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Christopher Nolan discusses the mysteries of Inception

Nov. 29, 2010by:

Filmmaker Christopher Nolan's labyrinthine noggin heist INCEPTION hits DVD next week, so fans can rewind and frame-by-frame at their leisure in search of any clues and answers hidden within.

Meanwhile, Nolan talked with Wired about the movie, giving up some details and impressions on the various theories floating about in the wake of the theatrical release. Some samples (and SPOILERS):

On the theory that INCEPTION is actually about movie making:

"I didn’t intend to make a film about filmmaking, but it’s clear that I gravitated toward the creative process that I know. The way the team works is very analogous to the way the film itself was made. I can’t say that was intentional, but it’s very clearly there. I think that’s just the result of me trying to be very tactile and sincere in my portrayal of that creative process."

On how it's more like a videogame:

"I think it’s very analogous to the way people play videogames. When you play a videogame, you could be a completely different person than you are in the real world, certain aspects of the way your brain works can be leveraged for something you could never do in the real world. It was important, for example, that Cobb not be as physically skilled in the real world. And when he’s charging through Mombasa, I think Leo does a tremendous job of slightly differentiating his body language and the way he moves in that world. Of course, that can be based on what he believes of himself in that particular reality, so …"

On the notion that the kids at the end are the same ages and wearing the same clothes as Cobb's dream:

"No, they’re not. I’m not giving anything away there. Also I’ve read a lot of misunderstanding or misremembering of the way those kids are portrayed onscreen. But on the Blu-ray, people will be able to check, say, the ages of the kids."

On the final shot of Cobb's top:

"Sometimes I think people lose the importance of the way the thing is staged with the spinning top at the end. Because the most important emotional thing is that Cobb’s not looking at it. He doesn’t care."

On whether he himself has definitive answers:

"Oh yeah. I’ve always believed that if you make a film with ambiguity, it needs to be based on a sincere interpretation. If it’s not, then it will contradict itself, or it will be somehow insubstantial and end up making the audience feel cheated. I think the only way to make ambiguity satisfying is to base it on a very solid point of view of what you think is going on, and then allow the ambiguity to come from the inability of the character to know, and the alignment of the audience with that character."

Check out the whole interview HERE!

Extra Tidbit: Wired also unearthed an interesting precursor to INCEPTION: a 1924 Buster Keaton film? Yep!
Source: Wired

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2:55AM on 01/05/2011
must get this on blu ray now
must get this on blu ray now
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11:37PM on 11/30/2010

Last question

Nolan should have helped with LOST...
Nolan should have helped with LOST...
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8:58PM on 11/30/2010

Question

The top is reveled to be his wives totem so what are we to make of the explanation that no one should touch anothers totem which would make it impossible to tell you were in a dream or not. My take is Leo's team was trying to save him in the movie that's why he was able to affect dreams. Also cillian was attacked in one of the levels and the mind only came after people that didn't belong. Ow my head hurts
The top is reveled to be his wives totem so what are we to make of the explanation that no one should touch anothers totem which would make it impossible to tell you were in a dream or not. My take is Leo's team was trying to save him in the movie that's why he was able to affect dreams. Also cillian was attacked in one of the levels and the mind only came after people that didn't belong. Ow my head hurts
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2:49PM on 11/30/2010
My wife ruined this movie for me when at the end she looked at me and said, "If this entire movie happened just so that DiCaprio could come back into the US and see his kids, why didn't Michael Caine just bring the kids to see him in France?"
My wife ruined this movie for me when at the end she looked at me and said, "If this entire movie happened just so that DiCaprio could come back into the US and see his kids, why didn't Michael Caine just bring the kids to see him in France?"
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5:24PM on 11/30/2010
He doesn't wanna see his fucking kids he wants his life back with them in the U.S.
He doesn't wanna see his fucking kids he wants his life back with them in the U.S.
2:25PM on 11/30/2010

OKAY...

But hows it possible that everyone can share the same dream? It's never explained in the movie and you think it would be given that it's what the whole movies about. At some point Ellen Page should've asked "Hows it possible to share the dream space" or whatever and somebody could've explained it with a few lines of exposition but they never do. Thats my only real complaint about the movie, otherwise I loved it.
But hows it possible that everyone can share the same dream? It's never explained in the movie and you think it would be given that it's what the whole movies about. At some point Ellen Page should've asked "Hows it possible to share the dream space" or whatever and somebody could've explained it with a few lines of exposition but they never do. Thats my only real complaint about the movie, otherwise I loved it.
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2:13PM on 11/30/2010

YES! I AM INVINCIBLE!

Oh I cannot wait to rub that in my friend's face, that was my thought exactly. Cobb didn't give a shit about the top anymore. Oh this just made my day.
Oh I cannot wait to rub that in my friend's face, that was my thought exactly. Cobb didn't give a shit about the top anymore. Oh this just made my day.
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+4
10:44AM on 11/30/2010

The top bit...

you know i never thought about that, interesting.
you know i never thought about that, interesting.
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-17
9:04AM on 11/30/2010
What mysteries?? That's one of the points of Inception being so overrated, because there were no real mysteries.. pretty straight forward.
The Prestige is a lot more complicated and a lot better. But whatever.
What mysteries?? That's one of the points of Inception being so overrated, because there were no real mysteries.. pretty straight forward.
The Prestige is a lot more complicated and a lot better. But whatever.
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4:00AM on 11/30/2010
Hey, come to think of it: Cobb didn't really seem to care if the top stops or not. Wow!
Hey, come to think of it: Cobb didn't really seem to care if the top stops or not. Wow!
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3:02AM on 11/30/2010
Although I absolutely love the entire LOST series, I can't help but wish that someone like Chris Nolan (or Nolan himself) had written the finale to the show. The way LOST ended put a lot of people off because no one knows if there were any answers in the first place. Seeing Nolan answer with such sureness that he has a solid viewpoint of Inception and definitely has answers behind the ambiguity is not only admirable but also extremely satisfying. Seriously, it's amazing how people churn out
Although I absolutely love the entire LOST series, I can't help but wish that someone like Chris Nolan (or Nolan himself) had written the finale to the show. The way LOST ended put a lot of people off because no one knows if there were any answers in the first place. Seeing Nolan answer with such sureness that he has a solid viewpoint of Inception and definitely has answers behind the ambiguity is not only admirable but also extremely satisfying. Seriously, it's amazing how people churn out shitty movies these days when they have an example like Nolan to take guidelines from.
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1:19PM on 11/30/2010
LOST ended the only way it could have. It would have been horrible if Nolan had written the finale. People like you need to crawl out of Nolan's ass sometimes.
LOST ended the only way it could have. It would have been horrible if Nolan had written the finale. People like you need to crawl out of Nolan's ass sometimes.
4:21PM on 11/30/2010
@The_Soloist
I'm a pretty devout LOST fan, I even have a small collection of props and crew hats and t-shirts from the show. The reason I loved lost was for the sci-fi undertone, the rooted in reality stuff... science-fiction is different from fantasy in only one way; Sci-fi acknowledges natural rules and lives by them, fantasy creates new-rules altogether. Lost began as science fiction and ended as fantasy and threw away all of it's own rules in the process.

I tuned in week after week to find
@The_Soloist
I'm a pretty devout LOST fan, I even have a small collection of props and crew hats and t-shirts from the show. The reason I loved lost was for the sci-fi undertone, the rooted in reality stuff... science-fiction is different from fantasy in only one way; Sci-fi acknowledges natural rules and lives by them, fantasy creates new-rules altogether. Lost began as science fiction and ended as fantasy and threw away all of it's own rules in the process.

I tuned in week after week to find out; What was the Monster? Why did the island have special powers? Who was the man in black? All that time we're meant to believe that the answer for everything was... magic?

I liked the finale, but it completely betrayed the mounting pile of mysteries that it built it's fan base on. It confirmed that there was never any real answers and after all the guessing and speculation and fanaticism we put in, it told us that all of it was in vein.

Nolan understands that creating a reality in a movie requires the filmmakers to be faithful to it - otherwise it's worthless. Inception set up and explained a number of fantastic and complicated rules for his characters, adhered to them and managed to pull out a number of surprises out without getting them from left-feild.

I have no doubt that Nolan's LOST would've been far more satisfying.
10:41PM on 11/30/2010
@ The_Soloist : Do you really read comments before you go off on them? I said I absolutely love the ENTIRE LOST series. That includes the ending. All I said was it would have been nice if they had handled it with more tact, like Nolan did, so they wouldn't be recipients of the ongoing backlash. And no, Nolan's finale wouldn't have been horrible because in case you haven't noticed, the man and his crew have churned out nothing but successes so far. I'm not a Nolan fanatic, I just admire the man
@ The_Soloist : Do you really read comments before you go off on them? I said I absolutely love the ENTIRE LOST series. That includes the ending. All I said was it would have been nice if they had handled it with more tact, like Nolan did, so they wouldn't be recipients of the ongoing backlash. And no, Nolan's finale wouldn't have been horrible because in case you haven't noticed, the man and his crew have churned out nothing but successes so far. I'm not a Nolan fanatic, I just admire the man for his work. Geez the understanding capacity of some people is so f*cking astounding.
1:04AM on 11/30/2010
This was the movie of the year and in my opinion, my favorite of the last 5 years. It was something fresh, original, new, intelligent, and grand in scale. I would love to see it get awarded at the Oscars.
This was the movie of the year and in my opinion, my favorite of the last 5 years. It was something fresh, original, new, intelligent, and grand in scale. I would love to see it get awarded at the Oscars.
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11:26PM on 11/29/2010

Awesome

Pretty good interview, always love hearing him talk about his own movies. There are so many views on everything it is great to hear what his view is, always seems to make more sense.
Pretty good interview, always love hearing him talk about his own movies. There are so many views on everything it is great to hear what his view is, always seems to make more sense.
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11:13PM on 11/29/2010
Always good to hear from Nolan regarding ANYTHING he does.

I always thought the the top spinning in the end was Nolan pulling his own inception on the audience to make them doubt everything they had just seen and write it off as a dream . I think it also connects Nolan himself with Cobb's character in the sense that what Nolan does to the audience with this shot is essentially what Cobb did to his wife in limbo.
Always good to hear from Nolan regarding ANYTHING he does.

I always thought the the top spinning in the end was Nolan pulling his own inception on the audience to make them doubt everything they had just seen and write it off as a dream . I think it also connects Nolan himself with Cobb's character in the sense that what Nolan does to the audience with this shot is essentially what Cobb did to his wife in limbo.
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4:00PM on 11/30/2010
That was my thought too and my favorite 'theory' of all. We never see it fall so it's forever spinning in our minds - we'll forever doubt that he made it back to reality no matter how convincing it might have seemed.

It's actually quite brilliant, really and I'm absolutely sure that this is exactly how Nolan intended it.
That was my thought too and my favorite 'theory' of all. We never see it fall so it's forever spinning in our minds - we'll forever doubt that he made it back to reality no matter how convincing it might have seemed.

It's actually quite brilliant, really and I'm absolutely sure that this is exactly how Nolan intended it.
10:59PM on 11/29/2010
Schrdinger's cat.
Schrdinger's cat.
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10:56PM on 11/29/2010
And the Oscar goes to...
And the Oscar goes to...
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2:18PM on 11/30/2010
hopefully the academy isn't thrown off by all the sweet action..
hopefully the academy isn't thrown off by all the sweet action..
3:45PM on 11/30/2010
Slumdog Millionare 2: Slum Harder
Slumdog Millionare 2: Slum Harder
10:37PM on 11/29/2010
"Sometimes I think people lose the importance of the way the thing is staged with the spinning top at the end. Because the most important emotional thing is that Cobbs not looking at it. He doesnt care."

That is what made the ending awesome. The fact that he had been through all of this chaos, and just to believe and be happy.

"Sometimes I think people lose the importance of the way the thing is staged with the spinning top at the end. Because the most important emotional thing is that Cobbs not looking at it. He doesnt care."

That is what made the ending awesome. The fact that he had been through all of this chaos, and just to believe and be happy.

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10:22PM on 11/29/2010
Yeah, I've never really felt it mattered whether the end is in the real world or still a dream. I would have been pissed if Nolan gave a definitive answer though. Part of the magic of Inception is that it leaves the door open for lots of theories. That's how you get imaginative stuff like the whole "It's a metaphor for filmmaking" thing. It's like watching 2001. I don't have answers and I don't want them.
Yeah, I've never really felt it mattered whether the end is in the real world or still a dream. I would have been pissed if Nolan gave a definitive answer though. Part of the magic of Inception is that it leaves the door open for lots of theories. That's how you get imaginative stuff like the whole "It's a metaphor for filmmaking" thing. It's like watching 2001. I don't have answers and I don't want them.
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10:12PM on 11/29/2010

FINAL SHOT THEORY

I've always believed that Cobb is finally awake; however, whether he is/isn't awake or not doesn't matter. He has chosen to finally believe that he is awake and that's HIS truth. Allowing himself to finally look at his children's faces.
I've always believed that Cobb is finally awake; however, whether he is/isn't awake or not doesn't matter. He has chosen to finally believe that he is awake and that's HIS truth. Allowing himself to finally look at his children's faces.
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