Once a film’s over, what’s really going to stick in your head is the ending. Those last moments will be what you and your buddies discuss long after the credits have rolled and is why filmmakers put a lot of stock in those last few scenes. It’d be really easy to make an M. Night Shyamalan joke about now, but kicking a man whose career has had the same trajectory as a skydive without a parachute seems a little too far.
Besides, it’s more than just twist endings, which are becoming more and more ubiquitous in Hollywood cinema that I’m on about here. Teases for new movies, be it a sly line of dialogue or a post credit sting also work well, but if you really want to get audiences chatting, leave them uncertain. Nothing’s going to make people recommend a film more than when they’re not even sure if there’s a twist at all.
After seeing the film whose ending is succinctly solved in the image above, the ending stumped me for months. I saw the film multiple times in cinemas, each time debating with my fellow cinemagoers over the increasingly high number of nuances we were picking up. Me and my friends would even spend nights out in the real world trying to get to the bottom of what we saw.
So without any more forced ambiguity, here’s ten films that people constantly say have confusing, cryptic endings, but actually have pretty simple and obvious solutions. Hopefully you’ll come away with feeling a little more certain about some classic films.
Warning – MAJOR SPOILERS for every film featured. Only a handful come from the past few years and most form a key role in popular culture, but better safe than sorry.
This article was first posted on July 2, 2013