We expect films to follow a certain pattern. I guess not always, but usually, films tend to be formulaic. After all, why fix what isn’t broken. There’s a certain dramatic arc we all love, and we’re happy to shovel money back into our local cinema to see that same arc refreshed in different settings.
Of course, this isn’t always the case – part of the thrill of film as a medium is that it can be decidedly non-linear in terms of what it represents. Film-makers are endlessly inventive, and capable of all sorts of twists and turns. However, we still cling to formulaic structures as a sort of comfort blanket, allowing us to switch our brain off and go through the dramatic beats without thinking too hard.
Yet occasionally film that started out as formulaic utterly blindside you, and not in a good way. This usually happens around finale-time – the film’s adhered to the regular structure thus far, involving us with a hero’s journey and so on, but then it pulls the rug from underneath our feet. Let me be clear – there are times when this works. We all love to be surprised, but occasionally people can take it too far and mess with the finale. This leaves us angry and confused, and we suddenly think less of all that has come before. It’s a tragedy, but it happens.
So with this in mind, I’ve taken it upon myself to chronicle what I believe to be awful endings that spoil a good film. Of course, keep in mind that there’s a SPOILER WARNING in effect, so tread carefully.
This article was first posted on August 15, 2013