Michael Caine Explains the End of ‘Inception’, but Should He Have?

You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.

One of my most popular articles ever was the one I wrote following the release of Inception titled “Wake Up! Let’s Talk about ‘Inception’ – Here’s My Interpretation. It gave me an opportunity to work out my theories on the film and its ending and allowed readers to discuss their personal interpretations. At this moment it has over 440 comments and serves as the most read article on the site for 2010. Why? Not because my interpretation was some whirlwind interpretation, but because people wanted to read not only my opinion, but share their interpretations and read the opinions of others.

This was the beauty of Inception and Christopher Nolan’s decision not to end the film with a clear cut answer as to whether the top fell or continued to spin. It’s the reason you heard groans in the theater followed by laughter as audience members were waiting to see if it would fall and once they realized Nolan wasn’t going to tell them there was excitement and giddiness at the idea of the unknown.

Nolan was leaving it up to our imagination and our interpretation of what’s real and what isn’t. Who is the true architect and is Dom still dreaming or are those really his kids? Well, they look like the same kids but are they wearing different clothes? IMDb lists two separate sets of child actors for his kids. And so on, and so on. The debate continues and no one knows whether they’re right or wrong and that’s what makes it so great.

But wait. Hold on. Being the society we are, we’re unwilling to accept this idea of the unknown. Hell, we have our freaking iPads and WhatsamaGoogles and we damn well should be able to figure this out. So and so is on Twitter and he’ll probably tell us the answer.

First there were the endless number of charts made to “explain” Inceptionas if the dream levels were what was causing debate. Then there were the clever folks behind “plot hole”images that can’t even spell Michael Caine’s name correctly let alone understand Cobb’s wish wasn’t just to be the guy his kids visit in France on occasion, but to have an ongoing and active role in their lives and be their father again. I’m not positive, but I don’t think the authorities would take too kindly to a grandfather exporting his grandchildren out of the country to live with their fugitive father. The folks hunting Cobb down would certainly use that against him and something tells me this might raise a red flag. Moving on…

Next it was Dileep Rao over at Vulture adding his two cents, but this was merely his interpretation. Considering he was part of the cast his interpretation was interesting, but it was nonetheless an opinion no better than the rest of ours and doesn’t necessarily take things too far. However, costume designer Jeffrey Kurland began pulling the curtain backin early August and now Michael Caine has attempted to reveal the whole shebang as if Nolan handed him his playbook. And yes, if you don’t want your interpretation ofInception spoiled you should probably skip the next paragraph and continue reading below the image.

In an interview with BBC Radio’s The Chris Moyles Show (via Screenrant) Caine is quoted saying, “[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.”

Now you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not reallylooking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.
Photo: Warner Bros.

So there you have it. Mystery solved. The key to Borden’s journal has been revealed and the magician’s trick explained.

Ironically, just as I was reading Caine’s quote I was watching Criterion’s upcoming Blu-ray release of Ingmar Bergman’s The Magician and on the disc there is a short interview in which Bergman is asked about the “intention” of his latest film, Persona. You may find Bergman’s answer interesting:

If I’ve really managed to make a film that has sparked a debate it would be very tactless of me to barge in on that debate and talk about what I really meant by the film.

It would be tactless toward the audience, because I’m sure they all have their own interpretations, and tactless towards those commenting on it in the media, who might feel hurt if they found they’d misinterpreted the film.

Therefore I prefer not to say anything at all.

I played my part in this debate when I made the film.

As far as being “hurt”, as Bergman puts it, it isn’t that I feel hurt as much as I feel Caine is cheating people who may now find it useless to explore the film further, as they look for their own explanation and find it impossible to shake Caine’s words from their head. Personally, my interpretation suits me just fine and I will be watching the film again looking for further evidence to either back it up or shoot it down in support of another theory. So while I agree with Bergman’s statement, I think the one thing he’s missing is that no matter what, an artist’s intentions may be when it comes to their art, it doesn’t mean it’s the “only” way to view or interpret said art.

Sure, Caine is just one of the actors and it isn’t as if Nolan started blabbing, but considering Caine’s role in the film many will take his word to be the final word. Fortunately, I don’t think we’ll be hearing Chris Nolan explaining the ins and outs ofInception or confirming Caine’s statement any time soon. I would expect to hear him talk about Inception‘s ending just as much I anticipate he’ll offer a final explanation for the existence of a certain tattoo in Memento.

As for Caine’s interpretation, I’ve already swept it under the rug. In my interpretation of the film it doesn’t matter if the top falls or not so I guess his reasoning makes no difference either way to me. In fact my interpretation could actually shoot his down in terms of explaining whether or not the end of the film is a dream or not.

Nevertheless, that’s besides the point, I only hope anyone that reads his opinion does the same as I have and just pass it off as another opinion and leave it at that. When movies leave the door open for the audience to make their own interpretation, and engage us along the way, there are few things better if you ask me.




The Mystery Of Inception’s Ending Solved?

The Mystery Of Inception's Ending Solved? image
Everyone who’s seen Inception has walked out of the theater with one question on their mind: Was Cobb still in the dream?
When the movie ends Cobb totem is still spinning and we’re left to wonder whether or not it stops. I’ve always believed that he was still dreaming, in large part because of his kids.

When the movie ends Cobb is reunited with his children for the first time after a long separation. But to me, it appeared as though they hadn’t changed from his vision of them in his dreams. They appear to be around the same age as the kids in his memory and they even seem to be wearing the same clothes as the kids in his dream. That would seem to be impossible if Cobb is truly in reality since, the odds that they’d both happen to be wearing exactly the same outfits as his fantasy version of them, are pretty slim.

But The Playlist has uncovered an interview with Inception costume designer Jeffrey Kurland who claims that, even though they may not seem different, the kids clothes are in fact not the same. He insists, “the children’s clothing is different in the final scene… look again…”

That’s huge. If the kids clothing really is different then Cobb, who always imagined them the same way when in a dream, is no longer in a dream and actually in reality. On my second viewing of the film I tried to play close attention to what they were wearing in the movie’s final scene, and to me the clothing looked identical. But Kurland dressed them, and since he would know, I’m inclined to take his word for it. I doubt this will end the ongoing debate, but for me at least, that pretty much solves the mystery of Inception. Cobb isn’t dreaming, the totem does spin off the table after the credits, and reality triumphs in the end.

– By Josh Tyler

The Architect

Interpretation of the Architect from The Matrix Reloaded 

Matrix Reloaded is filled with information, ideas, and amazing visuals that all have a reason for being there. Some ideas are new, some conflict with information from The Matrix, and some are just confusing as hell. We’ve seen it a bunch of times (and on IMAX too – wow!), and there’s still plenty of room for multiple interpretations of what’s on the screen. Though these interpretations are still fairly fresh, we wanted to start publishing some of our ideas.

The Architect
For a lot of people one of the most confusing scenes in Reloaded is Neo’s discussion with The Architect. Coincidentally, this is probably the most critical scene in the movie. Everything that’s come before is put into question by what the Architect says, and everything yet to come in Revolutions will be influenced by his message. Keep in mind that The Architect may be deliberately misleading Neo. We don’t buy that. We’re assuming he has no reason to mislead Neo, and are taking what he says as truth.
The Matrix Reloaded: The Architect
The Architect is the ‘father’ of the Matrix. He’s an entity from the machine world and he designed the original ‘failed’ Matrix and the current ‘successful’ one. The first Matrix failed because it was too perfect. It was a virtual paradise, a utopia for humanity. Unfortunately, humans are not accustomed to living in a perfect world, and the test subjects rejected the simulation because it just wasn’t right. The second Matrix he designed more closely resembled the ‘real world’ of 1999: it was hard, it was dirty, it had death, violence, war, atrocities, and everything else a flawed species would likely create for itself. This one also failed, but for reasons that the Architect couldn’t figure out. Another machine program (one created to investigate aspects of the human psyche) stumbled upon the reason for the second failure: a lack of choice. If humans were offered a choice, even one felt at an unconscious level, then over 99% would accept the Matrix and live in the virtual world, unknowingly powering the machines. The remaining percentage would choose the other option, becoming a ‘free mind’ destined to become part of the human resistance based in Zion.
The Matrix Reloaded: Neo & The Architect
Neo is understandably floored by this revelation. Zion is another level of control by the machines over humanity. It was designed by the machines as a destination for the malcontents that reject the Matrix – a place for them to believe they are free, and deceive them into thinking they have an opportunity to free the world. In fact, the machines have a necessary cycle, one that’s been played out five previous times: Zion is built up by those who free themselves from the Matrix, the war intensifies, the One is located, trained, and directed by the prophecy to the Source, the machines destroy Zion, the One picks 23 people to free from the Matrix to begin rebuilding Zion (with no prior knowledge that Zion ever existed), and the cycle begins anew. This is the sixth time this has happened. Neo is the sixth One. The machines have destroyed Zion five times before. This cycle is likely what the movie’s title refers to – each time the cycle begins again, the Matrix is reloaded. It’s also a necessary evil for the Matrix – until the Architect can achieve 100% acceptance of the Matrix and eliminate the need for the One, this cycle must play out as described or the system will become unstable and crash.
The Architect offers each One a choice: behind door number one is the continued existence of humanity. Behind this door the current version of Zion is destroyed, but the One selects 23 people to build the next version. Humanity lives on in a cycle of controlled futility as the machines allow them their ‘rebellion’. Prior Ones were chosen because of their deep connection to humanity – this connection ensures that they choose the door that leads to the continued existence of humanity. The other door leads to continued resistance, which ensures a massive system crash of the Matrix killing everyone in it. Since Zion is about to be destroyed either way, this choice results in the extermination of mankind.
The key difference this time around is that Neo loves Trinity – his connection to fellow humans is there, but its intensity and focus is stronger than any previous One. This leads Neo to an unexpected (by the machines) choice – he doesn’t choose the door to ‘save’ Zion, he chooses the other door and he’s the first to do so. In making this choice, all bets are off. Everything changes. This is not a path the machines expect, and it may not be one they are fully prepared for. Ultimately, making this choice to reject the cycle of machine control is likely the one chance humanity actually has to break free of the machines and overthrow their masters.
These revelations throw into question everything we (and Neo) learned in the first movie. The prophecy isn’t true: the One is not meant to free mankind, just to further ensure their servitude to the machines. This will have a profound impact on Morpheus, as his whole existence is based on the prophecy. His entire purpose is to find and train the One. We’ll have to see how he handles it in Revolutions.
The Matrix Reloaded: The Architect's Monitors
Also, it’s very likely that the path of the One is meant to end with him/her becoming the beginning of the prophecy in each version of the Matrix. The end IS the beginning. Consider what Morpheus tells Neo in the first Matrix: “When the Matrix was first built there was a man born inside that had the ability to change what he wanted, to remake the Matrix as he saw fit. It was this man who freed the first of us and taught us the truth – When he died, the Oracle prophesied his return and envisioned that his coming would hail the destruction of the Matrix.” It seems likely that this “man born inside” is simply the previous One, fulfilling his last duty to the cycle, before it begins anew.
Some side notes regarding The Architect: his wall of video monitors actually appears briefly in the first movie! Immediately after Neo is apprehended at MetaCorTechs, and before he is interrogated by Agent Smith, the camera slowly zooms in on several video monitors showing Neo sitting in the interrogation room. The Architect was watching Neo even before he was awakened by Morpheus and his crew. Also, I believe the encounter with The Architect, or the close proximity to the Source, produced a change in Neo – I believe this encounter is responsible for Neo’s newfound ability in the ‘real world’ when he stops the sentinels near the end of Reloaded. But not all believe as I do…

A Poem By Adolf Hitler

From John Toland’s biography of Hitler Vol 1 page 140  Written in 1923.

When your mother has grown older.
And you have grown older,
When what was formerly easy and effortless
Now becomes a burden,
When her dear loyal eyes
Do not look out into life like before,
When her legs have grown tired
And do not want to carry her any more-
Then give her her your arm for support,
Accompany her with gladness and joy.
The hour will come when, weeping, you
Will accompany her on her last journey!
And if she asks you, answer her.
And if she asks again, speak also.
And if she asks another time, speak to her
Not stormily, but in gentle peace!
And if she cannot understand you well,
Explain everything joyfully;
The hour will come, the bitter hour
When her mouth will ask no more!

– Adolf Hitler , 1923


Richard Wagner's daughter-in-law escorts Adolf Hitler during the Bayreuth festival

Hitler was the perfect boss: Former maid breaks her silence on the ‘charming’ dictator

History has condemned him as the megalomaniac who brought death and misery to millions.
But for one woman, the name Adolf Hitler evokes a smile not a shudder.
She is Rosa Mitterer, who worked as a maid for the Fuhrer at his mountain retreat in Bavaria in the 1930s.
Rosa is 91 and until now has kept a vow of silence about her experiences. She has chosen to break it after realising she is the last survivor of the circle who served the tyrant in the years before he launched the Second World War.

Rosa Mitterer

91-year-old Rosa Mitterer is the sole survivor of those who served Adolf Hitler in the years before the Second World War

And her verdict on her former master: ‘He was a charming man, someone who was only ever nice to me, a great boss to work for. You can say what you like, but he was a good man to us.’
Rosa’s remembrances of life at the court of the tyrant make gripping reading. She saw leading Nazis come and go. Himmler, the evil party secretary; Bormann, whom she described as a ‘dirty pig’; and the club-footed, sexually-obsessed propaganda minister Goebbels.
Rosa went into Hitler’s service at the age of 15 in 1932 when she was Rosa Krautenbacher. Her sister Anni had worked as a cook at Hitler’s Berchtesgaden retreat since the late 1920s.
‘She said he needed a housemaid and I would fit the bill,’ Rosa recalled. ‘I remember so clearly the first day I spoke to him in the kitchen. I said I was Anni’s sister and that made him smile, because Anni was his favourite. I only ever knew Hitler as a kindly man who was good to me.’

At the wedding of her sister (top row, far left)

A photo taken at Rosa’s sister’s wedding, which Hitler attended

His former housekeeper was Geli Raubal, with whom it was rumoured he had a love affair. ‘She shot herself in September 1931 and I was told as soon as I went to work for him that he was not to be approached on the anniversary of that day,’ said Rosa.
‘My sister and I shared a room that was directly over Hitler’s. We could hear him crying.’
For a long time she and Anni were the only servants in the home, known as Berghof.
Recalling her first direct request from her master, she said she was drying some porcelain cups when he came down the stairs.
‘Hello,’ he said softly. ‘Sorry to trouble you, but could you make me some coffee and bring some gingerbread biscuits to my study?’
Coming into such close proximity to Hitler made her feel faint, she said, but she soon became accustomed to life at Berghof.
‘I rose at 6am every day and put on a red-green dirndl with a white apron. My first task was to feed his dogs – he had three German shepherds at the beginning called Wolf, Muck and Blondi.

‘In those days, Hitler slept in his study. In it was an iron bed, one wardrobe, one table, two chairs and a shoebox. It was very modestly furnished. Beside the bed hung a picture of his mother.’
She added: ‘I didn’t have to be a Nazi party member or anything. After a while I relaxed a bit. Apparently it was Hitler’s orders that Anni and I be taken to church every Sunday because he thought this would be “good for us”.
‘Another time he came into the kitchen, saw me and said, “Ahh, I see our little one has grown a little plumper!”.’
Part of her duties involved sorting out the fan letters and presents that were delivered in their thousands to the house.
‘There were cigars, jars of jam, flowers, pictures,’ she recalled. ‘We gave most of them away to poorer peasant families nearby on Hitler’s orders.’
Her time in service also allowed her to see at close quarters the woman Hitler kept secret from his people throughout his rule – Eva Braun. ‘She was not so pretty close up,’ Rosa recalled.
‘Himmler was always there too, thinner than what he looked like in the photos, and Goebbels.
‘And Bormann, I didn’t like him at all. He was a dirty pig.’ By the end of 1934, the house was surrounded by minefields and SS checkpoints. Rosa said. ‘I felt like a prisoner instead of an employee.’
In 1935 she fell in love with local businessman Josef Amorts and handed in her notice. She was told she could leave immediately..
‘I only met Hitler once more, on December 10, 1936, when Anni married Herbert Doehring, manager of the Berghof. He came to the wedding and was nice to me, saying he missed me.’
Rosa married in 1939 and had three daughters. She later remarried. A great-grandmother, she now lives in Munich. After the war she had to confront the reality of the man for whom she had worked so willingly. And in particular the reality of the Holocaust.
‘That he had ordered such terrible things, I just couldn’t believe it,’ she said. ‘Even now, I prefer to remember the charming facets of his personality.’

adolf hitler

Charmer: Adolf Hitler, ‘the perfect boss’

Why do we still have big questions?

Information is expanding 10 times faster than any product on this planet – manufactured or natural. According to Hal Varian, an economist at UC Berkeley and a consultant to Google, worldwide information is increasing at 66 percent per year – approaching the rate of Moore’s law – while the most prolific manufactured stuff – paper, let’s say, or steel – averages only as much as 7 percent annually. By this rough metric, knowledge is growing exponentially. Indeed, the current pace of discovery is accelerating so rapidly that it seems as if we’re headed for that rapture of enlightenment known as the Singularity.

In fact, we may be nearly there. A decade ago, author John Horgan interviewed prestigious scientists in many fields and concluded in his book The End of Science that all the big questions had been answered. The world of science has been roughly mapped out – structure of atoms, nature of light, theories of relativity and evolution, and so on – and all that remains now is to color in the details.

So why do we still have so many unanswered questions? Take the current state of physics: We don’t know what 96 percent of the universe is made of. We call it “dark matter,” a euphemism for our ignorance.

Yet it is also clear that we know far more about the universe than we did a century ago, and we have put this understanding to practical use – in consumer goods like GPS receivers and iPods, in medical devices like MRI scanners, and in engineered materials like photovoltaic cells and carbon nanotubes. Our steady and beneficial progress in knowledge comes from steady and beneficial progress in tools and technology. Telescopes, microscopes, fluoroscopes, and oscilloscopes allow us to see in new ways and to know more about the universe.

The paradox of science is that every answer breeds at least two new questions. More answers mean even more questions, expanding not only what we know but also what we don’t know. Every new tool for looking farther or deeper or smaller allows us to spy into our ignorance. Future technologies such as artificial intelligence, controlled fusion, and quantum computing (to name a few on the near horizon) will change the world – that means the biggest questions have yet to be asked.