Does the top that Dom Cobb spins at end of the movie eventually fall over?
BEST EXPLANATION: To quickly recap: if his “totem” falls, it means he now exists in reality, reunited with his two kids; if it continues to spin, he’s stuck in limbo, the children nothing more than a construct of his mind.
The Internet is filled with exegetical deconstructions of this scene. One such analysis compares the clothes worn by Cobb’s “real” kids and “memory” kids and notes that they’re played by two sets of actors—subtle “differences” that suggest he’s living in a real world.
Director Christopher Nolan wants to make interpretation difficult—he cuts away from the spinning toy with a maddening finality—even as he goes out of the way to present clues for both outcomes: The top’s odd wobble. A wedding band that’s missing in “real” world scenes. A customs agent who studies Cobb’s face a little too closely. A sly one, that Nolan guy.
But maybe too much emphasis is put on the top. What’s significant at the movie’s end is that Cobb—who we’ve seen constantly “testing” reality—actually walks away from his spinning totem. He may have come to a point that any existence in which he is reunited with his children is reality enough for him.
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