4. Why did Cobb have to perform inception on Mal?
Mal and Cobb created a dream world together. They were essentially gods in their world. They created whatever they wanted and did whatever they wanted. Mal started to lose her grip on reality since she was creating from memories. She started to lose touch on what was reality and what was a dream. In order for Mal to return to the real world, she had to believe that the world she was in was fake.
Cobb planted the idea in Mal’s head that this world was a dream world and to escape it she had to kill herself. This worked, and the two were able to get back to the real world. The only problem was, was that Mal still had this idea in her head. She now thought the same thing of the real world. She thought it was a dream and she had to kill herself to get back to reality. This is why she kills herself and this is why Cobb feels guilty.
Cobb probably could have just killed Mal to wake her up but he thought performing inception would be easier. Think about it, could you shoot the person you love, even if you knew it was a dream? He probably couldn’t bring himself to do it.
5. What exactly is a totem?
A totem is what you use to differentiate between reality and a dream world. Only the owner of the totem knows its exact balance, weight etc. Cobb’s totem is the top and he knows if it stops spinning, he is in reality but if it doesn’t stops spinning he is in a dream. This is what helps him differentiate. People say the top is insignificant because it was never Cobb’s to begin with, it belonged to Mal. Due to this, the top may have no value as a totem.
6. What was Arthur doing in the elevator scene?
Arthur was trying to deliver a kick to the team. He was unable to use gravity and he had to improvise and use the elevator shaft to create the same feeling that a kick would provide. He synced the charges with the other kicks that were going on in the level above.
The loss of gravity was due to the van in the level above falling off the bridge. The feeling of falling transferred over into the second level and therefore it seemed as if there was no gravity in the hotel. By setting off the explosive, Arthur improvises so that the people in the lift will feel a force, equal to the force of gravity. They will experience a falling sensation from the explosion.
By disconnecting the elevator from the cables and using an explosion to propel it, it is propelled as if there were gravity.
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