Inception Poster (Revised)

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    I saw the film for a third time last week and my idea of what happened has completely changed. I believe this to be correct. Any comments would be appreciated.

    I didn't expect anybody to see this really but it seems to have travelled quite far so I feel it's best to amend based on my thoughts.


    iamkimiam, N22YF, *ade, schwa242, and 70 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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    1. lemon shrapnel 73 months ago | reply

      I need to see it again, but here's my take: I think you can only enter limbo from level 1. Dying sends you back a level. If you die in level 1, normally you'd just wake up, but the sedative keeps that from happening, so you enter limbo. Cobb talked about how he and Mal found limbo while experimenting with sedatives.

      Saito died of his wounds in level 1 and went to limbo. Cobb died from drowning in level 1 and went to limbo. That's why he woke up wet, in the water on Saito's beach, with no initial memory of his mission even though he'd just said in his previous scene, "I have to find Saito down here" (or similar).

      Level 4 was the dream that Cobb built with his wife in limbo (but level 4 was not technically limbo). The world they entered was his own decaying, half-forgotten level where he knew how to find Mal.

      The synchronized kick was needed to get everyone back to level 1 in time to keep from drowning (and going to limbo). Since they'd needed to enter level 2 early, they had some time left at level 1 before the sedative wore off.

    2. Stephen N. Shields 73 months ago | reply

      Mort, this is wonderful. Might you consider adding pictures of each character and a brief description of the dream level as a separate column? Great job and thanks.

    3. nhurd9 72 months ago | reply

      not a chance man they have to die to go to limbo and neither ariadne or cobb died on level 3. therefore there is a level 4 which is cobbs dream and your other diagram was more correct. but fischer is not with them in level 4 he is a projection to get ariadne to jump and ride the kicks while cobb stays and dies in level 1 so he can go to limbo and get the chinese guy. Fischer is simply revived by the defibrulator and then rides the kicks from there

    4. the_3mptylord 71 months ago | reply

      If you die within a dream and cannot wake up, you enter limbo. This is unconstructed dream space and it's the same for everyone.

      Fischer is shot, but he has not died; since he can be revived. He is merely unconscious; but either way is now dreaming. Ariadne and Cobb enter this dream, and Cobb's mind constructs it based on his limbo world - BUT THEY ARE NOT IN LIMBO (this is no different to how Ariadne has constructed all previous levels, Cobb is level 4's architect). After saving Fischer, Cobb does not follow Ariadne because he needs to die - not kick - so he has to wait to drown. This could have taken weeks given the knock-on effect of time within dreams, but this is off-camera.

      Meanwhile, Saito is in limbo... constructing a world of his own. When Cobb drowns, he wakes up in limbo. Limbo is the same for everyone, and so he wakes up in Saito's world. Note that due to the knock on effect of time, Saito has already been there for decades. As Cobb has just woken up, he has waker's-memory of all preceding events... he knows he's there for a reason, but can't quite remember. Saito also has waker's-memory (but we'll ignore the fact it's been decades since he actually woke up) and he remembers.

      It's to be assumed Saito kills Cobb then himself, and they wake up.

      Saito dies of the bullet in level 1, and thus dies in all levels. Saito was consciously within level 3 when he died. Cobb dies of drowning in level 1, and thus dies in all levels. Whilst Cobb was consciously within level 4 when he died. Level 4 only resembles Cobb and Mal's limbo, but is actually just a further dream level constructed by Cobb within Fischer's dream.

      The reason level 4 is not unstable, despite a chapter of the film being about how unstable stacked dreams are, is because Fischer is unconscious and they are within Fischer's dream. I can't remember if it explained what happened if the dreamer wakes up while you're inside; do you remain trapped? Or do you go to limbo? In which case, Cobb may have entered limbo from level 4 when he was disconnected from Fischer - not of drowning.

      You should include the primary-architect in your image. Perhaps a family tree - architect and dreamer. I say primary because all non-natives have the potential to architect - that's the whole story is it not, Cobb trying not to influence the design with Mal. :P

    5. the_3mptylord 71 months ago | reply

      leoguime Mind = blown.

      (ten minutes later)

      Mind is unblown. The children weren't the same age... two pairs of actors were credited.

    6. the_3mptylord 71 months ago | reply

      I've thought of a bit more proof that Cobb and Ariadne weren't in limbo. Dying in level 3 would just wake you up in level 2 - as they weren't under any sedation between these levels, so the dying in your sleep you still apply normally. The avalanche was just to coincide their death with the other kicks, not actually a kick.

    7. Gentle Ivy 70 months ago | reply

      I wonder if anyone noticed but I think that at the end we were shown not Cobb's coming back to reality but him in Mal's dream. Remember, when (about 48th minute of the film) Cobb and Ariadne were discussing totems:
      Ariadne: - Was it your idea?
      Cobb: - No, it was Mal's actually. This one was hers. It'd spin in her dream and would never top - just spin and spin.

      And at the very end of the film Cobb spins "his" totem on the table and it just continues to spin.
      What do you think of that?

    8. Gentle Ivy 70 months ago | reply

      Sorry typo: "...and would never Stop - just spin and spin."

    9. livegonzo 70 months ago | reply

      How has nobody caught this? Alright, Eames provides the kick out of level three but they're not in Eames' head in level three. THEY'RE IN FISCHER'S. THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT. Not trying to make anyone feel bad or anything. This is an EXCELLENT flow chart for an incredibly convoluted movie. But yeah, I distinctly remember that they're in Fischer's dream for the 3rd level.

    10. ralleyesq 69 months ago | reply

      Definitely in Fischer's dream for level 3

    11. noahmittman 69 months ago | reply

      Yep. Fischer = ice stage

    12. noahmittman 69 months ago | reply

      the_3mptylord No, Saito dies in level 3, and ends up in Limbo.

    13. randyaa 69 months ago | reply

      This diagram is plain wrong. Your other one was correct

    14. Darren T1 68 months ago | reply

      I like the idea that Cobb was dreaming through the entire movie - and I think the evidence presented for it is persuasive - but if he had been dreaming through the entire movie, his totem didn't work correctly. At least once, his totem stopped spinning on its own, signifying he was awake. Also, there were no weird gravity shifts or weather patterns in the "reality" level of the movie, which makes it seem less likely that he's dreaming the entire time. Of course, that's not dispositive, but ultimately, I'm not sure it's completely knowable whether the movie is just part of Cobb's larger dream.

      I do have a couple of questions that I'd love to hear debate on. First, Cobb says he and Mal grew old together in their limbo, but when they cut to the train-suicide scene, they're both young again. If they committed suicide to break out of limbo, and they did that when they were young looking, then how did they grow old in limbo?

      Second, if each level down in the dream is (approximately) 20x as long as the level above, how long is limbo? My understanding is that limbo is not a set number of levels down, but rather is just pure unconciousness, and this makes me think it's infinitely longer than the levels above. But if that's the case, sedatives on higher levels wouldn't have time to wear off so that killing yourself in limbo would wake you up.

      Third, everyone seems to take for granted that if you die in limbo, you either wake up or at least move one level up -- but does that really make any sense?? If dying in the higher-level dreams doesn't wake you up because you're too sedated, then why would dying in limbo wake you up, UNLESS enough time has now passed that the sedatives wore off? My guess is that there really can't be any returning from limbo. Once you're down there, time moves too slowly in reality for you to know in limbo that you can wake yourself because the sedatives have worn off. Granted, someone in reality could enter your limbo state after the sedatives wear off and kill you to wake you up, but the movie says your mind gets fried some being in limbo too long, and I think a few hours of reality (or even maybe just a couple minutes, since limbo time should be infinitely longer than reality time) would be too long for your mind to survive. So, if you're stuck in limbo, what does happen if you die there? I am unsure, but I'd guess you would just fall into another limbo...

      Anyway, I don't have the whole thing figured out yet (and, like I said above, I'm not sure it can be explained away completely), but I think that may be Nolan's point - that we too easily take reality for granted, as there may be no definite way to tell the difference between real and illusion. It's no new idea - Descartes' "I think therefore I am" beats Nolan by quite a bit - but Nolan does present the idea in a very intriguing way.

    15. ShreyasShastry 67 months ago | reply

      cobb dies due to drowning in level 1 and enters limbo while saito is already in limbo (due to the bullet wounds he sustained in level 1). due to this drowning effect he feels he's washed ashore when he enters limbo.

      hence i feel this diagram should be changed to show cobb and saito entering limbo from level 1.
      but these are just my views. i could be wrong.

    16. Sean Mort 64 months ago | reply

      This is now available as a super limited edition of 50 print here

      I only have 25 of them and once they are gone they are gone forever. It's an 18in by 24in screenprinted two colour silver and black on white premium paper.

    17. AdhamK91 61 months ago | reply

      particlem That's what I was looking for. The movie was designed to incept your mind, and make you question between dreams and reality.

    18. spmoura 60 months ago | reply

      I think Fisher's line to limbo should be single, like Saito's, and not connected to Ariadne and Cobb's as pictured. Fisher got into Limbo because he died in Level 3, just like Saito. So their lines are single, straight to Limbo. Cobb and Ariadne, on the other hand, got there because they shared dream, so their lines are connected being Cobb probably the dreamer. Ariadne gets out with the kick along with Fisher, and Cobb stays behind to find Saito. When Cobb dies of drowning on Level 1, he stays in Limbo, except he's washed up on shore again. It seems that's the way into Limbo. :P

    19. glomstad 55 months ago | reply

      The graphic is well presented, but not accurate :(

      1) Fischer did NOT die at Level 3. A defibrillator restores heart function, it does not return someone from death. Fischer was simply alive but unconscious (and near death presumably). As such, we was able to participate in an additional shared dream sequence with Adrienne hosted by Cobb. He was, of course, conscious in Cobb's dream at Level 4.

      2) It was clearly stated that death takes one to "Limbo". Limbo IS NOT Level 4. Level 4 was Cobb's dream state - it was constructed by him previously (as the architect sometimes using memories) for a dream state he shared with his wife. Adrienne and Fischer DID NOT die in Level 4, they simply both experienced a "falling state" and "kick" which moved them up a level. Cobb however, DID die here. It was implied that he was breaking down his own dream once coming to terms with Mal. As such, he awakes again on a beach in Limbo. Yes, this is confusing... Limbo (like Level 4) also begins on a beach for Cobb.. who knows why. Cobb DID NOT die at Level 1 - he failed to make the kicks back up the chain instead choosing to die and head to Limbo at Level 4. Several of you are missing this.

      3) Limbo is not clearly defined in the movie except that it exists as "unconstructed dream space" and that while under a heavy sedative, the normal rule of dying within a dream takes you there. This implies that Limbo is still shared dream space but has no architect. Why in film contains a set which we see earlier in the film as Saito's dream is not clear. Perhaps it was a creation of Saito while he was in Limbo for so long. Saito managed to age considerably while in Limbo as eariler in the film it was not known at what pace time progressed in Limbo - "perhaps infinitely" I think it was suggested. Try not to think of Limbo as one of the Level's but its own independent time-space. Some of you have guessed this as well. It is not clear that Cobb or Saito killed one another in Limbo in order to return to reality. My guess is that they did not. If that were so, why wouldn't Saito have killed himself as soon as he got there? My guess is that like the others, they naturally awoke from their sleep after the 10 hour time limit was up and the sedative wore off. Perhaps Saito was in Limbo for several lifetimes!

      4) Cobb and Mal growing old together. Keep in mind that their shared dream was at Level 1 - any additional levels would have been impossible to share because it requires one of them to become the dreamer at that level. He mentions that they spent "50 years" together within their dream. He didn't mention if they continued to share more and more dreams together but one can guess that may have as Mal's perception of reality eventually broke down. Perhaps we are revisiting several of their shared dreams in the film and the sequence showing them old together was just a single instance of several of their shared dreams.

    20. dajohn123 34 months ago | reply

      in your original chart, if you rename Limbo to Dream Level 5, and then assume really old Saito kills Cobb and then himself in Dream Level 5, because they were still sedated, they drop to Dream Level 6, not reality, where Cobb is still dreaming when he sees his kids and Saito made it possible for him to do so as promised. The top never stopped spinning at the end of the movie because they were in Dream Level 6, not reality.

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