The Part Just After the Very End of Inception


I went to a showing with an entire theater full of video game developers. When the screen went back, *everyone* started laughing this chuckling, "oh those guys!" sort of laugh. It was amazing and entirely appropriate.
This movie was fine as a video game. Gunfights, bombs, car chases most of the time. As a film, it was a total piece of shit. But it gets lots of hype, and the sheep LOVE it!
Most of the audience in the screening I went to just kind of chuckled. Like the very last shot was some sort of joke (you want to know for sure... and if the shot lasted just a couple of seconds longer, you would...).

My comment about Inception was that I was so intellectually involved in the movie that I didn't really get as emotionally involved as I would have liked to have been. It was like a big puzzle/challenge, and I cared too much about the puzzle, at the expense of connecting with the characters. In fact, at one point, I was so mentally engaged that I kind of forgot where I was, and after a little revelation of how something worked I said "huh", kind of loudly during a very quiet part of the movie. It was a little embarrassing... So, it was successful on an intellectual level, but that didn't really leave me feeling all that satisfied at the end of the movie.
It was about as much an intellectual challenge as reading a menu at a McDonald's drive-thru and reciting your choices.
I should add that the long stretches of action/shoot-em-up (especially in the snow level) didn't particularly help with that problem.
this is kind of a spoiler.
If another person jumped into my dream sequences/subconscious, it would be highly inappropriate for an R rated movie. Seriously, not one of these people in the movie had some hot action morning wood dreams?
Well, I feel like it actually doesn't matter what happened. That was the point. A choice was made, and whether or not it spun out wasn't relevant anymore.

Loved the movie, btw. It seemed like the people who call it dumb expected some kind of Master's level thesis in theoretical philosophy. It was fine, clever, smooth and well-paced, and plenty smart for a mainstream summer movie.
Yeah, someone did that too when I saw it last night.

It was engaging, clever, and tightly-crafted. Yeah, it was just a fun "popcorn" movie but for a big summer flick you could do a lot worse. The action stuff was way over the top but I think the idea that it was all taking place within a dream made that more forgivable.

Not a masterpiece, don't need to see it again, but pretty smart for a "big explosions" kinda movie.
Good review.
that ohhhh was probably my favorite part of it.. because when was the last time you've heard someone do that at the end of it... probably 'memento' which i liked a WHOLE lot more.
Ummm, they weren't actually entering people's dreams so much as creating a dream and dragging someone into it. They were very clear that they had to have an "architect" who set up the world and its internal rules, as well as "the dreamer" who was the focus of it.

Saying "my dreams aren't like that" sort of evades the point.
I personally, though, was very disappointed at the "your issues are manifesting in this dream reality" stuff - he's warping the very fabric of reality with his neurosis, and that's all that happens? Huh.

Enjoyed it. Disappointed in aspects of it. Won't own it, might rent it in a couple of years.
@2, this sheep loved it and thought the movie was damned clever. I've only seen one other decent movie all year (Toy Story 3), so if I was awarding Oscars or something at this point of the year it would be a small field...
@2, 4: calling other people "sheep" is the internet equivalent of yellow and black stripes. It's nature's way of telling everyone that they don't want to talk to you!
I saw it at the Rodeo Drive-In near Belfair and someone in another car yelled out "OH, COME ON!" which made me laugh, and made the ending (for me) all the more enjoyable.
Regardless of whatever unique ideas the writer of this movie may have had, I thought it sucked. I was bored from about 30 minutes in until the end.
The first question my friend asked me after it ended was about that last moment. My answer was a grin and "It wobbled." Those people who get frustrated are missing the whole point: you can never quite eradicate that doubt.
It would have amused me if someone had shouted out, "YOU ASSHOLES!" at the end.
I dug it. It's totally my type of thing. But I understand that some people aren't as in to it. I'm perplexed by the number of comments and blog posts I've seen insisting that it's not an intelligent movie and that thinking about it or trying to figure it out or enjoying the puzzle of it makes you a naive dumb person who thinks your smart. It's very weird. I mean, I understand that Inception isn't Godel, Escher, Bach or anything, but in the category of big, hit movies, isn't it *kinda* thinky?
Bah. My intellect is far beyond this sort of pabulum. It did not challenge my massive throbbing frontal lobes in any way, and I got drunk first just to give it a fighting chance. But the Masses are so stupid I'm sure they'll eat it up like a triple bacon chicken-fried steak-taco-burger at Carl's Jr.

Because they are stupid. Not smart, like I am.
@12 is correct, this isn't like "normal" dreams because it's an environment specifically constructed to steal or plant ideas. As was made quite clear in the (overly) expository sequences. In fact, for most of the run-of-the-mill constructs, the subject isn't aware their dreaming-no lucidity about it. In the Inception and the Sato-caper at the beginning of the film, they tell the subject their dreaming on one level as a ploy to counter the subject's defensive training and earn their trust. These are the exceptions, rather than the normal course.

And the audience I saw it with made integrated "oh fuck you/I love it!" noises that was just right on.
Movie rules, Eric. Clearly you are just jealous of how good it looks in a suit and in a chair and flying in a hallway and when it is extreme skiiing. Movie is best boyfriend ever. DO NOT QUESTION MOVIE.
Also, I totally heard you laughing during the preview for The Other Guys...therefore your review is invalid.
The best comment I ever heard after a screen went black was a deeply sad, whale-like "NOOOOO" response to the Beverly Hills Chihuahua coming attraction.
@ 19

That type of movie is my thing too, but this one blew. Because they didn't follow their own rules, which makes it a disaster of a puzzle movie. If you're going to make that type of movie it has to be airtight in it's consistency with its own laws and this one fucking blew it.
I thought it was a good summer movie. I went to see it to be entertained, not to be intellectually or emotionally challenged, and I was entertained.

And the people in the theater where I saw it totally had that reaction.

But having said that, my big problem with the movie was the same problem @25 had. The internal logic of the story wasn't consistent. I spent a little more time being confused than I wanted to be
My main prob was it's like being inside Fnarf's head.
My husband and I are on our way to GenCon, so I guess we fall into the same basic category as the game developers from @1, and our reaction to the ending was laughter. People expect Hollywood movies to wrap everything up at the end, and we appreciated that this one refused.
And Ken Watanabe is my permanent boyfriend.
I loved it. Seen it twice.

And yes, the audience reaction to the final second is palpable, and part of the fun of seeing it a second time.
@25 - I agree with you that when movies like this cheat, we all lose. But I thought this one was pretty consistent. A friend pointed me to this interview with The Chemist that I enjoyed both because it's fun to think about the puzzle and because the actor is so refreshingly clever and articulate. Maybe you'll dig it too:…
Personally loved the ending to Inception. Compare/contrast: the ending of John Sayles' Limbo.
Also, @19 FTW, for citing Godel Escher Bach and then using the wrong kind of your.
@12: Thank you for laying out the basic plot point Eric and many, many critics somehow missed, even though it's discussed in detail throughout the movie: These aren't normal dreams. I think the cognitive dissonance around this is based on what some people wanted/expected to see from the previews, which is some kind of mind-bending, surreal, special effects extravaganza. Instead, it's just a summer action movie with an intricate plot and an original premise (though one could argue that Inception's plot is very close to an anime called Paprika that came out a few years back...Eric, if you want to see some fucked up dream imagery, check that one out).

Regardless, it's a much smarter and adventurous piece of filmmaking that you normally get this time of year, and that might explain the other complaint I hear about it: It's boring. Which it is, compared to bubblegum junk like The fucking A-Team. But you know...for those of us who actually like to use our brains in the theater, it's not boring at all.

As for the allegedly flawed internal logic, I would suggest reading some of the many different interpretations and plot summaries available on the internet (Salon did a pretty good one...start there). The plot is actually pretty airtight, especially on repeat viewings. But in a movie where the entire nature of what we're watching is open to interpretation, internal logic is a slippery thing to define in general.
Yep, I reacted. I think I muttered something about burning Nolan's house down. It was what he had to do, though.

Good movie. Filled with boyfriends.
@14, 20: i laughed. great job!
but yeah, @2: let me know when you get bored watching primer over and over again and just wanna go to the movies.
@2: you are completely correct, plus what a horrible soundtrack for a film - I kept thinking it sounded like a video game soundtrack. And for the dopes who say, "This movie makes ya think!" I ask, what about, exactly?
Some of people need to not be so condescending...who the fuck do you think you are? I'm sure everything you like is the better than what everyone else likes...if you think that you're the idiot.

Anyway I liked the movie, good acting (aahhh, Joseph Gordon Levitt) and visually stunning. It's funny people's opinoins are so polarized. I suppose that has to do with the way it was hyped up, because it was really hyped up. It makes people feel either bitterly disappointed and angry or elated because it was one of the better movies this summer (I guess that's not saying much...agreed that Toy Story 3 was better). People need to relax though and remember that even if you didn't like this movie, Christpher Nolan is still one of the more original action/drama directors in Hollywood. Considering the fact that Hollywood just seems to be doing mostly crappy remakes and sequels, you should appreciate Nolan.
@38, I think if I hadn't gone in with such high expectations, I might have liked it better, agreed. Except for that horrible soundtrack.
The perfect blending of the two most successful movies of the summer, Toy Story 3: Inception.…
@33 - Good point. I plan to see it again this weekend. Maybe I'll catch what I missed this time around (seeing it after working 56 hours in 4 days probably wasn't the brightest idea).
I am bucking the tide by finding the movie firmly "eh." So there! I am so not polarized!

I got bored in parts, it seemed very long, and the music was totally overbearing. Regarding the end, it was annoying and disappointing, but how annoying and disappointing would it have been if the movie ended with the top falling over? That's the only WORSE option than what they did.

The problem with the whole "if you didn't like it, you don't like to THINK!!1!" defense is that if you really DO start thinking about the movie, you rapidly run into a bunch of inconsistencies.

Anyhow, it just really didn't succeed in making me care about the characters. Maybe it's the Leo having the head of a baby woman thing.
P.S.: Wouldn't the whole idea-planting thing have been easier if they just told whatshisface, the heir, that Dad regretted their lost family time and tension and whatnot and that's why the son should break up the empire? Boom, addressed daddy issues and planted idea in one.
@14 FTW. Thanks, I'm going to use that.
It was a fun movie, that's that.
I thought the ending could have either have been cut away sooner or entirely while still achieving the same effect of being ambiguous (though remembering how the movie began, "Inception" became one of those "Fuck You" movies).
@43, no, because the idea had to seem like it came from the heir, and not told to him by someone else.
I laughed at the end, my friend who I was with shouted, "What‽"

I thought it was a fun summer blockbuster. The ending was telegraphed from that scene in the bathroom, so I expected it and wasn't surprised.

I definitely liked Memento better, but thought it was worth seeing.
Bub @40. that link was priceless. Thanks for a laugh.
@46: Why couldn't he have come up with that thought on his own? Whatever, arguing about poor logic doesn't make sense I guess. I still think it's ridiculous that the idea has to "seem natural" when the whole DREAM is designed by someone else.
i guess i'm a sheep, because i loved the movie. also, i think it's pretty pretentious to call people sheep based on their like or dislike of a popular movie. lame.
In the classic law enforcement book that created the analogy, there are only three kinds of people: Sheep, wolves, and guard dogs. I'm not sure how that applies to someone who's watching a movie, but hey, for a "turn your brain off" summer movie, being a sheep might not be such a bad thing.

I haven't seen the movie, so I can't comment on that.
it appears that the people who didn't like it are close-minded individuals who were judging the movie based on their own preconceived notion of what the movie should have been.

...not appreciating the movie for what it actually was. i'm going to peg those individuals as people who thought 'The Matrix' was lame.

and it doesn't help when you don't point out what you 'didn't get' so other people who may have 'got it' can explain it to you
Inception reminded me of when you are at someone's house and they want to play a board game you have never played before and you have to listen to them read the rules and all the exceptions that affect play except instead of lasting 20 minutes it lasts for 2 hours.
@53. I think you nailed it for me. All the explanatory exposition got on my nerves after a while. I took my birthday party to an IMAX viewing of the movie. Maybe I was just disappointed that it wasn't TRON. ;)
@53: Maybe that's why I didn't mind the movie so much. I do that all the time, and usually the people reading me the rules aren't as good looking as the guys on the screen were.
@53: Man, I loved the Matrix. But Inception left me cold. It was OK, but bloodless in the end. (I could use more beefy Tom Hardy British-smooving his way through another caper and Joseph Gordon-Levitt doing *anything* in suspenders though.)

So what other categories do you want to defeat me with?
I saw it yesterday, and everyone laughed at the ending, kind of like, "aww, Chris Nolan, you scamp!"

My main issue with it was that the architect didn't make use of more dream logic to solve problems like everyone dying if they got shot in one of the dreams. I mean, if she can design a wall that all the dreamers smack into like a normal wall instead of being able to walk through it or something, why can't she make a rule in the dream that bullets can't kill you, or that if you dump a glass of water over someone's head or something it'll revive you? They can even create a safe that the dreamer automatically subconsciously fills up with secrets, so if she stuck in a bottle of liquid labeled "MAGIC HEALING POTION" wouldn't the dreamer's subconscious automatically heal the person who drank it?
My problem with Inception is that the movie was trying to have its cake and eat it, too.

To the extent that this was a movie with an intellectually challenging premise, that premise got hijacked by the special effects, the chase sequences and the gun fights. To the extent that it was a summer thriller, the thriller got bogged down by all the metaphysical mumbo-jumbo.

As for what the final shot may have meant, my partner nailed it when he said, "Who cares?"
For the record, I enjoyed the movie for what it was; but I *also* thought it was naive and not as good as Nolan's Memento--which had similar themes. I think people who say that people who didn't like the movie because of their preconceived notions have some preconceived notions of their own. It's just personal taste, get over it/move along. As entertainment it was fine. It was not some great intellectual mindfuck though.
Well said, #58. And your partner, too.
@53, oddly, that's why I loved it. Who makes movies like this?

15-20 minutes to setup the basics, 90 minutes to explain the Rules, and then 35-40 minutes tossing you into a four-way complex science fiction heist film?

Shit yes, more please. I've seen every one of Nolan's films now except his first, and I have to say that Prestige and Inception are two of my overall favorite films now. If the characters in Memento weren't so ridiculously unsympathetic to me (it takes me away from caring about anything) it would be in the list as well.
The only time I dreamed lucidly, I just smashed a bunch of shit in my school cafeteria and gave my principal the finger. Granted, I was 14.
i'm assuming you meant @52

based on your comment, there wasn't enough hot guys doing hot things. how am i supposed to argue how that makes the movie good/bad? i guess it was a horrible movie in the fact that there weren't enough jiggling titties to satisfy my visual appetite...

i thought they used the fact that you 'die' as an escape mechanism out of the drug-induced dreamscape. and i'm pretty sure whatever the safe is populated by is from the dreamer's subconscious and not the architect's. and the magic healing potion would probably be a dead give away that it is a dream to all the 'extras' that populate the dream (causing them to riot).

where'd you get that preconceived notion that this movie was 'some great intellectual mindfuck?' and i said that 'it appears...' meaning that this is something observed from the comments people have been putting up without any base to their opinion.
now if they had stated specifics about what and why they didn't like the movie then we'd be getting somewhere. you know, healthy discussion about the arts.

oh i forgot, you guys just want to be heard, not reasoned with. "here's my opinion, world! let's not discuss it further! i'm right, you're wrong!"

now, i see where @58 comes from because they stated their opinion and explained it. and because of that i can see where he's coming from. can't argue much with that one. fucker's got a point.
@63: I think you took my parenthetical comments too seriously. Realize parentheses means the content between them is just an aside.

But hey, why address my words directly (or take them as the lighthearted remarks they clearly were) when you can inflate them up to a point for mockery? Yes, because I liked a couple of actors in the movie and could stand to see more of them in a different movie, all I wanted *Inception* to be was hot dudes. Duh.

For someone so offended by people being reactionary and throwing out be-all-end-all opinions, you're doing both things pretty well yourself.

Anyway, I think @58 has a weak point, honestly. Why can't a movie be two things? It's all dependent on the execution, rather than the choice to mix up conventions of two separate genres. I didn't think that was the main problem with Inception. I thought it was two things. One was the flat characters, who all felt like too obviously like chess pieces moved around to advance the story, rather than lived-in people. The exception was Hardy, who managed to inhabit his character well enough, and *maybe* Levitt-Gordon. With all the others, I was much too aware of how they were being actors fulfilling a particular narrative role. Killed the immersion for me.

The other which stuck out for me a lot more was the really flawed emotional anchor (hence "bloodless"). Cobb's story with his wife never got me. I never bought that he loved her so deeply, that he missed his children so, etc. This might not be a problem if it wasn't so prominent a part of the story. But every time that storyline popped up, I kept wanting to feel the hook, and didn't.

I've had bad experiences with movie discussions, honestly. In the majority of my discussions, I've detailed what I like, don't like, and why, and I get accused of "thinking too much," "not turning off my brain and enjoying the movie", "wanting to hate it", as well as the magic words "having pre-conceived notions" etc.

So that's a major turn-off for me. I'm not saying that you necessarily would give me that experience. But I tend to try to just stick to surface observations and pithy remarks now, because investing any more seems to invite people to question my principles and intellect.
Your "So what other categories..." comment is what made me get on the offensive.

Like i said about 58, i can see where he's coming from. i understand his point of view. that's it.

I can also see where you're coming from with the flat characters. I wasn't paying too much attention to their depth, though. I got caught up with where the story was going.

As far as Cobb and his family... I felt that his guilt over what he had done to lose them is the only thing that drove the film emotionally, if at all. I figured that's why Mal (Mol?) kept popping up when she wasn't supposed to. His subconscious guilt was so strong that it didn't matter if it was someone else's dream, he'd subconsciously have her appear so he could pay penance in a masochistic way.

that's too bad that your movie discussions end up like that. i figure there's a reason to the rhyme of why ppl dislike things and i just want to get an idea of what that perspective is (which is why i made those first comments of asking...demanding ppl give reasons). i try to be curious as to why you think that way rather than trying to make you see my way.

if anything we can agree to disagree and just leave it at that.
Also, who doesn't realize they're dreaming and immediately start flying? Duh, that is like the first thing you ever do ever when you're lucid dreaming.

Um, no. Flying may be the second thing I do, but the first is consistently NOT flying and consistently involves another person.
@65: "As far as Cobb and his family... I felt that his guilt over what he had done to lose them is the only thing that drove the film emotionally, if at all."

Yeah, I saw that too. And I completely bought that that guilt would wreak havoc on his conscious mind, that he wouldn't be able to control it because it was so deep. It explained her random appearances fine; I just didn't buy the rest of it, where so much of his guilt was tied up in how he had ruined a beautiful, passionate marriage and lost a wonderful family. It was kind of a hard sell. Actually, upon reflection, maybe it was a bit of miscasting; Cotillard didn't click right with DiCaprio, while DiCaprio doesn't really sell "family man" to me.

Also: Did anyone else find her role just sort of funny? I thought it was very interesting that Cobb's projection of her was loving, sad, and yet dangerous all at once. But Mal's menace, for me, just came off as "stereotypical crazy Frenchwoman." When she picked up the kitchen knife, I was more amused than horrified. Plus, using an Edith Piaf song seemed kind of on the nose ...
now i'm beginning to see where we differ in opinion...

i was able to look past the characters and more or less focused in on the plot and where it was going (probably cuz' i was high either that or cuz' i'm a dude).

but now that you mention it, it probably wouldn't have hurt to have more background on the characters to have made Cobb's love for his family more believable. more flashbacks or something. then the ending would've been more satisfying. the whole, 'it doesn't matter if it was a dream or reality,' Cobb just wanted to his kids - at any cost, ending.