In a scene within Inception, Dominic Cobb is caught stealing documents from a safe by Saito and Mal. Saito's henchmen bring in Dom's accomplice, Arthur. Mal tests whether they are in a dream by shooting Arthur's foot and causing him pain. She also deduces by the luxurious decor that they are inside Arthur's dream. (I guess Arthur likes to dream about luxury.) Dom spares Arthur the pain by shooting him in the head.

Arthur wakes up immediately, but Dom and Saito continue inside the dream. Dom only wakes up after his sleeping body is dunked into a tub of water. That occurs a minute or more after Arthur wakes up. The movie says that time passes 20 times faster in the dream than in real life, so 20 minutes would have passed between when Arthur "died" and when the house was flooded.

Why would the dream continue if Arthur is already awake?

  • 1
    It doesn't continue. It immediately starts to collapse.
    – Valorum
    Jan 4, 2017 at 7:23
  • @Valorum I know it starts to collapse, but why does it take a full 20 minutes instead of ending immediately? Or at least ending sooner? Arthur wakes up in a few seconds, so that should be a minute in dream time.
    – RichS
    Jan 4, 2017 at 7:30
  • because they're still connected by the PASIV machine.
    – Valorum
    Jan 4, 2017 at 8:06
  • 1
    To be more precise, the dream is shared between all the people connected by the PASIV machine, but it's hosted by the subconscious of Arthur.
    – tobiasvl
    Jan 4, 2017 at 11:34

2 Answers 2


I don't think it collapses immediately because all the subjects are still dreaming, and sharing said dream regardless of level, even after Arthur is extracted.


It starts to collapse immediately, it takes some seconds for Arthur to wake up which in the dream is 20 times longer so it's a number of minutes in the dream. Cobb is stuck there so they quickly wake him up by dunking him to avoid him getting stuck in limbo

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. This feels correct, but the question claims that it was "a minute or more" in the real world, so it should have been more than 20 minutes in the dream, instead of just a few minutes. Do you have an answer for that part of the question?
    – DavidW
    Aug 25, 2021 at 3:05

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