Ending of Inception- how did Cobb get back?

For those of you who've seen Inception, I have a question regarding the ending.

When Cobb meets an old Saito in the 4th dream level, how does he and Saito eventually get 'kicked' back into reality, on the plane?

47 Answers

Relevance
  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Here's what I think happened at the end:

    Everything we were shown in the ending WAS the real world and not just a dream to help Cobb or keep him stuck in the subconscious or some other thing. Him meeting his kids WAS real. The top wobbles because it IS a real top, as a wobbling top can't stay wobbling forever. HOWEVER, the cut-to-black is a metaphor. Have you ever noticed that almost every time our dreams are about to end or reach a fulfilling point, we wake up before it does? That's Nolan cutting to black. Nothing else. Just a metaphor. It just a happy ending with a cute little wink from the director giving us a wake-up KICK.

    Saito... My interpretation: You can't get old in a dream unless you believe you are old or if you WANT to be old. We know he doesn't want to be an "old man, filled with regret," so that's out. It probably just took a long time for Cobb to get there. "Why isn't he as old as Saito?" Because Saito felt the unbearably slow passage of time, not knowing whether he'd be rescued or how long it has been in the real world. In a dream, age is perception. Cobb, on the other hand, IS ACTUALLY SLIGHTLY GRAY. I almost missed it myself, but trust me, it's there. Mal and Cobb are not gray on the train tracks, though. They should be 80-something by then, but because they both remember that it's not real, they don't look as old as they do from behind as they walked (remember that scene?) Cobb is only slightly grey because he perceives a long time of wandering, and he perceives himself a little less youthful, but not much.

    Incidentally, we don't know how old Saito is, especially since the Japanese have the longest lifespans on the planet. I sincerely don't think it's coincidence that Nolan chose a Japanese person, as it is convenient because it allows some liberty in the amount of time it took for Cobb to reach him. Think of it: if you are having one of those dreams where you can control stuff (lucid dream) you can't just snap your fingers and go to Japan, nor can you make an infinite passageway like Ariadne did unless you use the logic of mirrors. You'd have to use logical reasoning to make a 10000 mile long bridge, or swim all the way to Japan (which almost seems like he did), or build a plane from scratch. Even THEN, Cobb had to figure out where he was in Japan in the first place. All this took time, and it took a tiny toll on him compared to Saito, who could do nothing but wait.

    The Kick... I think Cobb was bending the truth about how hard it is to get back from Limbo. I think he just said that because he didn't want HIMSELF to go to Limbo, knowing he'd be the only one tempted to stay there. He knew full well that he would run into Mal, so he wanted to avoid leading the team there at all costs. Think about it: all you have to do to get out is be hit by a train???? The team could have escaped Limbo in seconds. But not COBB. ^_^ Once he was free from Mal (only with the unforeseen help from Ariadne), he knew that he and Saito were just two bullets away from waking up.

    Source(s): The movie and my subconscious. That's all the research I can hope to offer.
  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    RE:

    Ending of Inception- how did Cobb get back?

    For those of you who've seen Inception, I have a question regarding the ending.

    When Cobb meets an old Saito in the 4th dream level, how does he and Saito eventually get 'kicked' back into reality, on the plane?

  • 3 years ago

    At first I believed Cobb was in reality at the end of the movie but more and more I start to believe he is not.

    The facts:No one is supposed to touch or use another person's totem. Cobb specifically mentions how easy it would be to loose touch with reality yet he uses Mal's totem (we never see Cobb's totem ever). If he could remember reality certainly the rest of them could especially ariadne. It is also said that the totem only works for the individual that made it. Every time we see Cobb use it is believed he is in reality but will never work for him regardless in dreamstate.Cobb has been in limbo for decades before and specifically says how scrambled ones brain will get from doing so.Charicters Mal and her father request he come back to reality.The beginning is the beginning of the end but thought the movie the children are always in the same clothes same routine and we know this is from memory before he left USA but same when he's back. No police ever after him but corporate is.

    • Cobbs totem is his wedding ring. If it's on he's dreaming, if it's not then he's awake. And at the end you can look closely in a few scenes and he DOESNT have his wedding ring on

  • 10 years ago

    I am stuck completely in the middle of Did he make it back? Did he stay inside the dream.

    To answer your question. If you die in the dream you will come out of the dream state. So because the 10hour "Super Sedative" was wearing out even in the 4th level of dreams which Saito was inside of for what looked to be 50 years before Cobb made it to him. Death is still the kick needed to awaken both dreamers, implying Saito Shot them both after remembering the Idea that they both shared during both dream states 1st act of the movie and the 3rd of dying old and alone with regrets.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 10 years ago

    I don't think they did get 'kicked' back to reality. I think the ENTIRE movie was a dream and Cobb was still on the original job where he was trying to steal info from Saito at the beginning. Since we learned earlier in the movie that if it is not your dream then the projections of the subconscious for the dreamer will all stare at you and at the end of the movie in the airport everyone is staring at Cobb. This makes me think Cobb is in Saito's dream still and Cobb is trying to to control it. (plus the top top never stopped spinning at the end, and what are the odds the kids would be the same exact age and wearing the same outfits? And why was his father suddenly in the USA and not in Paris?) Clearly it was a dream at the end... but that makes me think the WHOLE thing was a dream

  • 10 years ago

    The Top.. Never stopped Spinning Or Did it it?

    He picked up the gun and that was the Kick, If it really happen.. Or Maybe one the plane was his new Dream world were he didn't fail..and Saito didn't die and he did get to see his kids faces. The Ending was left open for you to take in to your own mind and make it what you want. Maybe he did get back to the 'Real World' Or Make he didn't and all you saw was just another dream.

  • 3 years ago

    When Did Inception Come Out

  • 10 years ago

    Was it really the 4th level of the whole "dream within the dream" ? I believe they were in the limbo when Cobb was talking to the old Saito. They probably met decades after Ariadne found Fischer and pushed him off (remember that scene?), and the whole conversation between Mal and Cobb. As of the "kick", that's probably why Cobb had a gun with him, so they have a "kick" to wake them up back to reality. Though I'm not sure if the movie ended with Cobb going back to L.A. His totem didn't really stop spinning, then the credits came. Plus the whole scene looked like the one from his memory, he could've just been dreaming it up again, trying to change it again.

    Source(s): The movie and my brain.
  • 10 years ago

    "Actually, I think Cobb never gets back. I think that when Cobb finds Saito in the fourth level of dreaming, Saito "kills" Cobb with the pistol (remember the gun that the guards find on Cobb when they get him from the beach in the end?), and so Cobb enters limbo, thus never returning."

    Cobb was already in limbo because thats where he found his wife. And then he got shot sending him OUT of limbo because thats how you escape from limbo.

  • 10 years ago

    Actually, I think Cobb never gets back. I think that when Cobb finds Saito in the fourth level of dreaming, Saito "kills" Cobb with the pistol (remember the gun that the guards find on Cobb when they get him from the beach in the end?), and so Cobb enters limbo, thus never returning. That is why the top never stops spinning. This is typically Nolan's style; he gives you the freedom to interpret the end in your own way such that it still fits the facts.

  • 6 years ago

    They killed themselves and went back to reality, they've had enough time to do it in the Limbo, plus you dont always need a kick, remember when Mal and Cobb killed themselves to go to reality? That's how. The only difference is that they are both trained and probrably realized that they were awake at the time.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.