In an interview with Wired about his movie Inception, director Christopher Nolan is questioned about an ambiguous scene in the film:

So, there’s no one right answer.

Oh no, I’ve got an answer.

You do?!

Yeah. I’ve always believed that if you make a film with ambiguity, it needs to be based on a true interpretation. If it’s not, then it will contradict itself, or it will be somehow insubstantial and end up making the audience feel cheated. Ambiguity has to come from the inability of the character to know — and the alignment of the audience with that character.


Nolan’s point here underscores an important factor in interpreting any “text,” be it a blockbuster film, a child’s cry, or the Bible itself: Ambiguity is an attribute of appearance —- not an indicator of reality.

A concept may very well be masked in ambiguity, but the underlying reality must be just that —- real, true, and objective.

Articles by Jared Bridges

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