WARNING: KINDA SPOILERISH. DO NOT READ ON IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT. ALSO, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU THAT YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT YET? WRITING IN CAPS IS FUN.
Out of all the fantastical, intriguing, and haunting sequences from this movie there is one particular moment I would like to focus on. There is a chase scene that involves Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Cobb, running from bounty hunters through the windy streets of Mombasa. It is a very exciting scene that is well choreographed and the score composed by Hans Zimmer only makes the heart beat faster. There is a moment, though, where Cobb is running between two buildings and for a few seconds when he is close to the exit he gets stuck. ThisÂ is the moment I love. Even though he is only stuck there for a couple of seconds we feel his desperation making it seem like an eternity. What makes this moment great for me is that it happens while he’s awake.
How many times have you had a dream that you were running in a hallway, or any type of closed in path, and all of a sudden the it becomes smaller and you are trapped there? No matter how much you struggle you are completely stuck while being overcome by feelings of claustrophobia and terror. Perhaps you’ve never dreamt it, but I certainly have. There are many dream archetypes that appear in the film while the characters are in the dream state, but this particular moment happens during Cobb’s waking moments. To have this moment take place during the waking hours shows how for Cobb the dream world and the waking world have crossed over. In the dream state he is haunted by his late wife, Mal, who is a manifestation of his guilt over her death. To be haunted in one’s dreams is not very uncommon, but having that shrinking path during the chase scene just shows how much the character is consumed by his curiosity of the subconscious, its exploration, and his guilt. He is not only being chased by bounty hunters. He is being chased by the consuming power of the dream.
The ending haunts us with the question, “Was it all a dream?” You could argue either way. Perhaps that scene took place during what Cobb thoughtÂ was his waking hours to make us questions the reality of it all.Â
After all, the dream is real.Â