How the Movie “Inception” Really Ended
Inception is a sci-fi thriller directed by Christopher Nolan and based on the idea of lucid dreaming. According to the plot, the main characters have to implant a certain idea into the mind of another person, which then becomes the starting point for big changes.
5-Minute Crafts has summarized the movie Inception and how it actually ended.
Dom Cobb and Arthur perform corporate espionage. They use experimental technologies that help to penetrate the subconscious of other people during their sleep and extract the necessary information.
Cobb’s new client, an entrepreneur named Saito, asks him to not extract information from the subconscious but, on the contrary, to implant it. Saito wants the main character to convince Robert Fisher, heir to his main rival, to destroy his father’s empire. Instead, Saito offers to help Cobb by solving all his problems “with only one phone call” so he can legally return to his motherland where his kids are. Cobb has been forced to hide for years due to a false accusation. His wife committed suicide, but the police believe it was he who did it.
Cobb agrees to Saito’s offer and organizes a team. His task is to project a sleep for Robert Fischer during which the implantation of the idea will happen. One of the team members, the architect Ariadne, creates the sleep labyrinth. She was recommended to Cobb by Professor Stephen Miles — the father-in-law of Cobb, who is sure of his innocence.
The team’s “goal”: Robert Fischer flies to Los Angeles after his father’s death. During the 10-hour flight, the team puts him into a deep sleep, which consists of several levels. At the first level, the team kidnaps Fisher, and one of its members impersonates Robert’s godfather and, on his behalf, proposes to revise his father’s will. On the second level, Cobb convinces Robert that it was his godfather who kidnapped him and that Cobb himself is a protector of his subconscious. With this ploy, Fischer is lured to the next level of sleep and gets into his subconscious, where they successfully introduce the idea of the collapse of his father’s company.
During the implantation process, Ariadne finds out that there is an aggressive projection of Mal in Cobb’s subconsciousness. Cobb tells Ariadne that he and his wife were experimenting with dream-sharing and turned out to be in “Limbo” — a world of endless subconsciousness where people may forget they are in a dream. Having slept in the real world for only 5 hours, Cobb and his wife spent 50 years in the world of dreams. When it was time to wake up, Mal was thinking that sleep is the reality and didn’t want to go back. Then Cobb decided to implant into her subconsciousness the idea that everything happening around her is just a dream. To do this, he used her totem — a top, which doesn’t stop spinning when they are in a dream, and falls if they are in reality. The idea of the unreality of what was happening implanted in Mal’s head so deeply that, when she woke up, she still thought she was dreaming. While trying to “wake up” she committed suicide and blamed Cobb for it. This is why he fled his motherland, leaving the children with Miles.
In the dream, where Robert Fischer was being implanted with the idea, Cobb releases the projection of his wife but together with Saito goes into Limbo as a result of an unfortunate set of events. They get lost. After wandering for a long time, Cobb finds Saito, convinces him that this is a dream, and reminds them of their agreement. In the end, everyone wakes up and Saito makes the promised call.
After landing at Los Angeles airport, Cobb successfully passes the immigration checkpoint. Miles meets him and accompanies him home. For a mere second, Cobb has doubts that this is reality and uses Mal’s totem. He spins the top to make sure it’s not a dream But after having seen his kids, he fails to wait for the results and rushes to them. In the final scene, the screen gets dark at the moment when the top starts to slightly slow down. As a result, the viewer doesn’t know whether Cobb remained in a dream and what is happening is only his imagination, or whether he is in reality and really got to see children.
The director of the movie, Christopher Nolan, has been keeping the real end of the movie a secret for years and kept saying that the end is “subjective” and that the only thing that matters is that Cobb doesn’t care if he’s dreaming or not. Because the main thing for him is to get back to his kids.
The explanation of the final scene
After 8 years of debates over the end of Inception, actor Michael Caine who played the role of Miles, Cobb’s father-in-law, provided some clarity. In August 2018, he commented on the final scene in the following way, “When I got the script of Inception, I was a bit puzzled by it and I said to Nolan ‘I don’t understand where the dream is. I said, ‘When is it the dream and when is it reality?’ He said, ‘Well when you’re in the scene it’s reality.’ So get that — if I’m in it, it’s reality. If I’m not in it, it’s a dream.”
Miles appeared in the final scene of the movie. He meets the main character at the airport, brings him home, and calls the kids to him so that they can see their father. So despite the fact that the viewers didn’t see the falling top, Cobb actually returned to his kids.