I’m as big a fan of movies with twist endings as anyone else. However, I think there’s something to be said about a quality movie with a twist ending and then movies that just put in stupid twists for the hell of it. The former is what we’re talking about here. The latter can go eat it.
And I’m talking about the movies where there’s just no way you saw it coming, even though the movie gave you clues the whole way. When a movie does that and you still haven’t figured it out, then you know they’ve really accomplished something.
Here are 8 movies where the twist endings are amazing and I refuse to believe that any of you were able to figure them out the first time you saw these flicks.
*Obviously if you haven’t seen these movies, do not read this article
The Usual Suspects
Summary: Following a truck hijack in New York, five conmen are arrested and brought together for questioning. As none of them is guilty, they plan a revenge operation against the police. The operation goes well, but then the influence of a legendary mastermind criminal called Keyser Söze is felt. It becomes clear that each one of them has wronged Söze at some point and must pay back now. The payback job leaves 27 men dead in a boat explosion, but the real question arises now: Who actually is Keyser Söze?
The Twist: Turns out the man in the questions was in fact the infamous Keyser Soze. Let’s face it guys. There’s no way that any of you knew that Spacey was Keyser Soze.
Summary: An arrogant, high-powered attorney takes on the case of a poor altar boy found running away from the scene of the grisly murder of the bishop who has taken him in. The case gets a lot more complex when the accused reveals that there may or may not have been a “third person” in the room during the murder. The intensity builds when a surprise twist alters everyone’s perception of the crime and what really happened
Twist: The “third” person actually winds up being a split personality of Norton’s character that he made up to win the case based on insanity. When Norton says “Good for you Marty” at the end, it’s amazing.
P.S. This was one of Edward Norton’s best performances ever.
The Sixth Sense
Summary: Malcom Crowe is a child psychologist who receives an award on the same night that he is visited by a very unhappy ex-patient. After this encounter, Crowe takes on the task of curing a young boy with the same ills as the ex-patient. This boy “sees dead people”. Crowe spends a lot of time with the boy (Cole) much to the dismay of his wife. Cole’s mom is at her wit’s end with what to do about her son’s increasing problems. Crowe is the boy’s only hope
Twist: Crowe is in fact one of these dead people that Cole sees. It’s only at the ending that you realize this when his wife starts to get cold at night. Any fan of this movie that said they knew the ending is a complete liar.
Planet of the Apes – Original(1968)
Summary: Taylor and two other astronauts come out of deep hibernation to find that their ship has crashed. Escaping with little more than clothes they find that they have landed on a planet where men are pre-lingual and uncivilized while apes have learned speech and technology. Taylor is captured and taken to the city of the apes after damaging his throat so that he is silent and cannot communicate with the apes
Twist: Taylor realizes he’s been on earth all along when he sees a destroyed Statue of Liberty on the beach. He’s really been through a time warp. Ahhhhhhh!
Psycho – Original
Summary: Two people investigate Normal Bates, the owner of the Bates Motel after an acquaintance is brutally murdered in the shower by the owner’s mother.
Twist: The murderer is in fact Bates. Not only is he crazy enough to keep his dead mother’s corpse lying around. He actually has a dual personality and likes to dress in his mother’s clothing.
Summary: During a flight for a business trip, the narrator meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), who is a soap salesman. The narrator arrives home to find his apartment has been destroyed by an explosion. He calls Tyler and meets him at a bar. Tyler agrees to let the narrator stay at his home on the condition that the narrator hits him. The narrator complies and the two end up enjoying a fist fight outside the bar. The narrator moves into Tyler’s dilapidated house and the two return to the bar, where they have another fight in the parking lot. After attracting a crowd, they establish a ‘fight club’ in the bar’s basement.
Twist: Tyler and our Narrator are the same person. Durden is the alter ego or split personality of Norton’s character.
Summary: Nicholas Van Orton is a very wealthy San Francisco banker, but he is an absolute loner, even spending his birthday alone. In the year of his 48th birthday (the age his father committed suicide) his brother Conrad, who has gone long ago and surrendered to addictions of all kinds, suddenly returns and gives Nicholas a card giving him entry to unusual entertainment provided by something called Consumer Recreation Services (CRS). Giving up to curiosity, Nicholas visits CRS and all kinds of weird and bad things start to happen to him.
Twist: The entire time, the Game really was, well, a game. Van Orton was headed down the same path as his departed father, and so his brother Conrad presented him with a birthday gift that served as a giant yet intricate suicide intervention.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Summary: Fleeing the evil Galactic Empire, the rebels abandon their new base on Hoth. Princess Leia, Han Solo and the droids R2-D2 and C-3P0 escape in the damaged Millenium Falcon, but are later captured by Lord Darth Vader on Bespin. Skywalker, meanwhile, follows Ben Kenobi’s posthumous command and receives Jedi training by Yoda on Dagobah. Will Skywalker manage to rescue his friends from the dark lord?
Twist: “Luke, I am your father.” I think crowds across the country nearly sh*t themselves after hearing that line.
Honorable mention to 12 Monkeys, Memento, and Se7en