it’s not often that i see a film twice in the theater. it wasn’t quite as good this time around in large part because i spent so much mental energy trying to make all the puzzle pieces fit together. when i watched it the first time the mystery of it all kept it really interesting even though i was constantly trying to figure out where it was going and where it was. this time around i was trying to put it all together and looking for clues throughout.
i’m more convinced this time around that the whole film is a dream. there are little clues throughout that would indicate as much. when leo is in mombasa a few unlikely things happen which seem unrealistic – the tightly spaced buildings which leo is forced escape through and the unlikely arrival of saito to bail him out. also when being chased through mombasa one of the henchmen says something like “are you dreaming now?” when chasing after him. easy to miss unless you’re looking for it, as i was.
another big one to me was in the final dream layer when ellen page enters leo’s dream where they hope to get mol to release fischer. that layer seemed like it was an elaborate catharsis that leo dreamt up to rid his mind of mol once and for all. it doesn’t make sense that anything he did in that last layer would affect the next layer up because the next layer up was fischer’s dream, not leo’s. however, if the entire film was leo’s dream then that final layer could affect the previous layers. otherwise i don’t understand how the final layer could affect any of the higher layers. of course these points are in addition to the points (like the fact that the kids look the exact same [same clothes, same posture] in the end as they do in his visions) i mentioned in my previous review.
ultimately i don’t know if we can know what nolan’s intentions were. we can continue to guess – the whole thing is mol’s dream, the “reality” layer is reality and he’s back with his kids (face value), the whole movie up to the point where leo wakes up on the plane was a dream, etc. i suppose there’s some support for all of them. ultimately it’s a good experience so i guess that’s all that matters.Watched in theater