Saturday, 27 September 2014

Everything you need to know about Inception (2010) Explained - Part 5

SPOILER ALERT: This article is mainly about the film Inception (2010). Please do not read this article if you haven’t watched the film and if you do not wish to know the specific details of the film. It contains heavy spoilers which will certainly affect your viewing of the film. If you haven’t seen Inception yet, please stop reading and watch it, because it's a great film. 

The purpose of this article is to provide detailed explanations about the terms, various interpretations for one of my top favourite films, Inception (2010) that's written, directed, produced by Christopher Nolan so that people can have a greater understanding of this unusually complex yet fascinating film.

Note: The following explanations are provided based on my personal understanding of the film and what I learned after watching it 5 times in the cinema 4 years ago. (Believe it or not, I wrote this myself 4 years ago!If there are any mistakes found in these articles, please kindly provide any feedback comments below so I can rectify it. 
Q & A for Inception - Part 3

There are total of 44 questions with answers provided for each of them. Brace yourselves.

Some Questions are added by me and some are taken from the following sites:

Note: Some answers are modified or changed completely according to my own views about the film. Answers with ‘A:’ are left unchanged from the sites.

30. How do Cobb and Saito survive limbo for such an extended period of time? Isn't your mind supposed to burn out in there?

A: The film never actually says your mind will burn out there, merely suggest that you'll become lost there and be unable to find your way out. The real obstacle to getting out of limbo seems to be realizing that you're in limbo. At the end of the film, it takes an appearance by Cobb to remind Saito that the world he's in isn't real, and once he realizes Saito reaches for a gun and shoots himself in order to escape. It could be that your brain only actually is damaged out if you stay in Limbo for the full term, or if you stay there after the machine connection powering the dream is disconnected.

31. Was Ariadne somehow aware of the numbers Fischer would come up with or did she change the hotel's floor plan so that 491 would be below 528?

Cobb told Arthur by phone that it’s 5th floor. Since Arthur is the Dreamer, all he need to do is to change the room number.

32. Why did dying wake dreamers up early in the movie, but later in the movie it sent them to Limbo?

A: The film explains this as being due to the types of sedatives used on the dreamers during the final sequence. When normal sedatives are used, death wakes you up. But in order to go three dream levels deep, heavier sedatives must be used, causing this unwanted side-effect.

33. Why didn't Arthur wake up when the van drove off the bridge?

Earlier in the movie Arthur tells Ariadne that if Yusuf kicks too early then they won't wake up. While normally in order to wake up you must receive a Kick from the level above (as shown in earlier Extraction scene in the film when Cobb is pushed to a bathtub), this isn't true when using a strong sedative. It requires two synchronized Kicks. Arthur didn't have the second Kick ready when the van drove off the bridge, so he wasn't awakened by the van falling off the bridge.

34. When Arthur plans his Kick, why is it important for everyone to wake up at the same time?

A: We're not entirely sure it is. It's more important that he wake them up quickly when it comes time for the Kick, to time it to occur at the same time as the Kick in the level above. By putting them in the elevator he can give them a Kick all at once, and synchronize it with the other Kicks.

35. How do the never-ending staircases work, and how was Arthur able to use one without Ariadne, as the architect, there to alter the architecture? 

A: The never-ending staircases are paradoxes (design technique used by Architect to disguise the boundaries of the Dreamer’s dream space by designing it to be a complex maze, creating endless loops to keep projections of anyone from interfering). Ariadne designed the levels and probably designed the staircase, but Arthur is the level 2 Dreamer, so he can change the designs if he wants to. Similar shortcuts were worked in, in advance, to the snow dream by Eames. Ariadne tells Cobb about them when they need a faster route to the fortress.

36. Aren't you supposed to be alone in limbo? Why Cobb's projections of his wife and kids are there?

Limbo is an infinite dream place of shared consciousness. It only contains things you've built in it or what you intended there to be, which could explain why limbo has so few projections. When you’re there too long, the mind starts to think it's real. That's why it's dangerous.

Cobb said before: “Never recreate from your memory. Always imagine new places.

Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.

 (The machine allows you to share dream space with others, but since only Cobb and Mal been to there, so the place is filled with things created by both of them. Ariadne is new, so there's none of her projections in there.)  The projection of his wife is something he tells Mal at the end that he’s tried to recreate over time (by storing memories of her in his mind), so they could still be together in dreams. Therefore, it could be that she’s actually an intentional creation of his, out of love and guilt. Similarly, Saito could have created the guards which populate his limbo. The projection of his kids could be that he misses them so much and wanted to see them again since he didn't see his kids one last time before he left.

37. How does one wake up from limbo?

Most importantly, the person needs to be fully aware that he's in limbo. Under heavy sedation and the time machine is still in countdown, one needs to produce 2 synchronized kicks to return the level above or needs to synchronize the Kick that person performs in Limbo with all kicks on the level above to level 1 dream, then return to reality. Under normal sedation, just by killing themselves or performing a Kick on each level would do (doesn't need to be synchronized since a slight disturbance can cause dreams to collapse).

38. What did Cobb putting a spinning top inside the safe mean?

A: The safe is a creation of the subconscious that Cobb exploits, in this case Mal. The safes are constructed so that the Target believes that it is a safe place for them to store their secrets. The top is actually Mal's totem, which she uses to determine whether she's in a dream. If it never stops spinning, which tells Mal that she's in a dream. By placing a constantly spinning totem in the safe, Cobb is placing a very simple idea (“The world is not real”) inside her subconscious. It's not that she saw the totem spinning, but that it was always spinning in her subconscious mind. This is why she thought she was trapped in the dream world.

39. What significance did the numbers on the piece of paper that Eames gives Fischer have?

These numbers (“528491”) were the same ones that Fischer randomly came up with for the team when he was being held hostage. Since a safe designed by an Architect in the dream is filled with the Target’s secrets, the safe must be set to unlock with the Target’s own numbers. By taking Fischer to second level of the dream and reminding him about the numbers (by Eames disguising as a blonde woman, his subconscious is able to trace the numbers that was "random" on the first and interpret it as being significant on the second and finally the actual combination for the safe on the third. Cobb further forces Fischer to remember the number by telling him the numbers could be what the Extractor trying to get (Cobb pulled ‘Mr. Charles’ on Fischer) and level 2 dream is a hotel, asking him what are the numbers to figure out which room to search for the Extractor.

40. Arthur blows up the elevator to create ‘gravity’. How does that work?

To those in the lift, the force of the lift pushing them is equivalent to gravity. They experience the feeling of falling that wakes them, but it is not gravity providing the force of motion, it is the explosives. The result is the same as the inner ear only detects the acceleration due to force acting on the body.

41. Why did Ariadne jump off the building in limbo if Eames was going to wake her up with his Kick in the level above? 

A: Because of the sedative, it requires two synchronized Kicks in two levels to wake her up to the level above, instead of the single Kick normally used. The first three Kicks upward - from Eames's dream up to Arthur's up to Yusuf's - were planned ahead of time, but Cobb and Ariadne's trip to Limbo was not. In order to be Kicked upwards from Eames's level up to Arthur's up to Yusuf's, Ariadne had to Kick herself up from Limbo to Eames's level in order for Arthur's Kick to be effective. It shows that in dreams, many times when something wakes you up in reality, something in the dream also causes you to wake up, simultaneously.

In the Extraction mission, Cobb in level 2 dream being awoken by the water in the bathtub on level 1. It can be seen that water is pouring in at the same time in level 2.

42. After he's shot and killed, they resuscitate Fisher. Why couldn't they save Saito in the same way?

Saito is shot on the first level of the dream, but dies on the third level and enters limbo minutes before Ariadne leaves Limbo. Therefore, there isn't enough time to find Saito and Kick his consciousness back to level 3 for Eames to resuscitate him.

Even if they manage to resuscitate him on the third level, the Kick on third level would bring him back to the second where he was still dying, and if he survived that, the Kick on the second level would still bring him back to the first where he was dying the fastest anyway. In the end, he still goes back to Limbo.

Meanwhile, since Fischer was shot on the third level and sent to Limbo, his "bodies" on the other two levels were totally fine. Ariadne pushed him off the building in Limbo (level 4) to Kick his consciousness back to Eames dream (level 3) so the defibrillator could resuscitate Fischer back to life (hence, a ‘jolt’) in level 3 dream to complete the mission. If she had just shot him again down in Limbo, he will end up in Limbo again.

43. How does Professor Miles know Cobb will be arriving at the airport?

The flight from Paris to L.A. takes about 11 hours. From the phone call between Cobb and his kids, it is shown that his mother is not fond of him as she refused to speak with him. It could be that she thinks he's a criminal and the murderer of his own wife. Since Miles is Cobb's mentor and father-in-law, Cobb made a call before the flight starts (he believes that he'll complete the mission and Saito will honor their agreement) as he needs Miles to convince his mum that he's not what she thinks he is and let him sees his kids. As Cobb walks out from the airport, Miles said: “You're Welcome.

44. How does Cobb’s team fall asleep so fast?

The machine used to enter dreams is connected to the dreamers via intravenous therapy. It can be assumed that there is a mild sedative (or strong to perform Inception) or sleep-aid introduced while triggering the machine which causes the team to fall asleep immediately.

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