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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Posts: 34
Joined: July 2010
Len wrote: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.
They definitely are. On my first viewing, I initially thought he was just reliving a memory because the shot looks deliberately very similar to put that idea into the viewer. But then the top made me think that it was reality. Every further viewing just confirms that the kids are older at the end.

It is possible that Cobb could have dreamed them, but it's suggested that he can't/won't dream any more (by Arthur and Yuesf), and throughout the entire film he refuses to look at their faces when he was in a dream. It makes more sense that he looks at their faces in the end because he is no longer in a dream, but you can loosely say that it was just a dream. However, I don't see how the top losing momentum can be anything other than conclusive. Cobb tells us that it spins perfectly and infinitely in dreams, so for it to do move and lose momentum and still be a dream just betrays the film's own inner logic and doesn't make much sense, contradicting everything we were told about it.

Ultimately we are all going to draw our own conclusions, and Nolan will likely never provide answer. Some people will never be convinced either way, and the film can be twisted to fit both points of view. And that Inception can do this, just speaks volumes for the quality of the film, and that it can potentially spark and endless discussion between us all. I 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... It's a classic slight of hand that makes people look elsewhere when they should maybe looking at what's right in front of them...

Posts: 378
Joined: July 2010
Len wrote: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.
Focus on the boy's shirt and the girl's size. She's more noticeably bigger, and the boy no longer has a stripe down the middle of his shirt.

Where could Cobb have dreamed this? He can't dream without the machine and he knows he's dreaming in limbo with Saito.

Len
Posts: 76
Joined: July 2010
Arthur wrote:[
It is possible that Cobb could have dreamed them, but it's suggested that he can't/won't dream any more (by Arthur and Yuesf), and throughout the entire film he refuses to look at their faces when he was in a dream. It makes more sense that he looks at their faces in the end because he is no longer in a dream, but you can loosely say that it was just a dream. However, I don't see how the top losing momentum can be anything other than conclusive. Cobb tells us that it spins perfectly and infinitely in dreams, so for it to do move and lose momentum and still be a dream just betrays the film's own inner logic and doesn't make much sense, contradicting everything we were told about it.

Ultimately we are all going to draw our own conclusions, and Nolan will likely never provide answer. Some people will never be convinced either way, and the film can be twisted to fit both points of view. And that Inception can do this, just speaks volumes for the quality of the film, and that it can potentially spark and endless discussion between us all. I 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... It's a classic slight of hand that makes people look elsewhere when they should maybe looking at what's right in front of them...
Cobb's totem makes no sense. The whole concept of the totem isn't to check if you're in reality or in a dream ... just if you're in someone else's reality/dream (because they wouldn't know the uniqueness of your totem). However, Cobb's totem is the exact opposite of what totems should be. It behaves abnormally in dreams, and normally in real life (whereas Joseph's behaves normally in dreams but abnormally - loaded die - in real life). So the whole totem concept is either flawed or there's something more to it.

Len
Posts: 76
Joined: July 2010
GunRanger wrote: Where could Cobb have dreamed this? He can't dream without the machine and he knows he's dreaming in limbo with Saito.
He never left his dream. He's still dreaming.

Posts: 378
Joined: July 2010
Len wrote:
GunRanger wrote: Where could Cobb have dreamed this? He can't dream without the machine and he knows he's dreaming in limbo with Saito.
He never left his dream. He's still dreaming.
What dream?

He couldn't create new dreams, and he clearly knows he is dreaming when he meets Saito in Limbo. Where is this dream taking place?

Len
Posts: 76
Joined: July 2010
GunRanger wrote:
What dream?

He couldn't create new dreams, and he clearly knows he is dreaming when he meets Saito in Limbo. Where is this dream taking place?
Who knows? Could be still on the plane, still in limbo, some place we don't know (the whole movie, including the 'reality' parts, could just be a dream). You're accepting the 'reality' parts of the movie at face value when I don't think it's safe to do so with this movie.

Posts: 37
Joined: July 2010
Len wrote:
GunRanger wrote:
What dream?

He couldn't create new dreams, and he clearly knows he is dreaming when he meets Saito in Limbo. Where is this dream taking place?
Who knows? Could be still on the plane, still in limbo, some place we don't know (the whole movie, including the 'reality' parts, could just be a dream). You're accepting the 'reality' parts of the movie at face value when I don't think it's safe to do so with this movie.
I felt the same way initially, Len. After the first viewing I thought the kids were the same at the end, that in Yusuf's dream-share room after he tried the sedative and dropped his totem that he was dreaming, and I questioned what was reality. But now I see that's the point... in the same way Cobb used inception by spinning the top in the safe to make Mal question reality, Nolan used the end cutting to black and us not seeing the top fall to make the audience question reality. And now I've come back to reality ;)

The kids are different at the end, and slightly older. If they were really obviously different the ending wouldn't have worked, so Nolan made them similar, but definitely different. Another user noticed clearly that Philipa's shoes change from black to sneakers, as well as differences in her dress.

I am fully behind the wedding ring theory. Just go to youtube and watch all the trailers and clips from the movie, and you can spot him wearing the ring in scenes that are beyond-a-doubt dream world (when Cobb get's dunked from the chair into the tub in the first extraction, he has a ring. In the scene with old Saito, he has a ring. Etc, etc etc.) and you can spot his ringless hand in scenes that are supposed to be reality (when Cobb calls his kids after the botched extraction and tests his totem, in the Paris workshop when they are planning the Fischer job). He's ringless on the plane when they wake up, in the airport, and in the final scene.

Of course this is a movie about dreams, so you can endlessly argue that Cobb dreamed of himself wearing and not wearing the ring, made up how his kid's faces look, blah blah. And that's the nature of the beast.

I wonder how much we'll learn from the DVD's commentary...

Posts: 34
Joined: July 2010
I wonder how much we'll learn from the DVD's commentary...
There won't be one sadly. Nolan's not going to spill the beans on this one, and he's not done a commentary track since Insomnia. I would be amazed (and thrilled) if we got one though. I'm hoping that the script at least has some answers.

Posts: 135
Joined: April 2010
Location: Iowa
Again, as I said in my inital post, you have to view this as a filmmaker and think about the functionality of the wedding ring as opposed to the symbology of it.

If you get caught up in what the wedding ring represents and how it affects the nature of the character then you're going to miss the point.

This is why I made the articulation in my original post that I would be looking at the functionality of the wedding ring and not the symbology.

Posts: 132
Joined: June 2010
Let's follow Occam's razor here people! "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity", meaning don't make theories more complicated than they have to be.. Simpler theories that don't require assumptions or extrapolating beyond the scope of the film are more convincing. That's why the "reality" theory wins, all signs within the film point to it.. all the "evidence" against it is simply speculation.

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