Saturday, July 31, 2010

INCEPTION - Dream or Reality !!!

What's the most resilient parasite? An Idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules.

INCEPTION is Christopher Nolan's best movie till date and has surpassed Memento, Insomnia, The Prestige, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. A must watch movie with a mindblowing cliffhanger ending. 10/10

Now the climax of the movie made me think if its a reality or a dream. On my first viewing, I was sure that it is a dream. But on my second viewing, I got confused as I had read many discussion boards and stuff and I saw things which I had not bothered about earlier. I'll now give a detailed explanation evaluating both theories whether the movie is a dream or reality.


Many people, including me, believed that Cobb's kids, Phillipa and James at the end of the movie are the same, haven't aged and are wearing the same clothes. But on my second viewing, I noticed that the kids are different and are older compared to the younger ones we've seen throughout the film. Their clothes are slightly different. The girl has a white shirt underneath her red dress and his son is wearing shoes instead of sandals at the end. Even the credits at the end show two different sets of kids.

Cobb remembers exactly how he got to where he is, which he wouldn't know if he was dreaming.

In EVERY scene which is supposed to take place in reality, Cobb isn't wearing a wedding ring. Every dream sequence, he is (as he tells Ariadne, "In here we're still together."). At the end when he goes home and spins the top, he isn't wearing the ring. I didn't notice this at all on my first viewing.


In the movie we see a random shot of the old couple holding hands implying that Dom and Mal grew old in the limbo. But when Dom and Mal are trying to come back to reality, they are shown young on the train tracks. This is a hint that Dom exists in reality, has grown old and maybe he wants to relive his life with Mal. So he makes an inception on himself in order to turn his dream into his reality.
Dom created Mal while in limbo, while he was creating buildings and cathedrals and beaches. He tried to convince himself that he could create a companion. But he could never be truly satisfied because he could always see her lack of genuine complexity, true perfection, and beautiful imperfections, and would always remember that he had created her.
Therefore, he had to implant an inception on himself: the idea that they were both in a dream together, and that by killing themselves on the train tracks they could wake up into "reality" together, a reality that is in fact just a deeper stage of limbo.

Even the dreams don't obey their own supposed rules. If a dream can only truly be manipulated by the dreamer and the architect, then why is Dom, who is never the architect and who supposedly is never the dreamer, unable to keep his subconscious projections (Mal, the train etc.) from blasting through the landscape of the dream?

Chronologically, Dom first tells Mal to "take a leap of faith" by laying her head on the train tracks. He's also telling himself to "take a leap of faith" that by laying his head on the train tracks he will wake up with her in "reality". Next, she says to "take a leap of faith" before she commits suicide. Finally, Saito tells Dom to "take a leap of faith"  to believe that by pulling off the heist he will be able to see his kids.
The first leap of faith (Dom) convinces himself that he's no longer in a dream.
The second leap of faith (Mal) convinces him that he has kids.
The third leap of faith (Saito) convinces him that he not only has real kids but that he can also live with them and be happy.

On my second viewing of the movie, I noticed some interesting conversations. The line from the old man in the underground lab of Yusuf, "Their dream has become their reality. Who are you to say otherwise?". And Miles line: "Come back to reality, Cobb".

A totem becomes irrelevant only if the dreamer knows its qualities in reality. That's why they won't let anyone hold their totems. If the dreamer knew the properties of it, then they'd be able to recreate it in the dream-world as it is in reality, rendering it useless.
And as for Dom's totem, which isn't even his totem, it's Mal's, it's a useless artifact that doesn't serve a purpose. A useful totem is one that behaves consistently yet in a manner that is inconsistent with expectation- Arthur's loaded die always lands on one secret side, Ariadne's chess piece has the center of gravity shifted so that it falls rather than sliding.
A top is supposed to fall. In reality it will fall. In Dom's dream it will fall. In an architect's dream it will fall. Because that's what it's supposed to do. The only time it won't fall will be within a dream that Dom knows is a dream, then he'll know to make it keep spinning forever. But if he thinks that the dream is reality, then he knows to make it fall.
We never see the top fall at the end, which is Nolan's hint to us that we're in a dream. So whether the top stops or continue spinning, it's not important as even when it stops, it could be that Cobb believes that he has finally reunited with his family, hence his dream fully becomes his reality.
Part of the inception; Dom's inception on himself, Nolan's inception on us; is making us think that the top simply distinguishes between fantasy (the top doesn't fall) or reality (the top does fall).

My final take on the movie is that it doesn't matter if it is a dream or not. If we think it is reality, then it is. It's like The Matrix, how do we know we are truly awake? What if we are all living someone else's dream right now?
Cobb was lost in a different reality. His mind had to cope with loss, and so his dreams built this crazy fantasy world where he is a thief and corporations are out to get him. After working through all the layers of his own mind, he finally found peace and could see his children again. It doesn't matter if it was a dream or not.

The Almighty must have used his day off to make Christopher Nolan's brain !!!


Anonymous said...

hey to be very true i dint understand...infact i cudnt continue coz everything was goin as a bouncer...i understud d part (reality)...i'll make an attempt a lil l8r 2day n den post my next comment...

Meher....all out to explore..!! said...

I like your rendition of the movie.I loved it meself.and it took me time to understand it.But for me personally,the Dark knight,still scores because of Heath ledger's awesomness.
Well written.

sAndeep said...

hey rafaaa...... nice posts bt ... i think u r spending more time on all this stuff instead of other imp. things.... hope u gt it....

kajal said...

Rafaa first let me appreciate your aesthetic and analytic prowess. But trust me your review is apt for only people who have watched the movie. I want you to add a story line to it so that we understand your observations. And i feel you will go a long way in life with so much of maturity in your perception. Despite the tough schedule that you permit allowance to things that you desire shows how keen you are to pursue a career in films. I am sure it will come true one day. My blessings always.

Love- Raina Miss.

Rafaa Dalvi aka Mr.Charismatic said...

its again...its not that complex to understand :P

Rafaa Dalvi aka Mr.Charismatic said...

Even I loved the dark knight more than inception the 1st time I saw it...But on my second viewing, I came to the conclusion that this movie is perfect, just like TDK, but it is complex as well , just like Mulholland Drive, and that is why I think it is a notch above all Nolan movies...Its slightly better than TDK, Memento & The Prestige :)

Rafaa Dalvi aka Mr.Charismatic said...

well i love writing what is in my mind...thnk u fer da appraisal :)

Rafaa Dalvi aka Mr.Charismatic said...

@raina ma'am
thank u ma'am...i dint mention the story as it would spoil the thrill of da movie...this post is fer ppl who have already seen da u ma'am :)

Sanchayan said...

aah!!! fianlly i read ur post!! wunderfully put i must say!! evn iv seen the movie mutiple i m sure tht i cannot put it b8r thn u hve!! the fkt tht u can rite sch posts n thn cme up wid cheesy stuff as well is a mystifyin paradox!!! :)) cheers mate! luvly post!

Uma Maheswari Anandane said...

Wonderful movie! Mind bugging but this movie opened another door to the power of human mind

Rafaa Dalvi said...

I'm glad you understood it finally Sanchayan :)

Rafaa Dalvi said...

I completely agree Uma :)

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