NolanFans – 528491 (and the Train)

by InceptionEnding

in Inception Ending

“My theory about Inception is that while there are many interpretations, and ample evidence to support each and every one of them, my final conclusion is that it’s a really a simply story that becomes amazingly complex in people’s minds.

Cobb is a regular guy with 2 kids who is coming home from a business trip on a plane. His wife suffered from a mental illness, Cobb took her to 3 psychiatrists to try and get her help, but in the end she lost her mind, trashed their hotel room on their anniversary and threw herself off the building and killed herself which why she is so prominent in the entire movie. The movie starts when Cobb gets on the plane to go home. A big guy in first class (Eames) bumps Fischer and knocks his passport loose and it is given to Cobb. When Cobb sees the passport, he realizes who Fischer is and feeling sympathetic to Fischer he buys Fischer a drink and toasts his dad. Then he falls asleep on the plane.

Everything from the first scene with Saito to the last scene with Saito as an old man takes place entirely in Cobb’s mind, with the one exception of getting on the plane, which was real) When Cobb finally wakes up on the plane, he’s still on the plane and back in reality.

The thing that throws everyone for a loop is the spinning top, but the biggest clue isn’t the top, it’s the TRAIN.

The night that Mal kills herself she talks about “the train that will take them to where they want to go “and it’s the last thing she says before she jumps to her death. This is the reason that Cobb says he hates trains, and he has a damn good reason. It’s also a symbol for where he wanted to go: He wanted to die with her, not her first. This is the reason they are both on the tracks together about to die, and the reason he built everything in Limbo is because that’s what he wanted to do. In his dreams they did grow old together, but he struggles with the image of her all through the dream is because that’s the only place she now exists and she keeps interfering in everything because the dream is Cobb’s dream and all the other characters are projections of Cobb’s mind. He’s trying to tell himself that they aren’t real. This is why the train slams down the street trying to kill everyone.

In the end the entire dream is a struggle between Mal trying to tell Cobb that the dream is real and him trying to keep him asleep wake up vs. the image of his kids, who’s faces he can’t see because he is dreaming and they aren’t real. When Cobb wakes up, the people in the whole dream were just the people sitting in first class, everything is normal at the airport and when he gets home and sees his kids he really is home.

That’s pretty much it. It’s a love story.”

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Abby12985 July 30, 2010 at 4:52 pm

..let’s not over think this. Have we learned anything from the ending of LOST?… these writers leave gaps without an answer for us to juggle in our heads and make us confused. I think the major thing people are forgetting is what is a dream and what is a percepted dream of an actual event (ie. Mal’s death). Mal’s death was a memory in Cobb’s head. Dreaming and reliving this memory most likely ‘tweeked’ the situation a little bit…thus why she was on the ledge of the other building… just a thought.


Osun Thyruss November 23, 2010 at 5:28 am

Most people want a nice clean ending that lands on a happy note because they don’t want to think.
NO ONE seems to notice this one very glaringly obvious point: Limbo is several layers down. At one point, Cobb says that he and Mal went several layers into dreams within dreams to reach limbo. Cobb and Mal were in limbo, and escaped by laying on the tracks. The train hits them, and they wake up at home laying on the floor. From there, Cobb believes he is in reality, but Mal knows she is still in a dream because they only moved one layer up. She does the right thing by jumping from the ledge, and she’ll have to jump from a couple more ledges to reach reality. Cobb doesn’t because he has forgotten – after a lifetime in limbo – that they went several layers down. It doesn’t matter if the spinning dreidel continues spinning or falls at the end or at any other point in the story because the entire thing is a dream image buried in a multi-layered dream.
Put simply: For Cobb to be in reality, he would have had to have killed himself more than once after he left limbo, as Mal did.


mirjam December 17, 2010 at 7:13 pm

yes and note that at the end when he finally sees his children’s faces, they haven’t aged at all. He is still dreaming. When his father in law said ‘come back to reality’ earlier in the film I believe he is a projection of Cobb trying to get him to come back to reality – in this scene also he is dreaming.


slippyjim December 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Osun, if what you said is true why didn’t Mal, when she jumped off the ledge and moved up a dream level simply wake Cobb up so he joined her in that level and then carry on repeating.

Surely they should always know when they are back in reality as they get woken up by the timer on the machine and not anything else…


Cam528491 October 3, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Slippyjim, wouldnt they do that to Saito when he went into limbo? you can’t wake someone up who is in the level below you


Master August 10, 2016 at 1:42 am

I have a question:
if you would not in the limbo and were in the dream,
could you wake up after weeks and years?


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