Have you seen Inception yet?
If not stop reading and go watch one of the year’s best films and more proof that Christopher Nolan can do no wrong. Read no further. There be spoilers ahead.
I knew I should have seen it a second time before opening my big mouth (or banging my big fingers on my big keys?) I just watched the Bluray and I am loathe to admit that all my fancy thinking was wrong. This isn’t a movie about Leo’s Dom committing Inception on himself in order to either make his limbo more palatable or exorcise his guilt demons. This is a story about dream extractors pulling one last big heist so the lead extractor gets a measure of redemption. It’s a heist movie. In otherwords, it’s exactly what director Chris Nolan said it would be.
My first time through I thought myself oh so clever for noticing the subtle and not so subtle hints that Dom’s world from the outset was a fabrication. Quite conveniently following an extended explanation about building mazes within a dream we’re treated to a scene of Dom escaping the “subconcious” like Cobol agents as Nolan gives a top down view of the action and even pushes Dom through a seemingly narrowing back alley on to the street. When I watched this, an idea was planted in my head. An idea that grew like a cancer.
I think you see where I’m going with this because you too are oh so clever.
We were part of the Inception.
No matter how much evidence there is that everything which happens in what the movie terms “reality” actually occurs in its reality, Nolan subversively sneaks the idea into your head that maybe it’s all a dream after all. Leading right up to the finale heard round the world when he cuts away just before the totem topples.
But I realize now, it simple can’t be a dream. If Dom is the solo dreamer and other characters are projections of his subconscious mind than why are there scenes without Dom in them in which these characters explain things he already knows to be true to each other? Also if any of the reality stuff isn’t actually real, then Mal’s backstory and his gut wrenching closure with her in limbo is completely robbed of its impact. We are meant to question the reality and dreams the movie presents us with because it puts us inside Dom’s headspace. But when the credits roll, there is only one ending that makes sense.
Dom comes home to his children and finally sees their faces because he is, if not assured of, at least committed to one reality. This is how we should interpret the spinning top. It’s not whether it falls or doesn’t fall. The point is that Dom doesn’t care enough to watch it. Dom is home. He knows his children’s faces and trusts them because they are real, after his breakup with Mal, it would be ridiculous to think that he would construct another imperfect illusion.