Inception: The Clue About The Ending I See No Discussion Of

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This whole post is a :: Spoiler :: if you have not seen the film “Inception”.  This is not a review. You have been warned

It has been a lean year for us.  So finally we watch “Inception” on Blu-ray from Netflix.  My first response at the ending was to turn to my wife and say “There is no way the people who stand in the ’10 items or less line’ with 15-20 items have a clue about what just happened.”  I loved the layered time-lines and the question which came very early for me.  Is this all just a dream. 

The whole film is uses “jump edits” to keep some level of discontinuity.  It was clear to me from almost the start that we were at least meant to feel like we were in a dream. My assumption was that we were heading towards a “Sixth Sense” ending.  Instead with got a “Total Recall” ending.  I am coming to the same conclusion I did then.  The movie ends with the hero still in a dream of his creation.

Nolan may never tell because he designed it to end that way.  Or did he?  I was also sure that there was an alternate ending that didn’t work, or maybe three alternate endings.  Each one defining the “truth” about the film’s view of reality.  Instead we were left looking at the spinning top.  But there are clues in the film that for me point to a real answer embedded in the film to be found.

Leaving honest clues may be a filmaker integrity thing, just like in the “Sixth Sense” the answer was hidden in plain sight, no cheating just good misdirection and using  assumption.  That brings me to the the top.  From the very early in film we see the top.  For me it is the pretty assistant in a magic act.  Keep your eyes on the pretty spinning top.  Pay no attention to the real clue. 

When they are talking about inception as a concept and how to make the idea seem organic.  There is specific discussion about the seed being very subtle.  Was there a single part of the entire “Fischer three layer dream” that was subtle?  No! Deep in the dream, dying dad on the “holodeck” was not subtle.  Yet to the casual viewer taking a linear view of the layers and assumes the seed is in the deepest layer.   What we are suppose to assume is the “first layer”, is where the fully formed idea that he should break up the company is first introduced.   There is nothing subtle about kidnapping, dying declarations and secret wills that say Dad wants the company to be broken up.  This can not be the seed.  The next two layers are all about him accepting the idea as right for him in his need to make his dad proud.  They have nothing to do with the idea which comes in the kidnapping level, an idea that comes fully formed, not as the seed.

Where is the seed for the idea of breaking up the company?  Its in the “real” first layer of Cobb’s dream, inwhat is presented as reality.  It is Fischer breaking the glass on the picture of him with his dad. This is key.  Many people are discussing if the end is him still in limbo from the dreaming on the plane.  If you adopt my idea that the seed for the idea that is the focus off the three “action layers” is the breaking of the glass on the image of father and son, that happens before the 747 ride.  It means Cobb’s entire reality is the dream, his wife was right and she is not dead, his entire life as an extractor is THE dream.

The breaking of the picture frame glass is where we see the photo first and then we see the photo carried all they way down, always seen but never talked about.  Posthumously creating signpost to the event and photo as being key.

 The top layer is where Cobb, left his kids without seeing their faces (feels odd & dream like), the one where his wife kills herself, the one where his totem is her totem, even though you are suppose to never share this.  I will watch it again later this year .  But for now, I am convinced the broken picture is the Inception seed, and that is at the top layer we see.  So that is the top layer of the dream for Cobb and we have never seen reality.

Even if Nolan never filmed the alternate endings.  I am quite sure he knows the answer, and I for now think he has left us a clue, by leaving the Inception seed in the presumed reality of the film and repeating the photo in each layer going down.

Use the comments to share what you think.

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