By Brain Hackett
Right here at this link is a collection of fan theories about films originally posterd over at Total Film. Some of them are pretty danged plausible, while others run the crackpot route. Now to be sure, theories are not new.
Hell, people have been theorizing about the connections between Tarantino's films since the idea sprung up that there could be any.
There's now a feature-length documentary about The Shining and it's "connection" with the Moon Landing, or at least Kubrick's supposed obsession with it.
Since I lack the energy or the focus to offer my take on all 50 of the aforementioned theories, I will instead offer my take on 5 theories of my choosing. See? All the pretension, but only at 1/10th the cost of reading! Ain't I just the best?
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead! If you haven't seen these movies than be careful of what you read!
The Theory: Joker didn't kill Batsy's parents. Poor psychotic Bruce Wayne projects that onto every criminal he faces.
My take: Given the shifting identity of the gunman in the Batman filmography from Burton's first one on, this one certainly makes one pause. It actually reminds me of a theory a friend of mine has that, were it not for sound proof otherwise, one could argue that each of Batman's villains represents a facet of Wayne's (very) cracked psyche. And taking into account that Burton's Batman was not only not bound by Nolan's Golden Rule (i.e.- The Bat does not kill), but his pure unfettered rage and single-minded pursuit of the man he deems responsible, even at the cost of the love of a woman who could actually save his soul, it seems to me that THIS particular (film) Bat might be so inclined to fix his festering amalgamation of emotions on one man. Travis Bickle would be proud.
The Theory: It isn't the top that's Leo's totem. His wedding ring is. He doesn't wear it in the "real" world, but he does wear it in the dream world.
My take: In a movie that continually defied you to keep up and sort out what was a dream and what wasn't, keeping track of a ring wasn't my main concern. That being said, it sounds like it DOES offer a more concrete guide to keeping track of things. One might argue that Nolan is such a specific, detail-driven director, and a fan of vague endings, that he would NEVER make a clue so...banal. But maybe that's precisely what he was counting on.
3) My Neighbor Totoro
The Theory: Totoro isn't a woodland guardian. He's the God of Death.
My take: Well...c'mon. Re-read that sentence and just try to tell me it doesn't change your entire perception of the movie and what it's REALLY about.
4) Inglourious Basterds/True Romance/Reservoir Dogs/Pulp Fiction
The Theory: Connected, these films are.
My take: Besides the obvious family ties, this forces a re-examination of Tarantino's films and, perhaps, just why they're so violent to begin with. Given the "historical" context of his films, going all the way back to Django Unchained, the connection between shocking violence and pop culture references suddenly seems a lot more potent and understandable. After all, if a freed slave and a bounty hunter could lay waste to an entire plantation, followed by Hitler's death in a movie theater some 80 years later, then why WOULDN'T hit men talk about the differences between fast food in America or Amsterdam, or a bunch of jewel thieves about a Madonna song?
5) Blade Runner
The Theory: Deckard isn't just a Replicant, he's also been implanted with the memories of Gaff.
My take: It certainly explains the always-slightly-askew with which Gaff views Deckard. Also, Deckard seems to be a man perpetually haunted and confused by dreams and memories that he's not always entirely sure are his own. This could be a big step in explaining some lingering questions.