“…Was Cobb dreaming or was he not dreaming? Why did Nolan choose to not show the top, and keep the ending open for interpretation?
The answer to the second question is simple. He didn’t keep the ending open. It’s a trap!
…After multiple viewings of Memento, Nolan doesn’t seem like the kind of director to keep the ending so ambiguous. He didn’t show the spinning top to tell the audience “This isn’t the answer. This is irrelevant now.” To me, what really matters is his wedding ring.
In every scene of a dream. Cobb is wearing his wedding ring.
In every scene of reality. Cobb is ringless.
In fact, at some point in just about every scene, there is a fairly obvious shot of Cobb’s hand.
Saito’s test for Cobb – Ring Present
Saito’s test for Cobb, beginning of film. This scene is obviously a dream, Mal’s in it, ring is present.
Layer 1 of inception – Ring Present.
Shortly after Ariadne’s first encounter with Mal – No Ring
Moments before inception begins on the airplane – No Ring
Now, this for me is black and white. There are countless of other examples, kindly highlighted by various forums discussing the films meaning.
On the train before Saito wakes up. No Ring.
All of Mombasa. No Ring.
Yusuf’s basement, after dropping his totem. No Ring.
Paris workshop . No Ring.
Aridane’s first experience with Dream sharing. Wedding Ring.
First Class cabin scene. No Ring.
ALL of the inception. Wedding Ring.
Final scene of the film. No Ring.
Now, if we trust Cobb’s ring as his real totem, then Inception had a happy ending. All is well that ends well. That’s my interpretation, that’s what really happened.
I believe that everything else in the film that suggests otherwise is a Red Herring. (Such as Cobb dropping his totem in the bathroom of Yusuf’s basement.)
As for the fact that the children didn’t age is easily disputed, in fact they are played by different actors. I could have sworn they were the same but it appears they were trying to suggest that time passed. Why else cast different sets of children.
So there you have it, thats what I think happened in Inception.”
- IMDb – FAQ for Inception “Was the end a dream or reality? Although no one can prove it one way or another, unless that person is Chris Nolan, it is hard to say. But the more likely answer, is that the end was reality. This can pretty much be proven without any holes. Explanation: The...
- WeGotThisCovered – Dream A Little Bigger: A Guide To Understanding Inception “…12. So what happened at the end? The ending is the most confusing part of the film. There are a couple of theories as to what happened. The theories are as follows: 12a) Nothing Ever Happened The nothing ever happened ending is the simplest. Some people believe that nothing ever...
- Slate – Five Ways of Looking at Inception “READING 1: Saito hired Cobb and co. to plant an idea in Fischer’s mind. They succeed, and in the end Cobb really does go home to his kids. READING 1A: Saito hired Cobb and co. to plant an idea in Fischer’s mind, but the ending—everything from the moment Cobb “wakes...
- MovieFone – ‘Inception’ Ending and Theories: What Just Happened?! “…• So if it was a dream…? If it was real, of course, then there’s not a whole lot to strain your brain over. But if that top is still spinning on some cutting room floor, then a whole new slew of questions open up. Are the other members of...
- Nolan Fans Forum – My Theory on Cobb and the Ending “I am convinced that Cobb is still dreaming at the end from some pretty cohesive clues; of course, please debate with me on my theories! I’m quite sure now, but I might not have caught something that you did . 1) The two sets of children: In the credits, there...