Arnold Battle! Total Recall: Was It All Just a Dream?
I was in the shower recently when my massive epigastric hernia (which goes by the name Kuato) started talking to me:
Quaid... Quaid... watch Total Recall again. Total Recall. Watch it again. Watch it twice.
That's all it wants to do, because if you were a massive, sentient mutated hernia, which movie would you want to see repeatedly? One with happy, attractive, hernia-free people chatting about dogs or relationships or whatever, or a science-fiction movie where the first-half of the plot hinges on finding the massive, sentient, mutated hernia that's going to save the solar system?
Yes, Total Recall. Another artifact of my basic cable besotted childhood. Another great Philip K. Dick adaptation done by Hollywood. Go figure! Another case for Paul Verhoeven to do what he does best, make a rollicking action movie that reminds us of how silly and venal it all can be sometimes. Also, there's the part where Arnold pulls a steel arm restraint right out of its chair and stabs a scientist through the head with it.
If you recall correctly, the movie ends on an ambiguous note. (And if you've somehow read down this far without seeing the movie in the past 21 years, there's about to be spoliers in a second).
The question is, was Arnold dreaming the whole time? Was the whole Mars plot all part of the 'spy action' set of memories he bought from the Rekall station at the beginning of the movie, and is he really just an ordinary construction worker living a life of quiet desperation? Or was it all real, and Quaid just saved Mars from the grip of that evil bastard Cohaagen?