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Explaining Inception: an FAQ Guide

Guide to the dreams within dreams in the movie Inception.
Spoiler Alert! This guide contains key plot information and you should watch the movie first before reading it.

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» Ask / Add an FAQ / 329914 views / 166 FAQs
Why couldn't Eames (for example) impersonate Fischer's father directly and tell him straight away that he wants him to be himself. » Improve Q
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Why was the dream machine needed in all states of the dream? Was it symbolic or was it actually needed? » Improve Q

The dream machine allows the dreamer to bring other people into his dream with him. So yes, it is actually needed.

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Why does mr saito become much older than Cobb in the deepest level? » Improve Q
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How was Dom able to expunge Mal from his mind? » Improve Q
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Why are Mal and Cobb facing each other during the suicide scene? If she's jumping from the window of the same room he's in, how can he be looking straight at her from across a gap? » Improve Q
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why did cobb have to stop being the dreamer if the world is populated by the subject's subconscious? Isn't it more dangerous if Mal, from his own subconscious, is being projected into the dream? » Improve Q
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in the level 2 (hotel room) it has no gravity due to the van falling, why is there gravity in level 3 (snow fortress)? » Improve Q
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Why are there gun men in the dreams?? (The people who try to attack them) » Improve Q

Because they are part of Fisher's subconscious, which was trained.

You remember in the second scene of the movie, at the very start of the story, where Cobb is telling Saito he can train the latter to protect himself from dream extraction? Seeing as Cobb is not the only extractor in the world, Fisher has been trained to protect himself by another extractor. When you are trained against extraction, your subconscious doesn't take as long to realize a) it's dreaming, b) who the dreamer is.

Fisher's subconscious had guns because he was trained, which arms his subconscious. From Fisher's point of view, this protects him from extraction (as we have seen, it's very efficient).

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Why didn't Fischer wake up in level 2 when he got killed by Mal. Instead of getting back to level 2 he went to 4th level or limbo. The possible answer is may be that he didn't get kick from both the levels ( level 2 and level 3 simultaneously) tahts why he ended up to limbo. But as per the movie a shot is enough to wake up from the dream,as happened in the starting dream when Cobb kill his friend in level 2 . » Improve Q

Because he was sedated to have a stable dream. That's what Cobb was doing when he slipped the liquid into Fisher's drink on the plane... he was sedating him.

As Cobb says once the team is in Level 1 (van), if you die in a dream under sedation you go to limbo as opposed to just waking up.

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Cobb and Mal must have been very heavily sedated when they were exploring multilevel dreams (since the usual drugs could not sustain many levels and hence limbo wasn't possible) , so if the entire movie was a dream then Mal jumping off the window should send her back into the limbo. But later when Cobb and Ariadne enter the limbo they find Mal's projection who had abducted Fischer but the the real Mal would have never known Fischer. (If it was a dream then it has to be a shared dream between Mal and Cobb and therefore they would also share the same limbo space as they did before.But the real Mal wasn't there) Doesn't it confirm that Mal died in reality and Cobb wasn't dreaming after all? » Improve Q
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