Day 9: Do you think it fell over?
Absolutely, 110% yes. Click “read more” and I’ll tell you why I know it did. Not why I think it did, why I KNOW. If you don’t read ANYTHING else, skip to the bold part.
Well, after seeing Inception 3 times, I figured I picked up on almost everything there was to pick up on. I was wrong, because apparently, there is a solid amount of people who thinks there is sufficient evidence to believe the end of the movie isn’t in reality.
I find this odd. It seems to me they’re creating more work for themselves trying to be deep and abstract, or maybe they just are looking for excuses to go against the opinion of the majority. Whatever the reason, I feel the need to pick apart the arguments. So here goes!
I would like to take a moment to do a blanket statement. This movie ends on the same layer as it begins. I am absolutely sure of it. Now, once or twice during the movie, the top falls, showing it is reality. That’s the entire point of the totem. Some people insist the entire movie is a dream, but if that is truly the case, how would the totem ever fall? Also, this would imply that killing characters that are in limbo (Saito, Cobb) would simply return them into another layer of dreaming. It would break all the rules Nolan carefully creates and follows throughout the entire movie, rendering it completely pointless.
That being said, on to the individual arguments.
The first argument I heard for the “the ending isn’t reality side” is:
“The kids didn’t age at all and they’re wearing the same clothes.”
All I need to say here is this: if the kids didn’t age, then why were two separate sets of actors needed to play the kids at two different ages?
Well that was easy. Moving on:
“Once the mind enters limbo, it is trapped with no way out.”
I honestly don’t even know where this one came from. If the mind is trapped in limbo once it’s there, then how does the line about the train even come into existence? Cobb and Mal kill themselves with the train, which frees them from limbo and wakes them up. This exact same device is used at the end of the movie when Saito kills himself and Cobb to re-enter the initial layer of reality. Two times in the movie characters leave limbo and re-enter the world, so I don’t know how anyone missed that part.
“In Mombasa, the walls close in on Cobb when he’s running away.”
Now, if this was the case, it would be a strong point for the not reality side. However, the walls don’t close in. If the walls closed in, Cobb would have gotten stuck forever. The architecture of the adjacent buildings was just in such a way that there was a narrowing passageway in between them. Cobb simply got stuck because he didn’t turn himself all the way sideways. He gets out though, which brings me directly to the next one.
“[Also] in Mombasa, Saito somehow knows where Cobb is with no leads, which in reality wouldn’t happen.”
Whoever decided this wasn’t possible in reality was asleep the rest of the movie. Saito is clearly an incredibly powerful man if he is able to clear all of Cobb’s charges with one phone call. He is also head of one of two battling energy corporations. He clearly has leads. Cobb even questions the likelihood of Saito finding him when he jumps in the car. Saito responds, “I have to protect my investment.” Wouldn’t you?
“Mal was on the opposite ledge in Cobb’s flashback, which would be highly improbable in reality.”
Cobb starts off this memory by saying she had it all planned out. This is clearly true; she filed a letter with her attorney and had herself declared sane by three psychologists. She then trashed the hotel suite, so she clearly, clearly knew exactly what she was going to do that night. If she would go to all those lengths to assure her plan would go off without a hitch, why is renting out the same suite in the opposite building so out of the question?
“Mal is the voice of Cobb’s subconscious. She keeps telling him he’s dreaming, which is actually his subconscious knowing he’s dreaming.”
Mal is not the voice of Cobb’s subconscious, plain and simple. Mal is Cobb’s projection of her based on the memories he still has. Now, if you notice, most of the memories he had with her are after she woke up from limbo and started claiming reality was a dream, so it’s reasonable to say that his projection of her will feed back that vibe. Mal telling Cobb he’s dreaming is really just Cobb remembering her that way.
I feel like I covered most of the bases. If anyone would like to run another counter-argument past me, I’d be happy to field it :-)
Edit: Just read a new one. “Saito shot Cobb in limbo, sending him into limbo within limbo.”
THIS ISN’T POSSIBLE. Once again, if you die in limbo, you WAKE UP. There is no such thing as double limbo, and whoever thought this probably watched the movie while high on something. It continues to baffle me why people think Nolan would break all the rules he so carefully made! It doesn’t make any sense.
New one: “If Cobb is dreaming, everyone is a projection of his own subconscious so he can control what happens, including the top falling.”
Remember back to the beginning of the movie when Cobb and Ariadne were dreaming. Cobb’s projections began turning on Ariadne and he was screaming at them to let her go, and they wouldn’t. So actually, he can’t control his own projections. He actually explains that.
Ariadne: Mind telling your subconscious to take it easy?
Cobb: It’s my subconscious, I can’t control it.
Here’s my last one: It took me 7 times watching, but I picked up on an indisputable proof that the ending is reality. In one scene, Arthur explains the idea of a totem. He says that you never let anyone else touch your totem so that, when you feel it, you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you aren’t in someone else’s dream.
IN THAT SAME SCENE, three people have their own totems. Arthur has his, Ariadne makes hers, and most importantly, Cobb’s top stops spinning. This scene cements the fact that this layer of consciousness is real, and this is the same layer that the movie ends on.