When Alfred Hitchcock was gone, everyone asked who would be the next Hitchcock. When Steven Spielberg lost his touch, people began asking who was the next Spielberg. Christopher Nolan isn’t the next anything. In an age when cinema has become largely cookie cutter, Nolan has risen to become film’s best director, and in 40 years people will be asking who the next Nolan will be. Inception is, in my opinion, Nolan’s best film, and a film so original and yet filled with so many classic elements of different genres that Nolan was able to make his dense script a hook audiences were willing to push themselves to understand. Combined with dazzling visuals, an amazing ensemble, Wally Pfister’s cinematography masterpiece, and a score from Hans Zimmer for the ages and you have one of the best films of the 21st Century…..and the best part is the very last scene.
Nolan is certainly not formulaic, but you can always count on two things: an amazing opening to hook you and an ending you’ll never forget. Inception’s end has had people debating since the film came out. Does Cobb (DiCaprio) get home to his children, or is he trapped in purgatory of dream? For that matter, you can make a case the entire film is a dream based on the rules it lays forth, but it all hinges on a spinning top. Every dreamer carries a totem, something simple but known only to them that lets them know if they’re awake or asleep. Cobb’s is a simple top. It spins perpetually if asleep and adheres to the laws of physics if in the real world. Set to a beautiful piece of music appropriately entitled “Time”, Cobb arrives back home, sees his children and goes to greet them after giving his top one last spin…and we close on it…and just as it might begin to wobble (does it?), the film ends.