The Kick

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: July 2010
There are two ways to think about the kick

PULL: The kick happens in the prior or lesser dream state to “PULL” you from the deeper dream state
PUSH: The kick happens in the current dream state to “PUSH” you from the current or deeper dream state back in the lesser dream state (above)


The “PULL” kick is seen when Arthur is pushed from the chair to exemplify how a kick works to Ariadne. The “PUSH” kick is seen moments later when they are exemplifying a timed kick with music (Arthur and Ariadne are in lounge chairs and Arthur is woken up)... we don’t actually see the kick itself here, but the result.

We can look at the heist and apply these two methods.. but either way, it leads to an inconsistency...

PUSH:
Ariadne: Phase 4/Limbo - She jumps from a building in freefall, which gives her a “PUSH” kick into Phase 3...in Phase 3, she is falling from the exploding building, pushing her into Phase 2...where she is falling to the floor of the shaft/floor of the elevator once the elevator crashes into the shaft (they weren’t falling while the elevator was falling because they were being pushed by the elevator... a very different effect due to the way acceleration works in physics)... now she is pushed into the van from the elevator, but the van is falling (free fall which is the type of fall you would lose your breath on, but doesn’t get “PUSH”ed to the plane... in fact none of them do.
Eams: Phase 3 - pushed from the free falling/exploding building. Phase 2 - pushed from the fall within the elevator. Phase 1 - should have been pushed from the van
I can go on with all of them

Inconsistencies with this method: Yusif should have been "PUSH"ed from the van into the plane earlier (or at all) in the fall. All of them should have been pushed from the van once they were present in the van. Dom Cobb stated in the elevator in the limbo tower that they needed to come up with their own kick which does lead me to assume it is the PUSH method during the heist.

PULL:
Ariadne: Phase 0 - there is no falling therefore it doesn’t pull them from phase 1 which is the van. Phase 1 - the falling van pulls Ariadne from the elevator (once she is present in the elevator). Phase 2 - Falling from the elevator ceiling to the elevator floor pulls Ariadne from the falling tower (once she is present in the tower).

Inconsistencies with this method:
1) Arther should have been pulled into the van while it was in free fall.
2) It seems they were going to blow up the building prior to the whole needing to go to Limbo so what was that "kick" for? If not, Why did Ariadne jump from the building if the falling tower was pulling her out of that phase anyway? And since Cobb was there by choice and not dream dead like Seido, wouldn't he have been pulled too?.... and if the other way around, why blow up the building if she had to jump from the building to escape limbo anyway and they all knew it? Again, it seems that Cobb knew how to get out of limbo cause he had done it already so he would have known that a kick from the outside would do nothing and therefore no need for explosives... unless used for the "PUSH" method.

Even if both methods worked simultaneously, it doesn't explain away these inconsistencies...What are you're thought on this... Did I miss something?

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These are really the only questions I have yet to answer. It seems that the connection between level 3 and Limbo is where the challenge really presents itself.

It seems that Fischer and Ariadne jumping of the building is a sort of kick. Its not the kick that was explained to us, but it does seem to make sense. After all haven't we all had dreams where we were falling and then are suddenly woken up? Limbo seems to have its own set of rules that don't apply to the rest of the dream levels.

As far Arthur not being pulled out with the van hitting the bridge. My best guess is that since he knew it was coming, he was able to ignore the kick when it came.

I think the succession of kicks was
1. Ariadne and Fischer kicking themselves out of limbo (limbo has its own rules, it is after all just straight subconscious)
2. Everyone getting pulled out of level three by the kick from the elevator
3. Everyone being pulled to level one by the van hitting the water

That just leaves one major question for me, which is "Why blow up the fortress in level 3?" The planned to do it all along so it can't be to pull them out of Limbo and it can't be a warning to get out of limbo. It just seems really out of place.

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I've been wondering about this too, and really want to watch the movie again to get a better idea of things.

Honestly, I don't know if a pull kick really exists. Let me know if I'm wrong, but I can only think of one instance in the movie where we see anyone get pulled from a dream with a kick, right? That's when Cobb gets pushed into the bathtub.

But did that pull him out, or did the effects of getting pushed into the bathtub in his dream state (all the water crashing on him from everywhere) push him out?

Throughout the sequence of dreams in the end, it looked like they needed to be pushed out from within the level they were in to me. The reason they needed to make the kicks synchronized was just so that they don't miss the next push kick in the level above. For example, Ariadne needed to jump out of the building as soon as the kick in level 3 was happening because if she missed that kick, she would be stuck in level 3. At least that's how I was looking at it.

My question is, did they wake up in the van before it hit the water? Because Cobb had said that the "next kick" would be the van hitting the water, so I guess the kick could be either a lot of acceleration or deceleration. If they woke up in the van before it hit the water, why didn't they wake up from level 1? Like you said, this is weird.

So even if they worked simultaneously, unless they woke up only after the van hit the water, I don't get why they wouldn't wake up from level 1. I'm not really sure how to make sense of this.

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The “PULL” kick is seen when Arthur is pushed from the chair to exemplify how a kick works to Ariadne. The “PUSH” kick is seen moments later when they are exemplifying a timed kick with music (Arthur and Ariadne are in lounge chairs and Arthur is woken up)... we don’t actually see the kick itself here, but the result.
You cannot say that that is a push kick, because it seemed to me that his time was out on the machine so he woke up. That's how the machine works.

We are told quite clearly that a kick is when the sleeping form has the sensation of falling. This is the funny sequence when they push Arthur over a few times.

The only time where the push state seems relevant is going from limbo to level 3. I think Limbo has its own rules on this however, because nothing can pull them out of limbo besides the time running out or, killing yourself, or so we are told. However Araidne improvised by trying a kick within the dream and the sensation of falling caused her to wake up (like happens in many real dreams to us). She is then pulled from level 3 by the elevator and is pulled from level 2 by the van falling.

That seems to cause the least inconsistencies. Though I am still not sure on how the limbo stuff all works.

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theweatherman wrote: That just leaves one major question for me, which is "Why blow up the fortress in level 3?" The planned to do it all along so it can't be to pull them out of Limbo and it can't be a warning to get out of limbo. It just seems really out of place.
I think it may have been a precautionary measure. Yusuf stated how dreams within dreams are highly unstable so they weren't going to take chances when something could have gone wrong on one level to throw everything off.

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Eternalist wrote:
theweatherman wrote: That just leaves one major question for me, which is "Why blow up the fortress in level 3?" The planned to do it all along so it can't be to pull them out of Limbo and it can't be a warning to get out of limbo. It just seems really out of place.
I think it may have been a precautionary measure. Yusuf stated how dreams within dreams are highly unstable so they weren't going to take chances when something could have gone wrong on one level to throw everything off.
What was it a measure against? What could have gone wrong?

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theweatherman wrote:
The “PULL” kick is seen when Arthur is pushed from the chair to exemplify how a kick works to Ariadne. The “PUSH” kick is seen moments later when they are exemplifying a timed kick with music (Arthur and Ariadne are in lounge chairs and Arthur is woken up)... we don’t actually see the kick itself here, but the result.
You cannot say that that is a push kick, because it seemed to me that his time was out on the machine so he woke up. That's how the machine works.

We are told quite clearly that a kick is when the sleeping form has the sensation of falling. This is the funny sequence when they push Arthur over a few times.

The only time where the push state seems relevant is going from limbo to level 3. I think Limbo has its own rules on this however, because nothing can pull them out of limbo besides the time running out or, killing yourself, or so we are told. However Araidne improvised by trying a kick within the dream and the sensation of falling caused her to wake up (like happens in many real dreams to us). She is then pulled from level 3 by the elevator and is pulled from level 2 by the van falling.

That seems to cause the least inconsistencies. Though I am still not sure on how the limbo stuff all works.
I don't get it. Can't you look at the entire sequence like a chain of push kicks (rather than pull kicks) with pretty much the same amount of inconsistency? You are just starting on the other side of the chain -- but either way you start (from the van with pull kicks, or from limbo with push kicks) they don't add up.

A push kick to me just seems to make more sense. If I'm in a level 1 dream and I jump out of a building, I'd imagine the sensation of falling would wake me up.

Again, the only real pull kick I can think of is Cobb being pulled into a bathtub. But then again, even after he fell into the bathtub he didn't snap out of his dream, not until he was in the water, and all the water crashed on him in his dream.

Maybe I'm wrong, but can you explain why you think they're a sequence of pull kicks and not push kicks?

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theweatherman wrote: What was it a measure against? What could have gone wrong?
They're within a dream, any countless number of things could have gone wrong.

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Because the characters define a kick as the sleeping form having a sensation of falling. They show this happening twice with Arthur as a test. His chair is pushed back and he startles awake. His chair is tipped to the side and he startles awake. Push kicks aren't really mentioned at all.

I just think it is easier to assume an inconsistency in a world we know little about (limbo) then it is to assume it in a world that has its rules pretty well layed out (level 1).

They're within a dream, any countless number of things could have gone wrong.
But how would destroying the building protect them from those things?

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theweatherman wrote:
They're within a dream, any countless number of things could have gone wrong.
But how would destroying the building protect them from those things?
If Arthur's kick didn't work, dying in the arctic level would have brought them back to the hotel level. Destroying the fortress was most likely a fail-safe measure.

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