INSERT CUT: Mal lies on the sand, staring up at a cloudless sky, waves washing over her...
COBB: You can lose track of what's real.
ARIADNE: How long were you stuck?
Cobb pauses before he answers. Looks at Ariadne.
COBB: Fifty years.
Ariadne stares at him, incredulous.
ARIADNE: How did you stand it?
INSERT CUT: COBB AND MAL BUILD A SANDCASTLE ON THE BEACH...
COBB: We built. We created a whole world for ourselves...
INSERT CUT: COBB AND MAL WALK THROUGH A DESERTED CITY.
COBB: 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.
ARIADNE: But not for her?
COBB: She accepted it. At some point...
INSERT CUT: INT. MAL'S CHILDHOOD HOME - DAY
Mal opens a DOLL'S HOUSE. Inside is a SAFE. She opens it- it is empty. She pulls out her SPINNING TOP.
COBB (V.O.): ...she'd decided to forget that our world wasn't real.
Mal places the top inside the safe. LOCKS IT AWAY...
INT. OFFICE, WAREHOUSE - CONTINUOUS
ARIADNE: And when you finally woke up?
COBB: 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...
ARIADNE: What was it?
COBB: 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...
INT. COBB AND MAL'S KITCHEN - DAY (FLASHBACK)
Cobb is trying to calm Mal, who is hysterical.
COBB (V.O.): That to get home we'd have to kill ourselves.
INT. WORKSHOP - DAY
Ariadne looks at Cobb, appalled.
ARIADNE: What about your children?
Cobb has to look away.
COBB: She... she believed they weren't real. That our real children were waiting. Somewhere above...
INT. COBB AND MAL'S KITCHEN - DAY (FLASHBACK)
Mal shakes her head at Cobb as he USHERS the children out of the room, FACES UNSEEN-
COBB: Calm down, Mal-
MAL: They're projections, Dom. Your dreams. I'm their mother-don't you think I can tell the difference?
Cobb closes the door- turns to her, eyes full of bitter tears.
COBB: If it's my dream then why can't I control it? Why can't I stop this?
MAL (it's obvious): You don't know you're dreaming.
COBB: You keep telling me I am-
MAL: And you don't believe me!
COBB (V.O.): She was certain. But she loved me too much to go without me. So she made a plan...
INT. ELEGANT HOTEL CORRIDOR - NIGHT (FLASHBACK)
Cobb walks along, checking door numbers against a key.
COBB (V.O.): For our anniversary...
INT. ELEGANT HOTEL SUITE - CONTINUOUS (FLASHBACK)
Cobb enters the lavish suite. He notices the DISHEVELED BEDCLOTHES.
He steps forwards- SMASH- he has tipped over a champagne glass with his foot... dinner for two is SPREAD ACROSS THE FLOOR. He looks at the DEBRIS, confused... next to the broken glass is a SPINNING TOP. He picks it up, studying it, thinking. He feels a draught, looks to the window. The CURTAIN BILLOWS.
EXT. EXTERIOR ATRIUM - CONTINUOUS (FLASHBACK)
Cobb looks out the window: Mal sits on the ledge of the opposite window. HAIR BLOWING. Feet dangling over the dizzyingly high atrium. She smiles.
MAL: Join me.
COBB: Mal, come back inside.
MAL: No. I'm going to jump. And you're coming with me.
COBB: No, I'm not. This is real-if you jump, you're not going to wake up, you're going to die. Let's go back inside and talk about this, please.
MAL: We've talked enough.
She KICKS off a shoe and watches it DROP.
MAL: Come out onto the ledge or I'll jump right now.
She means it. Cobb swings his legs out, sitting on the ledge opposite is wife. He looks down at the drop.
MAL: I'm asking you to take a leap of faith.
COBB: I can't do that, Mal. I can't leave our children.
MAL: If I go without you, they'll take them away, anyway.
COBB: What do you mean?
MAL: I filed a letter with our attorney. Explaining how I'm fearful for my safety, how you've threatened to kill me...
Cobb looks back at the wrecked hotel suite, PANICKING...
MAL (CONT’D): I love you, Dom. I’ve freed you from the guilt of choosing to leave them. We’re going home to our real children.
COBB: Our children are here, Mal.
Mal CLOSES HER EYES. Cobb looks for some way to reach her...
MAL: You’re waiting for a train...
COBB: NO! MAL, NO, I CAN’T!
MAL: A train that will take you far away...
COBB: DON’T DO THIS!
MAL: You know where you hope this train will take you, you can’t know for sure...
MAL: But it doesn’t matter...
MAL: Because you’ll be together...
Mal SLIPS FORWARD INTO SPACE. Cobb SCREAMS after her. Then tries to bury his face in the wall...
INT. OFFICE, WAREHOUSE - DAY
Cobb stares as he remembers.
COBB: The letter to the authorities refuted all the claims about her sanity that she knew I’d make...
INT. COBB AND MAL’S KITCHEN - DAY (FLASHBACK)
Cobb stands with the Thin Man, who has a piece of paper.
COBB (V.O.): She’d had herself declared sane by three different psychiatrists.
Cobb hears a SHOUT- turns to the garden. James CROUCHES, Philippa joins him, examining the ground, FACES UNSEEN...
COBB (V.O.) (CONT’D): It was impossible for me to explain the nature of her madness...
The Thin Man thrusts the paper into Cobb’s hand.
THIN MAN: Right now. Or never, Cobb.
Cobb turns back to the window- about to call out- James and Philippa RUN OFF. Cobb turns from the window. Looks at the paper in his hand. It is an AIRPLANE TICKET.
COBB (V.O.): So I ran. And I’ve been running ever since, trying to buy my way back to my family...
INT. OFFICE, WAREHOUSE - DAY
Cobb looks across at Ariadne.
ARIADNE: Psychiatrists judged her sane?
COBB: She was sane. She was just lost in the labyrinth.
ARIADNE: Then why should you blame yourself?
COBB: Because we were a family. And we had a life I would do anything to get back to now. But that reality wasn’t enough for me then.
ARIADNE: It might have been your idea to push the limits, Cobb. But you’re not responsible for the idea that destroyed her. The idea that her world wasn’t real... that was her own idea from her own mind.
Cobb says nothing.
ARIADNE (CONT’D): Your guilt defines her. Powers her. If we’re going to succeed in this, you’re going to have to forgive yourself, and you’re going to have to confront her. But you don’t have to do it alone.
COBB: You don’t have to do this for me-
ARIADNE: I’m doing it for the others. They don’t know the risk they’ve taken coming in here with you.
Cobb looks at the rooftop opposite, sees a SNIPER take up a position. Cobb shakes his head, frustrated.
COBB: We can’t stay here. Arthur?!
INT. BATHROOM, WAREHOUSE - CONTINUOUS
Browning puts his hand on Fischer’s shoulder.
BROWNING: These people are going to kill us if we don’t give them the combination.
FISCHER: They won’t, they’ll try to ransom us-
BROWNING: I heard them-they’re going to lock us in and run the can into the river.
FISCHER: What is in the safe?
BROWNING: Something for you. Maurice always said it was his most previous gift... a will.
FISCHER: Maurice’s will is with Port and Dunn.
BROWNING: It’s an alternate. It supersedes the other only if you want it to.
FISCHER: What does it say?
BROWNING: It splits all the component businesses of Fischer Morrow into individual companies, transferring ownership to the boards of those companies...
FISCHER: Leaving me nothing?
BROWNING: A basic living. Nothing more. The entire empire would cease to exist.
FISCHER: Destroy my own inheritance? Why would he suggest such a thing?
BROWNING: I don’t know, Robert.
Cobb OPENS the door. Arthur is behind him.
COBB: Come to your senses?
FISCHER: Let us go. I don’t know the combination. Not consciously.
Cobb considers this. Opens his phone. Pulls out his gun.
COBB: Let’s try instinctively. I have someone standing in your father’s office ready to tap in a combination.
He holds the phone to Fischer’s mouth.
COBB (CONT’D): First six numbers that come into your head. Right now.
FISCHER: I have no idea-
Cobb SWINGS the gun onto Browning-
COBB: RIGHT NOW!
FISCHER: Five, two, eight... four, nine, one.
Cobb lowers his weapon. Listens to the phone. Shakes his head. Shuts the phone.
COBB: You’ll have to do better. Bag ‘em.
Arthur puts SACKS over their heads.
INT. WAREHOUSE - CONTINUOUS
Cobb and Arthur drag Fischer and Browning to the van-
FISCHER: We’re worth much more to you alive...
Arthur places Fischer on the back seat- uses a DROPPER to drop LIQUID onto Fischer’s mask- his head SLUMPS FORWARDS. “Browning” yanks the sack from his head- it is now EAMES.
EAMES (excited): His relationship with his father’s much worse that we thought.
ARTHUR: That helps us?
Arthur pulls a SNIPER RIFLE from a case by the van.
COBB: The stronger the issues, the more powerful the catharsis.
Cobb motions for Yusuf to follow his upstairs.
ARTHUR: But how do you reconcile them if they’re that estranged?
EAMES: I’m working on that.
Arthur lines up a shot through the window-
ARTHUR: Well, work fast-Fischer’s projections are closing in quick, we need to break out of here before we’re totally boxed in...
Arthur SHOOTS two snipers. Cobb and Yusuf gently load Saito into the van. He groans. Ariadne straps him in, checks his bandages. Arthur can’t get the last sniper- he’s too hidden behind a wall-
EAMES: Mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling...
Eames lines up a shot with a grenade launcher. Fires- the sniper EXPLODES into the air- Arthur looks at Eames.
EAMES (CONT’D): Shall we?
They climb into the van-
INT./EXT. VAN ON RAINY STREETS - CONTINUOUS
The van pulls out into the rain-drenched streets. Arthur opens the mechanism case and hands out tubes-
COBB: Shifting Fischer’s antipathy from his father onto Browning should work.
EAMES: We need the imagery, the words...
ARIADNE: So you destroy his one positive relationship?
COBB: No. We repair his relationship with his father and expose his godfather’s true nature.
EAMES: Hell, we should be charging Fischer as much as Saito.
ARTHUR: What about his security? It’s going to get worse as we go deeper.
COBB: We bring in Mr. Charles.
EAMES: Who’s Mr. Charles?
ARTHUR: A bad idea.
COBB: Arthur, the second we approach Fischer in that hotel, they’re gonna mow us down-we run with Mr. Charles like on the Stein job.
EAMES: So you’ve done it before?
ARTHUR: Sure. But it didn’t work. The subject realized he was dreaming and his subconscious tore us to pieces.
Eames takes this in.
EAMES: You learned a lot, though. Right?
COBB (to Eames): I’ll need a decoy.
EAMES: No problem. How about a pretty young lady I’ve used before?
Cobb looks back: a second S.U.V. pulls out, tailing them.
COBB (CONT’D) (to Yusuf): I know you’ve got to stay ahead of them, but drive with kid gloves, okay? The world down there is going to be very unstable-
ARTHUR: And don’t make the jump too soon- that kick is our only way back, we have to be ready to catch it-
YUSUF: I’ll use the music to let you know when it’s coming, but the rest is up to you.
Arthur puts the mechanism onto the front seat.
YUSUF (CONT’D): Everyone ready?
Nods all round.
YUSUF (CONT’D): Sweet dreams-
Yusuf hits a button and we-