Inception Movie – A Mystery Unresolved

Inception movie poster

The fact we are still talking about Inception proves why it's one of the greatest movies ever made. In this article, we will dive into one of the most beautiful, well-written, puzzling, spectacular fantasy thrillers, directed by Cristopher Nolan. Eleven years have passed since its release, and we still are questioning many facts about the movie. Inception is a sci-fi thriller movie, which makes us get so lost in Nolan's dream world that we find it hard to differentiate between reality and dream for the time being. Since its release, audience from all across the globe debates about the real meaning hidden behind the film. This movie truly fascinates all the sci-fi lovers out there to date.


Let’s talk about all the characters involved in the movie:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio played the role of a master thief, named Cobb who steals the ideas from traders by infiltrating their dreams through inception. He is a dream builder who is trying to find a way to get back to his children.
  • Joseph Gordon Levitt appeared in the movie as Arthur, right-hand man of Cobb for elite and well-to-do clients.
  • Ken Watanabe played the role of Saito, hired Cobb to plant an idea in his competitor's heir.
  • Cillian Murphy played the role of Robert Fisher, the company’s heir. The plan was to implant an idea in his brain so that he ends up destroying his father’s multi-billionaire company

Let’s re-examine Inception to understand and learn all the secrets that recently got discovered.

Here’s a breakdown of everything that you need to know about Inception.

Dream and Movie Side by Side

The movie starts with a slowed-down version of Edith Piaf's song "Non, Je ne regrette rien" the same sound they used as a kick in the film. They used it as a musical countdown to synchronize the kicks. Nolan chooses this song because of its lyrics that seem to reconnoiter the effects of memory on the human psyche. A heartbreak can have a destructive impact on one’s subconscious, and the same was the case with Cobb. He was suspected to be his wife's murderer so; he couldn't go back to America. Inception is itself designed to feel like a dream with Nolan casting dreams and the process in building that entire dream. Ever wondered, the movies are also made the same way? Many people speculated that this movie depicted the filmmaking process since your brain activity while watching a movie is similar to when you are sleeping.

The Climax is a Start!

The movie begins with Cobb lying on the shore with waves hitting him repeatedly. He then sees his children playing but couldn’t see their faces and doesn’t even want to because he fears that he won’t be able to leave the dream after seeing his children. Cobb uses a top that is used to determine whether it's a dream or reality. If it keeps spinning, then it's a dream, and if it stops, then he is in the real world. He was taken in to meet Saito who is much older now, but suddenly Cobb remembers the younger Saito, and the whole movie plays to flashback memory of Cobb.

Pact with Saito

Cobb is sitting at the table with Saito sitting on the opposite end. He was trying to steal a secret from Saito in his dream Saito not knowing that he is dreaming. Suddenly Cobb and Arthur woke up and left. In real life, Saito finds out about Cobb and Arthur and calls them to meet him.

Cobb and Arthur decide to meet Saito. Saito asks them to plant an idea in his competitor’s son’s mind through Inception. Only Cobb was able to do this but he knew the risks and difficulty level too but Saito offers him something in return that he wasn’t able to deny. He asks Cobb, “Do you want to go back home?” Cobb replied, “That’s not possible”. But Saito promised that Cobb will be able to meet his children and go back to America. In return, Saito asks Cobb to plant an Idea of breaking up his father’s business empire in Robert Fisher’s mind (son of his competitor).

Cobb makes a plan of building a dream with the help of Yusuf (who provided sedatives) and Ariadne, an architect who helped build the dream into four levels i.e they will sleep in the first dream to reach the second and then in the second to reach the final level. But the time dilation effect in these dreams was fascinating. i.e if you are dreaming for 10 hours in the real world, then you will get one week in Level 1, 6 months in Level 2, and 10 years in Level 3.

A five-leveled dream

According to the plan:

  • Level 1 will make Fisher realize that he won’t follow his father’s Vistage.
  • Level 2 will make him realize that he will do something for himself and follow his passions.
  • In Level 3, Fisher’s dying father will tell him not to be like him.
  • In Level 4, the team plans to instill the decided idea in Fischer's mind (to follow his dreams and ruin the inherited business)
  • Level 5 was a shared state to get Fischer and Saito out.

No one dreamed in Level 1. It is a reality in which Fischer Jr. is drugged so that his subconsciousness enters the dream. There was no kick as the timer counts down and the machine shuts off. It is the beginning of Level 2, where they had planned to kidnap Fishcer Jr. But the plan didn't go as they thought of it. Fischer is a rich man. He already hired a team of guards to protect him in his dreams so that no one can steal a secret/idea from him. One of his guards injured Saito in Level 2. Everyone gets nervous so, they decide that it would be best if they just quit. But Cobb told them that if they left the dream at that time, they will never wake up in real life and will stay in a coma for years. However, they manage to take Fisher Jr. as a hostage and force him to give random numbers that they use later. They began planting the idea in his head that his father wants him to break up the company. Yusuf drove the van off the bridge for "the kick" but failed. A second kick occurred when the van hit the water. In Level 3, Cobb pretends to be Fisher's protector and asks him if he remembered how this dream started.

Cobb made Fishcer Jr. believe that Browning (his godfather and his father's legal advisor) is a traitor. He joins the team for their next level of dream. Arthur blows the elevator that led to the free fall. They finally enter Level 4. The team has planned to take Fishcer Jr. to the fort where his father was waiting for him. There they plan to plant the idea in his brain. He is about to open the door to meet his father when Cobb's dead wife Mal came and start shooting Fischer. You must be thinking that how is it possible for Mal to come into his dream. Well, that is just Cobb's mind playing games with him because he doesn't want to believe that his wife is dead. Fisher is now unable to wake up because of a high-dosage of sleeping pills in Level 2.

Cobb plans to go to Level 5, the Limbo, to find Fischer and bring him back, but that is challenging since his wife is also there. So, there is a possibility that he might never come back. Eames blow up the fortress support causing a free fall and therefore serving as a kick. It helps Cobb to enter Level 5. Cobb went to Level 5 with Ariadne. He knows where to find Fischer. Fischer is with his wife, Mal. He threw Fischer off from the building, and Fischer woke up in Level 4 where his father persuaded him to leave the company and start his own life.

Did Cobb Stay in the Dream Forever?

Everyone woke up except the two, Cobb and Saito. Now let's get back to the start, where Cobb meets the old version of Saito. Saito wasn’t able to wake up and stayed in Level 3. Cobb tells him that this is not reality and it's just a dream. They all finally wake up, and Saito clears all allegations of murder against Cobb, and he is all good to go back to America. He comes back home, and before hugging his children, he spins his totem to see if all this is real. The top continues to spin as Cobb hugs his children and THE END.

This ambiguous ending left many viewers in doubt. Was this a dream or reality? Some believe he reached back home and met his family, but some believe that as the top continues to spin, he will be stuck in his dreams forever, just like his wife, who thought she was dreaming and killed herself.

The ending explains the start of the movie as well, where Saito and Cobb meet. It looks like Cobb stayed in his dream forever...

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