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  1. #1
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    Inception discussion thread (with spoilers)

    So... I have one question.

    Did the top fall?

    I say fall... my wife says it spun and spun forever.

    --Jason "what a fun flick!" Evans
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  2. #2
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    I want to say it doesn't fall because it adds another layer to the movie. When it cut to black the reaction in our theater was awesome.

    If you want to read a funny review. Read Kurt Loder's on MTV.com. I don't think Inception is perfect but I don't know if Loder really understood the movie.

  3. #3
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    I think it definitely fell. It was certainly starting to wobble, and at no other time (in a dream) did that happen - there it spun and spun and spun.

    And if it all was just a dream, then it wouldn't make sense. He would be creating these scenarios just for fun - and the guilt over his wife killing herself because of his idea wouldn't be real (because she would still be alive).

    By the way - overall I really liked the movie. I mean really. It kept me engrossed the entire time, and it had nice twists, amazing special effects and wonderful acting. But there were problems. Most notably:

    1) It never explained how everyone actually entered into the dreams. Were they all connected together, was it biology, brain waves, etc. Guess you just have to assume that part.

    2) On the flight from LA - how did they actually wake back up?

    3) How did the Asian man know what they were doing?

    4) Who were the people trying to kill Leonardo (the ones who put the price on his head)?

    5) And the biggest - was the messed up timeline. At one point, after the van backs off the bridge, Leonardo says that the guy in the hotel has about 3 minutes (or something like that), and in that time he fights two bad guys, ties all the people up, takes them down and puts them in the elevator, sets the charges and blows them up. Sorry, but that's more like 15 minutes.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Udaman View Post
    I think it definitely fell. It was certainly starting to wobble, and at no other time (in a dream) did that happen - there it spun and spun and spun.

    And if it all was just a dream, then it wouldn't make sense. He would be creating these scenarios just for fun - and the guilt over his wife killing herself because of his idea wouldn't be real (because she would still be alive).

    By the way - overall I really liked the movie. I mean really. It kept me engrossed the entire time, and it had nice twists, amazing special effects and wonderful acting. But there were problems. Most notably:

    1) It never explained how everyone actually entered into the dreams. Were they all connected together, was it biology, brain waves, etc. Guess you just have to assume that part.

    2) On the flight from LA - how did they actually wake back up?

    3) How did the Asian man know what they were doing?

    4) Who were the people trying to kill Leonardo (the ones who put the price on his head)?

    5) And the biggest - was the messed up timeline. At one point, after the van backs off the bridge, Leonardo says that the guy in the hotel has about 3 minutes (or something like that), and in that time he fights two bad guys, ties all the people up, takes them down and puts them in the elevator, sets the charges and blows them up. Sorry, but that's more like 15 minutes.
    I can try and answer a couple.

    1) The briefcases connected all of them. When they pushed that white button they would be put in the dream together.

    2) The chemist put them under for 10 hours. Once the time was up they awoke on the plane.

    3) Sato knew because he had training to prevent any extractions.

    4) The guys trying to kill Leo were from the corporation who hired him to extract a secret from Soto.

    5) It's Hollywood 3 minutes is never 3 minutes.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Udaman View Post
    5) And the biggest - was the messed up timeline. At one point, after the van backs off the bridge, Leonardo says that the guy in the hotel has about 3 minutes (or something like that), and in that time he fights two bad guys, ties all the people up, takes them down and puts them in the elevator, sets the charges and blows them up. Sorry, but that's more like 15 minutes.
    The convergence of the timelines as they all resolved in a race against the clock was the only thing that bothered me in the movie, and I agree that it was poorly handled. There could have been a touch more explanation of how the time-slip was working between each dream -- accomplished by explaining it to Ellen Page, who was new to all this just like the audience -- and a little more care to ensure they all lined up properly.

    Still, I was so wrapped up in the story at that point, I was barely conscious of anything bothering me. The film had my total attention and it was really only after the fact that I began trying to piece it together and realized it did not work quite right.

    By the way, my wife's explanation for the top not falling was that Leo did not get out in time. He is trapped in limbo (along with Saito) pretty much forever. And, when you are really trapped in a dream, you do not realize you are there. His wife did not realize she was in a dream, which is why it was so hard to get her to come out of it. So, Leo is trapped and his mind creates a reality that he finds enjoyable and that is where he is living now. In fact, she thinks that the reason he turned and did not look to see the top fall was because he subconsciously did not want to know -- he was just happy to finally be home.

    Was the zero-gravity fight between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the security dude truly awesome or what?!?! It was jaw-dropping. I was giddy when it ended.

    I am trying to remember-- at the beginning of the film when Cobb and Saito meet and Saito is shown Cobb's top. does Saito touch it? Wasn't it essential that no one ever get to touch and hold your totem? Or is it only that you cannot let them touch it in the real world?

    --Jason "wow, there were some really cool concepts in this film!" Evans
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  6. #6
    I am of the personal opinion that the top fell, but there is one piece of evidence that suggests it didn't --

    -- Cobb's age.

    When he fishes Saito out of Limbo, the latter is wizened and just barely remembering his old life. Then why isn't Cobb similarly aged? He "died" in the dream world only a short time after Saito.

    One answer could be that he really didn't spend all those years and years hunting for Saito while the latter grew old, but is just imagining a projected image of Saito as he would expect to find him. And thus, the final resolution is all a projection of his mind.

    Of course, now that I think of it, it could be that one's dream-state identification of oneself is mutable -- witness Cobb's memory of "growing old" with his wife in Limbo, with two age-spotted hands clasping on the railroad tracks, when he remembers them both as being young and vital -- and thus there's no paradox and years and years did pass with Cobb simply imagining himself to be young and not old. So perhaps my instinct was right and the ending is in reality.

    All in all, a fun film.

  7. #7
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    I just got back from seeing it and was very impressed. I do believe that the totem fell: it cannot wobble that much after it had been spinning so perfectly and not fall.

  8. #8
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    Saw it in IMAX Friday morning and have been thinking about it since.

    I went into it avoiding as many previews and critical responses as I could. (Seriously. I haven't seen a movie inside a theater in 10 months.) But I still gathered the opinion that it was going to be confusing, so imagine my delight when I saw it was actually straightforward -- well, compared to The Prestige, which took a few viewings.

    Inception is, essentially, a heist film. Given that the heist in the beginning of the movie fails, it was really important to see that the team actually succeed at the end. And, despite questions about whether anything in the last 5 minutes was real, I believe they did. (You could ask why it's SO important for an idea to be planted from within -- if the Internet has shown us anything, it's that people will spread other people's ideas virally, no matter how dumb. But I'll let that go.)

    Observations:

    1. After he's shot (I think), Saito makes an off-hand comment about becoming an old man, which is how he's depicted in limbo, or whatever. This might explain why he and Cobb are so different in age there, or why Cobb perceives him this way.

    2. Arthur has an extended amount of time in the hotel after the first kick (van hits railing) and before the second kick (van hits water). So he had more than the 3 minutes Cobb mentioned earlier.

    3. The film is vague, intentionally so, on the workings of a shared dream state. Cobb seems to be meeting with Eames, the forger, in a dream... but whose? The attention Cobb was getting from the outsiders/projections seem to suggest Cobb was the dreamer, but then how did people from Saito's rival corporation (Kobal or Coble or whatever) show up? Aside: I've totally dreamt that creepy narrow alleyway before.

    4. I wondered if the kids, the phone call, or Michael Caine were real. One rule of Hollywood filmmaking (The Sixth Sense, A Beautiful Mind, Vanilla Sky) is that characters are not real unless a third party can also see them. But Michael Caine only interacts with Cobb. He's never seen with Ariadne, and (correct me if I'm wrong) I don't think she ever mentions him. Cobb's using him as a connection to Ariadne is probably a self-deception. By extension, Cobb's wife Mal is probably right: the kids are not real, or at least not frozen at those young ages.

    5. Tom Berenger! The years have not been kind. It took a few scenes before I recognized him. A nice little reclamation project, like Rutger Hauer in Batman Begins. Step aside, Tarantino.

    6. The spinning top at the end was quite possibly the film's best special effect. Perfect spin, then it wobbles, then regains its footing just before Christopher Nolan pressed the David Chase button. I love it when a film ends exactly when it should.

    I think a couple of scenes were enhanced by the IMAX experience, but ultimately it's a film that you could get away with seeing on a regular-sized screen. I also recommend a second viewing, on DVD with the subtitles or closed captioning on, just to get clarification on some of the accented lines from Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, and Tom Hardy.

  9. #9
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    It spins forever.

    The kids are wearing the exact same thing as they do in his dreams. The timing of the day is the same. And he knows it, but at this point, he has let go so he doesn't wait to look at it.

    Also, if I recall correctly, old saito holds up a gun when talking to cobb at the end... implying that he will kill him and put him in the limbo that he actually desires.

    some questions (i just need to watch this movie again!):

    1. how did the kick in the elevator work again? when the van hits the water, then gravity is re-established in the hotel layer. Why do you need to be in an elevator? why not just put them on the ceiling in the room and then plow the van hits the water and the 'kick' works.

    2. when fischer got shot in the ice layer, how was mal able to take him to a further level? how is he trapped in the next level with him?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by brevity View Post
    4. I wondered if the kids, the phone call, or Michael Caine were real. One rule of Hollywood filmmaking (The Sixth Sense, A Beautiful Mind, Vanilla Sky) is that characters are not real unless a third party can also see them. But Michael Caine only interacts with Cobb. He's never seen with Ariadne, and (correct me if I'm wrong) I don't think she ever mentions him. Cobb's using him as a connection to Ariadne is probably a self-deception. By extension, Cobb's wife Mal is probably right: the kids are not real, or at least not frozen at those young ages.
    Saw the late show last night. I like this observation. When they get off the plane, why is Michael Caine in LA ready to pick him up? Why do they immediately cut to Leo's house (like you do in a dream when you are in one place then all of the sudden in another)? Why are the kids the exact same age? Cobb became a skilled extractor, and I imagine that took more than a year to do. But these kids, at ages where they grow fast, seem to be the same age as they weer when he ran.

    I don't think there is supposed to be an easy answer but all of the above point to still a dream.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by A-Tex Devil View Post
    Saw the late show last night. I like this observation. When they get off the plane, why is Michael Caine in LA ready to pick him up? Why do they immediately cut to Leo's house (like you do in a dream when you are in one place then all of the sudden in another)? Why are the kids the exact same age? Cobb became a skilled extractor, and I imagine that took more than a year to do. But these kids, at ages where they grow fast, seem to be the same age as they weer when he ran.

    I don't think there is supposed to be an easy answer but all of the above point to still a dream.
    Are you ready to get your mind blown? I've been reading a bit on other interpretations of the film, like here. One person has a series of interesting observations and believes that Michael Caine is not only real, but arguably the protagonist. Quoted in part:

    Let’s ask ourselves, why would Michael Caine show up for a two scener? Because he has everything to do with the plot. Who does he handpick for the assignment? Ariadne. Could it be that she has more to do in this than design the dreams? And her role as dream architect would allow her access to a lot of places others couldn’t go.

    Theory: Caine hires Ariadne not just as an architect, but as a spy. Her mission, to plant an inception on Cobb while he plants one on Fischer. Should’ve been called “Double Inception.”
    If his question is why would MICHAEL CAINE show up for a two-scener, well, he's a movie star but also a good sport, and this is his 4th film with Christopher Nolan. And it's possible that more scenes were filmed, then cut. But his first scene in the empty classroom -- where he says he taught Cobb all the tricks, but for a more altruistic purpose -- is probably worth revisiting.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by brevity View Post
    Are you ready to get your mind blown? I've been reading a bit on other interpretations of the film, like here. One person has a series of interesting observations and believes that Michael Caine is not only real, but arguably the protagonist. Quoted in part:



    If his question is why would MICHAEL CAINE show up for a two-scener, well, he's a movie star but also a good sport, and this is his 4th film with Christopher Nolan. And it's possible that more scenes were filmed, then cut. But his first scene in the empty classroom -- where he says he taught Cobb all the tricks, but for a more altruistic purpose -- is probably worth revisiting.
    Unless a director's cut comes out or this is part of a multi-movie story, I kind of discount this because it would be the most mega-subtle twist in the history of twists. I could see it as part of a larger story where they are trying to convince Cobb to wake up from his dream in as extreme of ways as possible (i.e. his wife killing herself and framing him) and that in the "real" world his wife is alive (because she killed her self in the last level that DiCaprio has never left). Head hurts.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by brevity View Post



    If his question is why would MICHAEL CAINE show up for a two-scener, well, he's a movie star but also a good sport, and this is his 4th film with Christopher Nolan. And it's possible that more scenes were filmed, then cut. But his first scene in the empty classroom -- where he says he taught Cobb all the tricks, but for a more altruistic purpose -- is probably worth revisiting.
    Dangit now I have to go see it again and bring a pen and some paper

  14. #14
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    I just got out of the movie, so I'm still in a flash mode, without trying to think about the plot problems.

    My immediate view is that the multiple dream layer is darned imaginative as was the idea of three different time metrics for each level. But the thought implant concept has been done before. As for the movie itself, I liked the overall concept, the special effects and the acting. Leo really outdid himself and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is outstanding.

    But the movie had way too much mindless warfare. It lasted far too long and seemed fairly pointless, aside from allowing for the special effects.

    As for the top, I think it...****<static><interference>!*!*^$$@@!!! <fade to back>...

  15. #15
    A few questions:

    Is Cobb projecting Manning in the second dream level? If so, why was it necessary for Eames to impersonate Manning in the first dream level?

    Lastly, I assume they're simply pretending to perform an extraction from the "projected" Manning for the benefit of performing inception on Fischer, right?

    Overall, I thought the movie was very good. The editing at the end was great. As I left the theater, I thought Cobb was back in the real world, but now I'm not so sure.

  16. #16
    I can't seem to edit my original post.

    Needless-to-say, "Manning" equals "Browning."

    Not sure how that happened, but I realized the mistake shortly after waking-up this morning.

    I am awake, right?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by IamMatt'sUserName View Post
    A few questions:

    Is Cobb projecting Manning in the second dream level? If so, why was it necessary for Eames to impersonate Manning in the first dream level?

    Lastly, I assume they're simply pretending to perform an extraction from the "projected" Manning for the benefit of performing inception on Fischer, right?
    All of the 3 dreams were Fischer's. The rest of the gang went into his dream. So in the 2nd (hotel) dream, Fischer brings Browning in (whom is mistaken for the fake one of the earlier dream by Saito). For the 3rd dream, they make Fischer think it's going to be Browning's dream, when it was really his own.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by IamMatt'sUserName View Post
    A few questions:

    Is Cobb projecting Manning in the second dream level? If so, why was it necessary for Eames to impersonate Manning in the first dream level?

    Lastly, I assume they're simply pretending to perform an extraction from the "projected" Manning for the benefit of performing inception on Fischer, right?
    All of the 3 dreams were Fischer's. The rest of the gang went into his dream. So in the 2nd (hotel) dream, Fischer brings Browning in (whom is mistaken for the fake one of the earlier dream by Saito). For the 3rd dream, they make Fischer think it's going to be Browning's dream, when it was really his own.

    Quote Originally Posted by Udaman
    5) And the biggest - was the messed up timeline. At one point, after the van backs off the bridge, Leonardo says that the guy in the hotel has about 3 minutes (or something like that), and in that time he fights two bad guys, ties all the people up, takes them down and puts them in the elevator, sets the charges and blows them up. Sorry, but that's more like 15 minutes.
    Yeah that bothered me too. I just shrugged it off as classic "Hollywood time", where even if we're given external reference, they take about 3x longer on screen (e.g. falling/closing door at beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark). Of course, in a movie like this that's all about relative time - it adds complexity.

    However, they did get extra time. They were supposed to have a 10 second warning (first dream time) when the van went over the barriers to when it went off the bridge. Since they missed that, they got the extra time it took for the van to fall into the water. However, it seems to take about 4x as much time as they were given extra.

    Quote Originally Posted by brevity
    But Michael Caine only interacts with Cobb. He's never seen with Ariadne, and (correct me if I'm wrong) I don't think she ever mentions him.
    Didn't Caine introduce Cobb and Ariadne in person? Weren't they standing in the school hallway together?

  19. #19
    Awesome movie.

    Some good point made here: http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Incep...eam-19615.html

    Someone in the above thread noted that Cobb only has his wedding ring on in his dreams and that he was not wearing it in the real world and that at the end his also not wearing it. The kids not aging and having the same clothes made us think though that Cobb was still dreaming at the end.

    Yes Caine and Page do meet when introduced to Leo

  20. #20
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    I am going to spend waaaay too much time reading that page, Murpho!!

    --Jason "I am starting to see a clear argument in favor of ending is a dream and a clear argument against it" Evans
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

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