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Old 07-29-2010, 08:37 PM   #421
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Some further thoughts I've had based on conversations in other places:


If Leo was weak enough at the end of the film to still be deluded about whether or not he's still in Limbo/a dream/whatever, then he probably wouldn't have been able to purge Mal from his psyche earlier. And going from that, if the scene at the end was not reality, then it's likely Mal would be showing up at that house at some point, and then Cobb would be back where he started and just kill himself to get out.

Why? Because he was already presented with a choice before where he easily could have stayed with Dream-Mal and his Dream-Kids for eternity. But that wasn't enough. As someone I know pointed out, it's not that Cobb walks away from the top at the end because he doesn't care if he's in Limbo or not anymore, but because he finally believes he is in reality, and that this decision is always something that requires a leap of faith because reality and consciousness will always be subjective. That's the purpose of cutting the final shot to black before we fully see the top fall over, not to imply that things could equally go either way in terms of it's reality! vs. it's a dream!, but because one can never REALLY know for sure about the state of one's existence, whether you're religious or not. Reality is, as Timothy Leary famously said, "the only word in the English language that should always be used in quotes".
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:54 PM   #422
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Some further thoughts I've had based on conversations in other places:


If Leo was weak enough at the end of the film to still be deluded about whether or not he's still in Limbo/a dream/whatever, then he probably wouldn't have been able to purge Mal from his psyche earlier. And going from that, if the scene at the end was not reality, then it's likely Mal would be showing up at that house at some point, and then Cobb would be back where he started and just kill himself to get out.
I completely agree with the second half of your post. If the ending is supposed to be a dream, then I dont think that just having Cobb not care anymore would present enough closure for the audience. I've always thought that regardless of whether or not it's reality or a dream, he believes it's reality; There's still the catharsis there and we, at least in some respect, are happy that he's been released from his torment. It doesn't matter if he's still in a dream world because he's found peace.

The first half of the post I dont necessarily agree with though. The choice to stay with Mal earlier in the film was given to him before much of the real conflict arose. He realized that this was a dream whereas later in the film, if it is a dream, he believes otherwise. And dont forget, dream kids didn't exist in the furthest dream level they spent their 50 years in (at least I dont think they did). It wasnt until he thought he had caused Mal to kill herself that he really started his downward spiral. After that, Mal in his subconscious was just a product of his torment. If at the end of the film he has purged his mind of those thoughts, then it makes sense that Mal wouldn't appear again
I really need to see this bastage again
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:59 PM   #423
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:07 PM   #424
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I also find it fascinating to think of the role reversal of Cobb and Mal if the 'reality' where Mal killed herself was actually a dream. Because we dont know much about Mal's state of mind when she killed herself, we assume that she was crazy. But in Mal's previous reality (that was really limbo), Cobb was acting the exact same way. I mean, asking someone to kill themself with you by having a train run over your head is pretty insane; we only accept it because we know the reality of that existence. Even the line 'you're waiting for a train... but it doesnt matter because we'll be together' sounds like something a delusional person would say; We accept it from Cobb as being reasonable, but when Mal repeats it, it comes off as craziness because we only know as much as Cobb does about 'reality'. It make's the dynamic of their relationship that much more interesting if you assume Cobb was still in a dream too
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:09 PM   #425
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I think that went right over my head
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:37 PM   #426
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I also find it fascinating to think of the role reversal of Cobb and Mal if the 'reality' where Mal killed herself was actually a dream. Because we dont know much about Mal's state of mind when she killed herself, we assume that she was crazy.

What do you mean we don't know her state of mind? It was shown and explained to us.

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But in Mal's previous reality (that was really limbo), Cobb was acting the exact same way. I mean, asking someone to kill themself with you by having a train run over your head is pretty insane; we only accept it because we know the reality of that existence. Even the line 'you're waiting for a train... but it doesnt matter because we'll be together' sounds like something a delusional person would say; We accept it from Cobb as being reasonable, but when Mal repeats it, it comes off as craziness because we only know as much as Cobb does about 'reality'.
The difference is that Mal was acting that way back in reality ONLY because of the inception Cobb performed on her. While in Limbo, Cobb had a comparatively firm grasp on where they were that whole time.


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It make's the dynamic of their relationship that much more interesting if you assume Cobb was still in a dream too
I don't think so. I think it makes his struggle rather unimportant, and cheapens his entire journey. I don't understand WHY anyone would want to believe that, let alone go out of their way to come with illogical and shallow reasons to back that theory up.

Also, your earlier notion that Mal wouldn't appear at the end in his dreams doesn't work for me. That's why it's called a subconscious. Anything from your past; hopes, fears, regrets, etc. can come back. My own dead father appears to me in dreams from time to time not because I have unfinished business psychologically, but because he's part of my memories. The idea that one could remove someone completely from their mind is ludicrous. Cobb doesn't make Mal disappear in Limbo so he can be rid of her in his dreams, but simply leaves her so that he's free to return to reality again and not CONSCIOUSLY be holding onto that baggage.
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:53 PM   #427
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What do you mean we don't know her state of mind? It was shown and explained to us.
We see everything from Cobb's perspective. If it was still a dream and Mal came to realize this, then her mind was sound.

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The difference is that Mal was acting that way back in reality ONLY because of the inception Cobb performed on her. While in Limbo, Cobb had a comparatively firm grasp on where they were that whole time.
How did Cobb come to know he was in Limbo and Mal not? I'm saying that perhaps the opposite was true in Cobb's 'reality'. Afterall, their roles were completely reversed otherwise. If Mal doesnt have the wherewithal to perform an inception on Cobb (and how could she?), then it would follow that Cobb has no means to believe he isn't in reality


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I don't think so. I think it makes his struggle rather unimportant, and cheapens his entire journey. I don't understand WHY anyone would want to believe that, let alone go out of their way to come with illogical and shallow reasons to back that theory up.
Not if it's an internal struggle. Why can't that be any more meaningful than an external one? The entirety of Jakob's Ladder is an internal struggle, but that didnt make it any less profound. Up until Mal's 'death', it was the real Mal. Only after that, his guilt created a projection of her. I find that to be a hell of on intriguing notion.

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Also, your earlier notion that Mal wouldn't appear at the end in his dreams doesn't work for me. That's why it's called a subconscious. Anything from your past; hopes, fears, regrets, etc. can come back. My own dead father appears to me in dreams from time to time not because I have unfinished business psychologically, but because he's part of my memories. The idea that one could remove someone completely from their mind is ludicrous. Cobb doesn't make Mal disappear in Limbo so he can be rid of her in his dreams, but simply leaves her so that he's free to return to reality again and not CONSCIOUSLY be holding onto that baggage.
It's not that he's removed her from his mind, it's that the guilt associated with her has been lifted; She doesn't reveal herself to him in that capacity anymore because he no longer feels guilt. He now lives in a dream that he believes to be reality; theres no reason she would have to show up again any more than his kids existing in their shared limbo. The same rules that governed that 'reality' for them would also apply to his new 'reality'.

Again, not saying this is how it is. You might call it wankery and thats fine, but I feel there is much left open to interpretation, so I enjoy exploring it a little
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:30 PM   #428
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Just another random thought that popped into my head: Cobb and Mal are in limbo together. Cobb knows this and convinces Mal to kill herself with him. In any other part of the movie, this would only bring you back to the previous dream state, no? I'm having trouble remembering how exactly it worked during the last inception; When Ariadne killed herself in Limbo, did she not just get sent to the previous level and ride the kick back? Well if that's the case, and Cobb and Mal were experimenting with going 'deeper and deeper' into their dream space, they only killed themselves once. Wouldn't it then follow that they are only now in the previous level of dreaming?
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:41 PM   #429
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Just another random thought that popped into my head: Cobb and Mal are in limbo together. Cobb knows this and convinces Mal to kill herself with him. In any other part of the movie, this would only bring you back to the previous dream state, no? I'm having trouble remembering how exactly it worked during the last inception; When Ariadne killed herself in Limbo, did she not just get sent to the previous level and ride the kick back? Well if that's the case, and Cobb and Mal were experimenting with going 'deeper and deeper' into their dream space, they only killed themselves once. Wouldn't it then follow that they are only now in the previous level of dreaming?
No.

There were no other people dreaming, so there are no other dream levels to go to. When Ariadne kills herself, she goes right to Eames' dream...etc.
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:48 PM   #430
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No.

There were no other people dreaming, so there are no other dream levels to go to. When Ariadne kills herself, she goes right to Eames' dream...etc.
But is it ever stated that someone else needs to remain in their dream in order for you to continue on? The reason each person stayed in their own dream was because they're the ones who know the architecture of said dream and are the most likely to be able to initiate a kick for the people who have gone deeper. There's nothing to say that one person cant go into a dream and then go into a dream within a dream on their own. In a way, its implied that it's a normal occurrence and not solely a product of the dream machine. Even in real life, I've had a dream within a dream and 'woken up' to the previous dream

it went something like this:

*wake up in dream* "shit, I'm late for work!"
*wake up in real life* "phew! it's still early"

I shit you not. It was freaky. There was even an unrelated dream happening before I 'woke up' the first time
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:53 PM   #431
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But is it ever stated that someone else needs to remain in their dream in order for you to continue on? The reason each person stayed in their own dream was because they're the ones who know the architecture of said dream and are the most likely to be able to initiate a kick for the people who have gone deeper. There's nothing to say that one person cant go into a dream and then go into a dream within a dream on their own. In a way, its implied that it's a normal occurence
No, the reason the people stayed in their dream is because they remain awake in the previous level. If they were to die or fall asleep in their level, their dream is gone. You're overthinking this one, trust me. Ariadne does not wake right up simply because she is 4 levels deep and the dreamers in the other 3 levels are still asleep. She has to keep dying/waking until they are all the way out. If they were awake, like they were when Cobb goes and gets Saito, they'd have nowhere to go but actual reality, like Cobb and Saito did.

I've had dreams within dreams, too, but in Nolan's world these are controlled descents.
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:58 PM   #432
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No, the reason the people stayed in their dream is because they remain awake in the previous level. If they were to die or fall asleep in their level, their dream is gone. You're overthinking this one, trust me. Ariadne does not wake right up simply because she is 4 levels deep and the dreamers in the other 3 levels are still asleep. She has to keep dying/waking until they are all the way out. If they were awake, like they were when Cobb goes and gets Saito, they'd have nowhere to go but actual reality, like Cobb and Saito did.

I've had dreams within dreams, too, but in Nolan's world these are controlled descents.
But the reason Cobb and Saito returned to regular reality was because they died in Yusif's dream (Saito from the gunshot and Cobb from drowning). Thats why Cobb's limbo sort of reset itself and he wound up on the shore of the beach (and why water was such a factor in that limbo: like gravity in the other levels, the sensation of drowning caused him to find himself in the ocean); He couldnt exist in the dreams below Yusif's because his body had died in Yusif's, so he was sent to an alternate limbo (which consequentially was now only one level deep) . It's also why Saito had aged much more than Cobb; he died in Yusif's dream from the gunshot before Cobb drowned, so he had been in that time frame for a much longer period of time.
I still maintain that you can go deep within your own dreams and have a dream within a dream without anyone sticking around in the previous level. Like I said, its a function of real dreams outside of the movie; it's not like the movie created the concept
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:08 PM   #433
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Deleted.

JT, you are entitled to believe what you like, I shall withdraw.
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:20 PM   #434
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You're missing the point about Saito and Cobb.

I've stayed out of your discussions with Laz because you guys are discussing stuff that is open for interpretation. What you're talking about here is very cut and dried and you really are, with all due respect, making more of it than there is. I've seen it twice and I'm 100% sure that what I'm telling you is right. When you die in any dream state, be it Limbo or just a regularly constructed dream, you have 2 places to go: the next dream up, or you wake....if there is no shared dream, you simply wake up, you see it happen in the film more than once. Cobb and Saito wake because all the other shared dreamers are awake...there is not one thing in the film that suggests that you wake up from Limbo and enter another dream of your own making. Cob and Mal wake up, Saito and Cobb wake up, Cobb's first architect wakes up, and on and on and on. Not one character dies in a non-shared dream and winds up within another dream of their own.

The movie did not create the concept, but the movie clearly laid out its own rules, painstakingly, I might add, and you're now ignoring that and applying your own life/rules to the film, which does not fly in this instance. I appreciate your enthusiasm to discuss/explore this film but in this case you're wasting your time and thoughts.

Then again, we're all wasting our time in here anyway.....
But sharing a dream is only the Inception Team exploiting a natural phenomenon. It's not like normal everyday people share dreams, but they do have dreams within dreams. Everyone in the film is instantly familiar with a 'dream within a dream', even if they have no concept of the dream machine. Nowhere does it say that they invented the concept.
Cobb and Saito dont wake up because the others do; As a matter of fact, they miss the kick in Yusif's dream and remain in Limbo a great deal longer. You can see that Cobb doesnt make it out of the van after it hits the water. Saito is already dead at that point and in his limbo (the same limbo that Cobb is reset to because they both died on the same level). The levels below Yusif's dont exist for them anymore because their bodies have died in Yusif's (how could they be dreaming in a lower level if they are dead in a higher one? They arent. They're now in a different set of levels. It makes complete sense) They're now both in a shared limbo. They only wake up because Saito shoots them (or so its implied. We dont actually see this).
Does Ariadne not appear in the Van, alive in Yusif's dream? I genuinely dont remember. But if she does, then it shows that dying in limbo will only bring you back to the previous level. She still had to ride the kick with the rest of them from there
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:21 PM   #435
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JT, you are entitled to believe what you like, I shall withdraw.
No, dont. I'm not getting upset or anything. I find it interesting
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