My Favorite Scene: Inception (2010) “Time”

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.

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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.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception

20 thoughts on “My Favorite Scene: Inception (2010) “Time””

  1. I prefer The Prestige, but it’s like choosing between Sgt. Pepper’s and Revolver. You may disagree with the next guy’s choice, but you don’t argue.

    You know my feelings on this scene. Di Caprio’s character walks away from the top without bothering to check if it stops spinning. He finally recognizes that it does not matter, that questioning reality is a futile game. He is with his kids, and that is all that matters. When a Hollywood movie, even one by Christopher Nolan, leaves something ambiguous, it always does so for a very pointed thematic reason.

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  2. I just saw 7 Days In Entebbe. It was OK, but I felt like it sqandered a compelling true story by clinging to the fictionalized parts, and putting the focus on the two most uninteresting characters. I would not deter anyone from seeing the movie, but there is no reason not to wait to stream it.

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    1. I can’t imagine how they screwed that up. Tomb Raider was meh, but Vikander was spot on. Hopefully they give her a script in the sequel if it gets one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This could have been Indiana Jones for a new generation. I’m starting to think that the big Hollywood moguls are very silly people.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My goal is not to make fun of her, but I know someone who rented a copy of Inception, and returned it because the disc was defective. It was only when she put the replacement disc in that she realized the disc was not defective. It was how the movie was supposed to be. Suffice it to say, she did not end up liking the movie.

    Ok, I guess I am making fun of her.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The best ambiguous ending of all time would have to be Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. When that car takes off into the air at the end, is it real, or are the characters still inside a fantasy? I want to know! OK, not really, that movie is terrible. There’s a scene in it where the villain’s wife dances for him in lingerie while he tries to murder her. If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen the film and you don’t believe me, google “You’re My Little Chu Chi Face.” People willingly let their children watch this movie, and it’s inexplicable.

    I was haunted by The Sopranos ending for days you know, and I still think it was brilliant. If Tony had been shown getting whacked he might have deserved it, but it would have come across as moralistic, at odds with the spirit of the show. Also, that would have been that. Nothing to see here, and actually kind of boring. (Of course, we were told an episode or two earlier that when you get whacked, you probably don’t even hear the gunshot. Evidence.) If Tony had lived, if he had gone on, living his life looking over his shoulder, afraid of getting whacked, well, that was the point of the entire show, and it would have simultaneously pounded the message home, while making it seem like Tony was getting off easy. But we don’t know what happened, and people are still talking about it all these years later. I don’t think David Chase knew what the answer was. I think the point was that the show just cuts off randomly, because life is like that. Random. Die, get murdered, it stops and starts without a pattern, without a plan. Thanks for watching!

    Ambiguous endings can be awesome. Also terrible, as in the case of say, Barton Fink (although I know exactly what the ending of that movie is supposed to mean).

    Sorry for all the typing. Time to kill.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love Lost’s ending and am probably the only one, so I get it. Also I wrote the article in the first place about probably the most famous ambiguous ending in modern movie history…..a couple of times by this point lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It occurs to me that we, as a species, could use a lot more ambiguity in our lives. We’re all so damn certain. About everything. We all need to relax. Spend a morning in a church belonging to a people our ancestors used to go to war with. Spend a week campaigning for a politician belonging to a party whose views are antithetical to our own. I’m not saying to like it, I’m just saying to do it, and not to talk, just to listen. All we ever do is monologue.

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  6. This had one of the best ambiguous endings, if not the best, I’ve seen. While I’m torn between this one being my favorite Nolan movie or Memento (I think Memento probably had a better story, but Inception had much more heart, as in, I was more emotionally invested in this one), there is no doubt that it’s an amazing movie.
    I remember pondering the ending for days before deciding that I THINK it was the real world. I do think the totem started to shake a little (which it never did in a dream world). But the way that the camera turned off was more telling than the totem. The camera shut off fast, it didn’t fade to black. It it had faded to black, I would lean more to the dream world. But it didn’t, so I lean slightly more to the real world.
    However, I do think that in the end, it doesn’t matter. I feel as if that was the point it was trying to make.


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