My Theory on Cobb and the Ending

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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Anita18 wrote: Ah but you see, I think Nolan is commenting on that.

Why DO people care where Cobb is at the end of the movie? He's gotten over the guilt of his wife's death. He can see his kids. That journey is real. Why does it matter if the whole thing is a dream because the movie (which is already a fake reality, BTW) is over.

Still doesn't necessarily make it reality, but brings another aspect to Cobb's journey.

The reason people care is because if he's stuck in Limbo then the movie becomes a tragedy. Cobb had just given this great speech to Mal that stated he preferred reality and he didn't want to leave the kids alone.

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I LOVE EDDIE IZZARD!!! :clap:

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Jarmel wrote:
Anita18 wrote: Ah but you see, I think Nolan is commenting on that.

Why DO people care where Cobb is at the end of the movie? He's gotten over the guilt of his wife's death. He can see his kids. That journey is real. Why does it matter if the whole thing is a dream because the movie (which is already a fake reality, BTW) is over.

Still doesn't necessarily make it reality, but brings another aspect to Cobb's journey.

The reason people care is because if he's stuck in Limbo then the movie becomes a tragedy. Cobb had just given this great speech to Mal that stated he preferred reality and he didn't want to leave the kids alone.
I think the movie is a tragedy anyway. The crumbing cities; his crumbling mind. The estrangement from his kids, the untimely death of his wife due to something that is ultimately his fault. The fact that no matter what he does, his past corrupts everything he tries to do. The movie has many themes of the glorification of suicide to wake us up from the mundane reality we are stuck in.

Even the way he eats rice in front of Saito, even the delicate costume design on older Saito....is just so beautiful. Its so hard to act like that. To eat silently, with great despair and trepidation.

Cobb (nor anyone really) smiles once in this movie. There are a few smirks, but nobody laughs. Its a thrilling movie, but its so desperate, so serious.

The movie is an action-packed tragedy. Even Memento is a tragedy. And what makes Nolan so brilliant is that he delivers the blows, not in the typical way...its very underhanded. You really have to look deep within the characters to see the sorrow.

But what makes this so beautiful is that everyone really has a tragic life. We all suffer. Nolan tap into that. And he does it in a way I think only Lynch has. Except its different than Lynch.

To say its all a dream says that that sorrow could all be imagined. It says that nothing matters. Because, hell...if it was all a dream, there was no resolution.

That is to say, if you are in jail for life, and dream of unkilling your wife, and dream of escaping jail and living on a beach...buddy, when you wake up, you are still in jail. So it being all a dream accomplishes nothing. If it were all a dream, than its possible Cobb didn't exist.

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Someone said that the train line can be replaced with plane, and tell you the ending:

You're waiting for a plane, a plane that will take you far away.
You know where you hope this plane will take you, but you don't know for sure.
But it doesn't matter.
Because we''ll be together.


So..dunno if this has been said...but i think it also shows that to cobb i guess it doesn't matter if its real...thats why he walks away. but for our purposes, it either was real or it wasnt, and i still am in the "REALITY" camp.

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Was Cobb wearing his wedding ring in the scene where Mal jumped off the ledge?

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Christian Bales Theory...........

So glad I found this.

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First let me introduce myself since I am new to your forum. I just saw the movie today for the first time, am a fan of Nolan's work, but rarely if ever post on any boards. I chose to post here because the title of this board seemed to me to be the best and most respectable forum that my brief Google search for discussion on the meaning and ending of the film provided. Obviously the film has generated a great deal of buzz and discussion and I had some conclusions from the film that I wanted to throw my two cents in about. It is of course only my opinion, and the continued discussion about this film is what makes it a great piece of work. If you disagree or agree with my post feel free to comment, but as I am normally pretty busy I won't often have time to respond. But I will check back occasionally to see if anyone thinks my take had any merit at all. Thanks.

My take on Inception:

First I think this movie is primarily about two major themes: 1. Loss/Grief and how we cope with it. and 2. The relationship between dreams and reality and how that is influenced or interrelated with theme #1.

I remember reading somewhere that Nolan's work on this project had taken 10yrs to complete, so if correct, it's 'inception', pardon the pun, began somewhere around the time he was making Memento. That movie also deals with loss and the internal workings of a crippled mind, and I postulate that Inception is Nolan's furtherance of an exploration on those themes.

I think that the entire movie is about Cobb dealing with his wife's death and feelings of guilt and responsibility over it (or his loss of her possibly by divorce, as another poster has theorized). I think that the loss drove Cobb mad and drove him deep into some catatonic state of multiple realities, and that the movie is about him recovering from that loss and regaining a bit of his sanity. I am speculating that the other players in the movie are there to help guide him back to a level where he can exist happily or perhaps prep him for an emergence from his grief back to the real world. I think Cobb is still dreaming at the end of the movie but the therapy, for lack of a better word, is the movie's story in him letting go of his wife's death and getting ready to come out of his dream state and back to the real world, or at least the reality that he knew before he went insane and became trapped in his memories.

For purposes of the story the technology of entering a person's mind had to be introduced to explain the presence of all the other characters, who I postulate are actual people assembled by Michael Caine's character to form a team to save his son-in-law so that he can be a father to his children. I think that the technology initially allowed Cobb and Mal to enter a dream world together where ultimately she did come to question "what is real?" and it drove her mad and she committed suicide, and Cobb blames himself for that (that is pretty clear in the movie). He needed to let go of his subconscious creation of her and recognize that it was only a construct of his memory in order to escape the multi-layered 'reality' that he created for himself to cope, but which had eventually driven him mad. Fischer was introduced as a parallel story of loss to show Cobb, and the audience in a hint, that the inception in Fischer's mind parallels his, but the real inception was always occurring in Cobb the whole time. Watanabe and Page's characters were the guides that needed to construct the roadmap to his subconscious and discover the meanings behind his loss so that Cobb himself could confront them within. There is much more that I could write about their characters and purposes, but I think they were the key players in freeing Cobb's mind. Watanabe was the architect of the mission that would allow him to achieve the goal to see his kids (and escape the exile of a insane mind) if he would make the leap of faith, and Page was the neophyte whose purposeful curiosity was needed for Cobb to reveal his pain and confront his grief so that he could start the journey home.

Closing with the top spinning at the end exists for several reasons. First, it leaves a huge question mark that spawns all the great discussion here about movies that have uncertain endings (maybe like "rosebud" at the end of Citizen Kane?). It puts the viewer in a position to question reality and continue the discussion of that theme (it is also good for repeat viewings and that is good for Hollywood business). Secondly, I think the question of the top may also be a metaphor for Nolan and his journey as a filmmaker (And to a lesser degree perhaps a third minor theme, the movie may represent the creation/process and questioning of reality that movies represent as was theorized on the Chud post).

But I think that by the time this movie came to fruition Nolan was stuck with a dilemma in his evolution as a filmmaker. He started with independent films that required thinking, but after Batman he also became known as a huge box office draw for action movies with great special effects and big name stars. If Nolan had simply shown the top topple or continue spinning instead of showing it spin and wobble a bit he would have left a decisive answer that would stymie further discussion about the reality of Cobb. Furthermore, if Nolan had at any other point introduced explicitly that the entire journey was through Cobb's mind, dreaming vs. reality, and about his loss and grief then the movie would be obviously about Cobb and his relationship to his wife, which would have people asking why the movie needed all the action and special effects. He could have made another version of What Dreams May Come and expounded on the relationship more, but he is also a huge box office action movie creator in addition to being a thinking person's movie maker, and he needed to merge the concepts and justify the fantastic scenes that were the initial draw for many viewers and part of his current role as a big budget, big Hollywood studio movie maker. By leaving the ending in doubt he not only continues his theme about 'what is reality?', but he also reconciles two approaches to film in a brilliant way that somehow marries the concepts of a thinking person's movie with important questions to the big Hollywood blockbuster. I think he did it much better than the Wachowski brothers and showed what a brilliant creative person he is.

Anyways, that is my take. Sorry for the long, verbose post. I hope I didn't waste your time if you read all of this. Obviously there is much that can be discussed about dreams as metaphors, the hero's journey, and all of the details of the film. This was just my take on the big picture of the story and what the ending meant. Keep up the good discussions. ~T

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Baz744 wrote:Was Cobb wearing his wedding ring in the scene where Mal jumped off the ledge?
I have to say, I saw it twice. And the wedding ring motiff is not ringing a bell. I mean, i dont even remember it being seen or discussed. WTF? Can someone key me in on some scenes when it was prevalent?

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Baz744 wrote:Was Cobb wearing his wedding ring in the scene where Mal jumped off the ledge?
Yes, because it was a flashback and he was meeting her for their anniversary.

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sickofsickness wrote:
Baz744 wrote:Was Cobb wearing his wedding ring in the scene where Mal jumped off the ledge?
I have to say, I saw it twice. And the wedding ring motiff is not ringing a bell. I mean, i dont even remember it being seen or discussed. WTF? Can someone key me in on some scenes when it was prevalent?
Check the 'Top v. Ring' thread. Basically, if you pay attention to the scenes that are 'supposed' to be reality he's not wearing his wedding ring. The scenes that are 'supposed' to be a dream, he is. On my third viewing I paid close attention to this, and it holds up, for the most part.

Scene with old Saito in limbo: Wedding ring.
Both levels of the initial extraction heist with Saito: Wedding ring.
On the train after failed extraction: No ring.
In the hotel when he calls his kids and tests the top: No ring.
Mombasa: No ring.
Yusuf's basement AFTER testing sedative and dropping his totem: No ring.
Paris workshop: No ring.
Paris test with Ariadne (folding skyline): Wedding ring.
Airplane, pre-Fischer job: No ring.
Levels 1, 2, 3, and limbo of Fischer heist: Wedding ring.

In the final scenes (waking up on airplane, airport, his house with kids) I noticed that his left hand was tough to spot. It seemed to be conveniently obscured, but I'm fairly certain I saw a ring-less finger. I'm going to have to pay super close attention in my next viewing.

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