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How do the kicks work.

is it
a)
- The fortress is blown up in order to wake up in the hotel
- The elevator crashes in order to wake up in the city
- The van crashes for no reason

or

b)
- The fortress is blown up for no reason
- The elevator "falling" makes them wake up in the hotel
- The van crashing makes them wake up in the city

As I understood you can't give yourself your own kick in the dream. The level above has to do it. But seems a little inconsistent.

Ariadne says after telling the idea of following Fisher down there: "We can give him his own kick down below." -> that would be a.

The way they explained it at the beginning of the film is b. That's why the sedative was formulated in a special way so they would actually feel the falling sensation of the level above.

Example: Ariadne uses 4 mechanisms to end up on level 1 by the river.

1: She falls off the building, 2: Fortress is blown up, 3: The elevator kick, 4: Van off the bridge.

So 4 mechanisms but she only needs to wake up 3 times to end up by the river right. One for waking up from limbo to fortress, second to wake up from the fortress to hotel, third to wake up from the hotel to the river. So why does she need 4 things now and which one is superfluous.

This is something that, even after seeing the film four times (count'em, four) I had not grasped, but here is what a lot of internet are saying:

The rules you outline are completely correct under normal shared dream conditions (i.e. the first scene with Saito's palace, his lovenest, and the train)... it only took a kick on the lovenest level (tipping Cobb into the bath) to wake him up from the lower Palace level.

However, apparently, the customized sedative (the same one that imposes the "die-in-a-dream-and-you're-banished-to-limbo" restriction) requires a synchronised wave of kicks that starts you on the dream level you are currently on to send you back up.

This would explain the fact that Arthur didn't wake up when Yusuf's van crashed through the bridge barrier, because he didn't trigger a simultaneous kick (the elevator) on his dream level.

Therefore, it is important for both the sensation of falling to be triggered in your dream (say, level 2) and where your body is (level 1).  If we follow Ariadne's route, her falling simultaneously in level 4 (jumping from the building) and level 3 (in the collapsing hospital) woke her up on level 3, then the added 'falling' on level 2 (the elevator) combined with level 3 woke her up on 2, then the impact of the elevator hitting the end of the shaft on 2 with the impact of the van hitting the water on 1 brought her to 1, where they waited out the sedative in their real bodies on the plane to wear off and for them to wake up naturally.

cobbycob asked the question 2010-08-22 00:06:28 UTC view / hide
cobbycob improved the question 2010-08-22 00:06:56 UTC view / hide
cobbycob improved the question 2010-08-22 00:07:21 UTC view / hide
cobbycob improved the question 2010-08-22 00:19:19 UTC view / hide
cobbycob improved the question 2010-08-22 00:21:33 UTC view / hide
idefilms provided an answer 2010-11-08 17:53:25 UTC view / hide

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