Inspired after watching The Prestige recently and acknowledging so many ghastly villains in the last month it got me thinking about the vast array of twist endings that have been exploited throughout the world of film. Some have been not so awful, and some have been pretty terrific. Here is a list of the good as we can continue to ignore the bad.
10. Scream (1996)
It may not be like me to include a horror flick in the top ten, especially when the trick ending is a common specialty along with shock humor or violence, but Scream was another animal entirely. Not only was it a clever film making fun of it’s own genre, it’s genuine provocation of fear and intensity proved extremely unpredictable.
The Twist: Two Killers
9. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
This may be old news now, but the shock around the world when you heard Vader’s deep wickedly evil voice utter, “Luke I’m your father………” was a completely mind numbing to all Star Wars fans. Not only had Luke made out with his sister, but his father was the most evil man in the galaxy. The question of Lucas’s intention with that twist is still debated today.
The Twist: Obviously Vader is Lukes Daddy.
8. The Others (2001)
I’m a huge fan of this quiet flick anyway, and it probably would make it on another one of Kai from “The List” posts about movies you should see that you may never have heard of. The Others is far from your typical horror film, or anything ever created honestly. Nicole Kidman’s performance drives the oppressive mood that eventually leads to what is still one of the most thought provoking twists in film I’ve ever seen.
The Twist: It turns out the mother and her children are the ghosts, not that the house is haunting, they are the ones haunting the house.
7. Fight Club (1999)
Like Empire Strikes Back everyone knows about the finale of Fight Club and what the whole spin is, but what people need not forget is how joyous the journey to that inevitable revelation actually is. Watching this the first time when it was released it’s not difficult for me to say that I was completely floored and enamored by the films final resolve and it still kicks ass to re-watch again and again.
The Twist: Tyler Durden is actually the split personality of “The Narrator”.
6. The Prestige (2006)
Having only seen this recently I admit to still feeling the whirlwind of this film. Early on the films final explanation was easily cast aside, and in fact almost flaunted in plain sight, which makes it all the more delicious to go back and watch again. Even though the wool is clearly pulled over your eyes, it is an epic tale of fact, fiction, and illusion.
The Twist: Angier may have found the scientific trick to cloning when all along all Alfred did was live a double life with a twin brother living as one person with both a mistress and a wife that didn’t even know they were two people.
5. Memento (2001)
The plot makes one hundred different twists and turns that would have been shocking if even told in it’s actual chronological order, but the bewilderment of Lenny and the fact that he forgets what’s transpired the next day, though the viewer always remembers, is absolutely genius in it’s construction. The way Lenny, when confronted with certain horrific truths, manipulates and uses his own disorder to bring vengeance and order against those that have used and betrayed him is brilliant.
The Twist: He accidentally killed his own wife, but in order not to deal with it focused his short term memory on Teddy instead.
4. Se7en (1995)
An interesting twist, we don’t see the actual killer until the end of the film, but it’s anticipated arrival did not let us down. John Doe, played by Kevin Spacey, was not only articulate but actually makes his argument for his deeds seem almost plausible, even agreeable. The end in which there has been much speak of over the years (What’s in the box????????) is shocking, twisted, and absolutely appalling, but it is Check Mate.
The Twist: John Doe orchestrated the whole symphony and planned his own death.
3. Primal Fear (1996)
Aaron, this sweet and innocent young boy has been accused of killing his priest. Richard Gere plays the lawyer defending him and Laura Linney is the lawyer prosecuting him. As the trial unfolds a seemingly open and close case becomes very complicated and things become unveiled about Aaron that no one would have anticipated.
The Twist: It was all an act. There was no split personality.
2. The Usual Suspects (1995)
Kevin Spacey sits in the police station as “Roger ‘Verbal’ Kint” and tells the story of five criminals, how they met in a random police lineup and how they all banded together, and how they all, save Verbal, died.
The Twist: Kevin Spacey is Keyzer Sozei
1. Oldboy (2003)
Anyone who claims they saw this twist coming is either lying or so sickly depraved that I’m not sure you should be perusing the internet. In fact, go right now and check yourself into a mental ward. It’s that bad. A dark tragedy rang throughout Oh Dae-Su’s life and all that is left is the meaningless result of an insane persons brutal calculations. The way the film actually closes will have you shaking our head and wondering if he ever was more than a beast, and if he made the choice solely for himself.
The Twist: Oh Dae-Su has been tricked to fall in love and have sexual relationship with his own daughter.
The Sixth Sense,The Mist, Les Diabolique, Arlington Road, Unbreakable, The Game, Psycho, Planet Of The Apes, Soylent Green, 12 Monkey’s, Identity, Rosemary’s Baby, Shutter Island, The Sting, and Fallen