While filmmaker Christopher Nolan has a reputation for coming up with complex, “mind-blowing” stories despite the fact that, truthfully speaking, none of his films are really all that hard to follow, he certainly does have a knack for crafting endings that leave the audience talking. Whether folks are sorting out a final reveal, debating over whether a top was or wasn’t spinning, or excitedly discussing the possibility of a new Joker in a potential sequel, those leaving a Christopher Nolan film aren’t likely to simply shrug their shoulders and turn their attention to deciding where they’re going to eat for dinner.
One of Nolan’s much-discussed endings is, of course, the conclusion to The Dark Knight Rises. People had plenty of theories about how Nolan was going to close out his Batman trilogy, and he came up with a slightly ambiguous yet also predictable way of tidying up the story. Regardless, there’s still some debate about what did and didn’t happen, and in a recent interview star Christian Bale weighed in with what he thinks The Dark Knight Rises ending means. Read on after the jump.
While promoting Exodus: Gods and Kings, Bale recently took part in a SiriusXM town hall-style Q&A set up by the folks at EW. As luck would have it, one of the audience members asked Bale if he thinks his final scene in The Dark Knight Rises—in which Wayne is having a nice lunch in Italy with new girlfriend Selina Kyle while Alfred watches from afar—was real or a dream:
“[Alfred] was just content with me being alive and [away from the Batman life] because that was always the life that he wanted for him. I find it very interesting and, with most films, I tend to always say it’s what the audience thinks it is. My personal opinion is no, it was not a dream. That was for real and he was just delighted that finally he had freed himself from the privilege but ultimately the burden of being Bruce Wayne.”
I was actually somewhat surprised to learn that there was some debate over whether the end of The Dark Knight Rises was real. Most thought a natural conclusion to Nolan’s Batman trilogy would end with Batman’s death, and it did in a way. But the whole “the Batwing was on autopilot when it exploded” reveal was set up earlier in the movie when Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox makes a reference to the autopilot on the Batwing. The final scene is up for interpretation, sure, but the storytelling is pretty clear that Bale’s Bruce Wayne had a very accessible escape plan.
Listen to the audio clip yourself below.