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Ariadne's Inception Q&A

Ariadne, portrayed by Ellen Page, is practically a Q&A character in Inception, quizzing other characters frequently about the dream concepts and other topics regarding the story line. The character Ariadne asked around seventy or so questions pertinent to the film's plot. A virtual Frequently Asked Questions character within the film. Here is a highlight of Ariadne's inventory of questions . . . and answers provided by various characters. (Ariadne's questions highlighted in red)


COBB: I have to know you could do the job.
It's not, strictly speaking, legal.

COBB: While we dream, the mind performs wonders.
Such as?
You consciously create each aspects of a building, puzzling over it in stages.

COBB: In a dream your mind creates and perceives a world simultaneously. So well that you don't feel your brain doing the creating. That's why we can shortcircuit the process.
By taking over the creating part.

COBB: You build the world of the dream. We take the subject into that dream.
But are you trying to fool him that the dream is actually real life?
While we're in there, we don't want him to realize he's dreaming.
How could I ever get enough detail to convince him that it's real?
Our dreams are real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up we realize things were strange.

If it's just a dream, why are you covering your face?
COBB: Because it's never just a dream. And a face full of glass hurts like hell. While we're in it, it's real.

How did architects get involved?
Someone had to design the dreams.

We were asleep for only five minutes?
COBB: When you dream, your mind functions more quickly, so time seems to pass more slowly.

In a dream, Cobb and Ariadne at a cafe.
Who are the people?
Theyíre projections of my subconscious.
You are the dreamer, I am the subject. My subconscious populates your world. That's one way we can literally talk to his subconscious.
How else do you do it?
Architecture. Build a bank vault, something secure, and the subject's mind will fill it with information he's trying to protect.

As they walk, Ariadne notices more and more of the projections staring at her.
Why are they looking at me?
Because you're changing things. My subconscious feels that someone else is creating the world. The more you change things, the quicker the projections converge on you.
They feel the foreign nature of the dreamer, and attack - like white blood cells fighting an infection.
They're going to attack us?
No, just you.

COBB: Never recreate places from your memory. Always imagine new places.
Why not?
Because building dreams out of your own memories is the surest way to lose your grip on what's real and what's a dream.

Why couldnít I wake?
ARTHUR: The only way to wake from inside the dream is to die.
COBB: She'll need a totem.
ARTHUR: Some kind of personal icon. A small object that you can always have with you, and that no one else knows.

ARTHUR: Sounds like you've met Mrs. Cobb.
She's his wife?
Yes. So. A totem. You need something small, potentially heavy...
Like a coin?
Too common. You need something that has a weight or movement that only you know.
Whatís yours?
A loaded die. (Ariadne reaches for it) I canít let you handle it. Thatís the point. No one else can know the weight or balance of it.
So when you examine your totem, you know beyond a doubt that youíre not in someone elseís dream.

ARTHUR: You're going to have to master a few tricks if you're going to build three complete dream levels.
What sort of tricks?
In a dream, you can cheat architecture into impossible shapes. That lets you create closed loops, like the Penrose Steps. A closed loop helps you disguise the boundaries.
How big do the levels have to be?
Anything from the floor of a building, to an entire city. But it has to be complicated enough for us to hide from the projections.

Cobb can't build anymore, can he?
ARTHUR: I don't know if he can't, but he won't. He thinks it's safer if he doesn't know the layouts.
He won't tell me. I think it's Mal.
His ex-wife?
She's not his ex.
They're still together?
No, she's dead. What you see in there is just a projection.
What was she like in real life?
She was lovely.

Adriane shows Cobb a model she's building, starts explaining the details.
COBB: No, don't show me specifics, only the dreamer should know the layout.
Why is that so important?
In case one of us brings in one of our projections. We don't want them knowing the details of the maze.

You can't build yourself because if you know the maze, then she knows it. You can't keep Mal out, can you? Do the others know?
COBB: No. . . I need to get home, that's all I care about right now.
Why can't you go home?
They think I killed her.
Thank you.
For what?
For not asking whether I did.

YUSUF: Brain function in the dream will be about twenty times normal. Buying us more time in each level.
How much time?
COBB: It's basically a week, one layer down, six months two layers down.
And ten years in the third level. Who wants to spend ten years in a dream?
YUSUF: Depends on the dream.

ARTHUR: How do we get out once we've made the plant?
COBB: A kick.
What's a kick?
Eames slips his foot under Arthur's chair leg. Tips it - Arthur's legs shoot up instinctively for balance.
COBB: That feeling of falling which snaps you awake. We use that to jolt ourselves awake once we're done.

Mal sits on the sand. Beside her, the two children are crouched, building a sandcastle.
Why do you do this to yourself?
COBB: It's the only way I can still dream.
Why is it so important to dream?
In my dreams, we're still together.
These are not just dreams. These are memories, and you said never to use memories. You're keeping her alive. You can't let her go, can you?
No. These are moments I regret.

COBB: Why were we all ambushed, Arthur?! Those weren't regular projections, they'd been trained!
How could they be trained?
ARTHUR: Fischer had an extractor teach his mind to defend itself. His subconscious is militarized. It should've shown on the research.

YUSUF: We're too heavily sedated to wake up that way.
EAMES: So what happens if one of us dies?
COBB: That person doesn't wake up. Their mind drops into Limbo.
ARTHUR: Unconstructed dream space.
What's down there?
Raw, infinite subconscious. Nothing there but what was left behind by anyone on the team who's been trapped there before. On this team... just Cobb.
How long would we be stuck there?
YUSUF: You couldn't even think about trying to escape until the sedation eases.

Cobb takes Saito's hand. Looks him in the eye.
COBB: When we get you down to the next level, the pain will be less intense. Saito nods, breathing hard.
And if he dies?
His conscious mind will drop out of the dream. He'll be trapped in Limbo for a lifetime...
What will that do to him?
When he wakes... his mind could be completely gone.

COBB: You can lose track of what's real.
How long were you stuck?
Fifty years.
How did you stand it?
We built. We created a whole world for ourselves. It's not so bad at first, being gods. The problem is knowing that it's not real. It became impossible for me to live like that.
But not for her?
She accepted it. At some point, she'd decided to forget that our world wasn't real.
And when you finally woke up?
To wake from that. From decades lived. To be old souls thrown back into youth. It was hard. At first Mal seemed okay. But I started to realize something was wrong. Finally she admitted it. This idea she was possessed by. This simple little idea that changed everything.
What was it?
That our world was not real. No matter what I did, no matter what I said, she was convinced that we were still in a dream. That we needed to wake up again. That to get home we'd have to kill ourselves.
What about your children?
She believed they weren't real. That our real children were waiting. Somewhere above.

Psychiatrists judged her sane?
COBB: She was sane. She was just lost in the labyrinth.
Then why should you blame yourself?
Because we were a family. And we had a life I would do anything to get back to now. But that reality wasnít enough for me then.

COBB: Shifting Fischerís antipathy from his father onto Browning should work.
EAMES: We need the imagery, the words.
So you destroy his one positive relationship?
COBB: No. We repair his relationship with his father and expose his godfatherís true nature.

Who or what, exactly, is Mr. Charles?
ARTHUR: Itís a gambit designed to turn Fischer against his own subconscious.
And why donít you approve?
Because it involves telling the mark that heís dreaming. Which involves attracting a lot of attention to us.
Didnít Cobb say never to do that?
You mustíve noticed by now how much time Cobb spends doing things he says never to do.

Arthur attaching explosives to the ceiling.
Do you use a timer?
ARTHUR: No, I have to judge it myself.
How will you know?
His music warns me itís coming. Too soon, and we wonít get pulled out; too late and I wonít be able to drop us.
The van will be in free fall. I canít drop us with no gravity.

Ariadne and Cobb observing a fortified facility.
Whatís down there?
COBB: Hopefully, the truth we want Fischer to learn.

Cobb picks off guards with his rifle. Ariadne is appalled.
These projections, theyíre part of his subconscious?
Are you destroying those parts of his mind?
No, of course not. Theyíre just projections.

Malís down there. Can I trust you to do whatís needed?
COBB: I can find her. Sheíll have Fischer.
How do you know?
She wants me to come after him. She wants me back down there with her.

This is your world?
COBB: It was. And this is where she'll be.
It's incredible. You built all this?
Both Mal and I did. We built for years. Then, when that got stale, we started in on the memories. That was our first apartment...then we moved to that building.
You reconstructed them all from memory?
We had time.

How do we send Fischer back?
COBB: We need some kind of kick.
I'll improvise.

COBB: I performed inception on my own wife, then reaped the bitter rewards...
We'd become lost in here. I realized we needed to escape.


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Ariadne's Inception Q&A

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