Inception was easily the most talked-about movie of the summer, if not one of the best. Combining the heist genre with the highest of high-concept science-fiction, it garnered glowing reviews, made bank at the box office, and inspired a million and one spoofs—not to mention upcoming films. With a single rotating hallway and a dozen or so wires, it even cemented itself within the annals of film history.
Following Inception‘s debut in theaters, questions arose about what the film’s true meaning was. (Our very own Kofi Outlaw’s detailed analysis of the film is one of the best you’ll find anywhere.)
Everybody and their grandmother wanted to know what Christopher Nolan truly intended, specifically with his ending. Was Leonardo Dicaprio’s character, Cobb, still in the dream-world? Or was he in that weird half-sleep, half-awake state where gremlins sit on your chest and talk to you?
Now, Sir Michael Caine claims to have the inside-track. While promoting his new autobiography on BBC Radio’s The Chris Moyles Show, Caine said of Inception’s ending:
“[The spinning top] drops at the end, that’s when I come back on. If I’m there it’s real, because I’m never in the dream. I’m the guy who invented the dream.”
I don’t mean to be a stickler here, but anything Michael Caine says about Christopher Nolan’s intended meaning for Inception’s ending technically qualifies as hearsay. And besides, every film critic—or professor of critical theory, for that matter—would happily tell you that it doesn’t matter one iota what the artist says his or her movie, book, play, painting, comic book, videogame, et cetera actually means. The author of the work is responsible for, at best, just one interpretation of said work. So just because Michael Caine says Christopher Nolan intended for Inception’s ending to exist in the real world, doesn’t make it so. It doesn’t mean that I was wrong, or you were wrong, or that my grandma was wrong—she’s pretty darn sure the whole movie was a dream, like Dallas season 8.
The point is, in 500 years, every living artist in the world today will be dead and buried (short of some technological miracle). It won’t matter what they said their work meant. It won’t matter what they believed their work meant. The only thing that’ll matter is the collective opinion of the people who read, watch, look at, and analyze their work. Historians, scholars, students, buffs, and so on. Descendants, yours and mine.
Michael Caine also briefly touched upon Batman 3, but only insofar as he confirmed that nobody knows anything about it save for Christopher Nolan, David Goyer, and Jonathon Nolan. He did indicate, however, that shooting for the sequel to The Dark Knight is likely to start in May.