May 02 2012
I love a good mindf*** ending. The kind of ending that swoops in from some direction no one is looking and switches the whole story up. I like it because I have lived a crazy life, and can honestly say, the mindf*ck endings mimic situations in real life far more than the good guy getting the girl does. The happy endings (snickers) is far more elusive in real life than Hollywood has led you to believe. Life will throw you curveballs when you are least prepared for them. You will often be blindsided by the unexpected.
Sometimes, someone will step in from the sidelines that you didn’t even know was there, and change your whole life. It is the idea that one single moment can change the tone and tempo of every moment that came before it, therefore redefining the entire experience. Here are six endings with surprising twists the made the entire movies infinitely more enjoyable for me. And I also do my best to avoid the Fight Clubs and Sixth Senses we all have talked to death, and focus on a few lesser known films that some of you guys may have missed. Tread forth with caution, though, for a pack of vicious, underfed spoilers lay waiting in the brush ahead. I do my best to avoid dropping huge bombs, but some aspects of the films will be revealed.
This was my first viewing experience with spoilers and oh my God, did it set the tone for a lifetime filled with traumatic surprises. Honestly, I am indebted to this film for ruining me almost immediately upon viewing. Now, as a result of it, people can do some pretty strange stuff in front of me and I don’t react. There is no single moment that will ever catch me off guard as much as this moment did.
Let me do my best to explain a little further for those not familiar with this film. It all seems like a typical summer camp slasher movie, which, in the 80′s, was its own sub-genre. Kids are getting killed at a camp, and there is honestly nothing spectacular about the movie that would set it apart from all the other clones. Well, nothing until the end of the film, at which point it goes from zero to one hundred on a scale of pure mindf*ckery.
Here, rather than me explain it any further, why don’t you just watch this scene for yourself and try to figure out why I am starting the list with it. I do have to warn you though, this list is NSFW. Hell, this work is NSIYEWSA, which translates to: Not safe if you ever wanna sleep again.
Maybe you actually shouldn’t watch this.
And some people may watch this now and laugh, when you are nine years old, and you have NO concept of transgender people or hermaphrodites, it is pretty shocking. Hell, I still get freaked out by it. That look on her (it’s?) face, and that terrible screeching. Oh please, someone erase that terrible screeching from my subconscious? My poor, innocent eyes had no idea what was coming with that film, and I still shudder as a result of it.
Anyone who has followed any of my pieces on this site have seen an unspoken but constant trend, and that trend is Edward Norton. From lists about shocking moments in mainstream films, to lists about awesome movie speeches, it just seems that anytime I have to write about exceptional examples in film, that he is somewhere nearby. And with good reason, the man chooses brilliant films. From a weed dealer to a schizophrenic to a skinhead, his roles are never less than challenging, and never less than stellar. But this was the first time I ever saw Edward Norton, and I walked away in silent awe.
This is one of those endings where you walk away feeling played, and that is exactly the feeling they were trying to convey. It was a chilling portrayal into the (extremely manipulative) mental state of Norton’s character, who you come to find out did kill the priest he was accused of killing, and killed him in a completely sane state of mind. He then manipulated the shit out of the Richard Gere lawyer character, thusly convincing him that his character had a split personality.
Here we see Norton doing his best DeNiro eye squint impression.
And the best part of the twist? The fact that the submissive character we see throughout the entire film is the made up personality, and the insane, over the top side of him is the real him. And the fact that he just thanks the Gere character and just walks away is even more chilling.
It also introduced me and the the rest of the movie watching world to Edward Norton’s penchant for playing people with two incredibly different sides (Hulk, Fight Club and Leaves of Grass as just a few examples). A great ending to a wonderfully manipulative ride.
I love this movie, and I find the ending to it to be one of the most disturbing and bleak endings of any film I have ever seen, and I have seen some terribly nihilistic films (another reoccurring theme for me). This is a movie about a college professor, played with usual aplomb by Jeff Bridges, who suspects his new neighbors of being terrorists. Do not be mistaken, though. These neighbors are not your typical Hollywood versions of third world terrorists.
No, what makes this film so terrifying is the fact that his neighbors are apple pie cooking, baseball loving Americans. Tim Robbins plays the neighbor, and does and delivers an absolutely mesmerizing performance, that, in my opinion, is a more honest and chilling portrayal of evil than I have ever seen. Honestly, I almost feel compelled NOT to spoil the ending of this film , because I truly believe too few of you have seen it, and I don’t want to ruin the sad realization the viewer gets hit with the exact second the Jeff Bridges character does.
When Tim Robbins is not in terrible comedies, he is awesome.
Hitting just two years before 9/11, this movie was almost too timely for some, and too chilling for others, and it slipped under the radar. Now that the proverbial and literal dust has settled, though, do yourself a favor and pick it up. I specifically did not ruin the ending in this piece, just so you could enjoy this experience as much as I did.
There are rumors of an American remake to this South Korean revenge flick, so this is another one I will deliberately dance around, so as to avoid huge spoilers. But I will say, though the whole movie acts as one giant, 2 hour mindf*ck, it is when we find out the master plan behind the whole series of events, we are as sickened by it all as the main character is. He cuts out his tongue when finds out the truth, I bleached my eyeballs. Honestly, this movie is perfectly executed, it was worth the burning of my retinas to see it though, honestly.
In the first half hour of this movie, the lead is forced to endure some things so terrible, that you cannot imagine it gets any worse for him. Once he starts getting his revenge, you are just rooting for him. It makes you even happier when you find out he has found love and a reason to live again in the midst of all this madness.
Best. Scene. Ever.
But then you find out that, well, he was a puppet, every single move he made was calculated and planned by other people, and you are crushed. And that is not even the big reveal. The big reveal actually involves his newfound love and some loose ends in his former life. Hold on, I need to vomit.
Anyway, see this film, right now, and see what I am dancing around. Those who have seen the film know what I speak of as they read this, and those who have not need to go find out right now.
Oh, and pay attention, Oldboy has the single greatest, one shot action scene ever. Sorry John Woo. By the way , this film is just one in a trilogy of revenge movies. Some site Sympathy For Lady Vengeance as the superior film with some great twists, but Oldboy gets you to the meat and potatoes quicker, and Sympathy is a slower build that loses some people on the way to the payoff.
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