If you saw the movie Inception this summer you probably left the movie a little mind f**ked. That’s mainly because every single moment of Inception is a dream. Devin Faraci from chud.com writes:
I think that in a couple of years this will become the accepted reading of the film, and differing interpretations will have to be skillfully argued to be even remotely considered. The film makes this clear, and it never holds back the truth from audiences. I believe that Inception is a dream to the point where even the dream-sharing stuff is a dream. Dom Cobb isn’t an extractor. He can’t go into other people’s dreams. He isn’t on the run from the Cobol Corporation. At one point he tells himself this, through the voice of Mal, who is a projection of his own subconscious. She asks him how real he thinks his world is, where he’s being chased across the globe by faceless corporate goons. She asks him that in a scene that we all know is a dream, but Inception lets us in on this elsewhere. Michael Caine’s character implores Cobb to return to reality, to wake up. During the chase in Mombasa, Cobb tries to escape down an alleyway, and the two buildings between which he’s running begin closing in on him – a classic anxiety dream moment. When he finally pulls himself free he finds Ken Watanabe’s character waiting for him, against all logic. Except dream logic.
The movies-as-dreams aspect is part of why Inception keeps the dreams so grounded. In the film it’s explained that playing with the dream too much alerts the dreamer to the falseness around him; this is just another version of the suspension of disbelief upon which all films hinge. As soon as the audience is pulled out of the movie by some element – an implausible scene, a ludicrous line, a poor performance – it’s possible that the cinematic dream spell is broken completely, and they’re lost. The entire film is a dream, within the confines of the movie itself, but in a more meta sense it’s Nolan’s dream. He’s dreaming Cobb, and finding his own moments of revelation and resolution, just as Cobb is dreaming Fischer and finding his own catharsis and change. The whole film being a dream isn’t a cop out or a waste of time, but an ultimate expression of the film’s themes and meaning. It’s all fake. But it’s all very, very real. And that’s something every single movie lover understands implicitly and completely.
When I think back on the movie the main question I have is why at the end of the movie when Cobb falls into limbo does he wake up in Saito’s dream? He ends up exactly where the movie began, however, now Saito is an old man. Cobb is coming to save him. The next scene he wakes up on the airplane. Meets up with his father, heads home and sees his kids. What is confusing is why the house looks the exact same, why the kids –while you do see their faces- are wearing the same clothes in all his dreams, and why his ladel keeps spinning as the movie ends.