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Can someone please explain why Arthur doesn't wake up from the kick of falling off the bridge? Using the logic of the kick, and the fact that he's weightless (thus affecting his vestibular system) shouldn't Arthur wake up as soon as the van starts the free fall?

Arthur is unable to wake up from the initial kicks because he is anchored in the hotel level by the other people dreaming under him. 

He is finally able to wake because all of the people get back to the hotel level (by riding the kicks up from deeper levels).

The reason Cobb and Saito don't anchor Arthur, is because by this point the two of them are in limbo (unconstructed dream space) and therefore are no longer grounding Arthur at the hotel.

Alternative answer:

The kick can be avoided, and Arthur must have deliberately missed the first kick (not shown how) and thus woke on next kick of entering the water along with the rest. For example, the team on the third layer "missed" the kick of falling off the bridge by avoiding the avalanche caused by the kick. Both Eams and Cobb, the most experienced in dream extraction, recognise the form the kick takes, and Eams even notes that they've missed their ride out, until Cobb reminds him that there is still the river to provide the next and final kick.

In the first kick ever shown, Cobb only wakes when the water caused by the kick touches him on the second layer -- the kick is not instantaneous and presumably, if he had really not wanted to wake up, he could have run away from the water

Rob asked the question 2010-08-14 09:48:59 UTC view / hide
Rob improved the question 2010-08-14 09:49:43 UTC view / hide
Rob improved the question 2010-08-14 09:51:04 UTC view / hide
catcurl provided an answer 2010-08-14 23:22:01 UTC view / hide
Benjamin Tucker improved the answer 2010-09-09 01:32:02 UTC view / hide

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