One of the most exciting things about going to see a new Christopher Nolan film is precisely that: it’s a new Christopher Nolan movie. One of the few name directors of his generation, audiences flocked to his 3-hour-long psychological drama Oppenheimer on July 21.
Was it partly because it shared the day with the Barbie cast, sure, but Oppenheimer’s $80 million-plus opening weekend can be credited to the Nolan brand alongside Barbenheimer. This is a filmmaker known for the grandiose, the vast, and the frantic search for existential understanding. His best movies share one thread, the very human desire to understand.
This is why ‘Inception ending explained’ is one of the most searched movie analyses on the internet. But we don’t need a video essay to solve the puzzle of how Nolan himself perceives that final shot of the spinning top after all these years; he has told us what it meant to him.
On the Happy, Sad, Confused podcast, he shared he’s been asked about it countless times. “I haven’t been asked that in a while, thankfully. I went through a phase when the film came out where I was asked it a lot. I would make the mistake of getting caught outside a screening where everybody was, you know.”
“I think it was Emma Thomas who sort of pointed out the correct answer, really,” he said of the teasing final shot of the movie which zooms in on the spinning top used to discern reality from dream, hinting that all may not be as it seems. “Leo’s [Leonardo DiCaprio] character – the point of the shot is that the character doesn’t care at that point. It’s not a question I comfortably answer.”
So, while the internet has been bending over backward for over a decade wondering if the spinning top fell or continued rotating, it wasn’t really the point after all.
For more on 2023’s new movies, dig into the Oppenheimer cast and check the Oppenheimer age rating to plan your outing to your local multiplex. We’ve also done research on the Oppenheimer true story. You can also check out our Oppenheimer review to see how the cookie crumbled, was set on fire, and got eviscerated entirely.