Yes, indeed, the concept of “mystery” is absolutely crucial to what makes a story compelling. But I think Abrams takes the idea too far, valorizing mystery for its own sake, rather than as motivation for the characters and the audience to try to solve the mystery. The reason why mysteries are interesting is because we want to figure them out! If they are simply irreducibly mysterious if there is no sensible explanation that ultimately makes sense of all the clues then it’s simply frustrating, not magical. ...
The end of Inception is quite famously amenable to more than one interpretation. ... This drives people crazy, trying to figure out which one is “right,” an impulse I think is misguided. It’s okay to accept that we don’t know all the answers! But in theses cases we understand quite well the space of all possible answers. There is no black box whose operation is simply mysterious. We don’t need to know all the final answers once and for all; but it’s better storytelling if we understand what the answers could be, and that they make sense to us.
A case for theology?
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