Now if you haven't seen Inception, you're going to want to bookmark this one for later, because things might get a little spoilery in a minute. Within the story, our gang uses Edith Piaf's classic Non, je ne regrette rien as an audio cue that tells them it's time to 'wakey, wakey', and at the time I just assumed that the in-joke was the title of the tune ("No, I Regret Nothing") in the context of the narrative. But it's very possible that the song is much more than that. After a closer look, it appears that Zimmer's theme sounds an awful lot like Piaf's song (just slowed down) because that's exactly what Zimmer wanted it to sound like (the composer even said as much in a recent interview). In fact, the two pieces of music sound so similar that there is already a debate surrounding whether or not Zimmer could be ineligible for an Oscar nomination.
One of the most striking things about Nolan's flick was the score, and it would hardly come as a surprise for Nolan to give a subtle wink to the audience through the film's main theme. The oppressive 'bong' that would accompany every trailer was a calling card, and I don't know about you, but it gave me chills each and every time I heard it. Just to be clear, I don't want to go overboard on the 'it's all a dream' theory about the film, but you have to admit it's kind of clever to include us (the audience) in the action, and as that theme plays one last time during the credits, you can't help but wonder if that's the audience's cue to finally 'wake up' too.
But I won't get ahead of myself, because the best thing about Nolan's film is that in the midst of action sequences, big Hollywood budgets and stars is a film that holds up to a little intellectual discussion. So what do you think: Is Zimmer's score another clue to solving Nolan's riddle, or just a harmless nod to the folks out there in the dark? Leave your theories for the musical similarities in the comments below.