Michael Caine Offers A Definitive Explanation Of Inception’s Ending


Is the final scene of Inception a dream or reality? That’s the question that fans of Christopher Nolan’s seminal mind-bending movie have been debating even since it arrived to unanimous acclaim back in 2010.

To jog your memory, the film ends with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Dom Cobb being reunited with his kids. To check if this is real, he spins his totem – a spinning top – one last time. However, the scene cuts to black before we can see if it falls or not.

Eight years after we first pondered the true meaning of this ending, star Michael Caine has now revealed what could be the definitive explanation for Inception‘s final sequence. While introducing a screening of the film in London, Caine spoke about how he was confused himself about the scene when shooting it. This led him to ask Nolan for clarification, with the actor recalling the following:

“When I got the script of Inception, I was a bit puzzled by it, and I said to him, ‘I don’t understand where the dream is.’ I said, ‘When is it the dream and when is it reality?’ He said, ‘Well, when you’re in the scene it’s reality.’ So, get that — if I’m in it, it’s reality. If I’m not in it, it’s a dream.”


So, there you have it. If you’ll remember, Caine played Dom’s father-in-law in Inception and it was he who picked Dom up from the airport and took him to his kids. Seeing as Caine was in this final scene, that must mean – going by Nolan’s measure of reality – that the film ended on a genuinely happy note and Cobb wasn’t still stuck in a dream.

For those who prefer the idea that the ending’s a dream, however, it’s worth remembering that Nolan’s been keen to preserve the ambiguity of the scene in the past, so it’s possible that the last sequence doesn’t prescribe to this rule about Caine’s involvement. The director has even suggested that he believes Cobb’s not in the real world, saying:

“The way the end of that film worked, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Cobb — he was off with his kids, he was in his own subjective reality. He didn’t really care anymore, and that makes a statement: perhaps, all levels of reality are valid.”

Tell us, what’s your personal take on Inception‘s ending? Do you agree with Caine’s apparently final word on the subject, or do you feel differently? Have your say in the comments section down below.

About the author


Christian Bone

Christian Bone is a Staff Writer/Editor at We Got This Covered and has been cluttering up the internet with his thoughts on movies and TV for a full decade, ever since graduating with a Creative Writing degree from the University of Winchester. He can usually be found writing about anything Marvel or DC. And yet, if you asked him, he'd probably say his favorite superhero film is 'The Incredibles'.