The Final Explanation

This 2010 contemporary sci-fi actioner follows Dom Cobb and his subconscious security team around the globe and into the intimate and infinite world of dreams.
Post Reply
Posts: 127
Joined: February 2011
It should be no surprise that this is a complex solution, not simply explained.

To understand this film, we have to focus on what is stated clearly and what is stated incorrectly by Dom. I do believe some elements were both reality and the dream, such as the warehouse and the airplane. This is what we see in the first scenes. In the dream Saito wakes up to a reality, but it is a copy of his mistress apartment and he is fooled (at first). It was sort of a mirror image of the real world. So was Mal's dream in Paris.

So, in the past, Dom and Mal were deep in the dream. Mal wanted to forget the real world and stay in the dream world and forget which world was real (according to Dom). In order to get Mal to leave, Dom found her totem. I believe that when they lay in front of the train, they did not wake up. Instead, they 'awoke' to level one in their dream world which was a copy of reality. It was Dom's home he had built in the dream.

"Never create places from your memory. It's the surest way to lose your grip on what's real and what's a dream."

"Did that happen to you?"

Eventually, when Mal goes to their 'anniversary' hotel, she proves to herself that they are in a dream. Specifically, she must spin the top, which Dom steps on when he enters. But, the decision comes from the fact that Mal knew they weren't her children as they remained the same age (unlike the ending.) The children were projections from Dom.

A team is assembled to pull Dom back into reality. The scene with Miles is very telling. He refers to Mal as one of his "students." Later, he presents Ari. Miles is Dom's father-in-law. Mal is not his daughter. Mal is Dom's lover, his 'wife' in the dream world. I think Dom created his home where he could be with Mal and his children. This fits in with Mal not wanting to go back to reality (where Dom has a wife and children)

Think of it, would Miles present Ari if Mal was his suicidal or dead daughter? When Dom mentions Mal, that's when Miles says, "Come back to reality."

The early scene of Dom and Mal walking beyond the broken mirror is in the exact location as in The Last Tango in Paris. In my mind, this is also a hint in Dom's and Mal's relationship. And it fits that they go to a hotel on their 'anniversary'.

According to the train riddle, Dom promised Mal they would be together in the real world. "You know where you hope this train will take you but you don't know for sure." "But it doesn't matter, because you'll be together."

I believe this explanation fits all of the pieces of the puzzle together. I know some will disagree. But, I am satisfied with this and no other explanation. If you can further this discussion, join in.

Posts: 127
Joined: February 2011
Inception film connections:
What is the purpose of film tie-ins? There seems to be plenty washing around in this maze.
Here's one you know: Her Majesty's Secret Service - This is the one where James Bond gets married. Does this connect with whether Mal and Dom are really married?
Leap of Faith - Mentioned twice. In this Steve Martin film about a fraud healer, you will find Lucas Haas.
Vertigo - The 'apparent' suicide. who died? Is this to tangle the web about Mal's leap. Scene for scene, Dom's reaction is stunningly similar.
Last Tango in Paris - Again, an interesting relationship is the focal point. The shot location is the exact one where Ari makes the mirror in the street.
Matter of Life and Death also called Stairway to Heaven - A man 'dies' and wakes up on a beach. So visually the same, you just know Nolan reshot this.
491 - a story of redemption (the 491 in the phone number) small, obscure work. The novel is still available in some areas.
Dreamscape - obvious similar ideas.
Paprika - The dream world explored, yes.
Bridge Over the River Kwai has a Col Saito. Any ties?
Last Night in Marinebad. Nolan admitted the obscure relationship in this film was mirrored in Inception. (Yours truly posted this in the early days.)
Finally - a flurry of a specific connection
1. The artwork of Francis Bacon
2 a train like Rails and Ties
3 a defibrillator like Flatliners
4 a chase scene exactly like Death Sentence with Kevin Bacon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXmjgDwqXKc&t
5 a famous architect - Kevin Bacon's father,Edmund.

I like how Nolan borrowed (and bettered) these ideas. I just wonder if there is some meaning underneath it all?

Posts: 12545
Joined: May 2010
Location: Mumbai
should've thought of a different thread title mate

Posts: 3662
Joined: August 2009
Location: a galaxy far far away
Can we chage the thread's title? :facepalm:

Posts: 5
Joined: October 2018
??????

Post Reply