10 Awful Plot Twists That Completely Ruined Great Movies
10. The Prestige
Christopher Nolan's warring magicians tale, in which showman Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) faces off against natural sorcerer Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) in a game of one-upmanship that spans years. Their rivalry comes to a head as Angier consults madman/scientist Nikola Tesla (David Bowie) to build a machine that will top Borden's 'Transported Man' trick.
This is a wilfully dark and courageously mind-bending thriller (this was before Nolan's Inception made intelligence at the movies cool), right up until the last frame.
The Awful Twist
Then comes the last frame. I'm not disputing that David Bowie can build a cloning machine. I'm really not. I just don't know what a cloning machine is doing in a film stood firmly behind the curtain of professional deception, one which explains illusions of the magician's world in a factual manner.
As a result, you spend a large portion of the movie searching for a logical explanation for Tesla's cloning device - is it an elaborate trick? An ingenious con on Tesla's part, or Borden's? Then the final shot comes - of tanks upon tanks filled with dead Angier clones - and you're told that a film that's spent two hours explaining the mechanics of staged magic and establishing a world based in science is actually saying "yeah, was all magic".
The twists should have stopped at Borden's reveal (that he is not one man, but two separate Borden brothers), a reveal that carries a tragic pathos, a depiction of a man so obsessed with his craft that he dooms himself to a lifetime of loneliness. The clones twist does nothing but negate everything that came before.
Lover of film, writer of words, pretentious beyond belief. Thinks Scorsese and Kubrick are the kings of cinema, but PT Anderson and David Fincher are the dashing young princes. Follow Brogan on twitter if you can take shameless self-promotion: @BroganMorris1