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- » Why did Mal seem surprised when she learned that Cobb performed an inception on her?
- » What happened at the beginning of the film?
- » What are the different dream levels for the final mission?
- » How did Cobb go into the limbo to find Saito?
» Explaining Inception: an FAQ Guide
How does the theory hold up that the entire movie is about Inception being performed on Cobb?
It takes a lot of assumptions, but this theory can be argued as well as anything else.
Some of the reasons used in favor of this theory:
- in the last scene, the children seem to be of the same age, in the same clothes, in the same position and in the same location as in Cobb's memories and dreams. There are some minor differences, just enough to leave both options open.
- scenes that are supposed to be "in reality" that look very dream-like (e.g. the run through the very narrow alley in Mombassa, Mal suicide from a different room from where she should be..)
- Ariadne's role: not only is she given to him by Cobb's father-in-law (who is imploring Cobb to "return to reality"), she is strangely committed to finding out what's going on with Cobb, and to get to the bottom of his guilt. In the Greek mythology, Ariadne helped Theseus to get out of the maze, after he killed the monster at the center of it.
- several times different characters encourage Cobb to "come back to reality"
- Cobb goes through a powerful catharsis, such as the one Fischer has to go through in order for the inception to work.
- We never see how the characters reach the locations (Mombassa, Paris, Sydney). They just happen to be there; like in dreams.
- Mal herself states as much in the final meeting in Limbo, where she wryly notes how Cobb has somehow created a kind of "action world" for himself full of espionage and intrigue and people with guns chasing him; it seems unbelievable that the average person would be the center of so much attention.