Was it all a dream?
So fiercely contested was the final scene of Christopher Nolan’s Inception that many fans will have since decided they’ll never get a definitive answer to what happened to Leonardo DiCaprio’s spinning totem at the end of the 2010 blockbuster.
But the hunt for an answer is now back on as Nolan, speaking during a graduation ceremony at Princeton University yesterday in which he mentioned the contentious scene, may have dropped some clues.
In case you’d forgotten, DiCaprio’s Cobb wakes up from a dream and goes to meet his father-in-law and his kids. Just before doing so he decides to spin his totem on the edge of a table – he uses the token to determine if he is in a dream or not – and then decides against the outcome and runs outside. The camera pans back to the totum, still spinning. It jutters but before we know if it came to a halt Nolan cuts to black.
Here’s what Nolan had to say about the puzzler:
“He [Cobb, DiCaprio’s character] 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.
"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."
So there you have it. Or not. We can’t see it verifying many theories but it certainly gives food for thought.
Seriously, one day we’re going to find out Inception wasn’t even a real film and we were dreaming this whole damned time.
That’d be some twist.