Christopher Nolan talks 'Inception's' ending
December 2nd, 2010
09:56 AM ET

Christopher Nolan talks 'Inception's' ending

"Inception" audiences' heads are still spinning over the movie's rotating top – and that was exactly the goal of filmmaker Christopher Nolan.

[Editor's Note: There's a spoiler after the jump. If you haven't seen "Inception" and would rather not know what happens at the end, stop reading now.]

SPOILER ALERT: At the end of the mind-bending movie, the camera cuts away from Dominic Cobb's (Leonardo DiCaprio) spinning top as he is reunited with his kids, leaving viewers to wonder whether the top continued to turn endlessly, meaning the scenario was all a dream, or falls over, signifying that it was reality. Nolan tells Entertainment Weekly he refuses to set the record straight.

“I’ve been asked the question more times than I’ve ever been asked any other question about any other film I’ve made,” he says. “What’s funny to me is that people really do expect me to answer it.”

Nolan adds that he tries to leave his movies open to interpretation. “There can’t be anything in the film that tells you one way or another because then the ambiguity at the end of the film would just be a mistake,” he says. “It would represent a failure of the film to communicate something. But it’s not a mistake. I put that cut there at the end, imposing an ambiguity from outside the film. That always felt the right ending to me."

The real point of the scene, he explains, is that Cobb is looking at his kids and not the top. "He’s left it behind," says Nolan. "That’s the emotional significance of the thing.”

Nolan won't confirm whether there'll be an "Inception" sequel, but he does reveal that a video game is in the works. In the meantime, he's also keeping busy with the third Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises," which he calls "the last chapter of our Batman saga."

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soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. 14 year old....send this next 1 review in

    good.

    March 26, 2013 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. Kong

    I think Cobb is the one being planted by an idea, "Do you want to take a leap of faith or become an old man filled with regrets" , they want Cobb to forget about Mal and become an old man filled with regrets haha. just imagination hahahaha

    March 26, 2013 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. Griffin42

    The ending is indeed true..You can tell by his wedding ring. When he is in the dream world he is wearing his wedding ring because he still thinks he is married to Mal..When he isn't wearing it is because he is in reality and has accepted that Mal is dead. I just re watched the movie and this theory holds constant througout, and in the final scene there is a clear shot of his wedding finger with NO wedding ring. If you dont believe me go check it out for yourselves :)

    July 30, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Fawneg Ravettoo

    Absolutely indited articles , regards for information .

    July 6, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. Pelle

    Far to much information for me to read through – but I honestly don't think there's a question about whether he's dreaming or not at the end. If he's dreaming, he gets to come back to his kids – if he's not dreaming, he gets to come back to his kids.
    I think the whole thing is about what's good for Cobb, whether it's dreaming or not he frees himself from the guilt he has been bearing.
    He is so glad to see his kids that he doesn't care whether he's dreaming or not

    June 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. uvaise

    It is just a movie,written by human.So its only a imagination of a human author.So don't think deeper.

    October 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • anomynous

      We know its not real but we think deeper because the author wants you to think deeper and because we want to think deeper.

      April 27, 2012 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. Wailode

    You all dreaming about how it is. Because it's just movie. And even our reality is dream. How u know what is dream and how not ?

    Tottem = someone you like.

    October 15, 2011 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. Katrina

    It is my opinion for many reasons the entire movie was not a dream and neither was he dreaming at the end for many reasons. And I think the ending was done well.

    September 5, 2011 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. Reality

    The dream awake reality question posed at the end is a rhetorical one (please look up rhetorical question if you don't know what it is), to make you think and bring your own interpretation to the film. I think people are missing the point of this artistic film. Good art should get people to contemplate their own reality and how the personal meaning ascribed to the film affects ones own life. What I took from the film was the self reflective question of "Am I living my own dreams? Or am I held captive in my life by my fears and nightmares? I think these are the questions we are meant to contemplate. After all, as with Mal and Cobb REALITY is what YOU believe it to be, even if others think you are crazy. All the nit picking detail and forensic analysis of who was wearing what?, Who's totem is whose and what? etc..is all a waste of time and brain cells. It is missing the whole point. So please everyone take a look at yourself, for your interpretation of the film gives us all insight into your subconscious mind and a glimpse into how you view reality.

    June 19, 2011 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Wayne Martin

    Christopher Nolan fans This is Sick ... it's a bunch of the best Nolan's movies mashed up : http://bit.ly/fn3D0J
    btw... the ending was real lol

    March 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Coco

    I believe the whole thing is a dream...
    . Nolan's dream and  the inception is on us the viewer! The story of a man whose wife  is killed or has 
    killed  herself ...? Cobb is the husband who witness the death of  his wife and believes he is the reason she died. Or is he the killer!    Him not wanting to see the face of his children shows his guilt and remorse or sadness? Not being able to save his wife...?  The other characters are persons in his life.  

    His doctor – Yusuf
    His psychatrist- Eames 
    His business partner- Arthur 
    The procecutor – Saito
    His lawyer – ariadne
    Witness – fisher
    Projections: the jury/the media
    Limbo- his unclear memory of what actually happened the day she died!

    We see  his children in his dream to be the same age and at the end they are older Which explains his time away from them during the trial.

    Building collapsing are his life falling apart, being distraught. 

    The isolated hospital in the snow, a jail!

    His only escape, suicide! Mal trying to kill him ... He should have died not her.
    Each person in his life become a character in a dream he created to redeem himself.  He is creating dreams within other dreams, trying to find the truth within the truth, trying to escape the inevitable..the real truth that can free him of all charges or finds him guilty. The end shows him going home (he is still dreaming) innocent! That is a dream that we all have! Redemption!   The top spinning at the end...the uncertainty of the final decision.  Is he or is he not guilty of his wife murder?  The genius of Nolan is the story he brought to us and what you make of it!I believe the whole thing is a drean... Nolan's dream and  the inception is on us the viewer! The story of a man whose wife  is killed or has 
    killed  herself ...? Cobb is the husband who witness the death of  his wife and believes he is the reason she died. Or is he the killer!    Him not wanting to see the face of his children shows his guilt and remorse or sadness? Not being able to save his wife...?  The other characters are persons in his life.  

    His doctor – Yusuf
    His psychatrist- Eames 
    His business partner- Arthur 
    The procecutor – Saito
    His lawyer – ariadne
    Witness – fisher
    Projections: the jury/the media
    Limbo- his unclear memory of what actually happened the day she died!

    We see  his children in his dream to be the same age and at the end they are older Which explains his time away from them during the trial.

    Building collapsing are his life falling apart, being distraught. 

    The isolated hospital in the snow, a jail!

    His only escape, suicide! Mal trying to kill him. 
    Each person in his life become a character in a dream he created to redeem himself.  He is creating dreams within other dreams, trying to find the truth within the truth, trying to escape the inevitable..the real truth that can free him of all charges. The end shows him going home (he is still dreaming) innocent! That is a dream that we all have! Redemption!   The top spinning at the end...the uncertainty of the final decision.  Is he or is he not guilty of his wife murder?  The genius of Nolan is the story he brought to us and what you make of it!

    January 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jack Straw

    Some are contending that Cobb is content with still being in the dream state at the end so he can be reunited with his children. If that is true, then why get rid of the wife he loves dearly? Why not stay with his wife and kids together and stay in the dream state as opposed to just staying with his children?

    January 1, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elliot Rodgers

      Staying with his wife implies not letting her go, thus his guilt and grief about his wife stays with him. If you remember, he literally refused to look at his kids in the climatic scene with Mal. Mal says 'look our kids are right there' and as they turn to see him, he turns away and closes his eyes. In finally letting go of Mal forever, he allows himself to reconcile with his kids...whether in reality or in the dream.

      January 2, 2011 at 5:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Weston

    Even if the top is his totem and mal saito have held it and know the weight and mal could influence his dream you cant make the top stay spinning in reality. Its definite always. Either spinning forever or not. Dream or reality.

    January 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rich

    The 'Inception' is being done on Cobb. The movie is a rescue mission. Cobb is trapped in the dream he created with Mal. In the end, he is still dreaming, "The dream is his reality", but he is no longer tormented. The film starts with Cobb on the beach and his children are playing... the same beach they arrive on later in the movie. This is the first dream level and the rest pull him further away from that hell, until he can find peace.

    December 22, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. random poster

    The thing is not whether to know if the top fell or stayed, whether he was in a dream or reality. The point was, as this article says, that he looked away from the top to see his children, that he no longer cared whether it was a dream or reality. He just wanted to see his children's faces again. Besides, if they made an ending, I'm sure more people would hate this movie than that say they "hate" it right now. It was deliberate! How about we don't argue over the right answer anymore and instead just enjoy a good movie?!

    December 20, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Tara

    nonono i figured it all out and evry explanation is RONG. its FOR SURE A DREAM because pple, think bak wen leo/cobb was on the fone with his kids!!!!!!!! he talked to the boy and girl and none of them sounded like kids- the boy actually sounded 12, and at the end the boy is a litlle kid a baby voice it is 4 SURE A DREAMAND I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO FIGURED IT OUT HOW HORRIBLE BUT IT IS STILL THE BESTMOVIE EVER with a AWSUM ending even if its confusing unless uve watched the movie 53times AND COUNTING

    December 14, 2010 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  17. Damien

    One theory is that if you think he is still dreaming you are a pessimist. If you think he's okay and back with his kids you are an optimist. At least that is how it shook out amongst my friends.

    December 10, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Sammy2010

    I watched the movie twice and I believe it was NOT a dream at the end. Cobb's totem was never the top ... it was his kids. In the movie, it says that each person has their own totem. The top was Mal's totem, which is why Cobb was able to spin the top to show Mal that they were living in a dream. He never depended on the top, it was always his children that he used as his totem. I believe he kept and spun the top to remind him of Mal and keep him focused on getting back to his children because he felt guilty for her death (leaving his children without a mother).
    When he sees his children at the end, he leaves the top spinning on the table, because he knows the top is not what is telling him whether or not he is dreaming – it's seeing his children's faces. Whether is stops spinning or not doesn't matter to him.
    You can also see the children have aged a little if you compare the scenes from the beginning to the final scene. The girl is older and wearing a different dress (although the same color) and the boy's hair is longer.

    December 8, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toby

      Sammy2010 is right. The top is not Cobb's totem. Kids are older than earlier, and the clothes are indeed different (although just slightly). The story at the end is to show that Cobb FINALLY has achieved the ability to return to the U.S. When he awakes on the plane Cobb's facial expressions clearly show that 1) he is just understanding that they were successful with the inception task, and 2) then clearly gives a slight growl towards Saito as if to say "I just worked my butt off living up to my end of the bargain to implement the inception and now you better deliver with the phone call." Plus as he's going through immigration he clearly is a little nervous about whether or not Saito's phone call was successful and he gets to return to his children.
      I agree that Cobb's kids were the totem, but that also begs the question as to why did Cobb even bother spinning the top when he returned home and not simply rush around looking for his children/totem?

      December 20, 2010 at 4:41 am | Report abuse |
    • dawd

      what about when he could have seen their faces in limbo? does that mean that limbo is "real"?
      MAL
      (whispers)
      And you'd like to see their faces
      again, wouldn't you, Dom?
      COBB
      Our real children are waiting for
      me up above.
      MAL
      (laughs)
      Up above? Listen to yourself. You
      judged me for believing the very
      same thing.
      Mal points at the children-
      MAL
      These are our children. Watch.
      (turns to the kids)
      Hey, James! Philippa?!
      The children START TO TURN to us- BUT COBB CLOSES HIS EYES.

      April 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      Yup, you nailed it dead on. I just watched it on DVD and double-checked the scenes with the kids. The kids are slightly older in the last scene, yet they are exactly the same in every other scene in the move. The kids were his totem.

      February 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Corey

    I tried to post this earlier, but my browser went kinda beserk on me, so apologies if my former post ends up here as well. Anyway, I liked the movie, but that's not the point here. The totem issue is rather simple, the point was that no one else could no the exact details such and weight and feel to manage to trick you into believing a dream was reality. That's why it wasn't shared with others. As it was his wife's totem, a character now dead (or awake, depending on what you believe) and who's already shown a marked interest in making sure he wakes up, it doesn't matter that said totem wasn't originally his. Unless of course, I completely missed something, which is quite possible. Also, apologies for my bad habits of comma splicing and run on sentences.

    December 8, 2010 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
  20. Corey

    I liked the movie, but a quick bit, that I didn't see resolved within your debate, though I could be wrong: The top being someone else's totem is non-issue, the idea was that only YOU would know the true weight, feel, etc, so no one else could trick you into believing you were dreaming, correct? Well, as far as the movie tells us, only he and his wife knew said details of the totem, considering his wife is dead (or awake depending on what you believe), unless his wife had some purpose for keeping him in a dream-state, there's no one who could have faked said totem. Mind you, I could have completely missed something.

    December 8, 2010 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  21. deb d

    As I sit watching, one of the most completely disjointed movies I have seen in quite some time. Two hours in, still trying to ascertain some comman thread. sorry, very overated

    December 7, 2010 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Om

    Maybe the top wasn't his totem but his kids were his totem. Only he would know the faces of his kids, which he gets to see at the end. He claims that he never sees the faces of his kids when he's dreaming.

    December 4, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  23. LilWalker

    Uhhh people??? Before the ending, we saw Cobb spin the totem when he was in a dream... It rotated WITHOUT any wobble as long as it was spinning... a perfect spin when he was in the dream state.... When he gave it for a spin at the end it wobbled slightly, meaning that it was going to eventually fall, hence, he was in reality!

    If he was in a dream, it would not have wobbled even slightly!

    True, he didn't care at the end showing his emotions overtook him and he didn't care anymore if it was real or a dream... but it was REAL! No brainer, Case closed!!!

    December 3, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wobbling Top

      Slight wobble of the top indicates that something just happens to the upper level dream. This movie is about dream in a dream. It starts this way and ends this way.

      February 1, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  24. roughie

    So, maybe the following Inception ending interpretation is quite probable then http://www.reviewmaze.com/2010/12/inception-ending-interpretation.html

    December 3, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  25. christina

    Does it matter? it was a movie. Dom isn't in some fairy tale land, he stopped existing after Leo took off the costume and makeup.

    December 2, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  26. aurickle

    Those who say that it was a dream are right. Those who say it's reality are also right. As things stand, the movie is much like Schrodinger's box. It is closed. Without more information being given, it is impossible to know the state of what is inside that box beyond the point where the movie ended. The director himself refuses to open it by giving us more information. Therefore, both interpretations are equally accurate.

    It's pointless to argue one way or the other because it's truly an unanswerable question.

    December 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  27. tall guy

    Wasn't that his wife trinket? I thought it had to be something you made or was special to you.

    December 2, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Sproutlet

    The whole movie was Jeff from the Wiggles dream. The kick was a plate waffles. Mmmmm, beauty mate.

    December 2, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  29. oneStarman

    ITS ABOUT TIME: Each level of Dream is time compressed – form the 'TOP' which is the 'Reality' which we share – waking – to the deepest level where Leo is re-united with his Family – who have died in the Top world (which is why Phone calls from them are so painful) – this deepest level of infinite Time compression is – ETERNITY

    December 2, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Pasha

    btw, in Boardwalk Empire, they should create a flashback scene to FBI Agent Nelson Van Alden's youth have Leonardo di Caprio play that character :-)

    December 2, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Katie K

    stupid movie any way you look at it. complete waste of time and money. and don't get me started on the defibrillator scene...

    December 2, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Pasha

    My theory is that Inception is the sequel to Shutter Island. At the end of Shutter Island, U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo) walks off into the distance with the other characters to receive his lobotomy. So Inception is Leo's experience in the lobotomy state. That's why the top remains spinning.
    There are similar themes of both movies:
    -Both star Leonardo di Caprio
    -Leonardo plays and agent of some sort
    -The search for truth, reality vs mind concoctions
    -The struggle for vindication, Leo killed or is blamed for killing his wife
    -He has kids in both movies surrounding which there are issues. Whether dead or exiled, the kids are unreachable

    December 2, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Xzibit

    Yo dawg, I heard you liked dreams, so I put a dream in your dream in your dream!

    December 2, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Tee

    "It was all a dream, ..." Biggie Small

    December 2, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Lisa

    I had to pee halfway through the movie and was totally lost the rest of it...

    December 2, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Shannon Nutt

    I'm still trying to figure out if Arnold was dreaming in TOTAL RECALL!

    December 2, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Quaid

      No No, those were memory implants not dreams. So "get your A5% to Mars" cause "I've got five kids to feed" "get ready for a suprise!" "for the memories of a lifetime Recall Recall Recall" I have Total Recall of "Total Recall".

      June 19, 2011 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
  37. skyman

    Look. I think a lot of people are either reading too much into the movie or not enough. The film was well-made, it had a lot of drama and suspense. But when you break it down objectively, it made little sense and the plot had more holes than a slice of swiss cheese. Nolan, while I like his other work and have enjoyed his films since Following, did not devise this movie to be a great mystery with subtle clues that a diligent viewer can catch and use to unravel the great mystery of the movie – was Dom dreaming or not. Actually, I thought any semi intelligent person with basic analytical abilities and half a brain would be insulted by the pseudointellectual and pretentious twists and expositions the movie had. I enjoyed the movie when I watched it, flaws and all, but started resenting it as soon as it started being called a "masterpiece", "movie of the year", etc.

    In short, the movie was not clever, it wanted to be and pretended to be, but it was not. Ecks vs Sever had a more coherent plot. Acting was great, and visual direction as well, I have to give credit where credit is due. But plot, omg, it was a dream, within a dream, inside a taco, inside a pile of crap.

    December 2, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  38. follower

    Anyone who enjoyed the film should check out Nolan's first piece, "The Following". Extremely low budget, black and white, 70 minutes, but the most incredible storyline. May not be suitable for Textbook, Hollywood movie fans.

    December 2, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  39. connor

    i love that even after he said that the ending is open to interpretation there are still trolls telling us that their interpretation is right. I wonder who I should believe...

    December 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Cept

    Facts.....the kids at the end of the film are older and wearing different clothes. They're not even the same child actors. Cobb is also NOT wearing his ring at the end of the film so if you buy into the "ring theory" then he's definitely awake.
    .
    Michael Caine said that Cobb was definitely not dreaming if that means anything to you.

    December 2, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  41. andy

    Nolan won't do a sequal, he's too smart to do that..the man is a genius when it comes to film making.

    December 2, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  42. CyborgMantis

    The ending leaves it open for a sequel. In the sequel, the opening scene can be a shot on Cobb and his family ( the end scene )... the camera slowly pans and zooms over to the table... where the top continues to spin. And the journey continues....

    December 2, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  43. J

    its not that I didn't understand the film, I did, but I still did not like it, special effects were cool, but alot of it was just boring

    December 2, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Liesmith

    Ambiguous endings aren't a sudden fad...google "Lady or the Tiger". This has been around forever.

    December 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  45. ViSmith

    The ending was perfect. Like these kinds of movies, the end has to leave more questions than it answers. otherwise you stop thinking about it.

    December 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Fecalstien

    Light week science fiction for the liberal to digest. Easy to understand like star trek. Fodder for the masses.

    December 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Me

    Why hasn't anyone pointed out that in a dream he can't see his childrens' faces? He saw their faces at the end of the movie. He wasn't in a dream. Case closed.

    December 2, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Osama

      he never tries to see them, thats why...only in the end does he walk towards them...

      September 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  48. imtfox

    I think the point you're all missing is it doesn't matter, it wasn't HIS totem. It was his "dead" wife's totem.

    December 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Lizzie

    Budget cuts prevented them from filming the last 4 seconds of the movie.

    December 2, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  50. jayman419

    Nolan says he won't explain the ending, then explains exactly he intended it to mean.

    Is it a dream or not? Who cares, as long as I have what I want.

    December 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Demara

    IT WOBBLED. In a dream, it would keep spinning and not even wobble. The fact that it wobbled, signifying that it was close to tipping over, means he wasn't dreaming. Case closed.

    December 2, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • portalpunk

      the wobble was just me stirring a little in my dream of this post.

      December 2, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Bobby

    Che, seems to me all that is needed to know is within this article. The movie is not that deep as everyone is making it out to be.

    December 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Che

    The fact that such debate exists is testament to the genius of this movie. Sure the actors were great and the special effects mindblowing, but what makes this a true masterpiece is the very thing that has been lacking in Hollywood for quite some time – creative, captivating, thought-provoking storytelling. Much like his earlier work of art, Memento, Nolan provides us a completely original story with thought provoking ideas and an ending that haunts us for weeks. Hands down best movie of the year. Please don't destroy this treasure by making a sequel.

    December 2, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Greg

    The spinning top never really tells us anything because it was really his wife's object. In the film they say that you shouldn't let anyone else touch it because if you are stuck in a dream and that person knows how your object works, then they can basically make you feel like you are in reality when you are not.

    December 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Andy

    Cobb is not wearing his ring at the end of the movie, thus showing us that he has made it back to the real world.
    Also, his children are wearing slightly different clothes.
    The fact that they are seemingly the same age doesn't matter, as we were never told how long Cobb has been away for.

    December 2, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  56. J

    I haven't even seen the movie, but in the article Nolan tells that whether Cobb is dreaming or not is insignificant. At that point he wasn't looking at the spinning top so even if he was dreaming, to him, that would be his reality. He had his wife and kids and that's all that mattered.

    This debate about whether it was a dream or not shouldn't even be one.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Che

      It goes without saying, J, but you really shouldn't opine on something you haven't seen. It makes you sound as ignorant to the subject as you actually are. Do yourself a favor, go and watch the movie.

      December 2, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality

      Funny your post seems to have the most insight even if you are just restating what Nolan did, sometimes a blind man "sees" things clearer than a man with 20:20 vision. You are not corrupted by all the details of the film. Some people can't see the forest for the trees.

      The dream awake reality question posed at the end is a rhetorical one (please look up rhetorical question if you don't know what it is), to make you think and bring your own interpretation to the film. I think people are missing the point of this artistic film. Good art should get people to contemplate their own reality and how the personal meaning ascribed to the film affects ones own life. What I took from the film was the self reflective question of "Am I living my own dreams? Or am I held captive in my life by my fears and nightmares? I think these are the questions we are meant to contemplate. After all, as with Mal and Cobb REALITY is what YOU believe it to be, even if others think you are crazy. All the nit picking detail and forensic analysis of who was wearing what?, Who's totem is whose and what? etc..is all a waste of time and brain cells. It is missing the whole point. So please everyone take a look at yourself, for your interpretation of the film gives us all insight into your subconscious mind and a glimpse into how you view reality.

      June 19, 2011 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
  57. DELILAH

    I saw this movie twice in theater. best movie this year. it was for sure left to be intrepreted how you wanted it. i say he was awake, the top was slowing down and looked like it was gonna topple over. My family says it was still spinning and he was dreaming. It all depends on how u want it to end. regardless this movie was amazing. No sequel needed

    December 2, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  58. CJ

    This movie blows monkey scrot...just terrible. Is rather watch oprah scissor Ellen for an hour then sit through this pos again.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Captain Slapaho

      Actually, I could not agree more. I actually fell asleep. I think this appeals to the same pseudointellectuals who slobbered over "The Matrix" years ago.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  59. John

    The entirety of the movie, up to the time when Dominic Cobb wakes up on the plane, is a dream Cobb had while on a long flight.

    His subconscious populated his dream with people he'd seen around him on the plane.

    Guilt over his wife's suicide was an underlying theme of the dream as a whole, and the rest of his dream is composed the standard male violence and conflict fantasy.

    The looks everyone gave each other as they were getting off the plane, getting to the luggage carousel, etc, are the looks of pseudo-recognition you give people with whom you have a shared experience, like a long airline flight, but no more significant or permanent connection.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • PugetUte

      I don't know if this is the "correct" answer, but I definitely like the theory!

      December 2, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • InSeattle

      Totally agree. This is the feeling I got when seeing everyone get off the plane. If any of it were real, there should have been some kind of acknowledgement between the main characters as they leave the plane, pick up their luggage, etc., but there was nothing.

      December 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stand Pudding

      This theory omits the fact that Leo is carrying around a top. If it's all a dream, why does he have a top in his pocket?

      December 2, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      My thoughts were that they had to just nod at each other so that they guy that had the Inception done to him wouldn't recognize them. He did recognize Cobb as though he remembered him from a dream, but the others were nodding at each other with a recognition of what they had just pulled off.

      December 18, 2010 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • curious

      Great Theory. I was thinking the same but if this theory is valid, can you explain about saito waking up on the plane with the phone in his hand and looking directly at leo with a mazed look? can't seem to find an explanation for that one. thanks.

      December 29, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Limp

    I don't think it was cut off soon enough at the end. The top moved into the kind of spin just before it falls.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Cept

    Nolan and the costume designer both confirmed that it's NOT the same kids at the end and that their characters HAVE aged. If you read the cast list there's two sets of kids (one for most of the film, and the other set for the last scene). They're also wearing different clothes.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  62. scott820

    If you didn't like this movie, it's George Bush's fault..

    December 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJ

      He is to be blamed for that tragedy know as GI-Joe as well, and any Jolie movie ever made or in current production. Oh, my male pattern baldness is his fault as well.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • jkl

      Many years ago, George Bush stole my lunch money in 3rd grade and so, a career began...

      December 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Dj

    the kids are the same age... they are wearing the same clothes as in the dream. and as someone previously pointed out the wedding ring was on. amazing movie. loved the ending. it was a dream.

    December 2, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  64. c byer

    The last chapter of "our" of the Batman saga! WHAT? we just got started!. thats the real mystery in this story

    December 2, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  65. Jason

    It was wobbling at the end. It was real. :)

    December 2, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  66. Hmmm

    Don't forget guys the top was his wifes not his. Doesn't matter whether it falls or not. Watch the movie gain and keep an eye on his wedding ring throughout the movie :)

    December 2, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  67. Eddie King

    Say, Eddie King really likes "Christopher Nolan talks 'Inception' ending.

    December 2, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  68. Pw

    This movie was too complex for the general American. Not saying Obama voters get it, but over the heads of the Palin die hards.

    December 2, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • really

      If they were dumb enough to vote for Obama they are probably too dumb to understand the movie. I guess it was made for the middle of the road voters only!

      December 2, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Towson Tiger

      You think voting for McCain was a SMART choice?

      December 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      In case you did not notice, the middle did not vote for Palin/McCain.

      December 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  69. razzlea

    i really wanted to know :(

    December 2, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  70. portalpunk

    the movie, this blog, and all of your lives are really just part of my dream, you'd better hope I dont wake up soon.

    December 2, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  71. Mitchell

    ITS A DREAM INSIDE A DREAM, INSIDE A TACO BALL, INSIDE A KFC!!!

    Anyway, please don't make a sequel...

    December 2, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • jl

      Yeah, a sequel would prob suck. I cant even think of where they would go with a sequel

      December 2, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  72. j

    hated this movie.

    December 2, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Tree

      Thats okay, Yogi Bear is coming out soon to fill the simple-minds niche.

      December 2, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  73. Brian

    Of course he refuses, that would just take away from the DVD sales.

    December 2, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  74. Adam Blix

    It was a dream. If you paid attention, you would have noticed that in all of the dreams, DiCaprio is wearing a wedding ring. Outside of the dreams, he does not wear one.
    At the end of the movie, DiCaprio is wearing the ring as he spun the top.

    December 2, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Fritz

      Agreed. It was also a dream because the kids were wearing the same clothes at the end as they were in all of the dream scenes.

      December 2, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • BC

      In response to Fritz, there was an interview done with the costume designer who says that if you look closely the kids are not wearing the same clothes as they were earlier in the movie.

      December 2, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Troy

      You said that he does not wear the ring outside of the dreams, but he was in the final scene. The only problem with this is that if this is truly the case and he is dreaming, then he would have been dreaming throughout the entire movie, thus giving no chance to be 'awake', so the ring becomes irrellevant

      December 7, 2010 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
  75. jvd

    if you wait until the end of the credits, you can hear the top falling over...

    December 2, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  76. ken

    Thats some BS. Its a cop out. It has suddenly become Chic to let the audience figure it out rather than give an intelligent answer. I will say I enjoyed the film BUT like all the other media that have really built up suspense and then left you hanging its crap to end that way and not even original. Sopranos, Steven king-Gunslinger books, LOST, you name it some one came up with a great idea for a story and a crappy idea for an ending or no ending at all so they leave the audience unsatisfied. If I wanted to figure it out myself I wouldnt have spent the money to watch it.

    December 2, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Where's your sense of mystery guy? Do you have to have everything handed to you in the simplest terms? Why not stick to watching Transformers if you want a nice, tidy little ending to your movies.

      December 2, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • GoodMovie

      it's not about figuring it out yourself, there really is no answer. It's about your bringing your own interpretation.

      December 2, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      It all depends why you are seeing a certain movie. If you are looking for intellectual stimulation or to have questions posed that give you the opportunity to answer, then this is your movie. If you were looking for the question AND the answer, you are out of luck. It was a great conversation starter. I saw the movie 3 times in the theaters, each resulting in much enjoyed debate between friends. totally worth the $8 each time. That is saying something because I usually require resolution in my movies in order to enjoy them, much like you do Ken. Thanks for the making the point. YOUR perspective is key to YOU enjoying/interpreting the movie...

      December 2, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      @Brian I think Ken's point is that, while we ALL have a sense of mystery, it can be tiresome when it becomes so trendy that you KNOW a movie/book/TV show is going to end with a shrug and says "You decide." It then becomes predictable, it's an easy out, and when something is so trendy that it's PREDICTABLE...well, then there's no mystery, is there? Not if you say to yourself halfway through "Inception" (as I did), "Hmmm, this smells like a movie that'll end with a 'you decide' style ending." No more mystery when you KNOW how it's going to end.

      And BTW, I LOVED "Inception", even with that ending. I felt that movies like "Cube" and "Memento" did it better. Ken's right, this Inception/Lost stuff is getting out of hand. I can guarantee you, right here and now without fear of EVER being wrong, that "The Event" will end EXACTLY like "Lost" and/or "Inception." It just will. You already know it, I already know it, we ALL already know it.

      December 2, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spilinko

      Charles,

      Your comment that there is "no more mystery when you KNOW how it's going to end" inaccurately suggests that one "you decide" ending is the same as any other. In creating an ambiguous ending, the screenwriter has many options in deciding what questions the film leave answered, what clues to provide to the audience, and what kinds of partial comforts to provide to the film's frustrated and curious viewers.

      For instance, an "Inception" that leaves the viewer wondering, above all, whether Leo's character killed his wife would not be the same as an "Inception" from one that ends with the image of a spinning top and a more fundamental question about whether anything we have just been watching was supposed to be "authentic." In fact, these would be two very different movies, and I don't know why you would pretend they are the same.

      December 3, 2010 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Alyssa

      Well that just goes to show that you lack imagination my friend...

      January 7, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Reality

      @ken Figuring it out yourself sounds like it's straining your brain cell. This is why you are stuck in your own mental basement with your own dark shame. Your inability or unwillingness to contemplate this movie is why you are annoyed.

      The dream awake reality question posed at the end is a rhetorical one (please look up rhetorical question if you don't know what it is), to make you think and bring your own interpretation to the film. I think people are missing the point of this artistic film. Good art should get people to contemplate their own reality and how the personal meaning ascribed to the film affects ones own life. What I took from the film was the self reflective question of "Am I living my own dreams? Or am I held captive in my life by my fears and nightmares? I think these are the questions we are meant to contemplate. After all, as with Mal and Cobb REALITY is what YOU believe it to be, even if others think you are crazy. All the nit picking detail and forensic analysis of who was wearing what?, Who's totem is whose and what? etc..is all a waste of time and brain cells. It is missing the whole point. So please everyone take a look at yourself, for your interpretation of the film gives us all insight into your subconscious mind and a glimpse into how you view reality.

      June 19, 2011 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
  77. cambob

    I've always appreciated movies that do not have "hollywood" ending. In this, Leo "walks off into the sunset" and a boring director would have let the credits roll. But Nolan left his audience with the totem. He gives us the chance to think about the question, even if there is no answer. Bravo.

    December 2, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  78. shibbygirl

    they look like twins!

    December 2, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  79. *miguel

    its up to the viewer to decide.
    the beauty is that the totem didn't matter to the character anymore, and like Paul said, if it were a dream, is one he can live with.

    From the technical side, zooming out layer by layer, it "should" have stopped spinning. But then again Director C Nolan provides a plot where anything is possible – So the whole film could technically be a dream.

    Its a brilliant execution where the viewer is given the chance to make his/her final judgement.

    December 2, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  80. kiki

    One of my favorite movies of the year! This proves my point....I had several friends say that he was dreaming because, the top keeps spinning. If you watch the ending scene closely the top almost falls but, doesn't leaving you wondering if DiCaprio's character is dream or Not. I loved the ending.

    http://thefashioncamp.com

    December 2, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  81. cheefsfury

    THE WHOLE MOVIE WAS A LEOS DREAM

    December 2, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  82. Paul

    The top is still spinning but it's a dream he can live with

    December 2, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      I completely agree!

      December 2, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Superagree

      Totally Agree. Notice how the kids ages never change?

      December 2, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • CP

      Actually, the kids ARE older. different actors and everything.

      December 2, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheTopFalls

      You can see the top waiver ever so slightly, it's hard to be 100% sure though. Anyhow it doesnt matter because the dream and reality become indistinguishable at that point, but he is where HE wants to be. Trouble with that is what about his kids in reality? Does it matter? Of course it does. A blatant oversight by Nolan IMHO. "Inception" was a beautiful movie but, "Memento" was far better as was "Following", but Nolan is still an incredible film maker.

      December 2, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • sue

      Earlier in the film, it is revealed the top isn't his, it was his wife's. Another character says that you can't touch someone else's totem, but if that's true... leaves a heck of a lot more to interpretation!

      December 2, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      The ending was reality I believe. I've seen it several times and read theories people came up with then over ruled them with things I seen and heard from the film. It showed the beginning with them in limbo and then led up to it.

      The whole movie is about how Cobb got Sanito out of limbo and why he did it(The arrangement to be his family without getting thrown in prison) otherwise, it just wouldn't fit the Flow of the whole drama Especially if it was all a dream.

      December 30, 2010 at 5:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Joey B

      There are many points of evidence pointing to the ending being dream vs. reality, but I like to think that the ending was reality solely on Leo's wedding ring. If you notice, his ring is on in all layers of the dream (perceiving the fact that he and Mal are still married in the dream world)....and yet his ring was not on in the real world and the ending.

      January 2, 2011 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
    • mike

      I have just seen Inception for the first time.. three times... Let me start off and say, the movie is up to you .. there is no definite concrete explanation for ANYTHING. But.. when Cobb is on the phone with his kids where he is sitting with the gun in his hand, and they ask him when he is coming home.. and he says " we talked about this, im working".. the daughter talks and says " grandma says your never coming back"... her voice. sound a lot OLDER than what she looks like at the end when he SUPPOSEDLY makes it home... She sounds like early teens.. not a little little girl.. this to me says that the movie entirely was a dream. from when he goes to "mumbasa" to find eames and the chemist.. Cobb gets attacked because the subconscious is attacking him, not because he's in the "real world" running from contract killers for covert engineering. The asian guy " salto" shows up in a mercedes to scoop him up, and says he's protecting his investment". well.. i can go on and on, but simply i feel that it was all a dream and he never woke up. especially because when his father tells him to" come back to reality, please".. he could have been dreaming from that point on, especially because when he showed up there in paris, you don't see how he gets there,, as the same with mumbasa. i thought it was a very intelligent, suspenseful, and in a way sad movie because of how reality is confused to him now, and how he "grew old" with his wife, but in reality she supposedly killed herself.. etc etc.. basically my take is, none of its real, except for maybe a few small parts that set it up. .

      April 17, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |

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