Does Leonardo DiCaprio’s spinning top tumble in the final scene of Inception, or does it continue spinning in perpetuity, confirming that he’s lost all grasp of reality and has no idea where he is in the cosmic dreamscape? If it feels real, does it matter if it’s not actually “real”? These are the questions that Christopher Nolan leaves us to contemplate.
It was inevitable that the same questions would be applied to Leo’s long-awaited Oscar win for his leading role in The Revenant. Did he finally win or was he just dreaming? (Unless we’re all trapped in some real-life-ish purgatory, he did actually win.) A correlating meme made the rounds, bringing levity to the Oscar moment and—for one UK top manufacturer—an increase in sales.
UK product designer Will Cutler attributes the surge for his Vorso MK1 top to the Leo meme. “I’m serious man,” said the 26-year-old. “I’m worried we won’t have enough stock.”
In the digital age, it’s difficult to imagine there being a sizable market for toy tops, but like most everything they have their niche. (The ForeverSpin, for example, raised $1.5 million on Kickstarter.) Cutler described the typical top customer as a 25 – 35-year-old male that works in an office but also “has a love for the outdoors.”
“Essentially, they’re pointless,” Cutler said of the top, “but when you spin it and it gets to the point when it appears motionless it’s … mesmerizing.”
There’s a lot of engineering that goes into achieving these “mesmerizing” long spin times. The top has to be made out of a heavy metal, like tungsten, and there are sundry decisions to be made about various mirrors and glasses involved in the construction. Well-designed tops can lead to extraordinary results, though. The record spin for the Vorso is reportedly 15 minutes 38 seconds—imagine if Leo had had to wait a quarter of an hour every time he wanted to check it he was dreaming. Inception would have been 17 hours long and he would’ve gone insane years earlier.
What do you think? Any interest in getting in on this top renaissance? Let us know in the comments.
IMAGE: Warner Bros/Inception