Warning: This post contains spoilers. Read at your own risk. And don’t swim with the alligators.
Last weekend, Inception made its debut in theaters. As an Alfred Hitchcock and Christopher Nolan fan (thanks to The Dark Knight), it was irresistable. I waited anxiously for the previews to end and the film to begin, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was as mind-bendingly wonderful as I had hoped.
Part I: The Plot
The moment the film began, questions begin surfacing about what is going on. Remembering the story is focusing around dreams, it was only a matter for moments before realizing a dream is currently taking place. From there, it’s a slower exposition filled with just enough explanation about how dreams and entering dreams works. Between these explanations, the audience gets a brief glimpses into Cobb–the main character’s–past and his struggle to return home. As the rising action heats up, the audience is overwhelmed by mind-bending action. A van falling from a bridge takes a second in one level of dreaming, minutes on the next, and hours on the next. While Cobb dives into a dream state of limbo to save Saito, the rest of the members of the team awake along with Fischer, the target of the inception. When Cobb awakens… well, that’s a conversation to conquer in a moment.
Part II: The Characters
All of the characters are interesting and a little quirky, and Cobb is unquestionably a complex three-dimensional character dealing with serious issues.
Part III: The Genre
Suspense films always keep the audience guessing, and this one is no different. It fits its genre perfectly.
Part V: The Balance
Inception has a perfect balance, favoring unpredictability–of course. Complexity, however, isn’t as straightforward. Cobb’s battle with guilt over his wife’s death is simple, but the rest of the story is considerably more complex. It comes off as a good balance, though.
As for the ending, my husband began searching for an answer to the abrupt end of the movie as soon as we returned home. Is Cobb still dreaming? Was Cobb ever awake in the entire movie? Is Cobb in the waking world with his children?
There are more theories out there than you can shake a stick at. If I had to guess, I would say Cobb is back with his real family in the real world. His totem wobbles before the film ends, indicating that it will fall over any minute.
My other theory sounds like a writer’s theory: Cobb no longer cares if he’s in a dream or reality. He’s home and he has his kids again. So, because Cobb no longer cares, the story ends. What happens next doesn’t matter. He has what he wanted most during the entire movie, and whether it is real or isn’t doesn’t really matter.
But regardless of what the ending truly is supposed to imply, Christopher Nolan will have us talking about the ending–and the movie itself–for a long time to come.