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David Carter

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325055

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325055.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

The Ending: Dreams, Reality and Ambiguity

The Ending: Dreams, Reality and Ambiguity

(p.99) 8. The Ending: Dreams, Reality and Ambiguity

David Carter

Liverpool University Press

This chapter evaluates the ambiguous ending of Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010). Nolan has left the audience with the challenge of the final shot of Cobb's spinning top. The image abruptly cuts to black while it is still spinning, though it does appear to wobble a little. It can be argued that the fact that it does not fall indicates that the final scene of Cobb's reunion with his children is also inside a dream. On the other hand, the fact that it wobbles suggests that it is about to fall, indicating that Cobb is indeed back in the 'real world'. Of course, the shot was designed to be deliberately ambiguous, to force the audience to look back at the film and reflect on the nature of dreams and of films and the relations of both to what one considers, often unquestioningly, to be the 'real world'.

Keywords:   ambiguity, Christopher Nolan, Inception, dreams, real world

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