Christopher Nolan’s most recent movie, Oppenheimer, featuring Cillian Murphy as the man behind the atomic bomb, is currently playing in theaters. As part of the press tour for this film, the acclaimed director has been reflecting on his body of work, with his 2010 film Inception, and its shatteringly poignant ending, coming up frequently.
Inception revolves around a team of criminals carrying out a heist within a person’s dreams. It’s a complicated film that cannot be summed up quickly, but the ending is relatively clear-cut. Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Dom Cobb, finally confronts his inner turmoil and returns home to his children after many years. He spins his totem, a device that helps him distinguish dreams from reality, and leaves it behind. If it keeps spinning, it implies he is still in a dream state. The totem wobbles, and the scene cuts to black. The ending is both brilliantly inventive and maddeningly elusive. Now, Nolan has given us a clearer insight into his own interpretation of it.
In a discussion on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast, Nolan addressed the much-debated final scene of the film. “I was often asked about this,” Nolan mentioned. “Emma Thomas, the producer, suggested the correct interpretation, that at that moment, Leo’s character doesn’t care anymore. It’s a question I’m not very comfortable answering.”
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures
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In a previous conversation with Wired, Nolan had alluded to a bleaker understanding of Inception’s ending, but reiterated that it was immaterial in light of Dom’s newfound peace. “There’s a nihilistic interpretation of the finale, right? But he’s moved on and is with his children. The uncertainty is intellectual, not emotional, for the audience.”
An Exceptionally Singular Ending
However, Nolan admitted he derived a certain perverse pleasure from witnessing the audience’s exasperation during initial screenings of the movie. But, he quickly realized it was wise to leave the theater before frustrated and heartbroken movie buffs noticed him at the back.
“Inception had a uniquely unusual ending. When I used to sneak into the back of the theater during screenings, and the film reached its end, the crowd’s reaction was an extraordinary blend of shock, grumbles, and frustration. I would often feel like I should make a swift exit before anyone recognized me,” he confessed.
Oppenheimer is now showing in theaters. Don’t miss its trailer below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of Inception’s ending
What is Christopher Nolan’s recent movie?
Christopher Nolan’s most recent movie is Oppenheimer, featuring Cillian Murphy as the man behind the atomic bomb.
What has Nolan said about the ending of Inception?
Nolan has stated that the correct interpretation of Inception’s ending is that Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Dom Cobb, doesn’t care anymore whether he’s dreaming or not.
Has Nolan given any insight into the audience reactions to the ending of Inception?
Yes, Nolan has shared that he used to sneak into the back of the theater during initial screenings of the movie and observed a mix of shock, grumbles, and frustration from the audience.
How does Nolan view the darker interpretation of Inception’s ending?
Nolan has acknowledged a nihilistic interpretation of the ending but stated that it is immaterial in light of Dom’s newfound peace. He believes that the ambiguity of the ending is intellectual, not emotional, for the audience.