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"Inception" analysis and questions

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Nick M
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The greatest achievement of "Inception" is laying bare, in concrete form, the literal, suicidal nature of philosophical relativism. The presentation of the ending reminded me very much of DiCaprio's last film "Shutter Island," and while I cannot be as definite about the conclusion to draw about the intended message of that movie, (if one was given, I didn't pay as close attention), there is a much more definite answer about Inception's intention, and answer to the axiomatic questions raised by the director. Namely, does existence exist?

"Inception" is a proud proclamation of reality, and statement of the importance of uncompromising recognition, and response to the facts of reality. Leonardo DiCaprio's character Cobb is a conflicted hero, whose struggle with philosophical contradictions are akin to Dagney's initial struggle to "make the irrational work." Beset with ideological conflicts, and temptations toward the false, Cobb eventually overcomes his guilt, and chooses life.

However, the nature of his guilt in the matter with his wife, is critical in evaluating how morally black he is for the destruction of his wife's consciousness. The question of "free will" is the pivotal point here. Does a victim's acceptance of the film's concept of a "trojan idea" at any point in time require the victim's consent? Does the film's definition of the proposed concept of "inception" supersede free will? I say no. Consistent with good old John Galt (paraphrasing here), "at some point, the destruction of your mind always requires your consent." Cillian Murphey (as Robert Fischer Jr.) was defrauded by criminals, and responded rationally to the fraudulent information they provided him with. Hell, he was even defensively prepared, though despite this, the criminal endeavor was successful.

Cobb's wife Mal on the other hand, was aware of the nature of the film-universe's "dream-worlds," and chose to indulge in them, rather than confront reality. On this point, I'm not certain after only seeing the film once: What exactly were her demons in Reality? She had her husband, she had her children, what was the problem? Did Cobb defraud her into absolute relativism? Perhaps she was evading the nature of "meta-reality" by wishing the dream worlds existed in a non-ordinal "cloud formation" rather than the rigidly tiered way they were (exquisitely) presented. In killing herself, Mal was either wishing (or perhaps genuinely believed) that she would wake up somewhere, anywhere, rather waking up... dead. However, the malicious nature of her suicide (Eric Starnes anyone?) demonstrates the psychological state she was in. She had consciously accepted a contradiction, and she was counting on getting away with it. In a weird reversal, it wasn't a “murder-suicide”, it was a “suicide-(attempted) murder,” or blackmail from beyond the grave.

The ending. It must be addressed, because lots of people are going to get it wrong, and Director Nolan (rationally) does not figuratively “set it one table” so much as he does literally. The last shot was a masterpiece of a 10 second rollercoaster, leaving me thinking for long seconds “oh no... oh no... you didn't really... THANK GOODNESS IT'S WOBBLING!” before the ending cut to black. It's execution was superb. The shot ended, as did the eventual spinning of the top.

Aesthetically, I think the choice to cut after only a fraction of a second of wobble was justifiable. The director wants us to have this conversation, and hopefully talk some sense into the relativists having the conversation. Is there a level of doubt as to the director's intention? Only superficially. Compare the opposite conclusion that could be drawn by ending the film with a visual fade and a musical cadence, compared to the abruptness of the cut and the boastfully uncompromising score. Never mind that nobody creates works of this complexity and magnitude to throw it away with a 1-shot affirmation of nihilism. If wretched philosophy is the goal, then creators of that tend to stretch the concrete examples of their "exposition" out (like Kant, Marx or James Cameron).

All told, Inception was a masterpiece. I can't remember the last time I felt so impressed by a film, and so refreshed by a mainstream work with a consistent, rational, life-affirming philosphy.

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I don't think there are only two interpretations of the ending. In fact, I don't think either interpretation you present - is reality real or not - is accurate.

Whether or not reality is "real" is never taken as a serious question in the movie - the only person who espouses it is portrayed as unquestionably insane.

The only serious question in the movie is whether the main character will be able to come back to reality, or whether he will be forever lost in his dream world.

The fast pacing of the last couple minutes, in which he "wakes up" on the airplane, immediately leaves the airport, meets his dad and kids, and then spins the top, all in rapid succession, is a way of suggesting, "this is too good to be true". That is only a suggestion, though, and spinning the top is intended to be the final proof as to whether he actually woke up from the flight, or whether the last couple minutes were simply his imagination tricking him into believing he had been reunited with his kids.

The fact that the top is wobbling signifies nothing, in my mind. It has not fallen over, so the question being asked - "did he wake up, or was he still stuck in his dream" - is left open for the viewer to decide.

Again, I see no evidence that the director ever intended to question existence. I believe the desire among some viewers to find deep philosophical significance in the last scene is leading them away from the true philosophical significance of the movie: for once, existence is not questioned.

Edited by brian0918
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He was in reality at the end, the top was not his totem but his wifes, which he said earlier in the film can only be used (properly) by one person. He also stated, when having that conversation with Ariadne that no one should know what your totem is, and even tested her on this fact by trying to get her to show hers (the chess piece), and then said she was learning when she refused. She was also very interested in his relationship with his wife throughout, and told...Arthur I believe...that he had some serious issues to work out after a very brief first dream sequence with him. She also was able to manipulate dreams very easily in the first dream, as was stated by members of the cast. She had done this before, she was quite experienced and played up the novice role (with "being smart" as the cover for her quick learning) so that she could get close to Cobb and his relationship with his wife without putting up his personal barriers like he did with the rest of the team.

His totem was his wedding ring, which he can see whenever he goes to spin the top. Notice both in the basement of the chemist's place as well as at the end he is not terribly concerned with if the top stops spinning. There were two inceptions but one was the means to the end of another one. Cobb was having an inception performed on him (this was planned originally by the professor at the beginning, which if I remember correctly was his father also) and Ariadne was the actual team leader heading the inception mission. The inception was on Cobb so that he could detach himself finally from his wife and be with his children as well. I have seen it twice, the second time after figuring this theory to the storyline and from what I was able to tell it is confirmed throughout the movie from beginning to end, both in the events as well as the comments from all of the characters (Araidne's comments, Cobb's comments, his wife's comments and so on).

The only parts in a dream were the ones actually in levels. However he was in limbo at the end with Saito, at which point they both committed suicide as that is the only way to get out of there. The entire thing with the top is a trick, it is to fool the people that were not paying enough attention to all of the details in the film, it has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the ending or with his identification of if where he is is in a dream or reality.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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CapitalistSwine: you have made a lot of assertions, and now I'm going to ask some specific questions about evidence to back up those assertions...

1. What is your evidence of a second (or third) inception: one designed to plant an idea in Cobb's mind? Nobody even thought it was possible to fake inception - Cobb kept it confidential that it was even possible.

2. What idea was planted in Cobb's mind, and where is the evidence of its being planted by others, and not simply something he realized on his own?

3. Why focus on the top at the end, if it was not important, and simply used to mislead? For such a deep film, it seems odd to have such dramatic focus on something that's ultimately unimportant, only a ruse...

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Consider the choices open to the director with the last shot of the film. He could show the top coming to a rest, somehow indicate that it will not stop, or simply omit it completely and let us assume this was reality. Or he could cut to the credits before we know how the top is behaving, leaving everything in doubt. The first 3 choices involve the director essentially deciding in an arbitrary fashion whether or not this was base reality. There's no justification, no logic, just the storyteller exercising his power. 'Because I said so.'

Instead, he cuts the shot early and forces us to search for answers elsewhere. This does not mean they don't exist in the film, just that they are supplied in a more compelling, meaningful way, albeit not quite as immediate. So: analyse the film, the themes. What was the climactic scene, what happened in the ultimate confrontation/revelation? The climax was quite clearly when the protagonist met the projection of his wife and told her about the inception and then told her that no matter how closely she resembled his real wife, he could not love her, because the projection could never match the reality.

So apply this knowledge to the ending: he knows the difference between reality and projection (or rather, projection is not enough for him now), and he is going back to his kids. Thus, his kids are real, not projections. Thus, the scene at the very end with the spinning top is 'the real world,' he is not dreaming any more, there are no further layers.

Nolan did not use the spinning top just to mess with us (that would lessen the film). He used it to induce a more thorough understanding of the film. No easy way out.

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"Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments." I really hope this is natural to everyone on this forum.

A painting is art, a sculpture is art and a film is as well. The film Inception is art...bad art.

The lead character (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his accomplices have a machine and the ability to act within the dreams of others. DiCaprio had the gift of

altering dreams of others very successfully and used this skill to con ideas out of important men, businessmen. Dishonourable, a cheat and a second-hander.

The main character (con man) evaded reality his entire life with his wife because it was apparently greater, similar to drinking and doing drugs.

His wife dies and he endures great guilt over her suicide.

Good art is supposed to display how man SHOULD be, not naturalism or that man is evil and would use such tools to sacrifice others to his needs, forcefully.

Man should be good, have integrity, confidence and be heroic.

The movie was too long, had too many explosions and unfortunately the world is raving about it be the greatest movie ever made. Rob Roy, Star Trek, Good Will Hunting to name

a few contrasts

Art is important to a person's life, it influences and ignites one's values and Inception should spark rage within any mind that chooses to think.

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"Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments." I really hope this is natural to everyone on this forum....

Your review is a disjointed series of comments. I can simply point out as a counterargument to some of your assertions that the film portrays a man's personal transformation from being lost in a dreamworld to facing reality and moving on with his life. The actions that lead him to his enlightenment are certainly not moral, but that is not the focus of the film.

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I enjoyed the movie, and plan on buying it when it comes out on DVD, which is a rarity for me. It was one of those movies in which one must be actively engaged in paying attention to the details of the movie, in order to figure out what is going on. Another of the movie's positive aspects is the ending, which is a nice instrument that accomplishes two things for the director: 1) The viewer is forced to come to a conclusion about the movie, instead of being given one by the ending itself, as Tyco says below, there is "No easy way out"; 2) To create discussion amongst movie goers about the contents of the movie, as well as fuel some pretty creative ideas about the actual plot.

When it comes to the discussion of the various meanings and actual story of the movie, I have what is probably the most widely held or conventional conclusion about it: that the crux of the movie is about lead the character's (Cobb), battle with what he did to his wife, Mal, by planting an idea, and his battles trying to resolve that problem while trying to accomplish the Fischer Jr. mission so as to see his children again. Additionally, I think the ending is set in reality, with the top not signifying anything additional to the back story.

Interestingly, I went to the movie with someone who had already watched the movie. Upon conclusion, she told me what she thought about the way the story was supposed to be interpreted. Her interpretation is actually quite similar to that given by CapitalistSwine, on this thread: The new architect, the female student who was referred to Cobb by his father, was a lead agent to plant an inception in Cobb. I was surprised when I heard this, and a few people in the group, including myself, said something similar to, "If that approach is taken, just about any interpretation can be made about the movie." So, I was surprised to see a similar interpretation here, as it must be somewhat common; and both of those interpretations came from people who have seen the movie twice.

My only gripes about the movie, besides a few CGI hiccups and scenes of unbelievability, is how the dreams and their levels were handled. The whole time-space aspect of the dreams is a little confusing and didn't aid the flow of the movie. Parts of the story would have to be re-written to find a better approach, but I think it would be worth it. When it comes to the CGI, I picked up on unnatural, jerky movements during the scene where Cobb and the architect walk vertically, etc... Lastly, the car chase in which the chemist is driving a van throughout the city, is attacked by multiple projections, and finally rolls the van, was way too drawn out and a little absurd.

As far as the director's intentions concerning metaphysical or epistemological issues, as were raised in the first post of this thread, I have my doubts that he was attempting to make any such points. Of course, on an implicit level, one could say that the movie does uphold the value of the objective over the subjective. Both Cobb and his wife have a long, obsessive session in the dream world, with Cobb choosing reality (not an imaginary wife and kids) and Mal committing suicide, eventually. However, on the other hand, the whole idea of inception itself has some negative epistemological consequences. For example, both Mal and Fischer Jr. are led astray by ideas not from objective reality, but instead from a subjective dream world. As interesting as it may be to think about the multitude of potential reasons for why the storyline is the way it is, I don't think there is sufficient evidence to guess at the director's philosophical motivations.

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My apologies for not responding to your questions before Brian, I plan on answering them tomorrow if not later tonight.

I would also like to mention that someone brought a detail to my attention after I had seen the movie a second time regarding the last maze that Ariadne had drawn (the circular one) that Cobb could not figure out...was the infamous Minotaur's labyrinth. This was unrelated to the movie but it is an easter egg that was obviously placed in there purposely by Nolan. It has been confirmed that the man who played Arthur (the point man) in the movie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is also going to play the role of the villain in Batman 3, Nolan's next movie....as the Riddler. Anyone who is a true fan of Batman is probably aware that the animated works of Batman had a lengthy bout with the Riddler in the Minotaur's labyrinth of which Batman had to get through to face the Riddler. I found this pretty funny that he added this in with this method.

I was surprised to see a similar interpretation here, as it must be somewhat common; and both of those interpretations came from people who have seen the movie twice.

I am glad to know that this was her conclusion. Not that this makes my claim of the actual story any more legitimate, however this was the same conclusion given to my by my friend whom I saw the movie with when I saw it the second time (and he had seen it once before already) so there seem to be a good percentage of people that have seen it twice that agree with my conclusion.

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CapitalistSwine: I anxiously await your elucidation.

I saw the movie twice and was nearly convinced that the whole thing was a dream. I felt like Cobb's conversation on the phone with his kids was too metaphorical/psychological - "I can't come home" - despite the fact he was talking to kids. Also, the kids didn't age, and were wearing the same clothing. The only time they were different was when they were younger on the beach with Mal - in Cobb's memory.

Plus, funny you should claim Minotaur's labrynth as a shout out to Batman - maybe true - but keep in mind that Ariadne led Theseus(right?) out of the Labrynth in mythology. Plus, the labrynth is basically the 'symbol' of the movie in the opening shot and in the typeface used in the title.

I like your wedding ring theory. I think that has to be correct, and Ariadne was obviously the one performing inception. In which case Ariadne is an alias - though it could be a real-world alias and not necessary a dream character.

Still, I didn't notice the ring enough to know the mechanics of it: please elucidate. That'll help me know if the final world was real or not.

From what I do know for certain, I'd say the film message in part was anti-rationalist. Holding on to the past as the only reality, the existing content of the mind, leads to inescapable regret, which in turn prevents life's pursuit. But I'm not sure the message was very Objectivist, as I'm not yet convinced that the message wasn't: "It doesn't matter if reality is real."

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I find it highly unlikely that the reference to the Labyrinth was made due to a few episodes of Batman: TAS (episodes that I myself clearly remember, btw). It seems much more likely that Inception and those episodes of Batman: TAS simply reference the same legendary tale. The giveaway is the girl's name, which has a definite connection to the legendary tale, but no connection to anything Batman.

Edited by brian0918
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  • 2 weeks later...

I went to see it with a friend last night and highly enjoyed it. :) I actually rather like stories where after watching or hearing or reading it the first time there is still a lot of analysis you can do. It can make the second or maybe even third time watching it as enjoyable as the first still because now you are watching it with an appreciation for seeing the ideas play out that you got later on and rechecking in some cases if you were right or if you missed something and if you missed something, you can watch it more than once and still get new stuff out of it.

Evidently, nobody else here at least got the same ideas I did about the ending. The top wobbled a little, but I'm pretty sure I recall earlier seeing a tiny bit of wobble in the top even when it didn't eventually stop spinning. I already expected in that last scene though that it wasn't going to stop spinning and seeing it happen was more like a confirmation to me of what I thought had happened. I also agree that the kids at the end looked suspiciously similar to how he kept dreaming about them. I'll explain a little later why I already expected the top to keep spinning. Sorry this is going to be a bit long, it was much faster to explain this just speaking with my friend on the way out of the movie. I'll underline the key points for fast reading since most of it is just the details that lead me to the conclusions I've drawn.

But first, I like the hypothesis about Ariadne actually trying to perform an inception on Cobb. It sounds at least a bit plausible to me because I definitely noted the relation between Ariadne and Cobb being a little suspicious in just how intent she is in following him around about finding out exactly what happened and addressing that issue. She really keeps on him about this right from the start until the very end though nobody else in the team, who has known about the issue all along, is nearly as concerned about it except in figuring out how to work around it. There is stuff like about how Ariadne seems to be trying to break into his dreams and get down into his “safe” sort of that one time while she goes into his dream without his permission and then tries to get down into the bottom level even when he tries to keep her out of there and when they wake up she asks about why he is doing what he is doing and when he says it is the only way he can still dream she asks him why he insists on dreaming still, with the basic answer being that it is because he’s sort of trying to keep Mal “alive” in his dreams. His feelings of guilt are manifesting this projection of her that in the dreams just keeps trying over and over and over to kill him, her being a manifestation of his own guilty feelings though, it’s really like he is being eaten up and consumed by his guilt, it is working on killing him basically. Additionally, it did seem rather quick that Cobb’s dad caved in and came up with what he knew was an even better architect than Cobb had been. Furthermore, somebody mentioned that nobody but Cobb though inception could be done, but that I know isn’t true since though most people thought it couldn’t be done, that one guy they met later on did think it could be done unlike most of the others, just that doing it may require being unusually creative to accomplish it. This line from Zsorenson, “Plus, funny you should claim Minotaur's labrynth as a shout out to Batman - maybe true - but keep in mind that Ariadne led Theseus(right?) out of the Labrynth in mythology” would also seem to point toward her being there to help get him out of his mental mess. (I thought that circle maze looked familiar from some place.)

Now about the time line and ending. The spinning top totem thing I agree is questionable in some aspects. True, if that is his totem, he should be paying better attention to it in the end even if he is still pretty sure he is not dreaming if he was unsure enough to need to spin it even in the first place. I don’t recall anything about him having a different totem being mentioned though and even if you are supposed to infer it based on actions, I don’t think it is the case you aren’t supposed to let anybody else even know what it is, since that one guy showed Ariadne his loaded die too. He just wouldn’t let her touch it because the feel of it, the weight distribution, was part of what really made it hard for somebody else to fake. They specifically mention weight as one of the things to factor into a totem I’m pretty sure I recall hearing mentioned. What really struck me as odd though about that totem of the top was 1) why that top in particular would keep on spinning and spinning indefinitely in a dream, anybody’s dream and 2) that he was using a totem which had been Mal’s. That he was using what had been her totem seemed to me like it could almost be suspicious if all along he could actually been in a dream of hers, maybe she never even really died and that was just a dream, because she would know how to mess with that totem. So, the spinning top is suspicious somewhat to me. However, since I’m not convinced yet he actually did have another totem or that the ending actually implies the top stops spinning, I’ll move on to my next point assuming that the top is spinning and is what headsmen relying on seriously to know if he was dreaming or not.

Do you all recall when he goes into the dream place with the Asian guy at the end (by the way, I am going to admit I didn’t really remember much of any characters’ names except Mal and Cobb, I only remember Ariadne now because I saw other people put it up here)? It looks like the dream place he went into with him from the start. And how he reacts when he is sitting in front of the old man there too. I asked my friend to double check on it and she said she is pretty sure the Asian guy looked old at the very start of the movie too. And remember how when they meet at the start the man says he saw somebody with that top before long ago? Totems aren’t all the same as we can see, so how do you think he knew it was his totem? And do you remember at the start of the movie he asks if Cobb has come there to kill him? I’m less sure of this off the top of my head, but the cliffs at the very start of the movie when he has washed up, were they that kind of crumbly looking sort too? Remember one of the things they point out a few times in the movie is that one of the best ways to tell if something is a dream is to ask yourself how you got where you are since you seem to always start in the middle of things in dreams? Well, we’re given some vague information about him having to take shady jobs since he went on the lam, but nothing is explained about exactly what Cobb is trying to get from the Asian guy and we’re even told there is some key piece of info that the Asian guy hides even among the pares in the safe which he somehow knew how to protect, like the Fischer kid somehow knew how to protect himself somewhat too. We don’t really know why exactly he was poking around inside the Asian guy’s dreams, what he wanted to steal from him. The point I’m trying to get to is, I think he and maybe the Asian guy too, may have gotten stuck in a loop (everybody else seems to have gotten out.) He may be dreaming a series of dreams going from level to level, dream to dream in a continuous pattern. It may actually all be in his dreams since they already showed with the Fischer kid that they could trick people into believing they are going into somebody else’s dream when it is actually their own dream. Though the totems are definitely a good idea and they seem reliable if used properly, I’ve already explained some of what seemed like it may be messed up with his own totem he has been using so it may seem sometimes like his totem showed he was awake when he wasn’t . Furthermore, it seemed like other people in his team knew how his totem worked and what it looked like and he wasn’t the only one to ever use it and the Asian guy right from the start of the movie actually got it from him and started messing with it claiming he knew about it (though if he only ever gets a hold of it in a dream that may not give him too much info about its actual weight, though if this is Cobb’s dream in fact, Cobb may be giving it the proper weight and all in the dream, so maybe it could be relevant.) Another thing about the loop idea is that somebody mentioned, I think in the first post, that Cobb and the Asian guy commit suicide together, but that is never shown, you cut away from what goes on there pretty shortly into things.

When I brought up to my friend that I thought it looked like he was stuck in a loop and that I already expected the top was not going to stop spinning at the end before they zoomed in on it and this looked to be true and mentioned how the start of the movie seemed to start in the middle of stuff which was never well explained how they got there like in a dream, my friend brought up how then the Asian guy himself seems to just end up providing a convenient way to get into doing that inception business. This combined with the part about that specifically withheld, blacked out part of the information in the Asian man’s safe and how well the Asian man protects it make me think that if the thing about them trying to perform an inception on Cobb is true, then the Asian man was likely in on it. The hidden information may have been him well protecting from Cobb the fact that they were trying to perform the inception on him. With how highly defended the Fischer kid is, I half wonder if maybe he was in on it too, maybe even the whole team was and the only one who didn’t know was Cobb himself. The idea that the personal exploration on Cobb’s problem was much more central to what was going on intrigues me largely because while watching it I thought to myself that just having the inception performed on this random kid and a long since dead woman seemed like it just wasn’t enough for having the title of the move be “Inception.”

So, this interests me because my idea now may be that how things started were perhaps as follows: 1) an attempt, maybe hired by the father of Cobb, to perform an inception on Cobb so he could get back to his life, but 2) something went wrong as we see in the movie with interference getting the Asian guy shot who is supposed to fix the legal troubles, and then 3) they go further into Cobb’s dream and reach limbo where, because they are in Cobb’s dream world still, we see the crumbling cliffs of stuff that Cobb and Mal had made in their years and years and the Asian guy in all his time there built up that building we see Cobb go in at the beginning and near the end. 4) While there, the Asian guy kind of starts to get used to it after a while like Mal did and so he offers some resistance at first to the idea of being woken up, so shifting from one layer of dream to the next when things are going wrong again, 5) Cobb and the Asian guy both start to forget that they have cycled through this before and how much has gone on, so, the Asian guy is back to looking younger in the next phase of the dream because he forgot how much time had seemed to pass to him and Cobb loses that sense he had of what had happened and what he’d really been there to get the Asian guy for - to wake him up and so now 6) he, Cobb, thinks he was just doing another normal job with that guy like he has done so many other generic shady jobs and the Asian guy goes back to thinking he’s still got to go about setting up the inception, and then the two of them together influence the dream to have the same events end up playing out all over again with the other team members no longer being actual people, but more dream projections . Now, what was the end scene then with them back on the plane and then him seeing the kids again? Another dream inside the dream loop because there are times we see in the movie where he is dreaming and we don’t see what the dream was. He may have in that dream thought he’d finished saving the Asian guy and thus completed the loop and so not stopped to watch the top stop and perhaps only spun it as a sort of “This is so great, I must be dreaming!” type thing, not actually believing he was dreaming, but then later he would find the top spinning, realized he was still dreaming, then went back to work in the loop.

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CapitalistSwine: I anxiously await your elucidation.

I saw the movie twice and was nearly convinced that the whole thing was a dream. I felt like Cobb's conversation on the phone with his kids was too metaphorical/psychological - "I can't come home" - despite the fact he was talking to kids. Also, the kids didn't age, and were wearing the same clothing. The only time they were different was when they were younger on the beach with Mal - in Cobb's memory.

Plus, funny you should claim Minotaur's labrynth as a shout out to Batman - maybe true - but keep in mind that Ariadne led Theseus(right?) out of the Labrynth in mythology. Plus, the labrynth is basically the 'symbol' of the movie in the opening shot and in the typeface used in the title.

I like your wedding ring theory. I think that has to be correct, and Ariadne was obviously the one performing inception. In which case Ariadne is an alias - though it could be a real-world alias and not necessary a dream character.

Still, I didn't notice the ring enough to know the mechanics of it: please elucidate. That'll help me know if the final world was real or not.

From what I do know for certain, I'd say the film message in part was anti-rationalist. Holding on to the past as the only reality, the existing content of the mind, leads to inescapable regret, which in turn prevents life's pursuit. But I'm not sure the message was very Objectivist, as I'm not yet convinced that the message wasn't: "It doesn't matter if reality is real."

I will elaborate on this either tomorrow or Wednesday for certain. A quick mention however, the children certainly did age, if you did enough looking about the internet you will find that they specifically had different actors for the ending scene with the children, of whom here purposefully a few years older. It is hard to pick out in the movie unless you are looking carefully however. I believe the clothing part was a mistake on the part of the film makers. They have made it clear via many other details that the kids were intended to be older and differentiated from the original ones. As far as the ring, I can give you screengrabs of when he is wearing the ring etc.

The point I’m trying to get to is, I think he and maybe the Asian guy too, may have gotten stuck in a loop (everybody else seems to have gotten out.)

I disagree with this, especially after having seen the movie twice. There are multiple points within the movie that suggest this is not the case and that they both in fact did get out of the dream sequences. I feel that to suggest they are in a loop is to ignore more plot elements than there were in favor of what you are appealing to be the case here, which were almost zero. I haven't read any of the rest of your post yet Blue, I just caught that while quick scanning it, I will read it all before I make my next post. However from my quick scanning it looks to me like you are reading more into this movie than is necessary and perhaps creating elaborations that aren't firmly seated in the plot details themselves. It is much clearer when you see it a second time because you already know the main plot and don't get things screwed up so easily.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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I disagree with this, especially after having seen the movie twice. There are multiple points within the movie that suggest this is not the case and that they both in fact did get out of the dream sequences.

You see, I did not see any evidence that Cobb and Saito got out of the dream sequence at the end. Right before cutting to Cobb waking up in the jet, all you see is Saito touching the gun. All you can really say is "they made it so far, of COURSE the two of them actually woke up." The limbo dream ends so suddenly and progresses so abruptly that it is difficult to say that Cobb actually managed to save Saito. Could you address specific points made in that post you were referencing?

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You see, I did not see any evidence that Cobb and Saito got out of the dream sequence at the end. Right before cutting to Cobb waking up in the jet, all you see is Saito touching the gun. All you can really say is "they made it so far, of COURSE the two of them actually woke up." The limbo dream ends so suddenly and progresses so abruptly that it is difficult to say that Cobb actually managed to save Saito. Could you address specific points made in that post you were referencing?

We already discussed this in private conversation, there are numerous reasons to believe that he is not still in limbo, including one or two that certainly cannot be repudiated.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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I am going to write an essay for my blog on all of this, but he is continuing to ignore certain aspects of the film, as far as I can tell, based on our previous conversations on skype, and is putting a lot of weight on certain things while ignoring other things that go against those claims. I might be wrong but this is my opinion so at the moment. I will let you know when I get that essay done and link it here. I have been busy lately.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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Alright then. I'll check it out when it is done. So far though, I've got to say, I think every idea put forward by anybody I've heard (yeah, I'll count myself in among them) could be at least nit picked at with objections over the importance of various things and how plausibly what things could be excused for various reasons and so on.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm sure this has already been stated, but whether or not Cobb is in reality or in a dream in the end is actually irrelevant- the important fact is that even if he still is in a dream, he chose for it to reflect reality. B)

Edited by Sir Andrew
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The film Inception is art...bad art.

The movie was too long, had too many explosions

Inception should spark rage within any mind that chooses to think.

Oh my God... I just had to laugh at this. Yeah, WLU_Objectivism, my rational faculty went mad at the movie theater! I just threw all my popcorn at the screen, ripped my shirt like a wild beast, immediately went outside and violently asked the person in charge for a refund! I was furious at the number of explosions the movie had! Seriously, and you wonder why we Objectivists have a bad reputation. Okay, so how many explosions should be allowed to be in the movie? Geez... Sometimes I can't believe the things I read in this forum.

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