Dear Bratty Friends,
Have you seen Inception with Leonardo DeCaprio, or Up in the Air with George Clooney? If you haven't, but are going to watch them, then read no further. I do talk about the endings of both films, and well, it just wouldn't be a surprise for you anymore.
Not that they were entirely a surprise to begin with!
I happened to have watched Up in the Air first, so I'll talk about that one first. It was supposed to be cute, heard it was enjoyable, so and so forth for a Clooney film. Yes, and no, the film wasn't funny per se, but did its job in making us believe that Mr. Clooney's character was on the run from his own life. Was too afraid to make "connections" with people - though he did catch his flights - to have a serious relationship.
Eventually, he meets this girl and a "high-flying" fling begins.
|George Clooney and Vera Farmiga.|
Which is cute, but also painful to watch at the same time, since in real life, we know that the role of confirmed bachelor might have seemed a bit too easy for the long-time bachelor to play. But then it gets worse. Clooney's character begins having feelings for Farmiga's and wants the BIG WANT - it's true, isn't it, that one person in a relationship seems to always want more than the other? - and he goes for it, only to get his heart broken. That's painful to watch, too.
BTW --- YES, I KNEW SHE HAD TO BE MARRIED! Well, duh!
Anyway, there is a movie with no real happy ending except that you can say his relationship with the woman brought him closer to his family than he'd been in years, and made him want something he'd never wanted, and then broke his heart.
Another movie, another broken heart.
But, that's not really the takeaway from this flick. Now, at first, this movie really really ticked me off. I found it largely comparable to The Matrix in that 1) it starts out with a very cool Premise - what IS reality, or which reality is REAL?, and 2) turns into a shoot-em-up.
This film has a fight/chase scene at 9:18 that lasts about 2 mins. another at 37:11 that last another 2 mins, another at 1:04 to 1:07, and at 1:22 to 1:31. But then - the entire last hour or so of the movie centers around fight/chase scenes in 3 different dream states at the same time.
So, that's over half the movie that's largely devoted to fighting in a frozen tundra setting, a high-speed chase scene in a van another level, and the last involves anti-gravity fighting in a hotel. The climax of the movie occurs at about 2:09, so there's lots of fighting/chasing before we get to the heart of the matter.
If in fact we ever do.
You see, the hero, like his other cohorts, is in three dreams simultaneously.
|THE VAN DREAM.|
|THE FROZEN TUNDRA DREAM.|
|THE HOTEL DREAM.|
Like all the other characters, DeCaprio's must wake up from all 3 dreams to come back to "reality" as we like to call it. But does he?
DeCaprio is also stuck in a dream made by his own subconscious, starring his dead wife, Mol.
|Cobb and Mol.|
He has some serious forgive and move on stuff to do here, which rescues an otherwise totally fight-scene plot by adding an element of internal risk to the screen. Can he forgive himself? For what, the viewer wants to know. Once they find out, and all is well, DeCaprio goes further, down into another dream to rescue one of the other characters - the guy who hired him in fact - Saito.
We see him go down to rescue him, but then.....what happens? Does he truly wake up in all three dreams? I think not.
You see, in the van chase sequence, the others escape the van just as it is crashing into the water. He is still buckled in when the others escape, soggy and tired, onto the shore. The next thing we see is him "rescuing" Saito and then this:
From there, he gets his "happy ending" or does he? Isn't he dead?
Only the spinning token will tell us for sure:
And the film cleverly cuts off before it shows us whether the token falls over, proving whether this is yet another dream, or if it's "reality."