Nolan finally explains Inception's ending with the spinning top

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 05, 2015 18:42 IST

It's like scraping the bottom of the barrel and still reaching nowhere. Chances are that you've been at it for years now: Trying to decipher the 'message' behind the last frame of director Christopher Nolan's film Inception, that frustrating frame where we have a spinning totem on a table while Cobb (Leonardo Di Caprio) goes to meet his family in the background. Ambiguous, to say the least.

There was a glimmer of hope recently when Nolan tried to explain it during a lecture on "reality and dreams" to the graduating class at Princeton University in New Jersey. Just that this time too it turned out to be too nuanced, and ambigous, to say the least.

Here's what he said.

"In the great tradition of these speeches, generally someone says something along the lines of 'Chase your dreams,' but I don’t want to tell you that because I don’t believe that. I want you to chase your reality.

"I feel that over time, we started to view reality as the poor cousin to our dreams, in a sense….I want to make the case to you that our dreams, our virtual realities, these abstractions that we enjoy and surround ourselves with - they are subsets of reality."

"The way the end of that film worked, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Cobb — he was off with his kids, he was in his own subjective reality. He didn’t really care anymore, and that makes a statement: perhaps, all levels of reality are valid. The camera moves over the spinning top just before it appears to be wobbling, it was cut to black.

"I skip out of the back of the theater before people catch me, and there’s a very, very strong reaction from the audience: usually a bit of a groan. The point is, objectively, it matters to the audience in absolute terms: even though when I’m watching, it’s fiction, a sort of virtual reality. But the question of whether that’s a dream or whether it’s real is the question I’ve been asked most about any of the films I’ve made. It matters to people because that’s the point about reality. Reality matters," The Hollywood Reporter quoted him as saying."

What did you expect? A 'yes' or 'no' answer? If you were, we'd say you are dealing with the wrong man here.

also read

Watch the creepy, surreal, chilling, beautiful trailer for A Cure for Wellness
Show comments