One of the most hotly debated moments in movies from the 2010s is hands down the final seconds of Christopher Nolan's Inception. Years later the theories are still going about Nolan's mind-bending blockbuster, even when cast members try to offer insight the theories still continue. Another voice from the cast has weighed in on what happens, none other than star Leonardo DiCaprio, whose actions in the final moments of the movie have been the subject of this discussion for nearly ten years as of this writing.
As you may recall, the final scene sees DiCaprio's Dom return to the United States to meet his children after years away. Unsure if what he's experiencing is real, Dom spins his top totem that in dreams spins forever but in reality, would topple. As Dom moves away from the top to be with his children and the last moments of the film are those of the top appearing to wobble, but the screen going black without revealing if it falls or not.
Speaking on the WTF With Marc Maron podcast, DiCaprio opened up about the ending, offering a perspective that might surprise fans....he has no idea what happened at the end either.
"I have no idea. You're just focused on your character, man," DiCaprio said. 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."
When asked by the host if anyone had ever pieced together what happened in that moment, the actor said: "Yeah. It depends on the eye of the beholder, I guess."
One of those people that has it all figured out is DiCaprio's co-star Michael Caine, who previously revealed there was an easy key to understanding the ending.
"When I got the script of 'Inception,' I was a bit puzzled by it, and I said to (Chris Nolan), 'I don't understand where the dream is,'" Caine said last year. "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."
To clear up the confusion, Caine's character does appear in that final scene with Dom and his kids, meaning that the end (by this rule given to the actor by the director/writer) was in the real world and not a dream. Despite being a pretty clear cut way of looking at the scene, Nolan himself opened it up to new levels of vagary, saying during a Princeton University commencement ceremony in 2015:
"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."
What do you think happened at the end of Inception? Are you with Michael Caine in its definitive answer, Chris Nolan in its purposeful confusion, or Leonardo DiCaprio where you just don't know? Sound off in the comments!