Celebrated director Christopher Nolan has been on quite a roll, becoming one of Hollywood's most prominent major players since his 2000 breakout Memento. Among the litany of questions fans have about his work, the spinning top ending to his 2010 epic Inception seems to be the highest in the pecking order. In fact, if you type "Inception" into Google the first auto-complete returns with "Inception Top."

As the film ends, Leonardo DiCaprio's character Cobb returns home to his children, spinning the aforementioned top on a tabletop, with the film cutting out before the audience can determine if the top will stop spinning or not. For those who may have not seen the film, the top's spinning is significant because it's the only way one can tell if they're in a dream-state sequence or not: if it stops spinning, you're in present reality; if it continues to spin, you're still within the dream.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony for Princeton University in New Jersey, the London-born writer and director attempted to answer the conundrum, 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. The camera moves over the spinning top just before it appears to be wobbling, it was cut to black."

"I skip out of the back of the theatre before people catch me, and there’s a very, very strong reaction from the audience: usually a bit of a groan. The point is, objectively, it matters to the audience in absolute terms: even though when I’m watching, it’s fiction, a sort of virtual reality. But the question of whether that’s a dream or whether it’s real is the question I’ve been asked most about any of the films I’ve made. It matters to people because that’s the point about reality. Reality matters."

So, in actuality, no - Nolan did not certifiably answer the given question. Rather, he indicates that the certainty of the outcome, no matter how much the audience may want to know, isn't as important as how the character feels in the given environment.

Good ol' Nolan.

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