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Christopher Nolan’s The Inception Ending Finally Explained  

There have been movies made across different genres like action, drama, sci-fi, horror etc. These are pretty standard in film-making but there is one genre which is neither action/drama nor horror, it’s called as “psychological thriller”. It consists of movies that are crafted to mess with your heads and take you on an insane ride, sometimes it pays off while other times it fizzles out in the end.

Christopher Nolan is one of the greatest film-makers working in today’s Hollywood. His body of work exhibit a lot of finesse, displays a remarkable amount of poise and themes are grandiose but emotionally grounded. He is truly a visionary director who can handle any genre, wow audiences and deliver box-office blockbusters.

Inception is yet another masterpiece written and directed by Christopher Nolan where he has dabbled into the “psychological thriller” genre and displayed sheer class and technique. But this movie is not for the average movie-goer who just want to have a good time, it’s specifically designed for movie buffs who can understand intricate plots and appreciate complex subjects like lucid dreaming. One would enjoy it to the fullest with multiple viewings.

Like most Nolan movies, Inception had an open ending where we are left to decide if Cobb is back to reality or still dreaming. Nolan has ruled out the sequel that would answer that question, so the suspense literally killed us. But after a decade of movie’s release, the actor Michael Caine (who played Cobb’s father-in-law) has an explanation of the ending. He said:

“When I got the script of Inception, I was a bit puzzled by it, and I said to him, ‘I don’t understand where the dream is,'” Caine said. “I said, ‘When is it the dream and when is it reality?’ He said, ‘Well, when you’re in the scene it’s reality.’ So, get that — if I’m in it, it’s reality. If I’m not in it, it’s a dream.”

So by Caine’s logic, when Cobb came back to US and successfully cleared customs authorities despite having murder charges, met him and then went home to see his children. He spins his totem, it appeared to wobble but then the screen blacked out. Had it not happened, the totem would have fallen confirming that it’s reality.

Christopher Nolan was asked about this at Princeton Commencement address, 2015, he said:

“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,” Nolan said during a Princeton University commencement ceremony in 2015. “He didn’t really care anymore, and that makes a statement: perhaps, all levels of reality are valid.”

Well, now we know. The official movie synopsis reads:

“Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief with the rare ability to enter people’s dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious. His skill has made him a hot commodity in the world of corporate espionage but has also cost him everything he loves. Cobb gets a chance at redemption when he is offered a seemingly impossible task: Plant an idea in someone’s mind. If he succeeds, it will be the perfect crime, but a dangerous enemy anticipates Cobb’s every move”.

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