82

None of the different means you can use to guess whether Cobb is in a dream or not at the end of the movie are completely reliable. The spinning top has huge issues - the fact that it was Mal's totem, that it appears to act in a simplistic way that perhaps other people could dream, hence invalidating its usefulness - and of course the fact that we are never ...


62

The technique is specifically named in the film, as the literal meaning of the word matches well with it. Following is a dialogue from early in the film, for reference: COBB: What do you want from us? SAITO: Inception. ... SAITO: Is it possible? ARTHUR: Of course not. SAITO: If you can steal an idea from someone's mind, why can't ...


59

Saito wanted to be present to ensure that the job went his way and that the team was successful. Having already experienced a failed attempt at information theft (when Cobb and co tried to steal information from him), Saito wanted to put every little thing into his favor, and the best way to do that was to be present at every step. A good example of this ...


49

Although the ending of inception was meant to be debatable and ultimately was left up to the audience, there are several factors indicating that Cobb is indeed dreaming in the end of the film. In fact if you read my whole theory you shall understand that Cobb is actually on the third dream level and you will understand why. Reason 1. Cobb told Saito and ...


46

Because you can't battle a notion once it's successfully inserted into your subconscious. Cobb: An idea is like a virus. Resilient. Highly contagious. The smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you. Nothing could convince Mal. Presumably, Cobb had better ways than a spinning top to prove to Mal that this is reality and that ...


41

They do give each other some knowing glances but you are correct, as the team arrive in Los Angeles airport, they split up and almost ignore each other going through immigration and baggage collection. IMHO there are two main reasons for this: They have just completed a crime, they illegally drugged Fischer and forced him into a shared dream without his ...


41

There is a wedding ring theory which leads to the conclusion that he is indeed back in the real world. A quick Google will turn up a number of explanations of that theory. On the otherhand, Christopher Nolan refuses to answer the question, indeed here he seems to go so far as to insist there is no answer. Personally I think that's nonsense: either the ...


40

The other answers here are correct, but they are missing a key quote that is a direct answer to your question. YUSUF: A powerful sedative. How many team members? COBB: Five. SAITO: Six. The only way to know you've done the job is if I go in with you. The "loot" from this job was not an obvious, easily provable thing like a password or a secret ...


36

Most of it is explained in the movie: Yusuf: We're too heavily sedated to wake up that way. [...] Can't even think about trying to escape [from Limbo] until the sedation eases. Cobb (to Saito): When you wake up you won't even remember that we had an arrangement. Limbo is going to become your reality. So let's tackle the relevant points one at a time....


33

I don't see this explicitly as a riddle per se, but as a saying they came up with when Mal & Cobb knew they had to get out of their 50yr long dream. The reason I say this is because they say it to each other to reassure themselves that by killing themselves in the dream, they'll wake up in the real world; portrayed as they say it while putting their ...


26

As you explained, Inception is an event that is a beginning; a first part or stage of subsequent events. In this movie, lead protagonist Dominic Cobb(Leonardo DiCaprio) has got a task to implant an idea into Robert Fischer's subconscious mind by going into his dream. And that person will have a life and act according to what has been implanted into his mind....


24

First of all, please note that this answer is not based on facts and is just my personal observation. As you have said in a comment, Christopher Nolan is too great a director to allow minor flaws as this in his movies. (And I guess it would have been easier to stamp a real seal on the passport than one without a date). Inception is almost completely based ...


23

My take on this is quite simple. He's hiring a team to encourage a competitor to walk away from competing with his company. This is an illegal activity and as a result involves hiring a team that he personally knows little about, or whether to trust them. Because this is illegal, he has no recourse to the legal system if Cobb breaks his agreement, and ...


22

The scene is to demonstrate the limit of her mind. Earlier on, she was seen creating the folding road, something that her mind was able to rationalize based on the creativity that is allowed within her sub-conscious. Within Inception, a lot of activity within dreams is based on seeing things. Notice the feel and weight of a totem actually tells someone ...


22

It's not a riddle at all. Cobb starts saying those things to suggest the trains exists to Mal. Notice that only when he starts talking to her about it, the tracks being to tremble and shake. He is essentially causing the train to exist and Mal is conjuring it up.


21

Inception Wiki's article on Cobb suggests: His Totem is a spinning top which formerly belonged to his wife, Mallorie Cobb. This is separate from his wedding ring which is a dream based object and thus cannot be a totem. Which supports the theory of the ring being a dream-only occurrence and not his totem. I have seen a few theories support that his ...


20

I love the question. Here's a summary from a very tight explanation (with some drawings): Inception and Kicks There were two types of dreams. The simple construct with a mild sedative and the more complex construct with a strong sedative. In the simple construct, one kick is enough. Kick can be either to the self (eg: Arthur shot in the head) or a kick ...


19

At the point in time that we see Mal appear in the room with Fischer, we see her through a gun-sight aimed by Cobb. She appears to drop into the room from above. Mal is just a projection of Cobb, so she does not need to break into the room by knowing the maze around the vault. Cobb by his very presence and line of sight of the room, aided by the gun sight ...


19

I've been searching for a direct quote where Nolan addresses the reasons why this song was included in the script. All I found was this transcript from a press conference which included the following exchange: Hollywood News: The score and the sound design for this film are phenomenal; it’s almost like another character. Chris, can you talk about that a ...


19

The film inception isn't really about dream sharing, and while your question asks if it's possible I think that part is mostly fiction. While we might be able to one day visualize dreams on a monitor while they happen, transferring and connecting two or more people to a host's dream is purely science fiction. Still, the film is about planting ideas via one'...


19

In the featurette The Sound of Inception sound designer Richard King talks shortly about recording sounds from an oscillator that are played through subwoofers. That's when you can hear that bwaah sound, as you call it.     Mix Magazine has an article in which Richard King explains a bit more about using subwoofers and oscillators to create ...


18

There are three ways to wake up from the dream: wait for the timer to run out; die; or receive a kick from the next level up. Because of the sedatives, dying wasn't an option; they'd just end up in limbo. And because of the multiple dream levels, waiting for the timer to run out wasn't an option, because they'd all be killed by the projections in the time ...


18

A totem was an object with some behaviour which was considered to be a secret known only to its owner. Totems could be used therefore to determine whether someone was in someone else's dream because the dreamer would not know what the secret behaviour was, but they could not reliably be used to determine whether someone was dreaming at all, because if the ...


18

In the movie, Arthur is defined as the point man: Point man: A most trusted assistant or associate; the person upon whom one would most rely. Arthur is Cobb's right-hand guy and the team's detail man who's best at taking care of all the specifics. He also keeps Cobb in check (Cobb proves throughout the film that he's a somewhat volatile partner who might ...


17

Cobb wanted to be absolutely sure that the drug was in. There was just too much at stake to leave something like that up to the hostess.


15

Ariadne is in the process of changing the dream and Cobb’s subconscious senses the changes and begins to attack her. With the mirrors, Ariadne is discovering a way to create changes in the dream that Cobb’s mind can accept. In this instance, she creates an extended road that wasn’t there before. Cobb’s mind accepts the change in the dream because the two ...


15

Fischer is shot in the 3rd layer of the dream and enters the limbo. In limbo, you are actually in your own mind, you don't follow the rules of others. What is more, you are so "sedated" (so deep in your subconscious) that you forget reality. This means, you don't have contact to anything else. You are numb (like in a coma). If you pay attention to what the ...


14

I know that we can all agree that the ending is up in the air, but were he dreaming in the end, what dream level he is in, can be one of at least two possibilities. 1st level: Although we are introduced to the spinning totem early on in the film and further enlightened to its significance throughout, we only see it spin out once, in the hotel room before ...


14

(Personally I do have a lot of sympathy with your thought that this is a plot hole - but here is a train of thought that might explain it) To be fair on Ariadne, it is actually Cobb who first asserts that Saito is dead. From the script: ARIADNE Cobb, I'm not going to let you lose yourself in here! You have to get back to your children! COBB ...


14

I think the answer is in what Cobb says: Saito is dead by now. The by now being the important part. Based on the injuries sustained by Saito it is obvious that he only has a short time to live. And while time passes differently at the different levels, Cobb is aware it has passed. He may not know with 100% confidence but biased on how long it looked ...


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