Unlike some know it all ‘gurus’ out there, I personally don’t think one can watch the movie and explain most of the important questions present in the movie, much less give the answer as to whether the top stops spinning or not in the end.
Thus, instead of trying to wreck my brain coming out with an answer to the ending( cause you don’t effing drive a car without knowing how a car works), I shall list down some of the things i observed, my thoughts, and questions I have regarding the show. Here goes:
BEFORE I CONTINUE, THIS IS A BIG FUCKING SPOILER ALERT!!!
There are, to me, 6 levels in the show.
1st level: Reality
2nd level: Raining city scene
3rd level: Hotel scene
4th level: Snow Fort scene
5th level: Cobb’s Limbo
6th level: Saito’s Limbo
There are two ways one can get into limbo: either one is heavily sedated and dies, OR in the case of Cobb and Mal, diving extremely deep into the mind. some ppl might argue: ‘BUT IT SHOULD BE UNCONSTRUCTED!! the one we see is FAR from being unconstructed!’
1st of all, google the meaning of unconstructed. (it is interesting to note that this word is kinda strange. I don’t think it is a common word in the English language, strictly speaking.)
2nd of all, next time when you watch the show again, during the warehouse scene, listen to what arthur says. Anything that is created in Limbo stays in Limbo. So yes, essentially the Limbo is like a public sandbox.
Though all these raises a few interesting points and question,
- why is Cobb able to see projections(his wife) in limbo? you ARE in a place with no subconscious.
- perhaps he already knows he is in limbo, thus normal rules of limbo does not apply to him?
- Did Mal went into limbo too and stage a kidnap of Fischer? how is that even possible? a projection shouldn’t even exists in limbo, right?
- If you’d had noticed throughout the movie, Mal hardly acts like a normal projection. She seems special, like as though deep inside of Cobb’s head lives Mal’s mind. perhaps when one is psychologically disturbed(cobb’s mind), one just has a unique subconscious?
- The stabbing by Mal before being shot by Adriane. WAS IT FATAL?
- If it was, that explains waking up on the beach and finding Saito.
- If it wasn’t, well doesn’t explain why he woke up on the beach now, does it? (hence to me, I believe there are 6 levels.)
- Visions of his children, were they memories? or projections?
- I believe they were memories. but why do they keep appearing in limbo? Does it hold any significance in explaining the concept of limbo?
- 1a) Basic rule of thumb, one has to sleep in order to dream. If one realises he is dreaming and starts being unstable/tries to wake up, the level in the dream collapses(saito’s extraction) or explodes awesome-ly(Adriane’s cafe scene)
- 1b) From the movie, it seems that you must wake up in sequence before you can actually go back to reality(level 4 to 3 to 2… etc.)
when point 1a) and b) is put together, would it be right to say that trouble is to be expected if the dream invader does not wake up BEFORE the dreamer wakes up?
but of course, they are still all in a dream(level 2) and it is still plausible that everything is still connected somehow.
- Alternatively, a limbo could also be something so special it transcends beyond the very logic of dreaming, acting entirely independent and therefore opens up the possible event that Cobb could have managed to went back to reality without the need to go through the different levels.
The sedative used was too powerful and one cannot wake up even if they shoot themselves, thus the only way is to wake up when the sedatives wear off AND/OR the briefcase machines stops.
So Saito’s action of reaching for the gun to(presumably) ‘kill’ cobb and himself will NOT WORK AT ALL. which begs the question, is there a limbo deeper than a limbo? *CUES X-FILES MUSIC*
- Of course, if you were to put point 3’s alternate reasoning into play, then yes, perhaps killing yourself in limbo will awaken you. But that just feels kinda cheating, if ya know what I mean. =\
Why didn’t the team rescue Cobb and Saito when they were drowning in level 2? If Cobb and Saito stays in the water, won’t they die? Again, note that dying won’t bring them back to reality, and both of them are in limbo at that point of time. so it is exactly the same as Saito’s action of reaching for the gun to(presumably) ‘kill’ Cobb and himself.
So they are dying TWICE, once in limbo, and once in level 2.
So what happens then?
- but AGAIN, if you want to use point 3’s alternate reasoning, then ok, perhaps you can bypass the ‘waking in sequence’ rule and wake up to reality instantly.
Still doesn’t really help you understand what will happen EXACTLY if they drown and kill themselves in limbo at the same time.
They say you scramble your brains in limbo, but what does it mean? you die? or you become retarded upon coming back to reality?
They say you get trapped there for many many many many years in limbo with no way out and eventually dying alone, cause your brain can’t draw the line between reality and limbo(could explain the scrambling). So how did Cobb know that he was in limbo in the first place(both with Mal and Saito), plus recollecting(I presume he was the one doing the recollection) every single detail that lead him to Saito?
And the theory that killing oneself will bring one back?
- one can say the Cobb in Saito’s limbo has experience in being in limbo and thus somehow, part of his brain kicked in, recognized the place and managed to draw the line. but it still does not explain how Cobb knows that he was in limbo with Mal AND committing suicide is the solution to waking up in the first place.
Notice that in limbo, there is no projections, if there is no projections, then there means there is no sub-conscious. Which begs the question:
What is it like to be in a mind with no subconscious? Does normal everyday rules we humans abide by even exist? I mean, in a dream things can get really wacky, But put in something like ‘no subconscious allowed’. Wow, I really wonder what are the possibilities, really.
Can you even dream without your subconscious??
Perhaps this point is related to point 6?
How did Eames get into the scene where Uncle Peter was talking to (i presume) his lawyer and entering the the room where Fischer junior and Fischer senior was in???
Something interesting for you to ponder,
Notice that while in the hotel, Cobb was talking to his kids. If you were to be observant enough, you’d have noticed that Cobb’s daughter does not sound like she was acting her age(according to Cobb’s memory). It sounded much older.
This can be substantiated by going to IMdb’s case of actors. Notice that there are 2 groups of actors/actresses for Cobb’s children. My theory is:
- The director was having difficulty making 3 year olds and 20months old actually read out long dialogue, so they had to find older children
- Cobb’s time as a fugitive most probably lasted for quite a long time, and his kids has all grown up by then
So, if you were to put point 2 into play, then it pretty much explains the ending, no?
but of course it could also just be point number 1. and we can never really know since you can’t judge with your ears what you need your eyes to see.
Perhaps this is not a big issue, but being a professional, why doesn’t Cobb have his own Totem in the first place? Mal has one, even Adriane, a newbie, makes one immediately like what? 2 days after learning the art of dream invading?
Kinda suspicious, no?
Could it all been a dream? there were really alot of scenes where you were suddenly just thrown into the middle of. MY POINT 8 BEING THE MOST OBVIOUS.
Ultimately, I think one must understand the theory behind dream invading and Limbo before one can decipher like 90% of the questions present in the movie, especially the ending. It is just too open ended.
That is all i have for now.I may or may not add in more. This show is quite a mindfuck and hence serves it purpose. I mean, how many times do you dream of something sensible and logical? how many times can you say you recall a dream that actually was useful in real life in whatever ways?
Dreaming and limbo aside, a very refreshing and unique movie.
Worth a shot if you enjoy a good mindfuck or just leonardo’s acting in general. Not for those who don’t enjoy working their brains when they are watching a movie. IT IS REALLY A GREAT BIG MINDFUCK!
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Good god, it’s 4.11am now and I actually spent 5 hours drafting this post.
Off to dreamland and see whether I can control my own dream. HOHOHO