Inception is a great film, but it may be confusing to some viewers. The thieves travel through many dream levels to plant an idea inside the mind of their mark (the character of Fischer). The dream levels used in Inception can be hard to follow for some, but this guide should help clear up any confusion.
Inception is the hit movie written and directed by Christopher Nolan, which has grossed over $800 million worldwide. The film was financed by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, with a fantastic film score by Hans Zimmer. Cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The first level of Inception is reality. The film doesn’t begin here, but the majority of the preparation for the job is spent in reality. The opening scenes are in several different dream levels, and the viewer will quickly realize this fact. In reality, the characters of Cobb, Ariadne, Arthur, Saito, Fischer, Eames, and Yusef are present. The characters leave reality on the plane, entering dream space to perform inception on the character of Fischer. To return to reality, the timer on the dream machine expires and wakes the characters.
Dream Level 1
The first dream level is hosted by Yusef and takes place in a city environment. All previous characters are brought to this dream level. The purpose of this is to begin to plant the idea within the mind of Fischer to break up his father’s empire. The team also forces a series of numbers from the mark to be used in the deeper areas. The characters, with the exception of Yusef, go into a deeper dream level using Arthur as the dream host. Because Yusef is the host of the first dream, he cannot travel further down. Yusef also enables the “kick” to wake the others by driving a van containing the team off a bridge.
Dream Level 2
The second dream level is hosted by Arthur and takes place in a hotel. This contains the characters of Cobb, Ariadne, Arthur, Saito, Fischer, and Eames. The purpose here is to trick Fischer into believing that his friend (the character of Browning) is a traitor. This deception allows the team to befriend the mark and bring him into the next level with his full cooperation. The team tells Fischer that they are traveling into Browning’s dream, but instead use Eames as the host. Arthur remains here to blow up the elevator for the kick.
Dream Level 3
The third dream level is hosted by Eames, and takes place at the snow fortress. The characters here are Cobb, Ariadne, Saito, Fischer, and Eames. Here Fischer will uncover the planted idea and take hold of it as a self-generated thought, also known as inception. Before that can happen, Fischer is killed by the projection of Mal, and Saito dies of previous injury. Both characters are bumped down a level. Cobb hosts a dream and Ariadne travels with him to the next level to recover Fischer. On Fischer’s revival, he is able to complete his task and inception is performed. Eames plants explosives on the fortress to destroy it, creating a kick.
Dream Level 4
The fourth level is hosted by Cobb and is a broken-down city, previously designed by Cobb and Mal. Some argue that this level is Limbo, but an educated analysis shows that this level is separate. In this level are Cobb, Ariadne, and Fischer. The projection of Mal is also an important figure at this level. The purpose of the visit to this level is to rescue Fischer. Ariadne and Fischer fall off of a tall building for a kick. Fischer is sent early, and completes his task on the third level, while Ariadne takes her kick later and rides the synchronized kicks back up to the first dream level to wait for the dream machine timer to expire (with the rest of the characters, excluding Cobb and Saito). Back on the first level, Cobb drowns while the car is in the water, bumping him down to Limbo with Saito.
Saito, killed from injury on a previous dream level, is placed in Limbo. Cobb arrives in Limbo later, which results in the large age gap. The aged Saito begins to remember Cobb and the mission, and the two escape by killing themselves with Cobb’s handgun. The pair awake to reality on the plane, where Saito remembers to keep his promise. The rest of the team has previously awakened with the expiration of the dream machine timer. The trip through four dream levels and Limbo has been completed.
Michael Caine’s character is only seen in reality. The faces of Cobb’s children are only seen in reality. Cobb only wears a wedding ring while dreaming. Different child actors are used in the end scene.
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