After watching Oldboy recently, I began to think about movies that have great surprise endings. There really isn't anything like a shocking twist to end a movie. One minute you think you know what's going on. The next, some clever writer pulls the rug out right from under you with a killer twist to the plot (even though -- if you're like this blogger anyway -- you usually think to yourself that you should've seen it coming all along). The ability to come up with unpredictable surprise endings isn't easy. And some people (see Shyamalan, M. Night) can make a lot of money off the ability to write good twist endings even if their movies aren't very good (sorry to any M. Night fans, but nothing he's done after The Sixth Sense was really anything special). It truly is an art form. And, when used effectively, a great twist can really turn a good movie into great one.
Here are the All Time Top 5 Movies Where Things Aren't Always What They Appear:
SPOILER ALERT: All readers should note that I've discussed the surprise endings in this post. Feel free to scroll over these spoilers if you haven't seen these movies and don't want to ruin it for yourself.
Primal Fear -- I'm guessing not everyone has seen this one, but Richard Gere is actually pretty good as a defense attorney trying to defend a schizophrenic altar boy (who is played pretty brilliantly by Ed Norton) accused of murder. This movie really got Ed Norton's career going.
Ed Norton was actually lying the entire time about his schizophrenia to trick everyone (including Gere).
The Sixth Sense -- I imagine that pretty much everyone knows the plot twist to this one. I have to give M. Night credit. I definitely didn't see it coming.
As Haley Joel Osmet told us from the start, he could see dead people -- including Bruce Willis's character.
Fight Club -- I know soap salesman Tyler Durden would probably kick my ass because I'm breaking the first rule of Fight Club by talking about the movie, but this one is awesome. Sidenote: As I make this list, I realize Ed Norton has been in some movies with pretty good twists (check out The Illusionist and The Score for other examples).
Tyler Durden (Pitt) and Norton's unnamed character are one in the same. So, Norton shoots himself to get rid of Durden (makes sense, right?).
Fallen -- I'm guessing this is the least watched movie on the list. For those who haven't seen it, check it out. Denzel Washington plays detective John Hobbes, who discovers that a serial killer he devoted much of his career to tracking down was actually possessed by a demon named Azazel. Hobbes then turns his attention to taking down the demon in this really underrated sci-fi thriller.
The movie's narrator (voiced by Denzel) turns out to be Azazel the entire time. And, as he reminds us, this is the story of the time he almost died...
The Usual Suspects -- A lot of people probably guessed that this one would be at the top the list. It's one of my favorite movies of all time and has such a great ending. How could it not be number 1?
Cripple Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey, who actually won an Oscar for his performance) is actually the notorious Keyzer Soze. His greatest trick? Convincing the world he didn't exist...