Top vs. Ring: Theories About the End

This 2010 contemporary sci-fi actioner follows a subconscious security team around the globe and into the intimate and infinite world of dreams.
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Joined: June 2010
Right, question--but ultimately accept that he did get home.

Note that seeing the kids faces--which we never see throughout the whole movie (Leo averts his eyes when Mal tries to show them to him)--was greater than more verification then seeing the top fall for Leo.

This is a heartbreaking, uplifting film.

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Joined: June 2010
Well, I'm taking your word for it that you were able to spot the ring in all dream scenes, and the absence of it in non-dream scenes, until I can verify it myself during the 2nd viewing. In that case, I'd say the ring theory is the most consistent one I've heard.. It can't just be a coincidence. I think the ring is the audience's totem, to tell us whether we are in a dream or not.

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JonnyT23 wrote: I think the ring is the audience's totem, to tell us whether we are in a dream or not.

Nice way to put it!

Posts: 135
Joined: April 2010
Location: Iowa
Thanks to all in support of this Ring Theory.

PLEASE!! If you watch the movie again, keep an eye out for it. I've seen the film four times now. I've kept an eye out for it once and then two times I kept an exclusive eye on it, tracking it through the entire movie.

It would be nice to hear from others who track it as well. I mean, it's not enough if I keep spouting off that that's how it is. If others spot it, then we might have the definitive theory of the film!

Good luck!

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Joined: July 2010
The ring is 100% correct. Also the children are 100% different and wearing different clothes.

Cobb is in reality.

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Joined: July 2010
Just saw it 3rd time. The ring theory is perfect. He wears it in dreams, but never the real world - it holds up.

The kids ARE older at the end of the film. They are wearing different clothes; the girl's pink slip has changed to a different dress and she now has a white blouse on underneath it. The boy sounds the same as he did on the phone earlier on in the film.

In the dream sequences, the totem spins perfectly and doesn't move it's axis; it stays in one spot. Every time we see it spun in the real world, it moves along the surface. When Cobb spins it at the end, it moves along the table, and by the end it is losing momentum and is going to eventually topple.

Arthur said that the purpose of a totem is so you know you are not in anybody else's dream. Cobb says that Mal's totem spins perfectly and indefinitely in a dream.

I am now convinced he is back in reality, only the fact it's so neat makes me weary. But I do believe that he is in reality, and that Nolan cutting before the top falls is him planting an inception on the audience to make them question the film for one last time...

Len
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Joined: July 2010
The ring could have simply been a projection. By the end of the movie, Cobb had lost his guilt and grief for Mal.

I need to watch the movie again, but I don't understand how any one can tell the children are older during the end scheme when, at no earlier time, we got to see their faces.

Does anyone else find it weird Cobb's (and Mal's) totem works the exact opposite way of other people's. In reality, Joseph's totem is unique and bucks physics (loaded die) but behaves normally in other people's dreams. However, Cobb's top supposedly behaves abnormally in other people's dreams but normally in reality. In someone else's dream, how would the dreamer know that Cobb's top should spin infinitely?

The easiest explanation (but one that might make you feel cheated) is the whole plot was a dream on the plane. Cobb never converses with anyone after he wakes. All the characters of the movie could have simply been projections in his own dream ... a dream that was really just a coping mechanism for grief and guilt of losing his wife.

The whole movie was a allegory for Cobb's grieving process. The significance of whether the top topples or not (or whether he is wearing a ring or not) is NOT if Cobb is in reality or a dream state. The significance is that Cobb (by not caring if the top topples or not) has moved past the point of guilt and grief.

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Len wrote: I need to watch the movie again, but I don't understand how any one can tell the children are older during the end scheme when, at no earlier time, we got to see their faces.
By their bodies; they're bigger. They are wearing different clothes too.

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Joined: July 2010
GunRanger wrote:
Len wrote: I need to watch the movie again, but I don't understand how any one can tell the children are older during the end scheme when, at no earlier time, we got to see their faces.
By their bodies; they're bigger. They are wearing different clothes too.
Yep, they are definitely bigger. James walks differently (because it's a different actor playing him now he is older), and if you listen carefully, he has the same voice that Cobb hears on the phone. And they are 100% wearing different clothes. Also the composition of the shot, the children's positions, and the lighting are different to Cobb's memory of them.

So, they are not the younger versions we have seen throughout the film, and this means that they can't be a memory of Cobb's because he hasn't seen them at this age before. So, are they dreams? Well, Arthur tells us that Cobb can't/won't dream anymore, which implies that he wouldn't be able to dream them up either. You could perhaps argue that letting go of Mal has allowed him to begin dreaming again, but then we have the spinning top moving across the surface and losing momentum (both of which it never ever did in the dream) which really gives a final counter to the dream argument.

Len
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Joined: July 2010
I guess I need to watch it again. They looked the same to me on first viewing.

Still, if they are indeed older, Cobb could have dreamed it this way, so their age in no way positively concludes he was back in reality ... nor can the top's spinning/toppling. It is still open to interpretation.

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