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After trying out the sedative in Yusuf's basement, Cobb washes his face. He then starts spinning his spinner, which falls down. Before he gets to retry, Saito interrupts him. Does this mean that from that point on we don't know, whether it's a dream or not?

Having watched Inception twice, I think this is the point at which you can question whether or not what follows is a dream.  On their visit to Yusuf, The Chemist, he challenges Cobb upstairs as to whether or not he wants to see. Cobb takes the compound, and descends to the roomful of dreamers. 

He has a short dream about he and Mal ending their time in Limbo and jerks awake, stumbles to the sink and drops the totem in front of Saito.  After this point, we only see the totem  spinning twice - once before Saito as an old man, when Cobb would certainly expect the totem to continue, and the final ambiguous scene where we're not sure.

So, if Cobb began to dream in Mombasa in Yusuf's dream room, and the totem fumble was part of the dream, everything after that could have been multi-layered dreaming, and with the 20x effect of the sedative, his travel through the layers could have left him with infinity in his life with his children at the end of the film .... IF it was all a dream.

Alternative Answer

The totem fumble was clearly an intentional plot element. However, was it a misdirection or an event that actually advances the plot? It is a convincing argument that since the fumbled totem prevents us (and Cobb) from confirming reality, we cannot be sure of anything beyond that scene. However, ultimately, that doesn't feel very satisfying to me, and if you were to edit out the fumble, the continuity and significance of the movie is not effected one way or the other.  Nothing is revealed, nothing is obscured.  Noting changes.  The plot and the mystery remains intact.

Anon_216 asked the question 2010-08-11 16:49:19 UTC view / hide
Anon_132 provided an answer 2010-08-11 22:06:03 UTC view / hide
rextutor improved the answer 2010-08-19 06:48:05 UTC view / hide
rextutor improved the answer 2010-08-19 06:49:54 UTC view / hide
rextutor improved the answer 2010-08-19 06:50:50 UTC view / hide

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