Inception Ending Explained

Published 4 years ago by , Updated June 2nd, 2012 at 7:16 pm,

inception explanation spoilers Inception Ending Explained

While we have an Inception review where you can leave comments, we’ve set up this page as a place where you can discuss the Inception ending and other spoilers without worrying about ruining the movie for folks who haven’t seen it yet.

To help steer discussion we’ve added a lengthy analysis of Inception (especially the ending) and explained why our analysis of the film fits with the story Christopher Nolan intended to tell.

Does our Inception explanation match your theory? Find out!

Many people walked away from Inception impressed. Some were confused, some were even feeling like they had their brains woken by the most exciting and thought-provoking movie experience to come along all year.

I realize that most people who saw Inception have already made up their minds about what they perceived the film to be (and Nolan will undoubtedly be proud of that). However, for those of you still looking for an Inception explanation, we like to offer a few thoughts.

We’ve organized things by category for you, in case you’re more interested in one facet of the film than another. If you want to read about specific points you can follow the links below:

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The Rules

Inception production still 4 Inception Ending Explained

So, the first thing to talk about are the rules of the dream world Nolan created for the film. With all the action that happened onscreen, it was easy to forget some of the finer details – but once the lights came up, and people had time to think, I know the question of who was dreaming which dreams certainly came up (among others questions as well).

Remember the basic premise: Cobb (the extractor) and his team are con artists, and like any con artists their job is to construct a false reality and manipulate it in order to confuse and/or fool a mark (in this case industrialist Robert Fischer, played by Cillian Murphy). Nolan takes the classic concept of a con man a step further by making Cobb and his team dream thieves, but in the end, the basic concept is still your classic con/heist movie.

Dream Levels and Dream Time

Nolan throws a lot of fancy math at you but it’s all really inconsequential. All you need to really know are the basic concepts:

The dream within a dream process puts you into a deeper state of dreaming. The deeper you go, the further removed your mind is from reality. We all know what that’s like: the deeper you sleep, the harder it is to be woken up and the more vivid and real-feeling a dream becomes. If you’re in a deep enough sleep, not even the usual physical ques to wake up effect you, such as the sensation of falling (“the kick”) or even, say, having to go to the bathroom.

Inception production still 3 Inception Ending Explained

By the time you reach the Limbo state it can be so difficult to wake, and the dream can feel so vividly real, that the mind stops trying to wake at all – the mind accepts the dream as its reality, like slipping into a coma.

When you wake up in Limbo you don’t remember that there is such a thing as a “real world” – as in any dream, you wake up in the middle of  a scene and simply accept it for what it is. Breaking yourself out of this cycle is extremely difficult, which is why Cobb and his wife Mal were trapped in Limbo for what seemed like decades.

Time is the other factor. The deeper you go into a dream state, the faster your mind is able to imagine and perceive things within that dream state. We’re told the increase is exponential, so going deeper into dreams turns minutes into hours, into days, into years. This is why Cobb and his team are able to pull off the Fischer job while the van is still falling through the air, before the soldiers break into the snow fortress, before Arthur rigs the elevator, and all within the span of a flight from Sydney Australia to LA.

Inception DiCaprio Murphy on plane Inception Ending Explained

In Limbo, the mind works so fast that actual minutes can be interpreted as years gone by. When Saito “dies” from the gunshot wound he received on level 1 of the dream, his mind falls into Limbo, and Saito remains there for the minutes it takes Cobb and Ariadne (Ellen Page) to follow him into Limbo – those minutes in one dream state feel like decades to Saito in his Limbo state.  By the time Cobb deals with expelling Mal’s “shadow” from his subconscious, Saito has begun to perceive himself as an old man.

Mal’s shadow stabs Cobb during the film’s climax, which throws Cobb back out into Limbo and onto the shores of Saito’s limbo house. When Cobb has to “wake” again in Limbo, his mind is muddled just like old man Saito’s brain. Through Saito’s memory of Cobb’s totem and some shared dialogue that included key trigger phrases – “Leap of faith,” “Old man full of regret, waiting to die alone,” etc. – Cobb and Saito are able to remember the meaningful conversations they had and that there is a reality they existed in before Limbo, where both of them had deep desires still waiting to be fulfilled (Cobb and his kids, Saito and his business). Once they remember that limbo is limbo,  they are able to wake themselves up (likely with a gunshot to the head).

Continue to the characters and their functions…

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TAGS: inception

7,884 Comments - Comments are closed.

  1. One thing I noticed was that Saito held Cobb’s totem while in Limbo. I would imagine that, would have an effect upon the outcome of the movie.

    • Dont forget that Saito touched the totem in a dream, where it held a special property. And that special property helped Cobb to remember what was real and what was a dream.

      • In a dream it is a made up thing. Just like everything else in a dream. There is no indication that the top held a special property (in the dream).

        The wording is MAL could make it spin forever. Other then that nothing was eluded or hinted that it had special properties (in a dream).

        OUTSIDE of the dream a totem has a special property that only the holder knows. If someone picks it up in a dream the assumption by that person is it is just a “regular item” so that is what they perceive it to be.

        So if Saito picks up Arthurs die and rolls it, it will ACT like a regular die as that is what the DREAMER EXPECTS it to do. If Saito picks up the TOP the dreamer only dreams regular top as the dreamer does not know the properties.

        Only the owner truly knows how it should react/feel.

        However If you could point out how it made you think it had special properties in a dream I would like to know so I could check it out because that goes against everything a totem is.

        (I may be absent for a bit again… new job is a pain… How ya been Ty?)

  2. nerds!

    • I’ll forever prefer to be a nerd than an ignorant sheep!

  3. in limbo, saito takes cobb’s totem…

    • It is in limbo, and not reality. The special property of the top, an idea planted by Cobb, remains in Cobb’s mind. He sees the top spin and spin on the table and realizes that he is still dreaming.

  4. <> lol… thats what crazy people think

  5. Come on.

    Its easily understood when you accept the single most obvious fact that the movie is set in in the present time – with current technology and yet these are guys that can hijack and manipulate the dreams of people using what amounts to a heartrate monitor and a shot of saline.

    Its all a dream. There isn’t any logical construction for _any_ of the film since its not really happening.

    The real ending is Di Caprio waking up at 7.23am, getting out of bed, having a shower, eating a slice of toast before spending 25 minutes on a bus getting to his job at Walmart to manage the housewares section.

    • I will, of course, assume you are simply trying be funny…otherwise, whoa nelly!

    • …I like that……A true Realist and Logician.

      • Of course it is not_really_happenning.

        ==> It is fiction.

  6. Great movie but it was just a dream. When Cobb tested Yusuf “the Chemist” drug we never know if Cobb really woke up from the dream. That is because Saito interrupted Cobb before Cobb could spin his totem in the bathroom, which fell on the floor and was never spun. So the entire movie was a dream.

    So what are dreams? I like to think of them as answers to questions we don’t know how to ask.

    • It is the stick with no end, the infinite staircase, the reflected reflection. ‘Traversing’ the abyss; surely more intimate than ‘gazing’.

      A man who enters limbo may never be certain he has returned from his subconscious mind, especially a subconscious mind with a tendency toward deception.

      There is no test for this. A totem may inform an owner if the “world” they are experiencing is a dream, and nothing else.

      So is he in reality at the end of the film? or is his mind just playing tricks? like Cobb, we can never truly be sure. If we knew the spinning top kept spinning at the end, we would know that Cobb was still dreaming. On the other hand, if we knew the top falls over at the end, this would prove nothing, but leave us with two equally probable possibilities (even more the equal in Cobb’s case!)
      Possibility 1 – Yes, this may be reality!
      Possibility 2 – Hello, deceptive subconscious mind, we meet again. Stop messing with my totem!

      • In essence, beware the totem false negative!

        • Cobb’s subconscious mind would know the spinning top’s secret, I think we are pretty safe to assume.

          The part of Cobb’s subconscious mind, represented by the projection of Mal, is for lack of a better term ‘invading him’, and it’s a mind just riddled with ideas of inceptions and how to go about using a totem to change a persons perceptions of reality. If you were Cobb, wouldn’t you be concerned upon leaving Limbo, that you had truly left?

          And that is the kicker, Nolan never permits us to see Cobb critically analyze his environment upon returning from limbo. Not when he returned the first time round with Mal, nor upon his return from limbo with Saito at the end of the film. Why does a man who has lived in his subconscious not question whether or not he has ever truly left? especially a man like Cobb? Why is he so quick to accept?

          And why does Nolan brush over this with such obviousness. An important piece of Cobb’s story arc, imo, that was intentionally left out of the box. The cut to black robbing us of exactly this moment. .. or more so, denying us the same moment that Cobb denies himself, as he turns his back on the top and walks away.

          It is important that Cobb doesn’t care enough to await the result, it tells us he has already accepted these children for real, feeling no need to wait for the imminent validation. Is he a fool, going on gut instinct alone? Or does he know something we do not?

          To me, Cobb too easily accepts that he is home, which to me would suggest a mind beguiled, robbed of it’s logical response to critical reasoning.

          A limbo walker who does not doubt his return must be either arrogant or a fool, or an arrogant fool. Cobb ain’t thinking straight? He has to check the totem to know that the kids he is about to hug are actually real, but he doesn’t. ?? What up Cobb? What up Nolan? How we meant to know what’s what now? And what does ambiguity mean anyway?

    • Damn Right, did not think about that possibility :)

  7. what i want to know is, HOW did cobb and saito get back to reality by killing themselves down in limbo? they were under heavy sedation, and said themselves that dying will not wake them up or bring them back to the real world. i feel like no one has mentioned this before. was there some kind of kick that was talked about?

    • Once they both remembered they were in Limbo, Cobb (being experienced in such matters) figured the sedative had had time to wear off. They shot themselves and woke up. The “leap of faith” was that neither of them could know with absolute certainty that the sedative HAD worn off.

      • Excellent comment, Archaeon.

        Do you think Cobb would be able to accurately gauge the procession of time from his perspective in limbo though?

        And for that matter, the time ratio from baseline_reality:limbo is never specifically discussed. We can only assume that limbo operates at the same 1:12 ratio as nested dreamshare levels?

        Heres a break down of the Inception time ratios for those interested.

        http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101225210149AAnVLS3

        • I think it’s more so the kicks that one dreaming must rely on in order to gauge the procession of outside time from their current POV.

          • I think, Sambo, that Cobb was ultimately able to guess (with a fair amount of experiential certainty) that the sedative had had enough time to wear off so he and Saito would be able to wake up by shooting themselves. Of, course, none of us know with absolute certainty…

            • Certainly, no absolutes, agreed.

  8. I LOVE HOW THIS STAY’S ON THE MOST POPULAR LIST

  9. I would like to present my answer to the question whether Cobb was still dreaming:
    Lets assume that he was still dreaming then it itself justifies that he and any of all other characters can’t be the original “Dreamer” in reality since all of them (including Mal) travelled further levels of dreams in the movie. So they can be only sharing the dream of some other person. Hence we can safely assume that it wasn’t a dream in the end.

    • I can’t follow you.

      Let me tell you about a dream I had last night. I dreamed that my dad had a car accident. Then I woke up and told my mom about it. I then got in my dad’s car and he drove around but the traffic was so bad I told my dad I would walk the rest of the way home. Then I remembered the dream I had had. My dad had the accident I saw in the dream. I told my mom that the dream was a premonition. Then I woke up. I spent a while thinking about this dream I had just had, replaying it in my head. Then I woke up for real.

      This is normal. People “wake up” in dreams and don’t realize they are still dreaming. Nolan based his script on this. In the end, Cobb could still be dreaming. The whole movie could be a dream.

      • Everything I said was said in the context of the movie. As is explained on screenrant.com itself in “The Dreamer” section–>” Once the tri-level dream sequence starts, one good way to keep track of the dreamers is by noticing which team member stays awake and doesn’t follow the team down to the next level of dreaming – a dreamer can’t enter a lower dream state, otherwise their level of the dream would end.”, and hence if we assume that the movie was a dream all together it can’t be the dream of any one who traveled to further levels of dreams depicted in the movie because that would violate the sole condition of one being a “dreamer”. This argument also applies for Mal because she and Cobb are shown as building their own world in dreams.
        So all of them can only be sharing dream of another person who need not be identified because it is irrelevant since we only care about Mal, Cobb etc. being dreaming or not.

        P.S.–In real life too, I don’t know about others, but I have never dreamt within a dream nor have I heard of someone who has done this.

        • “I have never dreamt within a dream nor have I heard of someone who has done this.”

          You have now. It’s happened to me many times and I’m not the only one.

          • Same here, happens quite often actually. But Lucid dreaming is the coolest thing ever. I have them often too, where I can control the environments, but the really funny part is that I always treat those dreams as reality. The last one I had last night, I was melting houses everywhere like in a Salvador Dali painting, and I was showing off my powers to my friends. And they all screamed “omg its just like a dream!” :D

            I will remember these dreams more than anything else in reality.

            • I haven’t had a lucid dream for a while. I used to be able to fly around. Melting buildings sounds like something inspired by Inception.

              That reminds me: there is a new music video by the Taiwanese singer Elva called “Missing Heartbeat” in which she is unconscious on a gurney and being tended to by doctors and she starts to dream that she’s dancing and the buildings around her start to crumble. It’s obviously a homage of Inception.

              Here it is.

            • That actually happens to me all the time. It feels horrible when you wake up for real. I really like those dreams where you can control almost everything in the dream, kind of like telling a story, I actually had one where I didn’t like what happened and I sort of rewinded everything and did it differently. I also dream im waking up from a dream, and then I wake up again until I wake up for real.

              • I hope someday there will come designer escapism drugs for taking before sleep ;)

                • I hope not. Otherwise, no one would ever, ever wake up. We’d die in our sleep living other lives.

                  • When I die, I wanna die in my sleep.

              • “I really like those dreams where you can control almost everything in the dream,”

                Technically you are always in control of your dream even if you don’t know you are dreaming.

                “kind of like telling a story, I actually had one where I didn’t like what happened and I sort of rewinded everything and did it differently.”

                This is very common. When people have recurring dreams it is unlikely that they have the exact same dream everytime as if they were watching a movie.

                I have the same experience when I am trying to read something in a dream: the words on the page keep changing so when I try to reread something to make sense of it I can’t because it is different everytime.

                I used to keep a dream diary. Thing is, when we are dreaimg we often see random images and then later when we are awake we construct a narrative to make sense of what we saw. It is a very creative process.

                • Those in dream reality checks does not work for my dreams. During the dream when I used super powers and melted houses, I reality checked myself several times with text and numbers. And every time I looked back at them, the text and numbers never changed. So that in itself of course gives my wild and vivid, and lucid dreams an even greater sense of reality. I am lucid, but treating it as reality. Its the perfect escape :)

            • @tykjen sorry to break it to ya, but you’ve been in limbo for more than a year now, stuck in this comment section :D

              • That year has totally felt like 20 so far ;) I cant break free!

                • I’ll sleep when I’m dead, but while I’m alive, I’ll never stop dreaming!

  10. Ok i dont think anyone has said anything about it but the first scene with cobbs father where is meantions he is being chased by corporations and that the archetict he has is as good as cobb once was What if the whole movie and the title inception is about his father attempting inception on Cobb to get him to get off mol s death and be able to accept the fact and be happy seeing his kids. what if the Real cobb is in some type place he cant escape such a mental asylum and this is his fathers attempt to bring him back the scene at the end with his father walking away smiling is just a huge give away to me and him at the airport and even the scene at the university. His father had to make up an elaborate scheme to be able to try inception on Cobb he even asks if siato is powerful enough to get him back to the states and cobb says yes and his father almost looks on with a satisfaction. Thats just my two cents on it but what if all the characters are projections of cobbs own broken mind and different parts of his personality. Its like the girl he meets is leading him through everything purposely pushing him into a corner in order to accept what happened and move on.

  11. I dont know if anyone has mentioned this before, but they clearlyu state cobb cant dream anymore. Therefore Cobb needs to to be put into the state in order to dream, Also the fact that the machine has a time limit therefore once the timer runs out Cobb cant dream and he would awaken. With everyone awake and accounted for, it is indeed reality. Yes the kids look the same, but has anyone thought that becuase hes close with his dad he would see pictures of his kids?? I mean what parent doesnt have a picture of their kids. So so when cobb thinks of memories of his kids he sees them as the most recent age of the pictures. Just because it wasnt shown in the movie doesnt mean it didnt happen. There are some points to be made to say he is dreaming, but thats the point.

  12. Why isn’t the Point Man mentioned???????????

    • Because he was the strong silent type that just did what Cobb told him to, and never investigated Cobb’s problems. The Point Man is a nice archetype for Cobb’s behavior towards Ariadne, he tries to be the strong silent type but Ariadne “keeps pushing and pushing” and eventually opens Cobb up.

  13. I did believe Cobb was in a dream from looking at the film. The reason is after he supposedly came out of the dream state after meeting the cemmest and was put under I thought he didn’t actually wake up, because after that point you never actually saw the toddem fall. When he’s at the sink wetting his face he trys to spin it to check but it falls off. Plus the same window from his and mals hotel room was in the bathroom. But when I actually understood the rules of inception and dream levels, limbo is as far down as you can go and Cobb and saito realized it was a dream and shot the selfs which would send them all the way back up to reality. So yes Cobb did get to see his kids thankfully.

    • Cobb picked up the toddem from the floor, toppled. Saito saw it for a second, and later in Limbo he remembered it.

  14. Cobb did see his kids, if him and saito shot themselfs then they would come back to reality. But at the point when he’s wetting his face in the bathroom after the chemist put him under you question if that’s when the dream started to be reality because you never see the toddem fall after that from spinning and the window in that scene.

  15. Cobb did see his kids, if him and saito shot themselfs then they would come back to reality. But at the point when he’s wetting his face in the bathroom after the chemist put him under you question if that’s when the dream started to be reality because you never see the toddem fall after that from spinning.

  16. “Is our “reality” real or constructed by someone else?”

    This is where “advaita” comes in :)

  17. Let’s not forget (in case is hasn’t been mentioned, since I haven’t read every comment yet) that in dreams you “appear” in your scene without recollection of getting there. There is a fairly detailed account of leaving the plane, getting the baggage, being picked up and getting to his house.

    • Don’t forget that the ambiguity at the end of the movie was deliberate. Having Cobb “wake up” at home instead of on the plane would have seemed less real. Nevertheless, the whole process of getting off the plane seems dreamlike to me: there is no dialogue right up until the end when the kids call out to Cobb; and when did Cobb call Miles and tell him to meet him at the airport? Granted, they need not show everything but I thought he was still in Paris. That was a big clue to me the first time I watched it that he was still dreaming and I didn’t even notice the spinning top.

    • I’d say it’s real only because if it wasn’t, Mal would still show up. Yes, he pushed past the feelings but you can’t keep the projections out forever and if he is dreaming she would know the whole layout. Besides, if you shoot yourself like it’s assumed Saito and Cobb did to escape limbo, then you’d instantly wake up back in reality.

      • I like your logic.

        • But remember… if the sedative hasn’t worn off, shooting themselves wouldn’t wake them up, they’d still be in limbo.

          • And I’d also make the argument for the against, that the reason the projection of Mal (read Cobb’s subconscious mind) doesn’t show up is because she is trying to trick him into thinking that he is back in reality, to ensnare him forever, and this is her ruse.

  18. The ending of the movie, when he rejects his negative “shadow” of Mal(his guilt over her death)is part of his reconciliation, his catharsis towards letting go of the past. He speaks of this earlier in the movie when the team is working out the levels of Fischer’s inception. Eames says they should plant a negative thought (“I will break up my father’s company” as a f*** you to the old man)and Cobb says, no, a positive emotional thought always trumps a negative one because every one desires reconciliation and catharsis. Cobb desires freedon from his guilt so he can leave the past behind and move forward to be with his children. Mal=guilty past, children=hope of a loving future. When he leaves her and goes to limbo to get Saito he is reaching ddeply for his salvation, for that is what Saito represents. he comes right out and says that his projection of Mal is seriously flawed and not like the real Mal he loved when she was alive(“you’re not good enough” he says to his projection of her). This realization is what allows him to let go of his guilt and move on. When he spins the top at the end of the movie and walks away not caring to wait to see if it topples or not, this is the reconciliation in the “real world”. His moving on and embracing the reality of his children who have been waiting for him to be present as their father is him finally coming “home.” That is his happiness and the reality he had yearned for during the rest of the film.

  19. What if its deja vu that Cobb is seeing in the end when he sees his kids. like anyone who has had deja vu, you know you have seen it before or dreamnt it. so the movie inception might of not been showing the deja vu but the part dream, when his kids were running, that would generate Cobbs deja vu.

  20. this is all but a dream of mine! behold the power of the dreamer! you guys are nothing but projections! muawahahahaha

    wait, am i on the sixth or seventh level? sh*t, if i can’t remember which level i’m in, i’m f*cked.

  21. What did it mean when Cobb set the totem spinning in the safe then closed it and locked it? Did that mean the seed planted in Mal’s brain would be locked away forever
    and continue to spin uninteruppted?

    • Mal accepts limbo as real. She used to make the totem spin continually in her and Cobb’s past dreamshare experiences. She locks away the totem in a safe so as to not remind herself she is in limbo anymore, she wants limbo to be her reality.

      Mal and Cobb grow old together in limbo. Cobb wants his wife to wake up now and return to the real world, but Mal believes she is already in the real world. Cobb makes the top continually spin and plants it back in the safe without Mal’s knowledge. Mal finds it that way, and finally begins to confront the truth that they are dreaming. The elderley Cobb and Mal lay down on the train tracks, to be killed in order to wake up.

  22. Sir Michael Caine explained the end is real.

    • The guy who held the boom mic throughout the shoot explained the end was a dream.

  23. There IS a ton of theories, not there ARE a ton of theories.

    • Are you seriously correcting some1 online? So are you gonna correct me and say ” Someone, not some1″… Thats pathetic. U must really think ur so great :)

    • Actually, no. “There are a ton of theories” means the same thing as “There are a lot of theories”. Do you say “There is a lot of theories”? That’s obviously wrong.

      Seriously, do you think we are putting all of our theories on a scale and weighing them to a ton? “A ton of” here means “a large number of”. You could just as easily say “There are tons/lots of theories”.

      • Martin…

        Actually, grammatically, Arturo IS correct (“is…a ton” or “are…tons”). Singular subject only works with singular verb, plural subject only with with plural verb.

        I DO, however, agree with Avatar that it’s silly to criticize a total stranger online about a grammar flub…It’s just pointless.

        • No, he’s wrong. Do you say “There is a lot of people” or “There are a lot of people”?

          • No, he REALLY is right. Grammatically, you’d say “IS a lot”. You would have to say “are lots” or “are many”. There should always be subject-verb agreement. Now, does that SOUND as “right”? No. Most people, unless they’re writing an essay, will likely say “are a lot”…but they are grammatically wrong. “A lot” is a singular unit; thus it counts as one. The “of people” is part of a prepositional phrase, thus irrelavent to the structure of the sentence…at least in terms of verb choice. Also, “lot” here or “ton” in the above example are preceded by the SINGULAR article “a”. “Lots” and “tons” would not be.

            Seriously though, this whole discussion is just silly.

            • Correct grammar isn’t silly.

              If I say “I have a million dollars” is “a million dollars” singular or plural? Just because you say _a_ million doesn’t make it singular so you can’t argue that _a_ lot or _a_ ton is singular. People use it interchangeably with lots and tons with no difference in meaning implied. There ARE literally a million ways to prove you wrong here.

              • Correct grammar is not silly; correcting grammar on a movie discussion website definitely IS silly.

                You are not proving, and will not prove, me wrong. I know how English grammar works. I TEACH it.

                “A lot” and “a ton” count as units (as wholes), so the correct verb MUST be (and, in fact, IS) singular. “Lots” and “tons” count as multiples (many individual units), so the correct verb is plural.

                The confusion comes from the fact that English often breaks its own grammatical rules, BUT there ARE rules. “A” in front of a word does NOT always mean the singular verb, for example.

                ex. A few birds FLY (plural) overhead.
                A bird FLIES (singular) overhead.

                ex. A ton of statuary WAS (singular) lost in the flood.
                A ton of paintings WAS (singular) lost in the fire.
                Tons of weavings WERE (plural) lost in the robbery.

                “A lot” and “a ton” require a singular verb. “Lots” and “tons” and “a couple” and “a number” and “a few” require a plural verb.

                I can’t simplify it any more than I have already and above.

                Seriously, can we just get back to the film and off this (now) absurd-for-this-forum topic? PLEASE…?

  24. It really doesn’t matter if Cobbs is still dreaming or not. The fact that matters is that Cobb was happy for being home with his kids! (He wasn’t even looking at his totem – will it fall or keep spinning – he just went to hug his children) So regardless if it is a “dream world” or the “real world” for Cobbs its the real thing! And I think that is very emotionally and beautiful.

    • You do realize if it is still a dream, then Cobb is abandoning his real children in favor of a pair of dream children. I think the question is pertinent.

      • Good point, Sambo, but who says he would be abandoning his real children forever? Maybe now that he has released his burden of guilt he is able to see his children’s faces for the first time. Why wouldn’t he want to, even in a dream? It doesn’t have to be forever. He could be thinking that he will just give them a hug and share a happy moment, then go back to check on his totem.

        Personally I believe that the missing ring theory and the children appearing slightly older in slightly different clothes make for a happy ending!

        • Good point

  25. few people clue into the largest question about dreaming or not.
    When Saito, The forger and Cobb were at the Chemist’s place and Cobbb spun his top after testing the chemicals Saito interupts Cobb and the top is destrubed. From that point on everything could then be Cobb in a dream state.

  26. Michael Cain is not Cobb’s father, he is his father in-law. I was really digging what you were writing until I noticed this mistake. If you didn’t notice this, how can you claim to have paid attention to all the other detail?

  27. Just a question: When Cobb takes Ariadne into her ‘basic training’ when she manipulates the dream world for the first time, where was his kick to wake up. Ariadne’s is clear, Mal stabs her. But after that, the cast talks about how people wake up from these dreams and it is mentioned that there was still time left on the device.

    Why did Cobb wake up at the same time as Ariadne if he did not die, and if there was no kick?

  28. I see you have missed one explantion of the ending out! We are told that if it stops spinning then it is reality, that idea is planted in our heads like inception! So if you run this course even if the totem falls over and stops spinning it can still be a dream. The film accomplashes its own story by planting a thought in your head making you think that when the totem stops spinning we are seeing reality. Are we??

    • Christopher Nolan is alone knowing the truth about Inception. That makes it his real life totem ;)

  29. He was still in limbo. If you didn’t notice, his kids were still the same age when the movie first started and when he thinks he’s out, they were the same age.

    • @ Josh T. lmao…they were not the same age! watch the movie carefully. They were also wearing different clothes. And also watch the credits. you will see 2 different names for each of Cobbs kids.

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