Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by JacksonArcher, Sep 30, 2010.
Fantastic insight. I think you just won the thread right there and then.
The kids' age is another situation that keeps things ambiguous. True, it could indicate that it's reality. But, Cobb could easily dream, in this his perfect dream, that they are two years older, as they would be in reality.
Except that Cobb throughout the film only dreams in memory, and he has no memory of his kids being the age they would be two years after he left. Unless, of course, the catharsis he received by finally letting Mal go allows him to dream normally again.
If you watch the scenes with the kids in it, and I suspect we'll see a lot of screencaps soon when the DVD comes out, the kids are wearing similar, but very different, clothes and they are pretty obviously older. Esp. the girl.
The film stopped the moment we saw the top falling. The belief there is anything ambiguous about whether the top falls is just flat out wrong. If Nolan thinks there was any ambiguity about whether the top falls, he understands nothing about how the material world works. (Which by the way would be a severe criticism of his intelligence.)
However, if the top is somehow imagined to not fall, it means that DiCaprio simply ignored what he told the false Mal about preferring reality. Coupled with Cillian Murphy's fake epiphany about his father's love, the movie quite unambiguously implies dreams/the movies/fiction are just as good as the real thing.
These arguments are astonishingly successful in lowering my opinion of Nolan's talents and achievements.
After hearing so much praise for this movie I went in with high expectations but came out severely disappointed.
For what its worth I do prefer the interpretation that its not a dream.
I didn't know you were the absolute authority on such matters. I'm not even sure you understand the rules of the movie itself- the ambiguity comes from the explanation that Cobb gives that when the spinning top refuses to fall, that unequivocally means he's still in the dream world. When the top falls, it means he's in the real world.
Now, of course, Cobb also mentions that no one should touch your totem because then it would defeat the purpose of the totem being a reminder of what is real and what is not, which adds another layer of doubt onto the viewer. Is the entire thing a dream? Is Cobb really losing it all and lost in the dream realm, unable to successfully distinguish what is real and what is not real anymore?
The point of the ending was not to give a definitive answer, but to allow the audience to leave the theater with their own unique interpretation of what happened. We have no idea if the top was going to fall, and that is exactly what Nolan wanted- he wanted to instill doubt in the minds of the moviegoers, and was successful at achieving that.
If anything, what I took out of the movie is that you should reject the false world as anything legitimate- but then again the meaning of the film is subjective and differs upon various interpretations. The idea is that Cobb was trying to get emotional catharsis of his own, and perhaps by achieving that toward the end of the film it didn't matter to him what was real or what was not- all that mattered was moving on emotionally from being distraught.
Okay. Well, that's entirely your opinion, even though I'm glad to say you are in the minority and your opinion is the furthest thing from absolute.
The top is going to fall. It starts to wobble (precess) and in a few boring minutes it will finally topple. If Nolan doesn't know that, he's an idiot. Expecting us not to know this shows his contempt for us.
Neither DiCaprio nor Murphy are looking for emotional catharsis. DiCaprio supposedly has one in his confrontation with the false Mal but the movie is so badly written even the fans have trouble realizing this. What DiCaprio wants is to get his kids back and the catharsis comes, supposedly, in rejecting the temptations of the false Mal. Any catharsis DiCaprio has is a means to the end, which is earning Watanabe's intervention. I'm not sure in what sense the character's motives could be subjective.
The notion that emotional catharsis will move him past caring whether he really gets them back is obviously absurd.
Cillian Murphy's catharsis is based on falsehood. The question of whether it's still worthwhile has some interest perhaps but the movie doesn't dramatize it. If such issues were what the movie was about, we might have seen the camera follow DiCaprio past the spinning top, then close in on his face, eyes shut, as he embraces the children. Is he dreaming? Or we might see Cillian Murphy confronting Tom Berenger.
My post wasn't in reply to yours. What I'm saying is that the film offers no definitive ending and people can argue this all the want but they'll always be wrong (or, not fully right) because we don't see the top fall. They can argue it was falling or it wasn't but it doesn't matter. It ended before we could see the results. Of course people can have an opinion on whether it was a dream or not but it's not 100% for sure.
My opinion is that worrying if it was a dream or not is beyond the point.
Get a top and play with it. If that's too expensive, get a child's set of jacks and rubber ball, throw away the rubber ball and spin the jacks. When they wobble, they're falling.
Thing is, if the top is not beginning to precess (start to fall) and that his children aren't actually wearing slightly different clothing (though they are) or look slightly older (they do) and Cobb is still in the dream world that sort of makes the whole movie, and his character's journey pointless and makes the movie tragedy.
The whole point of the movie was that Cobb wanted to see his children again, that seeing them in the dream world wasn't good enough for him and that he had to let-go of his guilt over the death of his wife, Mal, to see them again.
If at the end he's still in the dream world (and that'd violate some of the rules of the "dream world" that he is since we see, or we're inferred, that he experiences the trip from the plane to home he just doesn't show up at home) then that kind of makes everything that happened in the movie and the development of his character pointless.
If he's still in the dreamworld then him getting to see his children is sad, seeing them in a dream wasn't good enough for him. Letting go of the guilt on the death Mal is pointless, as it doesn't get him to move on with his life.
So for the movie to make any kind of sense, for the character journey to be complete and true he has to be in the real world at the end of the movie.
Or, as I often say, as much in the real world as we thought he always was in. (That's to say it's possible the whole movie takes place in a dream world.)
I think Lapis' post is quite fantastic and I subscribe to something similar.
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