it has to be a gradual, intentional process otherwise the mind gets fucked. And even when it was done intentionally, the results can be tragic, as is evidenced by Mal's situation.

  • July 19, 2010, 6:02 a.m. CST

    The Ending (SPOILERS)

    by Clavain

    I have been trying to puzzle out the point of showing the old man and Leo's character at the start and near the end actually. That piece really doesnt quite make sense to me and clearly it is meant as a reference point for a frame story. However, my real problem is this: There are subtle clues throughout the entire movie about how Leo's character is really the dreamer. For example: dropping his totem in the bathroom, the man then knows the weight of it and could copy it. The theory I *want* to be true is that Leo's character is in fact the target of Inception. This *entire* movie is a way his wife in Reality is forcing him to come to terms with his own idea and finally letting her go so that he can come out of the dream he's been stuck in for years and years. I fully expected a scene at the end where she comes out and explains and says that he now has to kill himself to come back to reality or... something... there are too many small hints of this possibility throughout the movie to discount it and the ending they came up with was just terribly contrived and ... well, boring and typical of Hollywood. Ah well.

  • July 19, 2010, 6:21 a.m. CST

    Massawyrm does it again

    by tensticks

    You succinctly and definitively consolidated your views on this film in a way that I can only envy, not least because your take absolutely echoes my own (and once again proved yourself the Anti-Beaks in every way--kudos and applause). While the spinning top didn't bother me as much as it did you, I too prefer to believe Theory #1 is correct. Having said that, what it art without criticism and interpretation? And whatever else it may be, and whatever its flaws, and Nolan's, he IS an artist, and it IS a work of cinematic art. So be it, and well done.

  • July 19, 2010, 6:59 a.m. CST

    what if the grow old in real life

    by tetse

    I've only seen it once...but was it Mal's voice as the grandma in the background when Cobb was talking to kids over the phone?

  • July 19, 2010, 6:59 a.m. CST

    Mal is grandma

    by tetse

    I've only seen it once...but was it Mal's voice as the grandma in the background when Cobb was talking to kids over the phone?

  • July 19, 2010, 7:10 a.m. CST

    The ending (spoilers)

    by craptacular

    I think the ending beautifully summarizes the existentialist implications of my definition of reality being tied to something as simple as a top. Its the whole point of inception, and it gnaws at me :)

  • July 19, 2010, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Anything can happen in Dreams

    by fastdriver97

    Just saw this movie and I feel that having the movie end the way it did only enhanced the entire experience. Like others said I felt like I was in a dream while watching this movie. The interpretations were actually pretty cool but that this article talked about but I feel the focus on the top spinning at the end may be a little overstated. I think this solely existed for a sequel. With many of the reasons listed int he article a sequel seems reasonable. Will Arthur journey into limbo to look for Dom or will Dom awake out of this lucid dream to find his wife still alive? This movie was great and for all the action it was done so in tune with the story. Nolan is a great writer and way to visualize his ideas are absolutely great. Unlike Leo's other psycho-analytical movie Stutter Island this had very few, if any, down or irrelevant parts. They all seem to fit together sometimes too neatly but this film was great from beginning to end including dialogue in between big action sets.

  • July 19, 2010, 8 a.m. CST

    Nolan's a magician, literally.

    by Jayemel

    The Pledge: Inception is going to be performed <p> The Turn: The characters perform inception. <p> The Prestige: The final shot reveals Nolan has performed inception. <p> This can be applied to The Dark Knight as well. <p> The Pledge: The Joker is going to make good become bad. <p> The Turn: The Joker makes Harvey Dent bad. <p> The Prestige: Batman has to run away because everyone believes he's bad. <p> Obviously this applies to The Prestige as well...and what amazes me about The Prestige and Inception is how Nolan talks about entertaining us while entertaining us. In that sense, he truly understands how to captivate an audience the way a magician does.

  • July 19, 2010, 8 a.m. CST

    i think the film was genius on all levels

    by thesmilingpsycho

    because of the fact that it creates layers upon layers on which the film could work and allows you to create your own take on the ending. it's like the film keeps living in your mind long after you've seen it. regardless of whether the top stops spinning or not, cobb was still reunited with his kids and moved on from his x wife. but what nolan does is question the audience on what we perceive to be reality. he does this in a non over the top, non cheesy way. it is masterful. only complaint i haev and will ever have about a nolan film is that some of the action scenes aren't clear enough and put some blood in your movies! if anything just to make them feel more real

  • July 19, 2010, 8:05 a.m. CST


    by thesmilingpsycho

    i agree. i've always felt the same way about nolan ever since the prestige. not to mention memento. he is a master of his craft. a magician. keeps you guessing at every turn and is always a few steps ahead of u but leaves you satisfied in the end. all loose ends are tied up and then some. he still leaves u in awe and not only brings the movie full circle but leaves questions for the audience. brilliant.

  • July 19, 2010, 8:53 a.m. CST

    Just seen it a 2nd time. Know I realize the siginificance

    by SID 8.0

    of the scene in Japan where he spins the top with a gun in his hand. He as ready to off himself it kept spinning.

  • July 19, 2010, 9:18 a.m. CST

    crimson king

    by The_Monkey

    you're right. thanks.

  • July 19, 2010, 9:40 a.m. CST


    by murren

    seriously, WHAT? Massawyrm you are a dumbass. that is all.

  • July 19, 2010, 10:17 a.m. CST

    Hmmmm...The NCFOM review all over again

    by Samuel Fulmer

    "No, I don't mean the film simply lacks a climax. It builds to one. Watch that fantastic trailer again. Feel the promise of that film? Do you see where it is headed? It's headed to a showdown. And man does it build up to it well. This is the story of what happens when a normal guy runs afoul of some very bad people over a big bag of money. And every single beat hits its mark. And then the moment arrives when the climax is about to go down…and we as an audience come in just moments afterwards. And for a few minutes everything seems fine. Until, that is, you realize that the Coen's have zero intention on telling you what happened. And what happened is MAJOR. Huge. It is everything the story was building up to. And what happens changes everything. What they don't show you is so vitally important that you begin to wonder if the projectionist somehow missed a reel. It is an experience akin to watching a really incredible sporting event, a real nail biter that comes down to the wire…only to have your television go out for two minutes. When it finally comes back on you hear the announcer shout "OH MY GOD! Who would believe that? That is an incredible moment of sports history right there and I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it with my own eyes!" And that announcer is more than happy to tell you who won, but never explains exactly how it happened. That's the ending of No Country for Old Men. And it is entirely intentional."

  • July 19, 2010, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Spoilers - Please answer these questions.

    by Integra

    1. Why is it that Mal and Cobb aged 50 years yet when they put their heads on the train track they are young? 2. If Cobb knows all you need to do is kill yourself in Limbo to wake up, why didnt he tell that to his team immediately, especially Caito, for whom Cobb would have every motivation to ensure he woke up? 3. Why does dieing in a heavily sedated dream send you to limbo, but dieing in limbo wake you up? huh? 4. Why does cillian murphy's character end up in an elaborate construction of COBB's limbo when he goes to Limbo? Wouldnt it be his own? 5. How did Mal and Cobb get into Limbo? By dying in a heavily sedated dream state? If that is such, why didnt they need an elaborate series of preplanned kicks as Cobb's team did? If the answer is Limbo is untethered to prior dream states, then this makes the entire point of the last hour of the movie (the construction of successive kicks), completely pointless. All the would have needed to do was kill themselves twice. They were all lucid throughout all dream states, including Limbo. 6. Why cant a top fall over in a dream? (this one is forgiveable as simply a plot device/rule designed by the filmmaker, and can be accepted for what it is, but honestly the others are too problematic).

  • July 19, 2010, 10:51 a.m. CST

    ending (spoiler)

    by Deathsticks

    Would have liked to see the top fall over too. For me, it made the ending clever, rather than poetic. The Bond-style action left me a little cold too. It will be overrated, but I thought it was a tremendous movie nonetheless.

  • July 19, 2010, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Invisible Cities

    by sanzaru

    The frame story between the old Saito and young Cobb reminds me a great deal of the one in Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities. With this in mind, Saito becomes Genghis Khan, and Cobb is Marco Polo... [wiki link]

  • July 19, 2010, 11 a.m. CST


    by sanzaru

    KUBLAI Khan. Maybe uri's right, and Cobb was building mental sandcastles all the way through...

  • July 19, 2010, 11:41 a.m. CST

    While I don't think he was totally justified in having zero

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    fantasy in this movie (because let's be real, part of the fun of dreams is the crazy stuff that can go on), it makes sense that he wouldn't, at least during the heists, because they needed it to be as real as possible so that there is almost no way for the mark to question it at all.

  • July 19, 2010, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Lucid dreaming is awesome.

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    The movie made me want to try to pick it back up again. In my first lucid dream I found myself in my elementary school auditorium, but it didn't look like it at all. When I realized it was a dream, I ran outside and jumped to try to fly (I had never flown before in dreams to the best of my knowledge before that point), only to get about 20 feet up before heading back down, landing, and actually feeling pain. <p> I eventually got so advanced that I was able to fly easily; create and destroy buildings in cities; snap and something would appear and disappear a la Q; conjure hot girls; make velociraptors and Alien Xenomorphs that were seconds from eating/killing me disappear, you name it. <p> Eventually during a lucid dream (and this was BEFORE I'd even heard of Inception mind you), my subconscious denizens started fighting back - even going so far as saying to my face "you aren't allowed to do this" "you can't do this" and stuff like that. I haven't been able to do it since. </p> <p> Inception makes me want to try again. </p>

  • July 19, 2010, 12:45 p.m. CST


    by redkamel

    1. You only see them aged for a moment, so it is unknown if they actually aged in the dream, or if was metaphorical. Perhap you do not age in the dream at all. Since most of the shots of his dream time with Mal were in his current age, I assumed that one glimpse was a metaphor, so that explains why they were young on the tracks. Its also possible you can reverse your age in a dream to what it was when you entered. Only Cobb and Saito would know because no one has spent 50 years straight in one dream. This is supported by Cobb looking much younger than Saito when he found him.<p> 2 and 3. Cobb and team were in a heavily sedated dream. This was needed to go to the third dream level. But the sedation at that level is so deep, death may not wake you up in reality or one dream lower, but in limbo (your own subconcious?). The reason for this is only given as overly deep sedation...sedative drugs can affect brain function, so I accept this. Now, if you died in deep sedation in the 2nd-3rd level, you would be stuck in limbo until the drugs wore off...months-years because of the time effect, and thus go insane. Once the other dream level are ended, I assume limbo becomes level one and you can die to leave it. The problem is, it might be too long in limbo until the other levels which point you may have gone insane, and won't remember to kill yourself or even remember/differentiate reality. <p> 4 and 5. Cilian goes into an construction of Cobbs mind, not Cobbs limbo. Cilian is taken there by Mal. So Cobb had to go where he knew Mal would the dream world they had shared. Cobb is essentially the architecht for that dream world. The only person who goes to limbo is Saito.<p>6. The top does not fall over because all dream constructs in the mind reflect knowledge. Hence the totem. In Cobbs case, only he knew how the top is supposed to spin and what it feels like. So if someone else was constructing the dreamworld, they would not know what the top was supposed to do..unless they had handled it prior. This is a given in the movie. It doesnt make too much sense because if the mark can populate the dream world, he would populate it with his totem too, but oh well. <p>6. The top does not fall over because all dream constructs in the mind reflect knowledge. Hence the totem. In Cobbs case, only he knew how the top is supposed to spin and what it feels like. So if someone else was constructing the dreamworld, they would not know what the top was supposed to do..unless they had handled it prior. This is a given in the movie. It doesnt make too much sense because if the mark can populate the dream world, he would populate it with his totem too, but oh well.

  • July 19, 2010, 12:46 p.m. CST


    by redkamel

    1. You only see them aged for a moment, so it is unknown if they actually aged in the dream, or if was metaphorical. Perhap you do not age in the dream at all. Since most of the shots of his dream time with Mal were in his current age, I assumed that one glimpse was a metaphor, so that explains why they were young on the tracks. Its also possible you can reverse your age in a dream to what it was when you entered. Only Cobb and Saito would know because no one has spent 50 years straight in one dream. This is supported by Cobb looking much younger than Saito when he found him.<p> 2 and 3. Cobb and team were in a heavily sedated dream. This was needed to go to the third dream level. But the sedation at that level is so deep, death may not wake you up in reality or one dream lower, but in limbo (your own subconcious?). The reason for this is only given as overly deep sedation...sedative drugs can affect brain function, so I accept this. Now, if you died in deep sedation in the 2nd-3rd level, you would be stuck in limbo until the drugs wore off...months-years because of the time effect, and thus go insane. Once the other dream level are ended, I assume limbo becomes level one and you can die to leave it. The problem is, it might be too long in limbo until the other levels which point you may have gone insane, and won't remember to kill yourself or even remember/differentiate reality. <p> 4 and 5. Cilian goes into an construction of Cobbs mind, not Cobbs limbo. Cilian is taken there by Mal. So Cobb had to go where he knew Mal would the dream world they had shared. Cobb is essentially the architecht for that dream world. The only person who goes to limbo is Saito.<p>6. The top does not fall over because all dream constructs in the mind reflect knowledge. Hence the totem. In Cobbs case, only he knew how the top is supposed to spin and what it feels like. So if someone else was constructing the dreamworld, they would not know what the top was supposed to do..unless they had handled it prior. This is a given in the movie. It doesnt make too much sense because if the mark can populate the dream world, he would populate it with his totem too, but oh well. <p>I had two points myself: 1. Saito is obviously versed in dream sharing, since he recognizes the rug is different and he is a dream...but his mind is not militarized as you would expect a corporate guys to be. Interesting. 2. If Saito dies and goes into limbo, how is Cobb able to follow him there? I am going to watch the movie again to see if it is explained.

  • July 19, 2010, 2:17 p.m. CST


    by Integra

    1. It was stated that they spent the equivalent of decades in the dream. Their elderly hands were shown. Why show that and then show them as young when placing their heads down. Its sloppy and only raises questions that add nothing to the story or internal consistency. 2. You assume limbo becomes level one? THats a big assumption, in no way supported by anything in the movie. This also doesnt explain anything about how Cobb and Mal got into limbo, and if your hypothesis is correct, given the amount of years they spent in limbo, their bodies would certainly have died. Cillian was killed before there was a construction of Cobbs mind to go into. He was shot and killed outside the vault door. He wasnt asleep. He had been killed in the third dream state. What personal knowledge does Cobb possess by holding a top in his hand that any other human on the planet does not also possess (IE Tops fall over after slowing down). Are you saying that if you spin a top unheld by other humans its a mystery to them as to what will occur? As you hinted theres no reason why a Totem would work at all. It was stated that the level of detail and normalacy isnt important when designing the dream worlds. That only after awaking does one think, "hmm that was odd and a dream". Why then would this NOT apply to the dreamers analysis of his/her totem within the dream state? It would be completely unreliable.

  • July 19, 2010, 3:16 p.m. CST


    by TheTop


  • July 19, 2010, 3:40 p.m. CST

    I didn't know the whole movie was about a top.

    by RPLocke


  • July 19, 2010, 4:35 p.m. CST

    by sanzaru

    <br> LOL

  • July 19, 2010, 4:36 p.m. CST

    The Spinning Top

    by sanzaru

    Two monks were arguing about a top spinning on the table. One said, "The top will fall." The other said, "The top will keep spinning." They argued back and forth but could not agree. <br> The Hidden Commenter said, "Gentlemen! It is not the top that falls; it is not the top that remains spinning; it is only your mind that falls or spins." The two monks were struck with awe. <br> * * *INCEPTION* * *

  • July 19, 2010, 5:49 p.m. CST

    I like the ending

    by zooch

    Thought it was clever. Why should it end perfectly? That's too predictable if you ask me.

  • July 19, 2010, 6:03 p.m. CST

    INCEPTION does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Non-spoiler mini review by The Dojo.<p> Home from seeing INCEPTION and in the monk-drawn carriage on the way back to the Dojo my good lady and I were discussing the movie. There were only two or three points that neither of us could satisfactorily explain and for a film as brain bending as this that's pretty damn good going.<p> In short, it's a fantastic film. A grown up action movie with powerful emotions to boot. Looking for a comparison maybe THE MATRIX crossed with SOLARIS... I also thought a little of AI while watching this.<p> All the actors really knock this one out of the park. Even DiCaprio (who I personally dont tend to like much) totally won me over by the end of the film. Cillian Murphy also played his important part to perfection and his big *moment* brought a tear to my eye. <p> Great film - although very much a Nolan movie (so if you don't like his style then you might resist the mindfuck ride this film offers) but for me i'm already looking forward to seeing it again when it comes out on Blu. <p> 5 stars out of 5 from The Dojo.

  • July 19, 2010, 7:13 p.m. CST

    Totem Piss

    by A_Clockwork_Irony

    First viewing I took a piss and missed the whole totem falling issue. (Yes, I am lame.) Lol, So I thought the end was just a poignant moment about "life/dreams goes/go on Indy!" So, in my head it was reality at the end and in some weird way, because of my first "inception" (see what I did there) it shall always be. Anywho! Bring the wine! (Fun debate though, so we all win, except for the losers.)

  • July 20, 2010, 12:22 a.m. CST

    I think it's more that he's gotten over caring about reality

    by drcox

    I mean, he could look back to be sure, but he doesn't. Why? He stopped placing his faith in the totem, the item he once relied on to decipher reality. That scene where he tells the projection she's too perfect was his breakthrough. He can judge for himself, spinning the top was his last bit of insecurity, but once he saw his kids and held them it must have felt real hence his not looking back at the top.

  • July 20, 2010, 8:21 a.m. CST

    Agreed on your point, drcox

    by A_Clockwork_Irony

    Also, since the whole movie is about dreams and "un"reality, the whole "everything turns out to be a dream" cop-out doesn't really matter. Because "reality" is dependent upon the individual. In other words, if you are stuck in a dream, that is your reality. It's not like the cheat where you think the whole movie you are seeing the real world. The whole movie is about dreams - so yes, the majority (or all?)of the movie IS a "dream". Though, I do admit, I really like the idea of Cobb having won and is back to our reality. I get that feeling of triumph. But, yeah, in the end, let's say Cobb has two choices, a vegetable in the "real" world, or happy in a dream, in which case he is triumphant. (Not saying he would be in a coma and that it's not real at the end. But good for Nolan for giving us something to talk about.)

  • July 20, 2010, 2:01 p.m. CST

    The Top

    by JayCMiller

    We never find out where Cobb got his wife's Totem from, we only see him take it from the dream world. The fact that the other characters are given no depth only confirms the fact that it was all just a dream

  • July 20, 2010, 3:33 p.m. CST

    The top is a MacGuffin

    by djjeffhall

    I really think the final shot of the film is a giant MacGuffin. The film makes it very clear which scenes are real and which aren't. I never had any question that Cobb finally achieved his goal. By cutting away from the top and out the door along with Cobb Mr. Nolan makes the point that the top doesn't matter, only the story of Cobb matters.

  • July 20, 2010, 7:17 p.m. CST

    There's more 'reality' than some think

    by coldharbor

    watch it a straight thriller...the devil is in the (dream)-details. Nolan's not trying to trick our perceptions as much as have us examine why we perceive what we do. One (of the many) themes I fixated on was that of how when there is true love one can feel guilt over squandering or destroying and subsequently this can infiltrate completely ones existence. Another theme I enjoyed is how there may exist redemption with a little help from some friends (or at least sympathetic observers (ariadne and saito). And last, that there is hope through action - cobb continually propels himself forward/downward because ultimately he is a survivor - despite his great grief and guilt over what he believed was healthy and sane. One is responsible only to oneself ultimately.

  • July 20, 2010, 7:25 p.m. CST

    For a nationally 'ranked' reviewer to

    by coldharbor

    give this film short shrift is telling of that reviewers insight.

  • July 20, 2010, 7:30 p.m. CST

    I'd like to think if there is a garage

    by coldharbor

    where Nolan parks his car(s), there's space for me to wedge in my beater - sorry for the True Romance allusion.

  • July 20, 2010, 10:10 p.m. CST

    sorry but all the plot holes aren't intentional

    by Rupee88

    to make the whole thing just seem to be a dream...some of you guys are so desperate that it is pathetic.

  • July 20, 2010, 10:43 p.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    you may have found the piece that solved the movie. i figure mal had the top in the real-world, and imagined it in the dreams. if we accept the top as falling over when in the real world, that means leo had to get the top from her in the real world, before or after the hotel room jump. that means he got back there after their limbo, and the whole thing wasn't a dream.

  • July 20, 2010, 10:50 p.m. CST


    by The_Monkey

    i agree. no writer has perfect control over the material. bits are bound to be messed up. half the confusion here is probably due to details the guy didn't get right.

  • then how come Fischer did not recognize Saito during the snowy mountain fortress level?

  • then how come Fischer did not recognize Saito during the snowy mountain fortress level?

  • July 22, 2010, 6:25 a.m. CST

    Marion Cotillard is catwoman

    by broken ear

  • July 22, 2010, 9:07 a.m. CST

    MASSA, you misunderstand the purpose of the TOTEM

    by Stabby

    The reason you can't let anyone else touch your totem is because only YOU SHOULD KNOW THE WEIGHT AND FEEL OF THE TOTEM so that no one else can create a false version of your totem and therefore render it useless as a device to remind you whether you are in reality or a dream.

  • July 22, 2010, 1:27 p.m. CST

    By trying to overthink, he underthinks

    by AsimovLives

    Massa still hasn't learned the lesson that he is not as smart as he thinks he is. One day, he will. But not yet.<br><br>What Massa never though about the possibility ofered by the movie is one that is in the title itself: INCEPTION. That the whole movie could be an inception. The whole movie a planting of an idea. Which idea? Well, the idea is in the ending. Try to figure out what it could be. The movie does offer clues to it. The whole movie itself is a clue.

  • July 22, 2010, 1:28 p.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    Because both might not be real?

  • July 23, 2010, 11:46 a.m. CST

    No one watched to the end of the credits?

    by TheAllSeeingEye

    I have been told by a friend who works at the cinema that after the credits stop rolling it cuts back to the totem spinning on the table and it falls. So it's real.

  • July 24, 2010, 12:32 a.m. CST

    No I didn't stay for the credits.

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer


  • July 24, 2010, 1:20 a.m. CST

    A beautiful failure

    by Amfpsych

    I just don't get the love for this movie. I didn't care enough about the characters to feel any real stake in the story.

  • July 24, 2010, 1:09 p.m. CST

    I just saw it as closure

    by Dromosus

    What matters about the final shot is not whether the top falls or not, but the fact that the protagonist has turned his back on it and does not care whether it lands or not, he has let go of the past and he has chosen his reality. Remember, it is not his totem, but his wife's, it was never a totem of his attachment to reality, it was a totem of his attachment to his wife and the guilt of what he did.

  • July 24, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Ho Hum

    by 2LeggedFreak

    Neat idea but like many others I found the characters to be less than engaging<P> <P> This presents a problem when , in the latter half of the film two of the characters are engaged in James Bondian fights on their dream levels and you really could not give a fuck about what happens.<P> <P> One to think about in the was it real or wasn't it stakes was the bit where De Caprio gets stuck in a thin alley when being chased...surely thats full on dream territory there.<P> <P> Quite clever but an average movie at best for me...Lord knows where all the hype has come from...but then Superman Returns got good reviews as well. I blame some kind of illuminati conspiracy.

  • July 25, 2010, 3:48 a.m. CST

    But why

    by 2LeggedFreak

    Didn't they run into Jean Luc and James T whilst they were in there ?<P> <P> Possibly one of the most important questiosn since "What did Simba eat?"

  • July 25, 2010, 4:02 a.m. CST

    Call yourself Film Geeks?

    by screenweekender

    Not one of you has referenced ExistenZ yet. The top doesn't fall, cotillard was right to jump, and Leo is still in a dream.

  • July 25, 2010, 5:07 a.m. CST

    It's like Scrodingers cat

    by Dromosus

    It's in two states 1) The top falls, which actually makes perfect sense to anyone with a rudimentary feel for character development. 2) It stays spinning, giving a cheap boner to an army of geeks and armchair philosophers who still think "And it was all a dream..." is a good ending.

  • July 25, 2010, 5:29 a.m. CST

    Idea planted - INCEPTION

    by aimhigh

    Massa , good review although I have to disagree on what you thinks is a "flaw" in this movie. For me is the opposite, Nolan is a genious and this ending . Think about it , for inception of an idea we needs to go through different layers of dreaming, deeper and deeper ; well, Nolan is done that with millions of minds ; he took us through a ride between reality and dreaming and at the end the idea has been palnted in many minds " reality does not exist is just a state of mind" , brilliant ! Inception successful.

  • July 25, 2010, 5:32 a.m. CST


    by 2LeggedFreak

    I interpreted the wind mill thing as something that Fischer and his father had made together when he was younger. It was a memory of something good that reminded him that his father did love him. Its quite truthful that. I always remember my dad as a bit of a miserable old git but then there are times when I have sudden flashbacks to something brilliant we did together when I was a child. Usually its when I am doing something with my kids and feeling quite smug and good parenty-- then I remember my miserable old sod of a dad doing exactly the same things.

  • July 26, 2010, 10:39 a.m. CST

    i liked the dreamin moobie

    by deadyounglings

    gosh massawyrm, it must be really hard being so smart. personally, i brought a national inquirer into the movie with me, so i could jerk off to lindsay lohan's mugshot during the parts that didn't have explosions.

  • July 26, 2010, 10:39 a.m. CST

    i liked the dreamin moobie

    by deadyounglings

    gosh massawyrm, it must be really hard being so smart. personally, i brought a national inquirer into the movie with me, so i could jerk off to lindsay lohan's mugshot during the parts that didn't have explosions.

  • July 26, 2010, 1:32 p.m. CST

    It's the third option

    by inceptionlies

    Cobb definitely got stuck in Limbo after going through those series of other dreams. How can you tell? Throughout the movie he uses the top and each time it falls. At the very end, yes it may very well be a mystery. But you had to pay attention to his children- that's the real clue. They were wearing the same clothes and in the same position and the same age as when he'd supposedly left the house, which demonstrates that they were all fabricated from his memories. He went to search for Saito and got stuck in Limbo, where he was finally able to create something- a new reality where his memories that he'd been wanting to change finally did just that- he came back to his children and called to them and they looked back at him. That's all he ever wanted, and he got stuck down there because his mind gave him that satisfaction.

  • July 26, 2010, 2:22 p.m. CST

    The "Top" and the "Rules"

    by GoFuckYourself

    What struck me OTHER than the top (as soon as he said it was his wife's, I told my wife "I bet he is in the sleep world dreaming it all up"), is that Arther and Ariadne had an exchange something to the effect of "He is breaking his rules." "Yeah, he seems to do a lot of that." makes me think that the senario where the "characters" ARE only there to help Cobb's dreams could be true. But either way, this has definately been put into my top 10 favorite movies of all time and cemented Nolan as one of the best directors alive today.

  • July 26, 2010, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Yeah but he liked Taken, so what does that say?

    by coconutgroves

    Another shitty review. The top was a middle finger to the audience? Really? Maybe for his next movie he'll just put out in big words at the end exactly how it ended just for people like you. Go buy some coloring books, you'll enjoy those. Fucking brilliant movie; the top at the end is what will put it down in history. A pretty gift wrapped ending would have just been bland.

  • July 26, 2010, 5:38 p.m. CST

    I think you're wrong Massawyrm

    by misnomer

    Inception had the perfect ending. Our own dreams don't have endings, they can only be interpreted. Like our own dreams, Inception has it's own internal logic. When you wake up/leave the cinema, the dream/movie logic doesn't have to stand up to real-world scrutiny. Case in point, if Nolan chose to, he could have sold the sci-fi more credibly than a machine fitting in a suitcase. It doesn't have to be believable. Like our own dreams, it's got it's own logic. It's the bigger picture, these kinds of parallels that makes this film transcend most.

  • July 26, 2010, 9:28 p.m. CST

    TSK TSK Massawyrm... you didn't pay attention

    by MurderMostFowl

    WARNING SPOILERS...<BR>.<BR>.<BR>.<BR>.<BR>.<BR>.<BR> The top was HER totem. <BR><BR> His was his kids faces. The movie never mentions this directly. He is so wrapped up in what he did to her ( his own private limbo figurately and literally ) that he forgets he is using her totem. He touched it, he corrupted it and it took him further from his own reality. <BR><BR> I knew in his heart that his totem was his kids faces... that is why he doesn't even bother waiting to see if the top will fall... when he sees his kids he immediately is drawn to them with his whole mind and soul... he knows this is reality and not a hollow memory ( like his monolog at the near end the realization of his wife ) <BR>

  • July 26, 2010, 9:30 p.m. CST

    sizuka, the father is the enemy

    by MurderMostFowl

    Fisher doesn't know Saito, his father does.

  • July 26, 2010, 9:53 p.m. CST


    by MurderMostFowl

    That was not a totem... that was the manifestation of the suggestion given to them earlier. The dream master guy from one layer up ( the hotel ) commented that he took the photo with him or something lik that... that Fisher did I mean. That the phot meant something dear to Fisher and so we find out in the end that indeed that the actual pinwheel is extremely important to Fisher... remember in the "snow world" layer, they are jumping into Fisher's unconscious... he is incontrol of what is behind that safe. It is what he WANTS to be in that safe... he wants Dad to love him. The actual inception is very minor and is indeed the IDEA that his father secretly wants him to be his own man and split up the company. Deeper down into the Snow world layer, inside his own subconscious, we find that Fisher wants his father to love him, and mixes that in with the false "option", so he is glad to do it in his own mind when he comes out of it all. <BR><BR>make sense?

  • July 26, 2010, 10:01 p.m. CST

    to reiterate the top again...

    by MurderMostFowl

    To me the ending works at another level too.... <BR><BR>We as an audience don't NEED to SEE the top fall. We know that it does ( and we get to hear the precession and cavitating just as a audible insight ) <BR>Nolan wants us to be involved so much that we believe that it will. Our faith should follow Leo's as his true totem is revealed ( the kids )<BR>and WE can tell the difference between reality and dream worlds.

  • July 27, 2010, 1:26 p.m. CST

    Nolan's Frankenstein

    by 8bit_datassette

    After repeated viewings of the film, I can honestly say that what we have here is a jumbled mess of ideas disguised as a masterpiece. The spinning top at the end of the film is Nolan covering his ass knowing full well that all of the rules and logic he created in his world cannot be consistant if certain dialogue or events are to unfold. If Saito and Fischer are shot, wouldn't they wake up in either reality or the dream state above the one they died in? Why would they slip into limbo when others that are killed (remember when they were in Saito's dream at the beginning) just wake up? The Van Crashes into the water causing "The kick" needed to escape the dream. Why are Fischer and Eames sitting by the shore? To deliver Fischer's dialogue perhaps? If the van falling off the bridge into the water didn't pack enough "kick", then what did? I really liked this film, until I realized that Nolan is tricking his audience in a way, to make us think that this is a smart film. It isn't. It's just an overwritten draft.

  • July 29, 2010, 3:36 a.m. CST

    liking this theory

    by sizuka

  • July 29, 2010, 4:20 a.m. CST

    @Massawyrm - Of course it falls. That wasn't the point.

    by V'Shael

    The point of the scene was that Cobb doesn't stay to watch it fall. He is happy, and doesn't care if it is reality or not. And maybe we shouldn't either. But yes, it was clearly going to fall.

  • July 29, 2010, 4:22 a.m. CST

    @MurderMostFowl - Excellent posts.

    by V'Shael

    You've not just nailed it, but very clearly expressed it. Nice.

  • July 30, 2010, 5:43 a.m. CST

    a completely different question...

    by brightgeist

    i don't know if this has been discussed before since this talkback is gigantic, but here's my question: so their plan is to plant ideas into Fischer's mind on the 3 levels, which i think was an absolutely great and beautiful story idea... on level 1, Eames took the shape of Browning (Fischer's godfather) and planted the first seeds of the idea into him... but then the strange stuff begins... on level 2, the next part of the idea is planted, again by Browning, but this time it's NOT Eames (he's in the room at the same time!) but it's Fischer's projection of Browning who tells him what he needs to hear! and then on level 3, the same thing happens again... Fischer's father gives him the third part of the inception, and again it's NOT Eames (who's right outside the door at the time) but Fischer's projection of his father! now if it's their big plan to plant those 3 seeds of the idea into Fischer's mind, then why do 2 of the 3 seeds get planted by Fischer's own mind???

  • July 30, 2010, 6:43 a.m. CST

    @Brightgeist - That's explained in the movie.

    by V'Shael

    They make a point during the planning, of saying that the idea has to look like it's coming from himself.<br /><br />So yeah, level 1 is Fischers dream. And in his dream Eames (as Browning) presents the idea.<br /><br />The thing is though, level 2 presents itself to Fischer as if Level 1 was reality, and Level 2 is the dream. So the Browning of Level 2 is a Fischer projection, and as the crew says, the actions of Fischers projection of Browning, will be a good indication of what Fischer actually expects of Browning.<br /><br />So the Level 2 Browning acts as if the Level 1 idea is also his. Because Fischer thinks that idea IS Brownings. (He still thinks Level 1 is the reality at this point.)<br /><br />The really subtle bit comes next. They tell Fischer they want him to go into Level 2 Brownings dream. Since Fischer thinks Browning is real, he agrees. But Browning is still a projection, so Fischer is actually breaking into his own mind.<br /><br />When he sees the Father (his own projection) he thinks that it's coming from Browning's dreams/memories. And thus, genuine.<br /><br />But when he wakes up, and of course Browning isn't on the plane or anything, he knows that Browning couldn't have been in his head, and so he thinks the idea is his own.

  • July 30, 2010, 7:21 a.m. CST

    @ V'Shael

    by brightgeist

    thanks for that, but it still doesn't answer to me how the actual INFORMATION of the idea ever got into Fischer's mind. i mean specifically the part about his father feeling disappointed about Fischer trying to be him (his father). did Fischer make that up himself? if so, isn't it quite a coincidence that he made up exactly what they wanted him to make up?

  • July 30, 2010, 7:27 a.m. CST

    i forgot to add...

    by brightgeist

    level 2 Browning and level 3 Fischer Senior give Fischer Jr. information that sparks the idea. but since they are both projections, that would mean that those bits of information came from Fischer Jr. himself.

  • July 30, 2010, 7:40 a.m. CST


    by V'Shael

    As you said "that would mean that those bits of information came from Fischer Jr. himself."<br /><br />Yes, except that the initial plant came from Eames as Browning in Level 1. That the will would supersede the old one, that it would allow him to be his own man.<br /><br />"specifically the part about his father feeling disappointed about Fischer trying to be him (his father)."<br />"did Fischer make that up himself?"<br /><br />The only thing we knew for certain was that the father said "disappointed". Fischer says that was the only thing he could make out.<br /><br />But Eames (as Browning, on Level 1, which Fischer later believes is the "reality", remember) tells him that the old man actually wanted him to be his own man, make it himself. That puts a completely new spin on the word "disappointed". <br /><br />I could be wrong, but I think the source of your confusion is that you seem to be forgetting that Fischer on Level 2 thinks Level 1 is reality, and Eames/Browning was real. Fischer in Level 3, thinks he's in the real Brownings head.<br /><br />Just as the crew said that Fischers projection of Browning on Level 2 would act as he expects Browning to act, Fischers projection of his father on Level 3, acts how he expects BROWNINGS projection of his father would act.

  • July 30, 2010, 8:04 a.m. CST

    @ V'Shael

    by brightgeist

    no, i think the source of my confusion isn't what you think it is :) really the only problem i have is that below level 1, everything about the inception comes from Fischer himself... Fischer basically keeps "reprogramming" his own mind, based ONLY on the short conversation between him and Eames/Browning on level 1... so all the team really does below level 1 is run along with and protect Fischer, all the real important "incepting" Fischer does to himself... i mean, sure, i accept that that's just the way things happen in the story, but it seems like a big coincidence and i wish the team had played a more active role in the inception on level 2 and 3, not just accompanying and protecting Fischer

  • July 30, 2010, 8:23 a.m. CST

    The point is that COBB DOESN'T CARE if it falls

    by zacUpquark

    Earlier in the film, he'd sat with a gun to his head waiting for that top to fall. At the end, he spins it and WALKS AWAY because he has settled for a reality that makes him happy, REGARDLESS. I fretted over whether it fell for a time as well, and must admit someone else pointed this aspect out to me, and now the film is FINAL and GREAT.

  • July 30, 2010, 6:54 p.m. CST

    it's about catharsis, massawyrm...

    by calixtus

    I think you point and criticism is legitimate, I discussed the very same thing for hours with my friends. Why did we not see the top fall? Why did he make us question the whole film again at the end? well I think I found something... as even the old greeks new, catharsis is the reason why stories are told in a dramatic way. Purpose is to make the viewer/listener go through emotional stages in which he feels the same as the lead character, in order to seek redemption, on a journey with the main character. that was greek drama. well now on this film, the main force to tell the story emotionally is his wife. we see the depth of the story, all the problems she brought upon him, in a very powerfull way. it goes very deep. whenever he lets her go, those emotional scares shall be sealed. so SHOULD the viewer at the end, whenever he is told to rethink the story again, be satisfield enough, so that he knows, it doesnt really matter. I am pretty sure the ending has unintentionally puzzled a lot of people, because they didnt fully go through this catharsis nolan intended. This might be because of the lack of dramatizing her death, in way we clearly understand that everything lead up to this point. Lots of stuff is going on at the same time, that it might not have gotten the weight it should have. overcoming death. cobbs does prevail, but only because he is willing to give up the life he had with his wife. living in eternality seen from two different perspectives. Now why is the movie still perfect for some, and not for others, because they got stuck at the same spot as you did? it has to do with the fact as how much you can relate with the fourth and deepest layer of the dream. and that's not a layer where you get with your brain, it's only the heart that will make you understand the scale of impact, experiences on this layer has on your life, your personality, everything you are. If you get to your own deepest layer while watching the film, means you are aware of it,and know how it works, which I think was portrayed brilliantly, catharsis is found, the film is perfect. If you dont get to this layer, your head will start spinning, every idea how the film could have turned out hunts another. It's like a virus, you cant kill an idea, once started it never stops. And you will always get back to that very last frame, never satisfied. To fully understand this film, (comparison: to fully understand life, or even living at all) you need to use your heart. That's what this film is about.

  • July 30, 2010, 7:31 p.m. CST

    while accepting death, you can life the life you want

    by calixtus

    that's the final scene. earlier while he accepts the death of his wife, and everything they build together, a whole world of their own, the relationship they had, he also buries a port of himself, he accepts the death of this creation. Now that's philosophical principle, that by accepting our own death, that after that, we can life the live we dreamed of. That's the last scene, the one with his children, seen before very similarly when he decides to go away because he is wanted by the police for the death of his wife. To see them again, their faces, to hug them and be there for them. That's the life he dreamed of, it stands symbolically, that now, he is emotionally clean and can take care of his kids, after he has put his wife to rest. whether the top falls or now, it doesnt matter at that point. He found what he was looking for, a dream fulfilled.

  • July 30, 2010, 7:34 p.m. CST

    messed up the first live

    by calixtus

    so nolan inceptions on a grander scale is, that he implants the idea of "living" in your brain. Death is not a choice. Which I think is pretty damn brilliant. An outstanding masterpice.

  • July 30, 2010, 7:34 p.m. CST

    messed up the first live

    by calixtus

    so nolan inceptions on a grander scale is, that he implants the idea of "living" in your brain. Death is not a choice. Which I think is pretty damn brilliant. An outstanding masterpiece.

  • July 30, 2010, 7:34 p.m. CST

    messed up the first live

    by calixtus

    so nolan inceptions on a grander scale is, that he implants the idea of "living" in your brain. Death is not a choice. Which I think is pretty damn brilliant. An outstanding masterpiece.

  • July 31, 2010, 10:48 p.m. CST

    If the trolling was ACTUALLY low quality...

    by cloneomat

    ...Massa wouldn't be responding to them all. Well trolled, I say.

  • Aug. 3, 2010, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Am I only one noticing these?

    by zeicee

    1. Cillian Murphy with a fabric hood on his head. 2. Ellen Page with a bit too much stomach than needed. 3. Edith Piaf music (Marion Cotillard) 4. Leonardo di Caprio on a Beach I bet there's more, but these are all I can remember. Shit these can't be coincidence.

  • Aug. 3, 2010, 2:24 p.m. CST

    your question is the answer, massawyrm

    by Zug

    "But then, why show the top at all?" Why show us the movie at all? That's the point.

  • Jan. 3, 2011, 8:59 p.m. CST

    I have to mostly agree with you on this.

    by Film_Junky

    This review has hit every note on how I felt about Inception except for one. When you mentioned how all the other characters except for Cobb had no character development I don't believe that to be totally true. The character who I thought had some development which was overshadowed by Cobb's story was Fischer's. There wasn't much there, but during the final scene with his father in the third dream state there was a glimpse of character development when the actual inception was being performed. Before then I agree that Fischer was mostly a plot device character, but in that scene I really felt the redemption of the character as he was finally being accepted by his father (even though it was all just a dream). But anyway I have to say that I take the film at face value and see it as the first reality. Inception just had so much exposition and reasoned everything that there wasn't a lot of room for me to interpret it as being all a dream or whatever.

  • Jan. 12, 2011, 8:49 a.m. CST

    Massa, that last shot of Inception, your idea for it...

    by D.Vader

    Your idea for the last shot or nolan's, either way the end result is the same: neither the audience, nor Cobb, see what happens to the top. So what difference do you see in the two endings? What makes one better than the other? Personally I'd rather see the top to emphasize that Cobb no longer cares.

  • April 30, 2011, 11:36 a.m. CST

    by jessica

    I actually really liked the ending it showed that in the end he no longer needed the top to get his bearings. He had desperately clung to the top throughout the movie to be certain he was awake, but in the end he didn't wait for the top to stop spinning. He was home.