Category Archives: Inception

Inception After Multiple Viewings (1 of 2)

First, you should not read this if you have never seen Inception because I’m going to ruin it for you.  And second yes, I’ve seen the movie several times but I am still not 100% sure what is going on, so please correct me if you think I’ve got something wrong or add on to what I’m saying if you think I missed something.

As always, you’re not going to make me feel stupid, because I already do.

Okay, so all I want to do is lay out my understanding of what happened in this movie, and see if I’ve got it straight.  I can’t really recall my exact feelings about the movie when I posted about it the first time I saw it, but I can tell you that the more I watch it, the better it gets.  I think it’s probably my favorite movie of this year.

Okay, so when the movie opens, they are in Saito’s mind.  They’re in a dream which is being dreamt inside another dream, which is being dreamt on a plane.  I am not sure whose dream it is, but I think it’s Cobb’s dream, built by his architect to first resemble Saito’s swank mistress pad, where they then enter Saito’s mind, to another architect-constructed dream set at a party.

Cobb’s projection of his own dead wife keeps showing up in whatever dream he’s in, because she’s trying to drag him back down to limbo.  Cobb gets into Saito’s safe and switches the envelopes just before Saito comes in, so he still manages to read and retain the information before they drop him in the water at the sweet mistress pad, where he’s dreaming.

Cobb’s projection of his dead wife is angry at him because Cobb knows that she has every reason to be angry.  That’s because he screwed with her head in the past, using his dream skills, and she ended up killing herself as a result.  That’s how Cobb knows that inception is possible, because he did it on his own wife and then she killed herself.

When they wake up on the plane, Saito knows that Cobb was in his dream, because Saito hired Cobb himself as a test.  He wanted to see if Cobb was skilled enough to steal the information from Saito’s own dream, because if he was that skilled, then Saito wanted Cobb to incept an idea into a young, billionaire’s heir.

Saito grabs Cobb’s architect, figures out how to get to Cobb, and proposes the idea.  Cobb decides to do it, despite what happened last time, because Saito might be able to clear Cobb’s name.

We find out later that the reason Cobb needs his name cleared is that his wife believed reality was a dream.  She got this idea because her and Cobb were trapped in limbo for about fifty years, and she lost her grip, decided to hide her own totem away so she could forget she was dreaming.  The fact that everything was a dream was driving her crazy, so she chose to forget that everything was a dream.

Eventually, when it was time to wake up, she didn’t want to go.  She didn’t believe that she was in a dream anymore.  So Cobb used his dream skills and incepted the idea into her mind that she was living in a dream.  He thought he was doing her a favor, because she really was living in a dream.   Once he convinced her, they put their heads on some dream tracks, and killed themselves together in the dream world, and woke up in the room they’d been asleep in for the last few hours in the real world.

Once she was awake, she still had the same idea in her head that he’d incepted in limbo.  It was the same idea, she believed it just as strongly as she had before, except it wasn’t true anymore.  She understood that Cobb would have a hard time believing it, so she set him up for her murder, had herself declared sane by several doctors, wrote a letter and filed it with her attorney saying he’d threatened her, then she trashed her hotel room and got on the ledge.

She did all that because she needed Cobb to have nothing left to lose.  She knew he’d never leave his children, so she took them away.  Because of the idea he’d incepted into her mind, she believed that she was freeing him from a dream prison.

Cobb couldn’t convince her that she was in reality, and she jumped.  I think you could probably argue either way, in terms of which one of them was right, but I think it was Cobb.  Otherwise, it seems to me the movie isn’t grounded in anything. 

So then Cobb has to leave the country before he gets charged with murder.  His attorney gives him a ticket and he goes on the run.  He begins using his dream skills to steal information from the minds of powerful people.

Anyway, that’s all in the past.  Cobb needs a new architect because he can’t trust the one Saito got to anymore (that guy also screwed up the carpet in the mistress pad), and so he goes to talk to the Professor, who refers him to Ariadne.  It’s then through Ariadne that we as an audience learn the rules of the dream universes and the tragedy in Cobb’s past that led to the hostile projection of Mal.

So in that sense, it’s a very standard-formula heist flick – a skilled thief wishes he could get out of the business but he can’t, unless he pulls off one last, spectacular job.  But there’s nothing standard about the heist itself.

(I’ll have the rest of this up later tonight or in the morning and I’ll link to it right here)


Posted by on December 16, 2010 in Inception, Television/Movies


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Inception After Multiple Viewings (2 of 2)

(This post is continued from yesterday’s post, right here and please know that there are spoilers galore ahead)

So when they go after Fischer to incept the idea in his head that he should break up his father’s empire as Saito wants, they all get on the same plane he’s on, and Cobb slips him a mickey, and then Fischer goes to sleep and they they all enter level one of the dream that Ariadne the Architect has put together.

But it turns out Fischer has been trained to resist dream crimes, so his projections are militarized, meaning they attack faster and they are more efficient.  And by the time they realize that, they also realize what Cobb already knew – that in order to do three levels, a dream within a dream within a dream, they had to use such a powerful sedative that dying won’t wake them up anymore.

Dying instead will land them in limbo.  This is when we first find out what limbo is and that Cobb has been there.  We realize that if they get killed now, they’ll live many decades trapped in a dream, all while still riding an airplane for maybe eight hours.

So they all get loaded up in the van, and Eames is the driver, and it’s very hastily explained that he’s going to drive the van off a bridge into the river, in order to provide a “drop.”  The sensation of falling, it turns out, translates into the dream world in the same way music does.  So the best way to bring them out of a dream is to drop them – at the beginning of the movie it was into a bathtub.

The sedatives are specific – they don’t affect the sensations in the inner ear, so falling will still wake them up like normal. 

They flee the militarized projections and hole up in a warehouse for a while, and then convince Fischer that he’s been kidnapped and that they want information about his father’s safe.  One of the dreamer’s uses a dream trick of some sort to impersonate Fischer’s uncle, and directly suggest to him that in his father’s safe is a will which Fischer could execute, which would break up his father’s empire.

This is part of their inception plan – on the first level they tell him directly, then they get him into the second level where his subconscious should alrealdy start playing with the idea.

So they all go into another dream, this one in a hotel, in which Cobb goes and confronts Fischer, and tells him that his dreams are under attack by dream thieves.  The same guy posing as the uncle convinces him that he was in on the kidnapping, and then Cobb convinces Fischer that they have to go into his uncle’s mind to find out what he knows.

So the third level is full of craziness.  Fischer believes he’s going into his uncle’s dream but it’s really an impersonater, and what they want him to do is believe that he’s found in the safe what he’s always wanted to find – the love and approval of his father.  And attached to that idea is that his father wanted him to be his own man, and break up the company rather than following directly in his father’s footsteps.

Meanwhile, the van goes off the bridge but they aren’t able to finish what they need to do on the third level, so they have to wait until it hits the water.  That’s a few minutes on level two, and about twenty minutes on level three.

On level two, a new problem develops because the van is in freefall, so the gravity in that dream is gone.  Everybody is floating around as their inner ears detect that they are falling, but they aren’t in those dream bodies to feel it, they’re in the third level dream bodies.  So Arthur has to figure out a way to drop them in their hotel rooms, when everything is floating around without gravity.

His solution is cool and brilliant and he has to fight two guys in zero gravity while he’s at it.  All the while, the dreamers are on level three shooting people right and left, waiting for Fischer to get to the safe and realize what he needs to realize.

When Fischer gets shot, they follow him down to limbo, and frankly, I’m not sure why they are able to leave limbo by killing themselves, which is what they keep doing.  I’m sure they explained it to me, but I thought limbo meant that wouldn’t work.

Anyway, so they bring back Fischer, he does what he needs to do, while Cobb lets go of his guilt, manifested by the hostile projection of Mal.  Then Arthur drops them using explosives and an elevator and a bunch of phone cords, and then the van hits the water, and everyone except Cobb wakes up.

Then later, they all appear to wake up on the plane, but that’s the real question.  Is that Cobb waking up, or is that Cobb in limbo, living out a reality in which he gets to see his kids again and be normal again.  The spinning totem at the end leaves it up to us to decide if it was about to stop spinning, or if this is all still a dream.

I think those are the basic facts.  I am shocked by the holes I still have left in what I understand about this movie, so I’ll be watching it again soon and trying again.  Any patchwork would be greatly appreciated.


Posted by on December 16, 2010 in Inception, Television/Movies


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