Christopher Nolan, the dude behind films like Momento and The Dark Knight, made a lovely, crazy, and beautifully done film called Inception back in 2010. For those that have seen the movie--which knowing our audience--is probably most of you--surely had a reaction to the very end of the film before it cuts to black and the credits role.
Nolan recently discussed that moment for the first time while speaking at the Princeton University graduation ceremony.
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. He didn’t really care anymore, and that makes a statement: perhaps, all levels of reality are valid. The camera moves over the spinning top just before it appears to be wobbling, it was cut to black.
I skip out of the back of the theatre before people catch me, and there’s a very, very strong reaction from the audience: usually a bit of a groan. The point is, objectively, it matters to the audience in absolute terms: even though when I’m watching, it’s fiction, a sort of virtual reality. But the question of whether that’s a dream or whether it’s real is the question I’ve been asked most about any of the films I’ve made. It matters to people because that’s the point about reality. Reality matters.
Well, now you have it. It was finally (kind of) answered.