Inception Ending and Interpretations

Inception ending interpretations poster

I rarely post anything on movies, but I feel compelled to write about Inception ever since I stepped out of the theatre. Inception is simply a beautiful film that will undoubtedly inspire discussions for years. Not only that, it really makes the audience want to just talk about it for hours. There is so much depth and so many possible interpretations.

Before that, please keep in mind that this post is not for everyone. If you have not seen Inception, do not read this! You will regret it.

In fact, the less you know about Inception, the better the experience will be, and what an incredible experience it will be. I even avoided all the trailers before going to the cinema. Thus, I would highly recommend watching this movie as soon as possible in case you get some accidental spoilers. And with all the talks around it, that is very likely.

Inception ending interpretations poster

Like most others, after Inception ended, I came out the theatre with a lot on my mind. In particular, the ending is especially interesting. In the last scene, Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is reunited with his children and finally sees their faces. As he goes over to his children, he spins his top on the table. The movie cuts off before it falls (or never falls).

Is Cobb still in a dream?

Inception ending interpretations totem top

To me, the top seems almost to be a bit wobbly. I think it is very likely it will eventually fall and he is indeed in a “real world” (more on this later). Still, it is just as likely that he might have never woken up on the plane as the top continues to spin for eternity. Either way, I propose that whether the top falls does not matter. In fact, this whole journey, starting from the very beginning, takes place in a dream. Cobb has been caught in limbo for such a long time that his perceived reality is actually still in a dream.

Inception ending interpretations opium den

Even in Cobb’s “real world”, there are many dream-like qualities. The movie cuts between scenes rather abruptly. We never see Cobb or anyone going from one environment to the next. They simply end up at the next destination, jumping from the train to the hotel to the lecture hall to the warehouse to the bar to India to the plane and finally to Cobb’s home. There are many other situations common to dreams. For example, when Cobb is trying to escape from corporate assassins, he gets stuck between two buildings; this is a really common anxiety in dreams. Additionally, when Cobb is in the basement of the chemist, Yusuf (Dileep Rao), he takes a really strong sedative, but immediately wakes up. Time inconsistencies is yet another logical fallacy only possible in dreams.

Inception ending interpretations Saito

Furthermore, Saito (Ken Watanabe) and his men are ubiquitous, and his power is questionably immense. Perhaps Mal (Marion Cotillard) is on the right track when she asks, “isn’t it strange they chase you all around the world, just like projections?” Saito is possibly a projection of Cobb’s regret. Over the course of the movie, Saito and Cobb repeatedly utters, “do you want to become an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone?” The three instances of these words are not necessarily tied to the particular moment in the film, and really suggests that Saito is an inner reflection of Cobb.

Inception ending interpretations Cobb Mal

Cobb’s reality is questioned even more by the rules of leveled dreams. According to Cobb and Yusuf, if you die when you are too deep, you would end up in limbo rather than waking up. When Mal and Cobb try to return to reality, they actually committ suicide rather than use a kick. Thus, Cobb may have merely gone further into limbo. This also explains why Cobb is unable to dream without the aid of sedatives and the technology. He is so far down that he may already be in a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream… Having yet another dream is impossible without the dream machine.

Inception ending interpretations totem top

Another indication that this whole movie takes place in a dream is that Inception never shows Cobb’s totem. The totem Cobb uses is actually Mal’s, which should not be able to indicate anything about Cobb’s reality. Again, Cobb may have gone too far to forget his own totem, and instead take on Mal’s within this limbo.

Inception ending interpretations Miles Michael Caine

Additionally, Christopher Nolan uses several unreliable narrators to hint at this interpretation. As Mal’s father-in-law, Ariadne’s (Ellen Page) professor, and Cobb’s mentor, Miles (Michael Caine) has a rather important role. At the end of the first meeting between Cobb and Miles, Miles tells Cobb to come back to reality. In addition, Cobb is reminded of this again by the keeper in Yusuf’s basement: “They come here to be woken up. Their dream has become their reality. Who are you to say otherwise?”

Inception ending interpretations Ariadne

Ariadne further hints at this. When Cobb warns Ariadne to never create from memory or she may lose track of reality, Ariadne replies, “Is that what happened to you?” She revisits this idea later, “the deeper we go into Fischer, the deeper we go into you.” It is possible that she means something a little more literal; going down even more levels with Fischer may really be going deeper into his limbo. And maybe there, Cobb can finally realize the deepest truth of all. This is all a dream.

Inception ending interpretations Ariadne

It is also interesting to note Ariadne’s name. In Greek mythology, Ariadne leads Theseus out of the labyrinth with a red fleece thread. In Inception, dressed in red, Ariadne attempts to free cobb of his guilt and his dreams.

Inception ending interpretations Ariadne

Given all of this, I think Ariadne may have gone within Cobb’s limbo to lead him out. The real inception is to plant the idea in Cobb’s subconscious that none of this is real, much like Cobb has done to Mal. Thus, when Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) asks Ariadne after the mission where Cobb is, Ariadne simply says that Cobb will be fine. The idea has been incepted and all that is left is for it to grow. The ending shows that Cobb has returned to some reality.

Inception ending interpretations Arthur

*I need to watch this again.
*Joseph Gordon-Levitt is really really sexy.

About Yi

''lol...you're either sleeping or eating'' ''oh and watching anime'' ''and indulge in fashion.'' ... Ahh the busy life~
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47 Responses to Inception Ending and Interpretations

  1. RyanA says:

    Either way, I propose that whether the top falls does not matter.

    I agree, but I haven’t really made up my mind about the specifics of the dream situation :) It’s interesting to ponder though.

  2. Taka says:

    This was a really nice interpretation of the “Cobb was in a dream the whole time” argument. I myself am not convinced on either front but that it is interesting to think about both. I played with the idea that Ariadne was sort of a dream therapist ala Paprika and her job was to bring Cobb back to reality. The name of course is significant and she definitely took on a therapeutic role for Cobb.

    One of the things that Dileep Rao who plays Yusuf brought up is that whether it is a dream or not is not important. He says the fact that Cobb walked away without looking to see whether the top fell or not was the important message of the movie. Constantly questioning and affirming your reality like Cobb does would drive a man insane and that he can forget about that and accept the reality he is in is testament to the healing he has undergone. Furthermore he goes on to say that “it all was a dream” interpretation would undermine the message Nolan was trying to convey and cheapen the experience for the viewers by basically saying: And he lived happily ever after- NOT. I don’t really agree with him there but he definitely had some interesting answers to Inception’s speculation hungry audience. Check it out: http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2010/07/inceptions_dileep_rao_answers.html

    • Yi says:

      I agree with Rao on some points. The movie does a beautiful job of blurring reality and dreams. Ultimately, reality is what you make of it. Your reality is decided solely by what you believe in. For Cobb, he needed to be free from the guilt and the doubt Mal imposes on his reality, and he gets that in the end. Which level he ends up does not matter.

      Rao seems to hate the idea that this is all a dream, claiming that this makes the emotional investment somehow insignificant. I disagree there. I think it’s just as powerful a film as the heist plot to see Cobb coming to terms with his subconscious with the help of Ariadne.

      I’m more on the side of Nick Confalone when he says: “For me, though, this film could say “It’s all a dream” and I would feel even more satisfied. Because the premise is “through a very complex dream, we can enact real change in a character.” All of the sudden it’s not a fake-out bullshit journey, if that’s the case. In other words, if I’m satisfied by the success of Fischer’s transformation, then Leo’s growth is just as satisfying.”

      I think we can all agree though in the ending scene, Cobb accepts that this is his reality, and that’s the most important part.

      Here is another interesting article: http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2010/07/inception_theory.html
      It also boils down to that the last scene is irrelevant in view of the whole growth of Cobb. Where we disagree is on the setting where the growth happens, and it’s a bit like arguing semantics.

      Lastly, I think it’s fairly clear Ariadne’s main role in the film is to help Cobb reach this point. As for anything beyond this (whether she’s there purposefully to bring him out or she just happens to find out about Mal), it’s pure speculation.

      I really need to watch this movie again to try to pick up more stuff.

  3. Valence says:

    I also heard there are multiple interpretations for the ending , on how the top spins or something like that.

  4. Canne says:

    I read from another article that hypothesized Mal as the one who tries to bring Cobb back to reality, no Ariadne. And the ending without Mal implies that Mal’s mission has failed and Cobb is still trapped in a dream.
    *Joseph Gordon-Levitt is really really thin. :P

    • Yi says:

      That’s an interesting take too. I actually kind of thought of that for a while, thinking Cobb might have been trapped in Mal’s dream and Mal was actually right. However, I think with this interpretation, I’d agree with Dileep Rao that it kind of takes away from the experience (Check Taka’s comment).
      The emotional investment and the guilty anguish we see in Cobb because of this past is one thing that really drives the film. It is really important for Mal to play the antithesis of Ariadne.

  5. "G" says:

    oh man!! i really want to watch this movie too!!!! did you watch it with yen?

  6. Jo says:

    If you do manage to go back to watch the film again, keep an eye out for his wedding ring. I read somewhere that every time Cobb was in a dream he was wearing his wedding ring, but when he was in the real world he wasn’t. In the final scene, apparently there was no ring, which meant that he did get out of limbo/the dream.
    But that is their interpretation…
    Also, something cool… the music playing a part of the movie..every time they go a deeper level, time slows down a bit, and this is reflected in the main theme and the ‘Musical countdown’. Very creative of Nolan and Zimmer.

    • Yi says:

      I didn’t notice that. When I go watch it again this weekend, I’ll definitely look out for that. That’s kind of a neat thing to do, and I’m sure it wasn’t accidental.

      The video’s really cool. Thanks for the link.
      Something else I read about the music and the number 528. 528 appears several times in the film at different points. Some have suggested that it is a reference to the frequency, 528 Hz, which has some significance both in energy and in music.

      I don’t buy into the whole “love frequency” idea, but it’s an interesting read.

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  9. hisui19 says:

    you caught me off guard… i thought it’s another anime… well, i haven’t watched this but they said the ending is quite, made you think or puzzled… another time, maybe? ^_^

    • Yi says:

      Oopsies, sorry. I really hope I didn’t spoil it. I did remember to bold the spoiler alert though, and I almost never both to even do spoiler alerts.

      Anyways, go watch it. The whole movie is a pretty fascinating mind exercise. I think it’s simply brilliant.

  10. lovelyduckie says:

    Looks like I’ll have to watch Inception sometime (don’t worry I didn’t read the post after the spoiler warning). Most likely I’ll wait until it’s on blu-ray and rent it on Netflix.

    • Yi says:

      For me, this was worth going to the theatre twice. The visuals are amazing. I hope you enjoy it when you do rent it later. ^ ^

  11. softz says:

    I restrained myself from reading this post previously. Finally, I’ve watched it yesterday. There are several mysteries planted within. And of course, Yi, you’ve pointed out interesting details in your review. I’ve sent my wife this link to share your views. :)

    • Yi says:

      I’m really glad you thought this was interesting and even sent it to your wife. I really appreciate that!
      There’s definitely no definitive answer to all the mysteries. Even now, I’m changing my mind as I read people’s comments, other reviews, and more theories. It’s a great film.

  12. lvlln says:

    Definitely a very convincing argument for why the whole thing was a dream. I enjoy the ambiguity, though, and I like how the movie encourages that with the subtle, not-quite-conclusive hints that everything is a dream. The escape sequence where Cob gets stuck between 2 walls seemed to be the most damning of them; especially afterward, when Saito drives up and hits one of the people chasing him with the car door.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to rewatching it once it comes out on BD.

    • Yi says:

      Yep yep. The escape sequence really stuck out to me. I thought it was really reminiscent of a common dream anxiety. I didn’t think about how the pursuers easily got through though, so that was a nice catch for yet another strange phenomenon. I think part of why this is so much fun to think about is because it’s so open to interpretation. The ambiguity is perfectly combined with just enough hints for every possibility that we can chew over it for hours on end.

      Thanks for the insightful detail.

  13. Spiro says:

    It is a good movie but I am not satisfied as several scenes are kinda rushed but mainly with the ending.I remembered that all the people were laughing out loud when they saw the ending.For us viewers,this sucks but it is excellent for them.They giving the people to choose whatever ending they like and the best of all,they could create a sequel if they like since the ending is hinted but untold.

    • lvlln says:

      Yeah, everyone laughed at the ending at my viewing as well. It was just too obviously ambiguous. A neat ending nonetheless. Even if terribly predictable, the mystery is fun to think about.

    • Yi says:

      I also though the last scene was predictable. I didn’t particularly mind though. Like lvlln, I enjoy the ambiguity; I thought that makes an excellent mind exercise.

      I’m not sure what the rest of the audience thought though, since I went to the last late night showing on a weekday, and there was no one else in the theatre.

    • Hmm… One could say that everything is rushed in a dream, so it was appropriate to rush things. But that’s also another interpretation, heheh.

  14. Mikoto says:

    The movie did a really good job in blurring the differences between reality and fantasy. It’s interesting how many interpretations there are for the ending, some of which make me look at every scene before the ending in a different way.

    The movie just got even trippier for me. :P

    • Yi says:

      I was definitely looking close at every scene too. The fast paced mind trip kind of forces you to. This was even more true on my second viewing. I tried to look out for everything other people mentioned, and now I’m not so sure about my interpretations.

      It got very trippy indeed.

  15. Verdure says:

    Great article. After I watched it, I spent a few days searching up interpretations.

    Unfortunately though, I don’t really like the “it’s all a dream” idea. I don’t know why, it just seems…unnecessary? I guess. However, I do like the idea that either Ariadne or Miles are performing Inception on Cobb throughout the movie, to either get him to move on past Mal’s death, or to discover how Mal truly died. That’s an interesting interpretation, and if I had to accept an “it’s all a dream” interpretation, I’d accept that one.

    However, someone else stated this, and I agree: at the end of the movie, I WANTED it to be all real. I wanted the film to be reality, I wanted Cobb to succeed in Inception, I wanted the top to fall. That’s not necessarily because I’m an optimist: there are some movies with sad endings that I really do like. For example, the end of the first route of the visual novel Fate/Stay Night is really sad and bittersweet, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, with this movie, I truly wanted the entire film to be literal, and I wanted the happier ending.

    But, like many people say, it’s all a happy ending. Cobb doesn’t care about reality or dream: those just held him back, and at the end, he is no longer shackled by worrying about reality or dream. He has his kids, and he can live a happy life, regardless of whether or not it’s real.

    • Yi says:

      Dileep Rao (the chemist) would agree with you on the “it’s all a dream” take.

      It might be interesting to check out Taka’s comment from above and my responses:
      http://listlessink.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/inception-ending-and-interpretations/#comment-7930

      I thought the important part was the journey and how Cobb comes to terms with Mal’s death. Whether it’s a dream is simply a trivial logistical thing that’s fun to think about, but it doesn’t take away anything for me.

      At the same time, I can understand why some might prefer that Cobb and the team do succeed, and it wasn’t all an “illusion.” Either way, it doesn’t really matter. Cobb did succeed in his own frame of reality, and that’s the most important part.

      Anyways, the most fun I had when writing this post is actually when I tried to work out Ariadne’s role. She’s so fun to think about.

      Thanks for the comment. You make me doubt my own take a bit, which is always nice. ^ ^

  16. bluedrakon says:

    I love dream scape movies as it really opens up what you can do in a movie. Thanks for such a detailed review and it is now on my watch list.

  17. Gratian says:

    When the movie was over and I stepped out of the theater something seemed strange – I had this feeling of everything being changed. The hallway was quiet – the lights were throwing an unreal light upon the walls. The movie had a strong effect on me. I guess I was just captivated by it like many others have. Must congratulate you for this great post. Mind if I ask you for a link exchange. I would appreciate that . Thank you.

    • Yi says:

      I think I had a similar feeling afterwards. I sat in the theatre until the entire credits finished rolling, the blank screen came up, and the theatre people came to close up. Like you, I was also captivated by the ideas and everything felt so unreal.
      Anyways, thanks for the comment.

      I took a look at your site. It’s really nice and I’d love to exchange links with you. I’ve placed your link under the links section if that’s OK. ^ ^

  18. Xine says:

    I think what’s nice about this movie is it made people think and come up with different interpretations. Good to read your take on the movie as well as the comments of the other readers since there were probably some elements that I missed watching it the first time.

    • Yi says:

      I really loved reading the comments to this post too. In fact, my opinion of this movie has since changed because of the various points/ links people have provided, and there are so many things I missed.

  19. chubbybots says:

    Love your take on this movie. I definitely need to rewatch this again when its comes on DVD…so many interpretations and so many ways to see it! And very insightful comments from the commentators here!

    Plus Gordan Levitt rocks haha!

  20. 2DT says:

    A friend of mine said Inception was also a commentary on cinema, how the movie theater is its own kind of dream. I’m a bit deprived of sleep, though, so I’ll just let you chew on that one. :)

    Good luck with your apps. You know where to reach me if you need a second opinion.

  21. Bufgu says:

    Let me, after viewing many valid and thorough posts and hypotheses, present a different idea, if only for discussion, since we can argue all these points back and forth.

    What is truly fascinating about this movie is how Nolan can make tangible even the most abstract things within the flow of the movie that it seems perfectly acceptable. 1.An actual elevator to go “deeper” into Cobbs brain from the beach to the hotel. 2. an actual architect rendering these levels for the dreamer to fill with information that is revealing to the extractors, or inceptors in this case. These are all almost silly when discussed but fully plausable for those who saw it. Also well done is the exaggeration of dreams based on actual factors. When Arthur is flopping in the van, the entire hotel shifts axis and everyone floats as if in a space simulation parabolic flight. In the fitst extraction, an Entire building begins to flood from the top windows. The avalnch in the third fortress level. Each further level one goes into, the more exaggerated even a little event feels (whch is why they use the kicks at the very least).

    So with that in mind, I will say the whole movie is a dream and an exaggeration of a fully relatable problem many fathers faec with their children in the corporate day of age. He is always on the road, going from place to place, losing touch with his kids, who he would love to be there, and his wife, who he must have arguments with. He has lost reality by ways of his constant and demanding job (one could even question if he is an actual dream grifter/incepter – or that is just his symbolism for someone who is in psychology or even something like advertising where he can manipulate the mind into wanting to buy a product or figuring out what focus groups like–which is why i can even believe someone saying this movie is actually in the past {look at the clothing and hairstyles emphasizing the 1920 to 40s–then again the hotel had modern technology.. anyways).

    He is a man always on the run, and in his dream, he had fabricated that it is not his fault he is constantly o nthe road —

    1.”numerous anonymous corporations are constantly chasing you. “, which Cobbs wife uttered to him and questioned whther or not HE was dreaming, when they were both in limbo before she stabbed him.

    2.a. His wife turned him in to force him to “take a leap of faith” with her and go into reality by jumping off the ledge. b.He is not allowed to go into the country because of this or he’ll be shot. c. Others seem to know about this without being told.

    3.his kids are never facing him, but turning and runnin away, almost going on childhood withouthim.

    4.His guilt creates a wife who is a menace and dangerous (which he calles a shadow) , even though she seems so pretty and harmless, as an excuse to leave as if he doesn’t have one good enough for himself.

    So He is using companies and work as a scapegoat. He feel compelled to work just as much as he does to be with his kids. But the pressures of the corporate empire press down on him more than his guilt.

    In this movie, his dream, his wife jumps off the ledge wanting to get out and into reality. She does this because she confuses reality with dreams based on his inception and follows his advice from a deeper dream to escape (by riding the rails so to speak). In actuality, its Cobbs own confusion of reality and perception of his day to day jobb. Cobb projects his wife, instead, being confused, and he jumping off the ledge is his own manifestation of him feeling he is losing his relationship with his wife. It’s exaggerated, since it’s symbolic in a dream, like the avalanche and the turning hotel. The reasons he is banned from the US based on this are almost absurd, since the police can find out the verdict fairly simply.

    Cobb cannot jump with her, and be in a commitement with her forever, like he promised in marriage, his own perceived dreams by wearing the ring, and numerous times in the dream, because he is so reluctant to abandon his alternate reality: his demanding job -his day to day reality,, his dreeam/this movie and take a leap of faith to his family and kids.

    Saito, is his fantasy. A man who can come and fix everything for him — by force no less. he can make a call, he can let him be with his kids. how? by Cobb convincing an heir to a corporate kingdom, to break it up into less powerful entities. How convenient. Cobb;s ticket to his family is by breaking up the establishment: convincing a corporate titan, the future runner of an international empire, to lay off, for lack of a term, and demagnify its hold of Cobbs everyday life. This is cobbs dream, a man to come sweep him and save him. Saito asks him to take a leap of faith, and cobb does… for a man in order to break up an empire first, family and guilt next. He cannot go back unless he takes care of his hecktic work situation and he cant take care of the work situation(by breaking apart the oppressive companies —the inception mission) until he can deak with his guilt.

    The whole movie has a continuous loop theme. 1.the endless staircase 2. the recurring characters 3. most importantly, the clockwise depiction of a dream Cobb scribbled to Ariande, in her dream, of a mind constantly processiong and creating in a loop. Cobb then draws a line saying “this is what we need you to do, create, so the mark can process”. This line is what the movie is. Cobb processing his situation above the surface (not in the movie) and creating more based on that procession below the surface (what is shown in this movie). It is prefect how the movie, like a clock, basiclly ends where it began, on the 12, on the beach in Japan, but like a clock, the hand may still be on the same number but it is in a different time, not 12am but 12 pm. Saito is old, relecting now Cobbs anti-hero, the opposite of Saitos early depiction of a fantasy. Old and alone, regretting his inaction is saito, just like he told cobb not to be.

    He is in his deep limbo here, on the beach, washed ashore on the coast of japan. his own mission to save, within himself, his sanity, is complete with the inception into fischer. He can go to his kids again, and not have to work. The totem spins, and just when it wobbles, the movie ends. It’s not important, Cobb doesn’t care anymore. He will stay in this state with his kids to leave reality and responsibility of work and fam.

    The top – the top is cobbs totem all along, Not Mals. Why? The only totem not shown in the movie is either Cobbs or Mals. Many think the top is not cobbs, due to obvious scenes where it clearly shows her owning it. However, throughout the whole movie, Mal is a projection by Cobb. She is the only one guaranteed to not be in the movie. In no way is she hooked up to the machine on any level. Since the movie is a dream and all the figures in it are projections, Cobb can know their totems since he created them in his mind, whether his subconscious self knows about them or not. Since Mal enterred the dream with Cobb on the same level, and is now, one can argue, awake, Cobb’s subconscious doesn;t know his wife’s totem because she never showed it to him in reality. So, when he, in his limbo, projects his wife, his closest thing to him, he renders his token as hers since, when they entered the dream, he had no clue what she would use to know reality. By him projecting his wife to lock the totem safe in a vault, he is convincing himself on a deeply subconscious level that his wife’s dream of them to be together and not have him jet setting for work are unrealistic (since in that dream they made in limbo they were together always). He then spins the top and changes reality to make her believe this is not possible. This is him trying to convince himself his work is worth it. He ends up regretting it because his wife jumps off a ledge because of this.

    By spinning this deepest level top, his whole perception of a totem being a link to reality. On his deepest level, he changed the meaning to what a top spinning means. So when his wife jumps off the ledge and the top is still, it is his reality since he convinced himself it is. He is confused, just as his wife said, just as ariande said, just like michael caine said (sorry forgot his name), and his totem lost meaning. So at the very end, when the top spins and wobbles a bit, He is in a fantasy land, but it doesn’t matter. He walks away to join his kids in a state he wants to be real and convinces himself to be, although it is not. He is in limbo.

    how is that? well, the way the top wobbles is telling. nolan could have cut the scene at any time after the wobble, but only does when the top is perfectly upright. Of course, when filming, the top eventually fell, but when the screen is cut is totally arbitrary and the top looks as if it will recover. It is purposely vague, because this is scence is vague, even to Cobb, but it doesnt matter sinec he convinced himself to be able to accept the guilt of alienating his wife for work, at least in his make believe state. His kids, he can have now that the corporation is broken up and work is done. When he is in reality, he may have to quit his job, but for now all good.

    why are the kids different? they are slightly different in dress and in positioning in the final scene which is extremely telling. Since in cobbs mind, he has not seen his kids in some time when he finally does his brain knows to render them a little differnt. However, his brain only has that one image to work with, so the alterations are ever so slight, but not enough to probably reflect reality, since he cannot.

    who is ellen paige supposed to be. well, ellen paige is his own representation of a female young Cobb. A young Cobb, after college, would question cobbs actions constantly and and play counter to his actions. She is a flat one dimentional character, as is his wife, since they are projection by cobb to convince himself conflictiong things. They bother question if he views reality correctly and oppose his actions. They are made by a man to oppose a man, so its not deep. However, the college kid is described as being being “even better than”cobb was at her craft. the kid is his old self asking why do you do these things? old self knows. he views her as his better self.

    • Yi says:

      Thanks for the long comment. This is a really fantastic theory and there are really so many fascinating points you picked up that I never realized, such as the loop theme.

      Let’s see where to start…

      I do agree that the whole thing is a dream. There are many evidence both in my post and in yours that seem to indicate the impossibility and the similarities to dream situations. I hesitate to speculate further beyond that though, so I’m a bit more reserved about the corporate life vs. family life idea. It is a very valid and unique interpretation, and I could certainly see the parallels your theory has to a potential inner struggle Cobb would have.

      I really like your take on Saito as well. I also felt like Saito is a projection, perhaps much more so than the others. His power and his words are just so interesting to dissect. And most of the theories I have ended up with indicate that he is a projection tied to Cobb’s guilt and regret.

      Mal/ Cobb’s top, on the other hand, is something I still am not so sure about. There is a lot of things to work with it. Nolan deserves a lot of credit here especially. With a single item and a single scene, he has sparked so much debate. I have considered before that Mal is also fictional, and it’s an interesting path to go down.

      Anyways, thanks for posting this really fascinating and insightful read. ^ ^

  22. Reltair says:

    I was left wondering why the assassins that were sent after Cobb didn’t just follow him to complete their mission. Even if Cobb gets reunited with his children in America, he obviously still has an organization after his life due to his failed mission.

    Also, if he couldn’t live with his children in America, why didn’t they just all move to Europe or something? *shrug*

    • Yi says:

      Oh yea. Good points there too. Never considered those. It seems that there’s actually a lot of holes that seem to suggest at the unreality of it all.

  23. It’s funny, the only thing I thought of after watching Inception was whether the ending was a dream or not and that was it. I do believe that the top did fall because it sounded like the spin was sputtering just before the credit rolls. And I didn’t think much not because I didn’t like the movie. I liked it, but I guess I’m just looking what’s on the surface and what’s simple. So it was still puzzling what people was talking about because I thought it was pretty straightforward. I felt so distant now after reading your post because I didn’t see further into it ^^;

    But I did think that it was strange for Cobb to be using his wife’s totem instead of his own. I was questioning it, but I didn’t want to lose my pace as I watched the movie, so I left that thought behind and completely forgotten about questioning it. Your inception about his totem definitely struck a chord with me, haha.

    Oh and umm… Christopher Nolan, not Christian. Must be thinking of Bale, eh? ;)

    • Yi says:

      Me too actually. When I first came out of the theatre, all that was on my mind was whether the top fell and whether he got out. It wasn’t until I read a little more about what other people thought that I started really thinking about it. I did read about the top falling sound in the credits.

      The movie sets a really intense pace. I didn’t think much about anything else either while watching.

      Thanks for the correction. I must have been thinking about Christian Bale from Dark Knight and Batman Begins. Oopsies.

      p.s. Scott Pilgrim is great too.

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