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Inceptionesque (Spoilers)

Inceptionesque (Spoilers)

Spoilder-ridden discussion of rabbit-hole movies such as 2010's "Inception" and 2011's "Source Code."
Victor Ganata
I was worried it wouldn't be that great on rewatching, but Inception managed to ensnare me yet again.
I'm also starting to change my mind about the ending. - Victor Ganata from iPhone
I either never realized this before or just totally forgot that projections never chase you in your own dreams. - Victor Ganata from iPhone
Stephen Mack
I want to discuss Source Code with people who have seen it, but such discussion would be inherently spoiler-ridden. - (via
I want to discuss Source Code with people who have seen it, but such discussion would be inherently spoiler-ridden. - (via
Spoilers below. - Stephen Mack
I liked the movie overall, but I thought it was only "good" when it so easily could have been "great." - Stephen Mack
My main criticisms are: 1. The whole thing was too short. 2. It should have ended with the freeze-frame kiss. Everything after is a very interesting philosophical discussion, but doesn't work for me in theatrical terms. It's all falling action, tension-less, and silly besides, because when you think about Colter living out Sean's life ("Um, yeah, sorry, I don't actually remember you or know how to teach") it falls apart. - Stephen Mack
So, the ending has to be thrown out. But it needs to be longer than a Twilight Zone episode. So it needs more meat in the middle. Personally, I would have instead started a flashback or new beginning and created a secondary character to debate the morality of the project a bit more. - Stephen Mack
Where did my comment go?! Boo. I don't wanna write it again. - Jandy
Conceptually I think it's very interesting, but dramatically it fails entirely for two reasons: First, there's zero tension once the bomb is defused. Second, it's an alternate universe and so the things that happen there have no emotional weight for me. - Stephen Mack
Weird, I saw it, and replied to it, then it disappeared. Maybe it'll come back. - Stephen Mack
Stephen, why do the things that happen there have no emotional weight for you? It's still Colter, and it's still Christina - it should have however much weight it had before. - Jandy
I do get a bit of a warm fuzzy from Jones establishing that the alternate universe continues, but I don't need that (and it feels a little pat and pap) -- I'd rather an Inception-style ending that leaves things more ambiguous. - Stephen Mack
Because it doesn't feel "real." - Stephen Mack
Because it has the sheen of "we saved the world" over it, I think, not because it's alternate. - Jandy
Possibly both for me! - Stephen Mack
I can see wanting more ambiguity in there. But Moon wasn't particularly ambiguous - I wasn't expecting that from Jones. I actually wasn't expecting alternate universes at all, though, so that was a pleasant surprise for me. I've had multiverses on the brain lately (thanks Fringe and Anathem), so I liked what Jones did with it. I agree, as I said in my disappeared comment, that we certainly didn't see all the issues that Colter would come up against if he continues in Sean's life. - Jandy
I'm ashamed to admit I haven't seen Moon yet. - Stephen Mack
Yeah, he's certainly not trying for an Inception-level brain tease. He's going for thinking, adult, fleshed-out sci-fi, so far in very contained situations and specific parameters. Within those constraints, I think both Source Code and Moon are pretty solid, though I'm not a rabid fan of either. - Jandy
Yeah, I think it does one a disservice going into Source Code expecting anything on the level of Inception. And because both Source Code and Moon are as Jandy said, contained situations and specific parameters, I found that I enjoyed both of them on those merits. - Jonathan Hardesty
That said, I do see how you could want more from it. It's just not trying for a lot more, I don't think. And yeah, because of that, it doesn't necessarily invite the level of discourse that something like Inception does (I think the guys on Row Three's Cinecast ended up spending only about 20 minutes on it, which is about 1/3 as much time as they usually spend on new releases, even though they all liked it). - Jandy
Well, I do think there's a lot to discuss about Source Code. Look at the IMDB forum posts for a whole bunch of confusion. It's not entirely clear where computer simulation ends and alternate universes begin, and much like Inception, you're presented with different "levels" of worlds and alternates, so there's some interesting stuff to map out. - Stephen Mack
What I did like about it was the idea that the source code is CREATING the alternate universes - rather than just tapping into something already existing. Which makes it more like Anathem, where every choice results in another branch in the multiverse, rather than Fringe. That's the way I interpreted it, anyway - I have seen a lot of people confused on that, but it seemed pretty clear to me. - Jandy
My major question was, does the universe that "our" Colter was from, that he was being sent to the train from, continue after he stays in the other one? And do all the other (at least seven or eight) universes created where the train crashes continue? - Jandy
Good question. It seems in "our" universe, Colter is dead, and Goodwin is probably court-martialed. - Stephen Mack
But to some extent, are these alternate universes really real, or are they just computer simulation? Even the one at the end with the Goodwin that gets the text message could just be a simulation or the imagination of Colter. - Stephen Mack
On one hand, that would depend on the Goodwin in our universe NOT pulling the plug on Colter (either we're grossly misled as to what that button does and the reaction of the director and his swat team is overblown, or that part is in Colter's imagination as well, which seems unlikely). On the other hand, I'm not sure it really matters within the narrative context of this film - Colter... more... - Jandy
"What is real?" *Laurence Fishburne imitation* - Victor Ganata
I haven't watched the movie, but I'm not averse to spoliers, and I find the topic of alternate universes fascinating. I just read *The Hidden Reality* by physicist Brian Greene which basically summarizes how our current understanding of physics actually predicts multiple forms of alternate universes, including simulated universes. One of the more bizarre conclusions is the idea that if... more... - Victor Ganata
Victor, I think you're referring to this Nick Bostrom work: (see also - Stephen Mack
Yup, Greene does cite Bostrom in that chapter. Another physicist makes a stab at what is happening in the ending: - Victor Ganata
Stephen Mack
Hear ye, hear ye. This room has slightly changed focus, and will allow spoiler-ridden discussion of movies that are similar in theme or scope to Inception, in addition to Inception itself.
Thanks to Jandy for the prod and Jonathan for the suggestion ( - Stephen Mack
Starting off: Source Code! Go see it if you haven't already. - Stephen Mack
inception.c at master from karthick18's inception - GitHub -
/* * Now this is the state where Cobb. meets Saito. * The beauty of the Films ending is: Did Cobb take a kick back to reality on seeing Saito remind him * that he has been in a limbo with his wife and has to come back to become Young. * And does Saito take the kick back when Cobb. pulls the trigger on him implicitly in limbo to give him the kick back. * Either way based on whether Cobb. got the kick back from limbo or not, the end is a reality or limbo. * Thats the ingenuity of Inception. So I think its better if we don't mess this up for ourselves and * just sleep here till infinity! */ static void infinite_subconsciousness(struct dreamer_attr *dattr) - Micah from Bookmarklet
via "someone wrote Inception in c... (read the code comments)" - Micah
Neal Krummell
Steve and 4 other people
Steve and 4 other people
Programmatic representation of the Brilliant movie: INCEPTION by the Genius Director THY name is Christopher Nolan! My tribute to Nolan in "C" Language and a bit of assembly (x86) as the inception is done using x86 code morphing so that Fischer wakes up thinking that the thought was originated from his mind. Running the program would unravel the entire sequence in the movie. Reading the code would explain the movie Programmatically. In order to compile the code, just type: make And run the code by typing: ./inception , to see the sequencing in the movie and have the code exit with Fischers Inception thought planted by the Inception team! - Steve and 4 other people
Stephen Mack
POLL: How many times have you seen the film so far?
Once. Haven't had time to see it a second time yet, despite wanting to. - Stephen Mack
Once although I've been meaning to go see it again before it leaves the IMAX. - Akiva
Once as well - I do want to see it again. - Jennifer Dittrich
Once, sadly. - Neal Krummell
Once. Imax for a second viewing. - Todd Hoff
Once in IMAX which is good enough for me. - Dario Gomez
Twice. - Anne Bouey
Same as Stephen. Once, though I want to see it again. - Chieze Okoye
Once. Interesting that it would be on Imax. I thought maybe one or two scenes would have benefited from such a huge screen that you have to turn your head to see the whole thing. - Josh Haley
Twice - astry
Still only once but I am rabidly looking forward to December 7. - Akiva
So were the Japanese. Whoops. Too soon? - Josh Haley from iPhone
Twice, and I could do it again, there are still nuances to discover. - Tinfoil 2.0
Neal Krummell
Stephen Mack
Great Job, Internet!: The secret of the Inception soundtrack  (The A.V. Club Blog) -
Great Job, Internet!: The secret of the Inception soundtrack  (The A.V. Club Blog)
From the blog post: "Well, in the movie, we learn that the further the heroes dive into a person's subconscious--into a dream within a dream within a dream, and so on--the more slowed-down time becomes. So if composer Hans Zimmer is playing us a super-slowed-down version of "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien," then the implication is that we're still submerged deep within the dream, far from the kick that will wake us up. Neat, huh?" - Stephen Mack from Bookmarklet
Via but now surrounded by AV Club analysis. - Stephen Mack
DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE!!!! I KNEW something was up with that soundtrack! This is SO cool. - Josh Haley
Actually, it's 80 times slower, so it should be:... more... - Stephen Mack
You trying to break the internets? - Josh Haley
No one made you click that "more" link, Haley. - Stephen Mack
I had to! - Josh Haley
Josh Haley
Josh Haley
Gravity. I can totally buy the tossing and turning of a real person affecting the dream. But...beyond that level, there are literally no physics involved, so I don't see how one dream state's physics (the van) affect another's (the hotel). But then, my mind is pretty puny to understand such things.
But I will say, when the van first tumbled, the hotel fight scene got 1000% more interesting. - Josh Haley
I agree, the way dreams work in this movie is nothing like any dream I've had that I can remember. Still love the movie though. - Stephen Mack from iPhone
Neal Krummell
No Comment: Inception explained for Mac users (SPOILER!) -
No Comment: Inception explained for Mac users (SPOILER!)
Awesome. - Josh Haley
Ken Morley
Ariadne's totem
Show all
Wait, now it looks like a pawn! - Stephen Mack from iPhone
Too big to be a pawn. - Akiva
And if you look on the right-hand side of the top, you can see the bishop cut. - Akiva
I think I can see the division of the mitre. The only thing that's off is how spherical the mitre is. But I'm now convinced that was intentional. - Victor Ganata
I think it's supposed to be the combination of a pawn and a bishop. One reflecting how she begins and one reflecting her power later on. - Akiva
Remember, in the ice fortress, Cobb was ready to quit when Fischer died but Ariadne encouraged them to move deeper. Also, there are two instances in the film when Cobb says the phrase, 'We failed.' - Akiva
Or since she makes it herself, maybe she just sucks at identifying chess pieces and/or making things. - Stephen Mack from iPhone
Heh, that may be true. But I still think there's an advantage to making a non-standard chess piece that can be confused for something standard. But it also opens up other interpretations—maybe Miles is really the bishop, and Ariadne is the bishop's pawn. Or maybe it's a reference to underpromotion: usually, when the pawn reaches the last rank, you want to promote it to a queen, but sometimes this results in a stalemate, so if you promote it to a bishop (or some other lesser valued piece) you can still win. - Victor Ganata
There's lots of variation is bishop design This one looks fairly similar - Ken Morley
I saw her today at the Inception / A brass tall pawn in her haaaaaaand - Stephen Mack from iPhone
True, there's definitely a lot of variation. It's just that the mitre that the top of the piece is supposed to resemble is generally tapered rather than round that's throwing me. - Victor Ganata
Also viewing the piece from slightly above makes it seem even rounder. - Ken Morley
With the size of the piece plus the nob on top, I thought it was a queen. - Dario Gomez
My first impression from the film was bishop, but the apparent angle of the cut seemed off, which reinforced the earlier exposition that totems need a subtle difference. - Micah
Symbolically, consider that a bishop both moves diagonally and represents a spiritual guide. The emphasis on Ariadne's architecting ability isn't put on detail (like the counterpart polyester carpet fail of the previous architect), rather her unbounded/*diagonal* thinking is prominent. Spiritually, she helps Cobb find forgiveness / redemption. - Micah
The reason why I like the pawn idea so much (besides my admittedly improbable *Through the Looking Glass* theory) is the fact that a pawn becomes increasingly important as you progress from the beginning of the game to the end game, which totally fits Ariadne's role. Although one could argue the same thing about bishops. They're almost liabilities at the beginning of the game, but as the board clears, they have almost free rein of the board. - Victor Ganata
The other thing I like about the pawn idea is that pawns define the playing field of the beginning and middle of the game. There's the phrase "pawn structure" that describes this. This fits with the fact that Ariadne is the Architect. - Victor Ganata
Neal Krummell
inception-someecards.jpg (JPEG Image, 425x706 pixels) -
Ha ha ha! - Stephen Mack from iPhone
LOL, I was just going to post this. I was cracking up when I read it. - Chieze Okoye
It's all about that last-frame squint. - Jennifer Dittrich
You probably all saw this already, but just in case, Penny Arcade's take on Inception: - Stephen Mack
heh - Chieze Okoye
Ivan Campos
I've created a blog to aggregate theories about the ending of Inception:
Stephen Mack
Could they possibly do a sequel to Inception? Would you see it? (Plus talk about Inception's performance at the box office.)
Yes and yes. Ariadne could realize that he gave up and she must rescue him by going 4 levels deep or something else very risky. In the mean time she would have racked up her own demons she's afraid to face which would scare here away. - Todd Hoff
I think the question is: what would the premise be? They covered stealing ideas, and of course, the inception of ideas. It would have to be something more, like stealing some personality trait and putting it in another person, to frame them for a crime or something. The details of how to bring back in our characters should be pretty straightforward (i.e. like any other heist movie) - Steve and 4 other people
I think they could without involving anyone from the first film. It could be a separate group or person addicted to the limbo state, and someone has to go in to implant the idea that they must come back to the real world. Basically a full film around the subplot in inception. - Dario Gomez
May as well mention this here: Inception's box office #s are good. $142 million in the U.S. in 2 weeks, and held on to the #1 spot in its second week, beating "Salt." ( -- so with these numbers, the studio is doubtless already increasing pressure on Nolan to make a sequel. - Stephen Mack
A prequel might be interesting too. What's the story behind the development of this tech? - Todd Hoff
Todd, I would like to see that movie. - Chieze Okoye
Me too. Hopefully it would be better than the Star Wars prequels :-) - Todd Hoff
Ha! Yeah, hopefully. - Chieze Okoye
I wonder if Nolan would do a sequel or prequel of any of his stuff. He just never really struck me as a guy who would really do it, with Batman being, to me, an understandable exception. - Victor Ganata
Reinception! - Rodfather
Exception! - Stephen Mack
I'm Dreaming of Batman?! - Victor Ganata
I'm still waiting for Memento 2: Wait What? - Akiva
The Prestige 2: More Prestigerer - Stephen Mack
Now I'm thinking of the intersection of themes between Memento and Inception. - Victor Ganata
Following 2: The Unfollowing. - Akiva
FYI, Inception was #1 again for its 3rd week out. If it can beat Step Up 3D and The Other Guys to hold onto #1 for a 4th week, no other movie will accomplish that this summer, I suspect. - Stephen Mack from iPhone
What's the longest a movie has been number one at the box office? - Victor Ganata
Ever? I'd have to look it up. But the movie world is much different now. Twice as many films are released now than 5 years ago. And four times more than 20 years ago. - Stephen Mack from iPhone
With my current theory of the ending I think they can make it a trilogy. The top falls to start the sequel. Cobb thinks he's in reality. As time goes on, he finds his life is perfect. But the experiences of the first has made so he does not do any shared dreaming. Instead he teaches. But as time keeps going by it starts to seem to him he is not in reality. At first he thinks he is going... more... - Dario Gomez
And the third film would be Cobb waking up in reality and following in Mal's footsteps and committing suicide for real at the end. - Dario Gomez
Victor, per The Numbers (, 1982's E.T. holds the record, with 16 weeks at #1. However, not all of those were in a row. 1997's Titanic had 15 weeks at #1 in a row ( - Stephen Mack
I'd love to see something else in this universe, but I think the main characters ended their arcs pretty neatly in the film, give or take. If they were going to go a slightly different direction, I'd want to see more of that 'underground' with the basement sleepers, and how twisted that might go. - Jennifer Dittrich
Alas, "The Other Guys" took in $35.6m over the weekend, beating Inception's $18.6m. So, three weeks at #1, not bad at all, but the streak is over. - Stephen Mack
Now that I think about it: Please, no more science fiction trilogies. - Victor Ganata
One quadrology, coming up. - Stephen Mack
Reception: Cobb and Ariadne's wedding. - Steve and 4 other people
Misconception: Where someone has to go into Cobb's head to un-convince him that Ariadne is a good match for him. - Steve and 4 other people
Conception: 30 years in the future, Cobb & Ariadne's daughter needs to figure out what the heck her parents were doing before she was born. - Steve and 4 other people
Stephen Mack
So, where do you fall in on whether or not the spinning top stops spinning or not?
Me? I think it stops spinning. I think it's real. - Stephen Mack
It did wobble, so I'd imagine that it does stop spinning -- but I also think that there's a good chance that none of what's presented in the film is true "reality" and that his wife was correct all along. In that case, yes the top stops spinning, but it is more because Cobb has accepted this version of reality as true, rather than it being "real." - Jennifer Dittrich
I actually think the guy was dreaming from frame one. The entire premise of the movie is itself presented by the dream and is thus not real. In this case, whether the top spins or falls doesn't matter: he wakes up. Note, for example, that his children never age. They look the same from his memory as they do when he sees them at the very end of the movie. - Akiva
I need a rewatch, but I've almost been convinced that the entire thing is in Cobb's head. But yeah. Not sure. But I don't think it can really be definitively proved either way, actually - part of the coolness is that it's indeterminate. - Jandy
With the top at the end, it can go either way and left for the audience to decide. It looked like it was wobbling and about to fall but cuts out. - Rodfather
"Proof" -- definitely not. :) But it gets into the point I'm making here: -- even if Nolan was 100% deadset on making everyone believe that Dom was NOT dreaming, because of the restrictions of portraying reality in film, it's always going to end up ambiguous. So I can't say that Jennifer, Akiva and Jandy are wrong and prove it, but I take it at surface level and believe that Dom was NOT dreaming at the end. - Stephen Mack
Also note how readily the other characters jump into the fantasy. Ariadne never once questions the job offer, apparently leaves school to become part of a crack squad, she behaves quite irrationally when it comes to Cobb, etc. In fact, all of the characters just go along with whatever's going on. None of them have any backstory whatsoever (except Araidne a bit). They often have... more... - Akiva
I ultimately agree with Jennifer that the actual point is that it doesn't matter. Dom has chosen the reality with his kids, and whether it's "real" or not is immaterial. - Jandy
Akiva, note that two sets of actors are credited for the children, with different ages: -- I desperately need to see this a second time but I think they do age and change. - Stephen Mack
Jandy, I agree it doesn't "matter" to the success of the film. It works either way. - Stephen Mack
I wasn't aware of that, Stephen. To me, they looked almost exactly the same from the 'I didn't call out to them' memory to the 'Daddy's home' scene. Although I do think when they're shown on the beach, they're younger than when they're shown in the yard which would be his last memory of them. - Akiva
stops spinning - Chieze Okoye
Akiva, your second comment is dead on -- there are many dream-like qualities to the "reality" level. - Stephen Mack
Some other 'evidence' that it's all a dream: with the exception of the snow fortress, everything happens in a city; when Cobb's being chased through the streets of Mombassa, he runs through a narrow alley that is nothing but a non-descript space between two buildings that somehow gets narrower at the far end and nearly traps him; etc. - Akiva
One theory on the kids' age question I've seen is that the younger age is the beach, the older age is the backyard. So yeah, what Akiva said. - Jandy
There's also little transition between places - you see them on a train and a helicopter, but not disembarking. They travel across the globe, but you almost always find them starting in the middle of a scene. - Jennifer Dittrich
Jennifer, which fits with the "you don't know how you got here" element ascribed to dreams. - Jandy
Jandy, yep. The only time he actually experiences traveling is when it's essential to the dream. - Akiva
That's the part that got me about the film-making point -- it's impossible to show people "getting there" in a movie, since a movie will by definition have scenes that start and stop. - Stephen Mack
Has anyone read Devin Faraci's piece about Inception and filmmaking? I haven't yet, but I keep meaning to. Maybe I'll head over to CHUD in a bit. - Jandy
Also, note the 'magic' of the dream device. They're plugging into their wrists and it happens almost instantaneously with no pain. When Ariadne finds Cobb using the machine alone, she just sits down, plugs in, and goes into his dream in a matter of seconds. If it's some kind of I.V., it works awfully quick and painlessly. - Akiva
Yeah - I also like (structurally) how the immense exposition at the beginning of the movie is less problematic for the story if it is supposed to provide a clue to a greater portion of the environment. Stephen - I noticed the "in the middle" parts specifically because it is normal to show a character walking "into" a scene. - Jennifer Dittrich
And finally, note that, for the most part, you can never see through windows. They're always covered up, fogged up, it's dark, or it's raining. And if they're not, the camera is placed where we can only see an exterior wall or floor of the same building (such as where Cobb and the profiler meet in Mombassa or when they're all standing in the giant empty lobby: you can see through the doors but only to the flagstones outside). - Akiva
Akiva, the part about the dream machine could just be explained away as near future pseudo-science, like many sci-fi movies/novels. But you make some good points. - Chieze Okoye
The fact is, though, they don't. They go into great amounts of detail about everything EXCEPT how the machine interfaces with people through their wrists. It's too preposterous to be a MacGuffin. The fact that the interface isn't even shown (it's always hidden under a little rectangle of cloth or gauze) makes it stand out even more. I mean, it's the cynosure of the film: without it, the... more... - Akiva
Good point. Hmm, you may have swayed me. - Chieze Okoye
Another point: Cobb has no problems telling Ariadne everything the moment she asks. Whatever question she asks, he gives her a long and detailed explanation about his past with little reservation and usually with only a brief pause. In fact, in the middle of the movie, I was beginning to wonder if Cobb wasn't the target of extraction and she was the implant. - Akiva
The elements of the movie that I think are real: Cobb's a definitely an architect. You don't have dreams that are so obsessed like that without it being a hugely significant portion of your life. I'd also buy into the fact that he had a wife who died and has children he's lost custody of. - Akiva
I was wondering about Ariadne for most of the film - at least largely because of her name. Yes, please, roll me out the string to get me out of the maze only you know the solution to. - Jennifer Dittrich
Hmm, Akiva, I think that your Ariadne points can basically be explained as an artifact of needing to humanize him and give the audience a "yeah, what the hell *IS* going on?" character in the story. Also, regarding your point about the other characters, I have never once seen a heist movie with significantly more back story given to the accessory characters than what was given here. I mean Ocean's 11 was like "Hey we need a flexible Chinese guy." "How about this one?" "Cool." IIRC - Chieze Okoye
I guess I kind of take Stephen's stance of movies about reality, by the very nature of movie making, will necessarily have some of that ambiguity, but I take the plot on face level as the being he ends the movie in 'reality.' The spinning top at the end is kind of Nolan's eye-wink to tell you the viewer to expand your thinking to that meta-level, but I'm not sure it was his intent to show that the whole filmed plot was a dream. - Chieze Okoye
Right but accusing Ocean 11 of doing that simply because it's a heist movie is like accusing Star Wars of having lasers simply because it's a science fiction movie. Genre films have certain axioms and dictations that hold steady and require no further explanation because they're inessential to the plot. Inception, however, isn't a genre movie and the device used to connect to people's... more... - Akiva
But I think that Inception is very much a heist genre movie and that, while taking the idea in a new and fascinating direction, his decisions on how to move the story and have the characters interact and all that are very much driven by that understanding of the "heist" genre. - Chieze Okoye
We're never going to be able to discuss it then because I see the heist aspect of the film as secondary rather than primary. And if you see it as a heist film, you're going to be satisfied with certain aspects that I find extremely interesting in how they're presented and used. - Akiva
Plus I don't think that meta-analyzing makes the discussion pointless. It gives another facet or lens to view the movie through and makes the discussion more interesting, in my view. Once we start breaking down the syntax of lines, then it becomes pointless, heh. ;) - Chieze Okoye
I disagree. When you start saying stuff like, 'Oh, they did that because that's just the way movies are made,' then you're no longer discussing the movie, you're discussing the production of the movie. It'd be like dismissing how a cinematographer lights a scene as being merely functional or artistic and not in some way integral to the plot (not saying that all such technicalities are... more... - Akiva
Fair enough. I still think that there is a strong possibility that Nolan made a willful decision not to explain it because he didn't feel it warranted explanation and he expected it to just be taken at face value as a device that exists in a world where dream-walking is possible. How does the space ship fly in Sunshine? It is absolutely crucial to the setting and existence of the movie... more... - Chieze Okoye
However, I will say that I definitely see your side of this. Even in the Prestige, I had the feeling that the movie was set up and presented just like a magic trick as described in the movie and that was a lot of why I liked it so much. I have that same feeling here with this movie, but choose to take the plot itself as much at face value as I did the Prestige's. - Chieze Okoye
As an aside, what do you think is the primary role of the movie? "What is reality?" is the vibe I'm getting from the points you're making. - Chieze Okoye
Inception stands out in the fact that movies that feature this sort of thing almost always go into intricate detail on how the process works. Whether it's Tron, Brainstorm, Dreamscape, etc., they all talk up the process. On the opposite end of the spectrum is 2001 which goes out of its way to NOT describe the process (the monoliths) because NOT describing them is integral to the plot of... more... - Akiva
Hmm, that's a good point. - Chieze Okoye
Probably that it's like a dream: it has no function outside of itself. Once the dream is gone, it's gone. I don't think Inception is positing any philosophical questions or notions whatsoever. It's simply a dream. - Akiva
OK, I can see that. Yeah, that's somewhat similar to what I was trying to describe re: The Prestige above. - Chieze Okoye
Meanwhile, playing devil's advocate, if I had to choose one, I'd say it stops spinning. Every time the top is shown spinning earlier in the movie, it's shown to be spinning with great and unerring precision. When he spins it the last time, it wobbles, something that it's never done before. Either way, I'm glad Nolan chose not to show whether it stops or not. I know some people hate the ambiguity but I think it would underserve the rest of the movie if he had shown it either way. - Akiva
I'm fine with the happy ending. - Rodfather
This actually makes me want to talk about Shutter Island more. - Rodfather
Me, too, Rodfather - even if I think he might still be dreaming, it is obvious he is happy and at peace :) - Jennifer Dittrich
And the uncertainty of the top might symbolize the irrelevance of whether it's real or not and that it's his acceptance of it as real is what's more important. Once he began to accept it as real, the top also accepted it as real and began to wobble. - Akiva
Yeah, it could still be a dream but accepts that reality, which in turn made the top wobble. I still like to think he actually woke up and the kids are real. - Rodfather
It's definitely more comforting. The idea of being trapped in limbo as posited by the Rules freaks me out in a bad, bad way. - Akiva
I think the movie ends in a dream. I'm still not sure about the rest of the movie. I don't believe the kids aged from his memories, plus the phone call was to simple of a solution no matter how powerful the guy was. Even worse, why go through inception when there are other more traditional and easier ways to bring down a company. Plus the though of one entity having a monopoly on power is more far fetched to me than the premise of going into peoples dreams. - Dario Gomez
(Micah: This is "the long thread.") - Stephen Mack from iPhone
I think it does fall, but not sure if that proves it's reality. Cobb could have created the reality he wanted in Limbo. Because he is the owner of the totem, he can cause it to fall as it should. Also, I do believe the film did tread in reality, as I just don't believe his own projections supported higher up dreams or an outside team came in to implant a thought into him. - Dario Gomez
Anne Bouey
Inception’s Dileep Rao Answers All Your Questions About Inception -- Vulture -
Inception’s Dileep Rao Answers All Your Questions About Inception -- Vulture
"Let's get the easy stuff out of the way first. Can you go over the rules of dreaming? When you dream normally, you can use a drug to share the dream with other people. You can enter another person's dream. It's just the dream-sharing drug, so if you die in that dream, you just wake up — no problem. It's frightening for a second, but up you come. The problem arises when you want to go deeper. To go deeper, we have to use a much stronger version of the drug, one that my character customizes, that is combined with a very powerful sedative. It's like weights to keep you under when you are scuba diving. But in this situation, if you die in the dream, you go deeper and deeper until you hit limbo. Limbo is unconstructed dream space, unless one of the dreamers has been there — in our movie's case, someone has. And while you're in limbo, your brain can be destroyed. Like, you would be in a coma, or you could just leave your mind behind. Also, you can be in limbo for years and years,... more... - Anne Bouey from Bookmarklet
Have you ever had a dream inside a dream?
I have. - iTad
I don't think I've ever gone more than two levels deep, but I've certainly had a few. - Victor Ganata
Yeah...had one a couple weeks ago. Can't remember the specifics now but I told someone about it and they thought it was weird to dream in my dream - Tamara, #TeamMarina from iPhone
Or, are you talking about something besides a false awakening? Like actually going to sleep inside your dream, and then dreaming? - Victor Ganata
Yeah - that's what I mean. Going to sleep while asleep and dreaming while you're dreaming. - iTad
I've also had dreams where I remember a dream (that I'm pretty sure I haven't actually had). - iTad
I feel like an Xzibit reference is in order here, if I was clever enough to make one. - Victor Ganata
What if a D within a D is simply a dream where one or more impressions/scenes happens to be that you 'see' yourself dreaming, but every impression before or after is actually in a single context (not within). - Micah
You do realize that the letter D has a D within itself. - Micah
those really bother me. mercifully rare. - Big Joe Silence
Steve and 4 other people
These mash-ups are never really /that/ good, but hey, they're fun. :) - Steve and 4 other people
I thought the "Toy Story 3" one was better, although it might just be because I saw it first. - Victor Ganata
The only one I really liked was the first one which made The Shining seem like a romantic comedy. - Akiva
+1 Akiva. That one started this whole trend, and still sets the bar. - Steve and 4 other people
Inception Timeline - DeviantArt – Inception Infographic by ~dehahs -
Inception Timeline - DeviantArt – Inception Infographic by ~dehahs
Reference within the reference: - Micah from Bookmarklet
My minds still chewing its cud on this infographic. - Micah
I LOVE that I don't know which is "the long thread" and yet I have may have seen it.
All the rest of you are dreaming right now (most of you for sure) and I'm not yet. [checks number of pixels in Totem building supplies logo] - Micah
......... ....... ... 20,130. Phew. - Micah
Stephen Mack
Side note: I love this group!
I've not really used rooms/groups on FF much. This one is making me giddy. - Stephen Mack
And is amusing now. - Stephen Mack
Haha - Rodfather
Ooopsiedoodle. - Jennifer Dittrich
Guess I won't be crowned King of the Winter Carnival anymore. :( - Akiva
I dub thee Count Inception as recompense. - Stephen Mack
And much rejoicing was heard throughout the land! Huzzah! - Akiva
I'm not much of a roomie either, but I"m double-downing on this one. - Micah
One thing in "reality" that I found to be very dreamish: when Cobb is being chased and he squeezes between two buildings. That's a pretty common dream - I've had that myself multiple times. It looks like there's no possible way he can squeeze through, yet he does. Very dreamish.
I shoulda read all the comments in that long thread... - iTad
I distinctly remember a dream from many many years ago where I'm running and I'm not progressing forward. And I know this is also common, but it instantly came to mind as I reading your statement, Tad. - Micah
Why does the dream sharing tech work inside the dream? Amongst willing participants it kinda makes sense. When they have Phillip Jr or whatever his name is - is he a willing participant in each level except reality? It doesn't make sense that the machine would work on people unwilling to use them...
We covered that in the long thread. - Akiva
Reading "in the long thread" gave me mental chills just now. - Micah
Stephen Mack
Another clue that it's all a dream: Remember all those people staring at Cobb in the airport on the reality level? Staring at him, just like the projections do in the dream levels?
Hm. I don't remember. Yep, I'll have to see this again. - Rodfather
I don't think I remember that. I only remember the supporting characters looking at him. Plus, in the dreams shown in the movie, projections only do that staring thing at people who are foreign to the "subject" (ie: the one projecting them). But if it's all a dream, Cobb would be that subject, so his own projections wouldn't stare at him, right? - Chieze Okoye
I'd answer but I totally don't remember this well enough... - Stephen Mack
I agree with Chieze. - Dario Gomez
I remember it, and that's when I started thinking "They're doing this to make me question whether this is dream or reality." - Steve and 4 other people
Ken Morley
The Neuroscience of Inception | Wired Science | -
The Neuroscience of Inception | Wired Science |
The opening paragraph resonates with me: "The literary critic Frank Kermode famously argued that all successful works of art have the ability to inspire multiple interpretations. We read the classics, he said, because we believe they say more than the author meant. In other words, it is the ambiguity of art - this ability to inspire arguments and blog posts – that makes it so interesting." - Stephen Mack
But I think the "it's all a dream and a metaphor about film-making" interpretation is a hand-waving cop-out. As I argued previously, all movies are inherently movies which are inherently unreal. To me it makes the film much less interesting to argue the point made in this Wired post. - Stephen Mack
Although I maintain that it's all Cobb's dream, I don't buy into the idea that it's a metaphor about filmmaking. That just robs it of all it's enchantment. - Akiva
Reading some of the comments, I have to wonder how much of my own dreaming is totally idiosyncratic to me, and how much is actually common to other people as well. The ex machina rule making is something that happens frequently in my dreams (and I've noticed is something frequently found in fairy tales), and things that seem completely inconsequential and even nonsensical in real life take on larger-than-life qualities in my dreams. - Victor Ganata
Anatomy of a Scene: 'Inception' - Interactive Feature -
Anatomy of a Scene: 'Inception' - Interactive Feature
"Christopher Nolan, the writer and director of "Inception," discusses a scene from the film." - Derrick from Bookmarklet
Wow, so they actually filmed those explosions. - Stephen Mack
using compressed air. I saw a 'making-of' thing a week or so ago that showed how they did the "zero-gravity" stuff in a huge rotating set as well. I am a big fan of in-camera work. It still looks better than the best CGI stuff. - DJF
In camera, FTW. - Derrick
Victor Ganata
Which one is Ariadne's totem? I need to watch it again.
Looked *much* more like a pawn than the bishop, but frankly, was too large to be a pawn. It could have been a queen, as others have suggested. - Steve and 4 other people
I'm sure it wasn't a queen Maybe she was anticipating a really huge chessboard ;) - Victor Ganata
It was an awful tall pawn though. - Stephen Mack from iPhone
All right, new rule of this group: you are not allow to disagree with me. I SAY IT'S A BISHOP AND IT'S A BISHOP. - Akiva
Besides, a pawn's just too obvious for a movie that demands so much intellectual inquiry. - Akiva
I'm too much in love with the possible Alice Through the Looking Glass reference to accept that it's not a pawn. - Victor Ganata
It was too big to be a pawn, I'm pretty sure it was a bishop. Also, has anyone mentioned the Robert (Bobby) Fischer connection? - Ken Morley
There's a Bobby Fischer connection? Do extrapolate! - Akiva
Only that the marks name was Robert Fischer... since the significance of pawns/bishops was being discussed. - Ken Morley
... and also that Fischer's projections (pieces?) were all wearing black, and Bobby Fischer was noted for playing the Sicilian defence that relies on fianchettoed bishop(s). :o) - Ken Morley
I'm now convinced that it's a piece the size of a bishop with a round smooth top like a pawn. - Victor Ganata
+1 great theory Victor - Steve and 4 other people
Aww, the caps got pulled? It does look like a bishop with the little nipple thing on top and with its height. It's just missing the divot to represent a stylized mitre, and the shape of the mitre is a lot rounder than usual. But maybe that was the whole point of her totem, instead of spinning it or rolling it. Unless you got a really good look at it, you'd just assume it was a standard bishop. - Victor Ganata
Sorry, here they are again. - Ken Morley
Thanks, Ken! - Victor Ganata
It could be a pawn, or it could be a bishop... even though people are saying its a bishop I like to think it's a pawn because technically a pawn could be a more powerful peice on a chessboard if it makes it to the other side. - Leanne Royo
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