Mal does stab Cobb, and Ariadne shoots Mal. Despite her intervention to the conflict between Cobb and Mal, the background of Ariadne when she is shot on screen—which is a large window with gray buildings outside—creates a visible distinction between the red, wooden interior of the house. This serves as an implication, saying that the conflict is between Cobb and Mal, and Cobb and Mal only. Confirming this implication, Cobb moves over to Mal’s side, which makes all shots showing Cobb to show the background of the house, unlike the previous scene that showed his conflict with his wife.This shows that his inner conflict is over and establishes a relaxed atmosphere.
This is reinforced by the quieting of the sound. On the other hand, Ariadne’s conflict of saving Cobb is also resolved, as her name implies that her role is to help Cobb out of the “labyrinth”, which turns out to be his guilt for Mal. While Cobb’s inner conflict is resolved, the team’s mission is still at its Everest of tension in this sequence. Adam’s struggle with the non-gravitational environment is shown, in which the colors of the scenes are completely different than that of the previous scene.
While the preceding scene with Cobb and Mal showed a mixture of cold and warm colors—somewhat representing the conflict—this portion of second dream layer is mostly gray and black in its colors. As Adam triggers the bombs to send the “kick,” the erupting flame is shown in a very short length of time, reminding the audience that the “time is up. ” Because the “kick” is the element that interweaves all the layers of dreams and the crucial mission objectives, this elevates the tension dynamically. The red flares of the explosion help this increase of tension.On the other hand, this scene also serves as a resolution for Adam’s conflict, as his goal of delivering the kick is solved by the explosion. Then, the scene moves to Fischer in the third layer of dreams, who is unaware of the emergent situation that all other characters are facing.
Because of this, he is calm and slow, putting more pressure onto the audience’s building up tension. The black color of the room and the almost silent sound also show a calm atmosphere, almost an irony in the eyes and ears of the audience. Fischer talks to his father, and the dying man seems to mumble the same indistinct sounds that are shown earlier.This creates a parallel situation which implies that Fischer’s mind is transferred back to the moment when his father was unable to communicate to him, a more vulnerable and emotional state.
This time, the father tells Fischer something opposite, and then the scene shows how the safe is opened by the number combinations that had appeared earlier out of Fischer’s own spontaneous answers. The safe opens with an alternate will, along with the paper pinwheel that appears earlier in Fischer’s childhood photograph, gathering all Fischer’s emotional items together.It is noticeable how the film implies that the will inside the safe is one that dissolves Fischer’s corporation without showing it or telling it to the audience, but using only the plot as the clue. Fischer’s goal of being “incepted”—although he is unaware of it—is achieved, and the scene changes on. After the resolution of Cobb, Ariadne, Adam and Fischer’s individual conflicts or goals, the scenes cut using short timing and slow-motion. The slow motion heavily emphasizes the tension in the scenes, which is the resolution of the collective conflicts of the team.The shot shortly shows the dropping van with its cold, bluish colors, Ariadne dropping with the gray background behind her and Fischer with his black and white background, interweaving multiple layers by using short scenes.
The characters begin to wake up, and the close-up scene stitches all of them together. The scene finally shows the van dropped into the water, an implication that the conflict has been resolved. The music, which gradually changes from the Edith Piaf’s song to a series of deafening ‘bangs,’ brings the scenes together with the reminder that they are all separate realities.This music then becomes quiet as the van finally drops, and the slow-motion is finally stopped.
With this ends the sequence. Overall, all the aspects of Inception are clearly emphasized and depicted in this sequence with its complexity of plot and how the movie brings the conflicts together, along with the use of cinematography and sound to help this process. Also, the aspects of inception that connects the film to other works in the pasts were explored. With these techniques, Nolan was able to perform a billion-dollar inception on the audience.