Inception: Complex Simplicity

Christopher Nolan’s Inception is his first movie since the Darknight and has got audiences in a frenzy of multi level discussions as to what really happens.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the best in the dangerous art of extraction: stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible—inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse; their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

I watched Inception with three interesting characters also known as friends after a dramatic evening. It was an ‘Orange Wednesday’ and the Odeon Marble Arch (London) had queues stretched down the street. By the time we reached the front of the queue there were only four seats left situated at the front row. I did not want to dislocate my neck by having to look up at the screen for over 2 hours so we searched for the next showing. We were lucky to find a late showing at North Finchley Road Vue Cinema. After purchasing the stale pop corn and over priced water we settled in our seat. The movie stated shortly and then was interrupted by some hooligans in the cinema who obviously did not purchase tickets and were seated in paying customers premium seats. There was a brawl and as punches were thrown and the victims were flying one of my friends spent time twittering (what an experience). The movie resumed and I settled down. The end of the movie was met with a uniform ‘Agghhhhhhhh’ by most of the cinema which woke up some of those individuals that fell asleep.

The end of the movie has left audiences discussing whether Cobb was back in reality or still dreaming as the camera cuts with the totem still spinning.

Since researching and reading lots of blogs I have forgotten what my initial reaction and opinion was. I have come across so many different views which are valid in their own right. Some individuals have stated that the entire film is a dream and that we ‘the audience’ have been conned, some have said that the entire film is Cobb’s dream with his wife trying to wake him up, some have said that Cobb is actually in the real world at the end and others have said Cobb’s Father-in-law (Michael Caine) has orchestrated whole set up to bring him back to reality with the entire team being hired. For every possible explanation there is a contradictory response. How do we know what reality  is in the movie?

(An illustrated Guide to the 5 Levels of inception by Matt Sinopoli)

Inception is a great marketing tool in itself in acquiring repetitive audience viewing. A lot of people who I have come across have watched the movie more than once in order to gain a deeper understanding, clarity or answers to their questions. The film has hit box office No 1 in a few countries such as Japan, UK, Australia and is currently No 1 in the USA. I predict that the DVD will do well when released as there will probably be alternative endings and directors commentary to give us some more insight. I do hope that there is no sequel. Social media has been great in promoting this movie as most blogs have been ‘off the chain’ with discussion threads about the ending and content of the film. This buzz could encourage those who have not yet seen the movie to run to their nearest cinema and purchase their inception ticket.

So what was my Conclusion?

I can sleep with the thought that it is possible that Cobb is still dreaming at the end. However does it matter? I feel the crucial thing at the end of the movie is that Cobb looks at his children’s faces and does not wait to see if the totem stops spinning as he usually does (his usual reality check). This could mean that he has let go of the guilt of Mal’s death (if she did die in reality) and is at peace and happy to be with his children. On the other hand could it be that he no longer cares? Or has he lost touch of reality and is confused? Should we care? I would like to watch the movie again to see if it becomes clearer as I suffered from fatigue. Perhaps an afternoon showing in a safe neighbourhood would do the trick.

Those that know me have probably been tired of me going on about inception so please feel free to share your views and opinions.

Before I forget, Can anyone shed some light on what they think about the fact that one of Cobb’s children sounded older when they spoke to him on the phone (near the beginning of the movie after the train scene).

Also check out the interview with Dileep Rao who plays the Chemist. He answers some questions regarding the movie


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. clairey
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 11:19:39

    Excellent review! Ive watched it twice and before seeing it the second time i went in believing that theory that mal was trying to save him was definitely true but seeing it again i am not so sure now…oh its so confusing lol. If he wasnt dreaming the whole film then i believe the dream started when he went under the heavy sedation in that basement place, cause when he woke up to spin his totem he was about to but someone walked in the bathroom and it dropped on the floor and he never spun it again until the end of the film.


  2. mike
    Aug 06, 2010 @ 10:22:06

    Ellen page under the bridge in tier one on the way up says leos character is going to be okay to someone else, I forget exact quote but what I think what she means is she built him a world he would stay in forever that had the kids faces. To support my theory, leos dad, aka batmans butler, says she is the best so she could of did that last good gesture and made the kids faces cause she was so good at being an architect. Also she saw the whole beach scene with Leo once so she new what it looked like and could project that for Leo as he died in the fourth tier therefore moving further into limbo. Almost like the fourth level is the max and in the fifth tier your so far gone even the best,Leo, would lose tract of reality or dreamimg.


  3. Kyle
    Aug 06, 2010 @ 11:33:51

    The whole movie is about different layers of dreams and not knowing what’s real and what’s a dream. The ending leaves you not knowing for sure, just like our main character.

    The whole point is that he didn’t care anymore. He reached his goal and no longer needed that self-assurance of seeing the top fall over. That last shot is also Nolan Incepting all of our minds and planting an idea of what we think it all means. If he told us, there would be nothing to think about.

    Inception is a modern masterpiece and in time, even the haters will grow to accept and cherish this piece of cinematic art


  4. singingsensation
    Aug 06, 2010 @ 12:08:04

    Ok!! First off the movie was absolute Genious!!! Loved it!! 🙂

    I was talking to my husband about the ending of the movie too because they clearly left it wide open for speculation…

    I am truly believing that he was in a dream because of the fact that when he finally got home, his kids were in the same clothes and were the same age as they were throughout the whole movie when they showed up in his dreams. Also, when he was in the hotel room at the beginning and talking to his children on the phone, when his daughter spoke to him, she sounded a lot older than what she looked when he finally was able to see her again.

    I also believe that every time he saw his kids in his dreams and couldn’t see their faces it was because of all the guilt he was feeling about his wife and how he knew that he killed her. I think that he was too ashamed to look at his kids because he knew that he destroyed his wife. At the end when he was able to see them, it was because of the fact that he confronted his demons and finally moved on and he let his wife know as well this is what he was going to do. Only then was he able to push past his shame and really take a look at his children and be their dad again.

    One more thing, every time in his dream when he saw his children in the yard and all of a sudden they would get up and run off, I am thinking that they were actually running to him, that in his subconsciousness he was able to call to them but because of his guilt at the time, he was not able to fully see that they were running to him, that would not come until the end of the movie when he confronted his demons and was able to move forward with his life.

    When his wife stabbed him, I don’t think he recovered from that and when he went back to find santos i think that was his name, the man was old because he was in limbo for awhile due to the fact that he got stabbed during the first dream and died in the second dream, so when leo was in the 4th dream the time that had passed was probably years for the asian guy in limbo and when leo got stabbed and then was on the beach it was a shorter amount of time because it literally just happened…but both of them were in limbo except leo was able to create an world that was the world he always wanted from the beginning, being home and with his kids. 🙂

    Sorry this is so long, but that is my belief on this..and when ellen pages character said to arthur under the bridge that leo would be ok, she knew that he had what it took to create a world that was ideal for him and be able to live in it. Seeing that he did it with his wife!! 🙂

    Ok done!!!!! 🙂


  5. Kyle
    Aug 06, 2010 @ 12:30:09

    Oh I forgot to also say I just love how in the end, Cobb is able to do for Saito what he couldn’t for Mal, make him realize that it’s all a dream and to wake up. That, along with finally seeing his kids is such a feel-good and redemptive ending. But then you wonder how Michael Caine got to the airport so fast, why no police would be after him and why his kids look exactly the same as in his dreams.

    Then you see that final shot of the top and you think, is this all Cobb’s dream and his inception was to come to terms with his past and finally want to be with his kids. Maybe after that last shot of the film, Cobb wakes up and it was Michael Caine or Mal who planted the idea to let go of her and come be with his kids and when he wakes up she’ll be right beside him. Really trippy stuff and unbelievably rewarding on multiple viewings. Man, I love this flick.


  6. Lucas
    Aug 06, 2010 @ 15:37:45

    Now not sure, but when they are talking about the mission with the Asain guy on the helicopter, before all the dreams, was in the beginning, after the first dream we see, doesn’t the asian guy say when Cobb gets off “take a leap into faith” ? I was sure he did and point it out when i heard it for a second time to my friend next to me. If my hearing was right, then my view is that everything was a dream, how would he know to say that? Or did i miss something. But i think it was a dream all together.


  7. Brownsugar
    Aug 07, 2010 @ 11:51:27

    what about their voices on the phone? If I recall correctly (I’ve only seen it once, though), they sounded older than his dream recollection, particularly, the boy. That makes me think he really is dreaming. however i think the main point was that he wanted to get back to his kids and he did. so it really doesnt matter if it was a dream or not. even dom didnt care (as he left to meet his kids without seeing the topple fall).

    Also what was the theatre reaction in your opinion at the end of the film? I watched the film in Miami and the entire movie theatre let out a roaring grasp and laughter at the end.


  8. Anthony
    Aug 07, 2010 @ 12:28:39

    Typical funny review Ef. Loves the movie. I think that Leo is in the dream from the start. the movie plays backwards. Also did anyone notice how leo seemed to be at one place one minute next minute another place. HONG KONG, then Paris pretty suspect. The fact is we do not know what parts of the film are real life for us to make a judgement. And I thought i was the only one that noticed the children sounded older on the phone.


  9. tojesworld
    Aug 07, 2010 @ 14:20:42

    Thanks for adding your views. I was contemplating seeing the film for a second time as I have exhausted myself with researching and finding out what people think happened. But I think I will go and see it again next week. Also a friend was telling me that she was told that at the end of the film credits something happens. lol. Please do not wast your time waiting till the end credit when the Warner Bros logo fills the screen. Nothing happens but an annoyed cinema/movie theatre staff member telling you to leave.


  10. Tope
    Aug 12, 2010 @ 09:06:04

    The movie made my head hurt. Nothing much to add, you gave a fanatastic review!


  11. tojesworld
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 00:25:17

    I just saw Inception for the second time and actually enjoyed it as things made more sense. However whether Cob is in reality or dreaming was still not totally clear. One thing that was clear was he had forgiven himself, let go of the guilt towards the end of the film and maybe that is why he was able to look at the children’s faces at the end.


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