10 Frustrating Movie Endings Explained
Some confusing movie endings are, well, confusing. But others actually do wrap things up, even if it’s nearly impossible to figure out how.
By Eric Alt
Christopher Nolan’s big budget remake of Dreamscape had an ending that immediately got everyone talking. Leonardo DiCaprio whips out a tiny spinning top, which is a “totem” (an object dream technicians carry to connect them to the real world). We are told the top will keep spinning and never fall if Leo is in the dream world. So in an effort to determine whether or not he has truly been reunited with his children or whether he’s merely in a dream, he consults the totem. It spins … and spins … and spins … and faintly wobbles … and CUT TO BLACK THE MOVIE ENDS. Goddammit.
So did it fall? Was this real? People claim you can hear the top fall after the credits roll, but they are, to put it gently, wrong as f*ck. Nolan, who also directed the The Prestige, pulled the classic magician’s trick of misdirection, or focusing your attention on the wrong thing. The top was never Leo’s totem — it was his wife’s. Leo’s totem was his wedding ring. When he’s wearing it, he’s in the dream world. When he’s not wearing it, he’s in the real world. The top is just a distraction from Leo’s left hand. And since he’s not wearing the ring as the movie ends, he’s not in a dream.