Reel Society

17Jul/100

Up For Debate

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Cinemablend has posted a nice FAQ and backtalk on the intricacies of Inception's narrative, so if you have any questions, concerns or queries about the film (which anyone who watched it should), then head over there and check it out. Below I will share what confused me and whether or not I believe Cinemablend answers my questions.

NOTE:  If you have not seen the film DO NOT visit Cinemablend's FAQ or continue reading.

The first question they answer was something I was wondering about right after the film ended. I was thinking how did Mal ever get into the business of entering people's dreams? She was certainly never on one of Cobb's previous teams. CB says that she and Cobb entered into it together for experimental purposes, perhaps seeking a better life than what they had in reality. That thought crossed my mind so I could certainly buy into that.

On this same track I wondered about their escape from limbo. At one point Cobb explains to Ariadne that the only way out of limbo is to realize your world is not real and then kill yourself. He goes on to describe how he convinced Mal to join him on the train tracks so they could snap back into reality. Later, Cobb is telling Mal (in "limbo") that they both grew old together during their previous visit to the unknown. Both of these scenarios can't be true right? Was Cobb lying to Mal in dream level four and in essence lying to his own subconscious? Or perhaps Cobb was delusional and his memory of what happened was completely off?

I also wondered why, if they could save Fischer after being shot by Mal in dream level three, they couldn't also save Saito in dream level one the same way (defibrillator). One of the readers on the site explains that Saito is shot on level one and could only be resuscitated on that level. Ariadne throwing Fischer off the ledge in level four was apparently enough to kick him back into level three, where Eames was able to bring him back to "life".

The site suggests that level four is Cobb's limbo as opposed to Cobb's dream as started in level three. I thought this was just another dream level and that Cobb went into limbo either because he died from Mal's stab wound or because he wasn't saved from the van as it went under water. The idea of limbo is confounding to say the least--all we know for certain is that Cobb went into it towards the film's end to save Saito who had "died" in level three.

Of course the big question is whether or not that top keeps spinning at the end. It wobbles but does not fall. Obviously Nolan left this open-ended for discussion. People bring up the same points on every site I looked over. The children look the same, are in the same position doing the same thing, and wearing the same clothes as they were in Cobb's dreams. Coincidence? Or is Cobb still dreaming? Perhaps he's remained in limbo this entire time? I think the way to answer this question is to get a better understanding of the narrative first. Once I understand everything that comes before I may understand where we are in the end.

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