When you have countless forums, articles, blog-posts, think-pieces being written about a spinning (or falling) top, it is enough of evidence of the popularity and influence of ‘Inception’ in pop-culture. And I have no doubt in my mind that it will remain a fodder for discussion and arguments for years to come. But even the most perfect of movies are not devoid of plot holes. Considering how complicated ‘Inception’ is, you won’t be surprised by the following plot holes.
1. On the third dream level, before the kick, Cobb says they have an hour, and Arthur has three minutes. After they miss the kick, Cobb says they have 20 minutes. This would mean, by simple math, Arthur has 1 minute. That would mean Arthur would have to descend a floor, enter the room with the charges, retrieve the charges, have the fight with the projection, ascend a floor, bundle up the crew, get them to the elevator, get them in the elevator, set the charges, get back in the elevator, and blow it, only in 1 minute.
2. When preparing for the job, Arthur proves he doesn’t know how is it possible to penetrate three layers, but he previously advised Ariadne about building three dream levels, and it is revealed when the team is arguing in the garage that he knew about Cobb and Mal doing it in the past, so it is wrong that he shows any surprise.
3. Only by assuming the fact that Saito woke up a time after Cobb disengaged him from the machine when they were trying to extract him means the dream can last more than the shared dream we can say Cobb and Saito keep sleeping once they’ve escaped Limbo until they naturally wake up (the only way the movie still has to make sense in this point), which yet brings the next question: if that is the case, why would anybody be afraid of being dropped into Limbo if escaping was so simple as shooting yourself? Here is a possible answer: maybe one doesn’t know he is in Limbo if he accidentally falls there, except Cobb, who naturally entered once, but this is contradicted in the movie.
4. Early in the movie everyone who knows Dom acts like he’s wanted for some heinous offense back in the US. (Miles says “I’d have thought after what you did they’d find a way to get you”). Later we find out that Dom is wanted for the murder of his wife. A simple “crime of passion” homicide is hardly a significant criminal issue – it’s not even a federal crime. His passport could be flagged with the warrant, but it’s not exactly the big huge “after what you did” Most Wanted problem they suggest.
5. Cobb tells Fischer they are trying to steal something from his mind, but Fischer behaves after that as if the plot was simply about breaking the safe. What were the kidnappers supposed to pretend to extract him according to Cobb if it was all about the safe? You could say those are simply lies told by Cobb to mislead Fischer, and that’s right, but… why does Fischer behavior contradict what they are telling him? Since that behavior is apparently necessary for the story to go on, we can only say that we are dealing with yet another plot hole.
6. If one can’t even think about trying to escape from Limbo before the sedation eases (just as Yusuf says), then Cobb can’t pretend to do it, because the fact that he is supposed to have fallen there again because of having died drown after 1 minute under the water in the first level indicates 2 minutes in this level equal the 40 years Saito has grown old in Limbo (for in the movie it seems Cobb has spent half the time he did in it), so in “real life” the sedation couldn’t have eased when Cobb and Saito kill themselves.
7. The team needing at least ten hours in “reality” contradicts what Eames says in the first level (“I was supposed to have all night to crack this”), because “all night” in the first level is less than an hour in the plane.
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