Do The Twist
Movie twist endings can be fun, but--even if well prepared for--are sort of cheap. If it all ends like an O. Henry story, the thrill probably won't hold up so well on second viewing.
Here's a list of the ten greatest plot twists in film. There was apparently voting involved. Most of them you can probably guess. I think about half deserve to be there. (Obviously spoilers:)
I don't know if I'd put this on the list. Yes, it's famous, but I figured it out. I know, I know, everyone says that. But I remember discussing the film with a friend before it opened. We'd heard there was a twist and he said "I bet Bruce Willis is dead all along." I said there's no way they'd dare try that old Jacob's Ladder gag, but soon as I watched the first scene, I knew it had to be true. It was kind of interesting noting how much they cheated to make it work. But I'm not sure if I'd call it classic. Actually, it'd be cool if M. Night used this trick ending in every film he made.
2. The Empire Strikes Back
Definitely. As I may have mentioned previously, I was in line to see this film the day after it opened. Some kid behind me mentioned Darth Vader ias Luke's father. I wonder if I could find him on Facebook and go punch him.
3. The Usual Suspects
I don't like it. The twist doesn't make much sense. First, if everything was made up, why did we waste our time watching the film? Second, if Keyser Soze has done so much to hide himself, and was so powerful that he could do whatever he wanted behind the scenes, why did he give himself away so easily? (I could probably argue more sharply about it if I'd seen the film in the last fifteen years.)
While we're at it, why not go to the original film with "the usual suspects," Casablanca? There are a bunch of twists at the end. Even the people making the film didn't know where it was going.
Excellent choice, with two famous twists.
5. Planet Of The Apes
I first saw this as a kid and had to have the ending explained to me. But it's great. (Also great is Homer Simpson repeating Charlton Heston's lines when he finally figures out the ending.)
Never thought that much of the twist. It's actually made better by that fact that Jack Nicholson, soon after making the movie, discovered his "parents" were his grandparents and his "sister" was his mother.
7. Blade Runner
8. The Maltese Falcon
Another overrated film. The ending isn't bad, but it's not shocking. It's just yet another classic crime doesn't pay moment. Indeed, there are a numerous films where crooks spend the whole running time trying to get something that turns out to be worthless.
9. Citizen Kane
A classic twist, but not a great one. For decades, film commentators, not to mention Orson Welles himself, have been a bit embarrassed about the cheap "Rosebud" gimmick. It's fine as an engine to get the plot going, but it doesn't really mean that much. If it did, it'd only make the film more shallow.
10. The Crying Game
Now we're talking. One of the top twists in movie history, in what otherwise might have been a routine film. I remember talking to a friend about how surprising it was that Dil was a man. She said she felt the movie left it open. I said what are you talking about, we saw his penis. She said really?--she must have missed that seen during a bathroom break.
There were plenty of other twists that I thought might make the list. The Sting, Fight Club, No Way Out, The Others, Primal Fear, Witness For The Prosecution, Memento, The Prestige, Les Diaboliques, Night Of The Living Dead, The Ring, Mulholland Drive, Open Your Eyes, The Conversation, Carrie, The Game, Soylent Green and so many others. But I guess these ten are so famous that they'll get the votes on most lists.