July 21, 2010

Is the Top Slowing Down?

WARNING: If you haven't yet seen "Inception," don't read past the bold part. This is one movie you do NOT want spoiled! But my cliffnotes non-spoiler review is: Wow. I am in love with Christopher Nolan. As John Nolte put it, he is the only director (outside of Pixar) that refuses to talk down to his audience or play to the lowest common denominator. And I don't know if you knew this, but Leonardo DiCaprio...is an adult now. I know, I was shocked, too. Whenever I see him, I always see that kid on Growing Pains. Whoever told him to start wearing facial hair should be given a royalty cut, because like Abraham Lincoln, he really does need it to age his face. And it works. But really, it's a typical Nolan movie - fantastic cast, beautiful cinematography, and an actual STORY. That's what I love most. You can tell, Nolan uses everything to service the STORY. Even if that means giving Michael Caine a pitifully small cameo, rather than writing him in more screen time - just because he's Michael Caine (and I never get tired of seeing him). After we left the movie yesterday, SoldierMan was laughing at/with me because I couldn't have a conversation for almost a half an hour, my mind was still reeling. It's that good.

And by the way, if you haven't seen it yet, but see it later this week or next, come back and join the discussion, I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts!

Oh, and because I'm a good friend: There's an AWESOME new "Tron" trailer at the beginning. :) I seriously squeed!

But here's the thing, the main question: Was the top at the end slowing down? I can't decide. It was wobbling like it was slowing down. But was that because - in the real world where the movie was filmed - tops slow down? Or was it because we were supposed to think the top was slowing down, but he just cut away as a tease? Or did he cut away because we are supposed to think the top wasn't slowing down and was spinning indefinitely, and he had to cut away because - in the real world where the movie was filmed - tops slow down?

This is driving me crazy. I want the top to be slowing down. I want it to be real. And that's why I question my immediate assumption that the top was slowing down. In fact, when it started to slow, wobble and teeter, I squeezed SoldierMan's hand, excited that "it was real." But then it cut away. The other people in the theater chuckled at the "gotchya" moment. My jaw dropped.

And SoldierMan started going through the evidence with me. Same house. Same kids who hadn't aged. Same scene. Same clothes. It had to be a memory, he had to have been caught "down there" long enough to figure out how to change memories.

But here's the thing: If the top wasn't slowing down, if it was supposed to have gone on spinning forever - when did the dream begin? I can't pinpoint it. I need to watch it again, but to the best of my recollection, whenever he spun it previously in the movie, it either got knocked off of what it was spinning on (like the sink) or else he grabbed it before it had the chance to slow down and fall over naturally. Plus, it was his wife's totem he was carrying - and Justin Gordon-Levitt (also not a kid anymore, who knew?) specifically said that if anyone else touched your totem, it was ruined, because then someone else could dream it and fool you (or something). So...the fact that he was carrying his wife's totem...what does that mean?

But then, I didn't notice any oddities in the "real world" like in the dream world. Like numbers popping up over and over. Things that would imply "it was all a dream." So, if at the end he was dreaming, when did the dream begin? Was any of it real? Were all those people...his friends and everyone...just projections? Is that why they all took it in turns to sort of speak for him (i.e. JGL and the totem explanation)?

And if it was all a dream, did his wife really die? Or was she a projection of the part of his subconscious that was really trying to wake him up? And then, how much of their story was actually real or dream?

My mind is still spinning. And it frustrates me, because I'm usually the one who can handle sci-fi/fantasy worlds. Time travel doesn't confuse me. Alternate realities make total sense to me. But this is outside my realm of experience and it's really messing with my head.

What do you think? Did you like it? I haven't talked to anyone who did not love the movie. Was the top slowing down? Does it even matter to you, am I the only one who needs to try and make this...fit together, somehow?


  1. Gah! I'm so excited to see Inception this weekend! It was hard to not read past the bold!

  2. I thought the movie was FANTASTIC. And you know, my husband and I had the EXACT same hour-long conversation about whether or not the top was going to tumble over or not.
    What a great thriller. My vote is that is a definite must-see.

  3. we just saw it last night, here's my take on the ending:
    i think he's leaving it open to us to decide if the ending was reality or a deeper dream state.
    my husband is the optimist and thinks because he saw his children's faces and they had aged it was real. he thinks it was slowing and would have stopped if not for the cut away.
    i would like to think that but remember when he woke up on the plane and everyone was looking at him? was it normal, 'whew, we made it!' or was it the subconscious projections looking at him.
    then there is also Ellen Page's character's conviction that he would be okay and the fact that he's made it back to find what'shisface (boss/chinese fella). why would he deal with his wife, move on, and then fail to get back with a buddy that wants the same thing he does?

    good question about using his wife's totem.

    I thought that the acting was SUPERB! you didn't think about how Leo was playing the role, or how Ellen was plaing the role, you just dove into the story, they facilitated Nolan's idea instead of distracting from it.

    our whole theater went "AHHHHHHH!" at the ending when the screen went to black. how funny:O)

  4. I am scared to read any of this post because I don't want to ruin it. It's one of the few movies I am not having to drag Ben to because he actually really wants to see it. So i'll just say Hi!

  5. I saw this on Friday and it was FANTASTIC! I thought that the top was slowing down and was going to topple over. I think that his wife really is dead and that she was just in his dreams to help wake him back up.

  6. I saw this on Friday and it was FANTASTIC! I thought that the top was slowing down and was going to topple over. I think that his wife really is dead and that she was just in his dreams to help wake him back up.

  7. We saw Inception today and it was absolutely fabulous. I was kind of boggled by the fast that no one talked to each other on the plane or thereafter after supposedly "waking up from their triple/quadruple dream". Did they just knew each other from the dream or did they indeed interact with each other in the real world?

    Did they top slow down? I hope so. I had tear in my eyes at the end of the movie which was a first for me in this type of movie.

  8. Ok this is the post I was looking for when I came across the other one.

    Damn...you thought of some stuff that never even occurred to me. The top WAS hers!!! Was HE the one stuck in limbo?? Or...was the ENTIRE thing a dream he had on a plane, and all the people in his "life" really just strangers on a plane and he had a big long dream about them? Because they all just looked at each other, didn't say anything and they didn't show any equipment. That dude made a phone call but that doesn't mean anything.

    Dang my mind is BLOWN!!!

  9. How bout this one (this isn't my thought, so I can't take credit) they showed them in limbo after growing old together, but when they laid in front of the train to return to "reality" they were still young...what does that mean!?


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