Inception: Deconstructed

Why it's not that confusing... really...well at first. Explaining and Understanding Inception... from what I've gathered so far.
Oh BTW, MAJOR SPOILER ALERT... So continue reading IF you've seen the movie.

What is Inception?

The creation of an idea in the mind of the target whom believes is solely his own idea

Basic Plot:
Saito (Ken Watanabe) hires Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is the best at extracting secrets from the dreams of the target, to create the act of inception instead, in the mind of Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), who is the son of Saito's dying corporate rival.

Inception is basically Mission: Impossible of the brain; instead of breaking into high-tech defense facilities to steal information, they are breaking into a person's dreams to extract information. And instead of stealing information they are incepting information. (this is all you really need to know)

The Team:
Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) - the pointman.
Eames (Tom Hardy) - a forger capable of changing identities within a dream as he is also good at forging documents and identifications in real life.
Ariadne (Ellen Page) - a brilliant new architect brought onto the team to design dream levels because of the failure of previous architect Nash (Lukas Haas).
Yusuf, (Dileep Rao)- a chemist who creates powerful sedatives for very deep dreaming.

You can feel pain in a dream.
Death causes the individual to awaken.
Death in a dream under heavy sedatives causes you to go to Limbo.
Characters in the dream are projections of the mind of the dreamer.
Changing someone else's dream causes the dreamer's projections to attack the invader, like white blood cells attacking a virus.
Dream architecture is always shifting.
Must never recreate from your memories or you'll get lost in your dream.

My Questions:

Is Cobb dreaming at the end?
Okay, so Christopher Nolan decides to cut to black while the top wobbles and is about to fall. But we never see it fall. So is he dreaming or is this reality? I found this to be a rather cheap ending because it leaves it open ended... or does it? Well, for one thing even if we did see the top fall, one could argue that Cobb (since he has reconciled with his subconscious wife) is still dreaming because he has let that part of him go and moved on to his memories with his children. Thus, releasing any conscious thought of a top that always spins, and making it fall. It's like he's letting that part of his life go, and moving on with the next. Also, maybe more of a clue, is that this end scene shows the same shot, the same angle and exactly how Cobb has remembered his children. I think they're even wearing the same clothes, but I have to re-watch the film to confirm that. Thus, again leading the audience to believe he is still in a dream. And addition to this, is that wouldn't Cobb meet his children at their grandma's house, not his house?

Another theory is that since we don't actually see Saito actually kill himself; he has the gun in his hand, but the next shot is him awaking on the airplane. So one can conclude that actually Cobb goes into one dream level deeper. So Cobb will still be dreaming.

And Yet another theory is that Cobb only wears his wedding ring during his supposed dreams. In the last scene Cobb isn't wearing his wedding ring, concluding that it is not a dream.

Does Cobb really awake from his dream when he first meets the Chemist?
I don't know. In the scene where we are first introduced to the Chemist Yusuf, Cobb decided to try the new tranquilizer drug. Does he fully awake from that? Well, Cobb supposedly awakes but is still disoriented, still seeing things. He goes to the bathroom and spins the top, the top falls to the ground, but before Cobb can check the top and be reassured he's in real life, he gets interrupted. Thus, concluding that he could be dreaming from this point on till the end of the film and they still haven't done the mission.

Why is the Forger the only person that can change identities?
Perhaps, they can all do it... but since Eams is the best at forging identities in real life, his ability is also the best in the dream world.

If the Forger can change identities then why can't Saito learn to heal himself?
If it is possible, then it probably must take a lot of training to figure that out, and Saito wasn't really an expert dreamer. Also, this isn't The Matrix.

If Ariadne is the architect, then how does her design become apart of the minds of her team, when she apparently wasn't going to be part of the inception in the first place?
Apparently, she teaches her designs to the team for each level of dream. I think there was a montage sequence somewhere in the film that showed this.

Why does Cobb believe he's responsible for Mal's death, even though he didn't really kill her?
Because when they were in Limbo, he created the act of inception on her to kill herself, which would force her to wake up in real life. It worked. However, Mal also thought she was still dreaming in real life, so she convinced herself that killing herself again would wake her up.

Why does Cobb never see the faces of his children till the very end?
Because that was the last moment he saw his children and it replayed in his mind over and over again. Cobb had to instantly flee the country or whilst be arrested for the murder of his wife.

While on the airplane, why doesn't Fischer recognize Saito since he is his father's great rival?
Perhaps, Fischer doesn't have a big interest in his father's work, so he doesn't know his rivals.

If you are killed in the dream and go to Limbo, then how did Mal and Cobb go to Limbo in the first place?
Cobb wanted to push their dreams further, by going to dreams within dreams until they got lost in Limbo.

Special Notes:
Ariadne is also the name of a woman in Greek mythology who helped Theseus escape from the Minatour's Labyrinth.
Christopher Nolan took ten years to finish the script for Inception.
They actually built a fiberglass train and ran it through the streets of downtown Los Angeles.
They built a 100 foot hallway corridor that was suspended on large rings so that it could tilt the set 360 degrees.
The song Non, je ne regrette rien by Edith Piaf, used as the audio cue to awake the crew from their dream, sounds non-coincidentally like Hans Zimmer's score for the film.
Marion Cotillard, who played Mal, also played Edith Piaf in the movie La Vie En Rose.

Anyways, those were some of the questions I had about the film. What are YOURS? And do you have any more answers or theories to the questions above?

CinemaBlend has an even more in-depth geeky article about
Inception. They also have an awesome graphic of the 5 dream levels of Inception.

Inception TOO SMART for Audiences? Puh-lease.
Inception Movie Review
Inception VS Up Mash Up Trailer
SOUTH PARK Inception


Andrea said...

About Ariadne and the introduction of the designe, I had the exact same question, but I still have wholes with your anwer, with all the respect, remember Cobb couln?t see the design? so it makes no sense that she wouldn't go in the first place if he wouldn't know the design, there has to bem in my opinion, another way in which she got her design in the dreams, although i can't figure out another way.

Andrea said...

by the way, nice post

Andrea said...

I read this answer to my question, thought i would share.
1) Ariadne made the design and architecture, she made a miniature, and she taught the "dreamers" how to make the maze.
It was explained when Cobb met Prof Miles [his Dad] to find a new Architect. Prof Miles asked if he's going to take another of his student to enter his dream world. Cobb answerd that the Architect would only teach the dreamers how to make the maze. Ariadne wasn't suppose to enter the mission with them, but she insisted to go along because she's the only one in the team who knew about Cobb's problem and also seen Cobb's dream about Mal.
Then when Cobb asked about her progress, Ariadne took the miniature and tried to explain her plan, Cobb said "No no.. don't tell me the details. Only dreamers should know the details."

ThisIsNotMyName said...

Awesome, thanks for the comment... I think it's time for me to re-watch Inception.