Many have talked about Inception being one of the best films released, not just in 2010, but in the past decade. I wouldn’t say they are wrong either. So for my next installment of Their Best Scene (read the first one on Revenge of the Sith), it was pretty easy for me to choose this film to go with. The hard part being which scene?
There are so many iconic moments in this movie visually, that it’s hard to decide on just one scene in this film to call the best. However, I’ve deliberated long and hard on this one, and have come to the conclusion that the final scene is of the most importance to this film.
This also happens to be one of the most hotly debated scenes in the film, as it cuts off before the audience can learn whether or not Cobb (DiCaprio) is still inside a dream, or has made it out into the real world. Fans stand on both sides of the argument, and have presented some pretty awesome theories on why their beliefs on the ending is correct. I’m not going to go through all of that, simply because I don’t feel it’s necessary…and it’s also my reason for it being the best scene.
Of course the scene starts a little before this, but YouTube surprisingly doesn’t have this scene in good quality.
The reason I’m calling this final moment, the best scene, is because at this point in the story of Cobb, it doesn’t really matter whether or not he’s stuck in a dream. The top can keep spinning, or it could fall, but either way, he’s achieved peace with himself.
Let’s face it, Cobb’s past is really the main story of the film. The mystery that unravels about what he did, and the set-up is all about his journey to get home with his kids. His character goes through some very radical changes as the movie progresses as well, and it’s the ending that shows just how far he’s come along as a person and it goes with one of the deeper themes in the movie.
At the beginning of the film, it’s easy to see just how obsessed and paranoid Cobb has become with ‘reality’ and ensuring that he’s in the real world. It’s understandable actually, given the parameters of the universe the story resides in, but you can tell, he’s very on edge about it all (just think on an early scene where he’s holding the gun to his head with the top spinning). As the film progresses, you can see this obsession continue and even become more desperate as the secrets of his past start creeping up on him.
Yet, in this final scene, Cobb walks away upon seeing his kids. He doesn’t even think twice about it, and that’s a very powerful statement for his character. Through reliving his past, and finally confronting the memory of his deceased wife, he learned that the only thing that mattered was one’s own perception of reality.
He decided that his children are the only thing he cares about anymore, and he wants to be with them…regardless. His desire to be with his kids becomes his reality and that’s all that really matters at that point. Throughout the entire film, he fought down looking at his kids faces, worried that he’d be trapped in the dream if he did so, but he willingness to simply walk away from his totem shows that he no longer cares. The only reality he cares about is his family.
That’s what makes this scene so impactful. It shows how far Cobb has developed as a character, and how he’s really changed based on the experiences of this final job. It also goes with the themes of the movie, that your reality is what you make of it. You choose what your reality is and what’s most important to you (which is really hit upon early in the scene where they’re recruiting the drugs guy, who’s keeping all the old men in a dream state, because that’s where they want to be).
So really, it doesn’t matter what the top does in the end, because the character and the story has grown beyond it. Because this scene shows the dramatic change in Cobb, and the really presents the overall theme of the story, I’m labeling it the best/most important scene in this film.