Christopher Nolan is a visionary filmmaker, who has brought countless iconic blockbusters to theaters. But Nolan is also a director who enjoys playing with high concepts, and his movies usually each contain an unexpected twist that the audience doesn't see coming. His dream heist movie Inception was no exception, and there has been debate over the ending for years. And now Leonardo DiCaprio has addressed the subject, revealing that he's just as confused as the rest of us.
Inception is set mostly within dreams, so there's an inherently unreliable narrator. The characters each carry totems around with them, which help them discern whether they're currently in the real world or a dream. The end of Inception sees Leonardo DiCaprio's protagonist Cobb finally make it home to his kids. He spins his totem, but decides to look away and enjoy his family. The totem wobbles before the movie cuts to black, leading to a long debate about whether or not Cobb was dreaming during that final sequence. Leo was recently asked this himself, saying:
I have no idea. You’re just focused on your character, man. When it came to Chris Nolan and his mind and how that was all pieced together, everyone was trying to constantly put that puzzle together.... Yeah. It depends on the eye of the beholder, I guess.
Well, that might help cinephiles everywhere feel a little better. Because if even Leonardo DiCaprio is stumped by the ending of Inception, then that's likely the way Christopher Nolan intended. Let the debate continue.
Leonardo DiCaprio's comments come from his recent appearance on the hugely popular podcast WTF with Marc Maron. He appeared alongside Brad Pitt to talk about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (which Brad Pitt just won a Golden Globe for), as well as the two actors' respective careers. Eventually the conversation turned to his time with collaborator Christopher Nolan, and Inception's mysterious ending.
Inception deals with some high concepts, and the story can get a bit muddled or confusing to casual moviegoers. Not only do we watch as Cobb and his team enter a person's dream, but they actually go down two more layers. So at some points they're in a dream, of a dream, of a dream. Are you dizzy yet?
There's obviously a great deal of disbelief that much be suspended throughout Inception's 148-minute runtime. But the rule of the totem is one that is hammered down, especially as Cobb and company are training Ellen Page's Ariadne the rules of traveling within dreams. They're the only way the team can guarantee their sanity, and not lose it like Cobbs' wife Mal.
All seems well in the Inception finale until the totem quickly wobbles. But we don't see it actually fall, so the debate rages on. Michael Caine personally believes the ending happened in reality, as he's not present in any of the dream sequences. But if even Leonardo DiCaprio isn't sure, perhaps that isn't such a hard and fast rule.