7 Film Endings That Didn't Solve Anything

"Surely they're not going to end it ther... oh."

Surrogates 2009
Walt Disney Studios

There's nothing quite like that feeling when a film is wrapping up and you've got far more questions than answers; the shots start to get wider, the characters seem to be delivering less dialogue, the score rises from underneath... but something feels completely off.

"If they end this here, then f**k this movie" reverberates around your subconscious, and as scientists proved there's actually a very thin line between love and hate in terms of how our brains compute such things, so all the positive thoughts you held dear are quickly replaced by a stream of unending, future keyboard-rant-producing vitriol. What about that character we only saw halfway through? That lingering shot on a certain item or part of the scenery that seemed to suggest so much, or the fact that the protagonist's mission isn't really finished? Surely they're not going to end it her... oh.

It's up for debate whether or not this feeling is better or worse than realising after the fact that the film you initially enjoyed is actually holier than the Pope's cheese sandwich, but the fact remains that some director/screenwriting combos just can't stick the landing, no matter how graceful and perfectly planned the vast majority of the film was beforehand.

7. American Psycho


Seriously, what actually happened in American Psycho? Living up to the chaotic, rambling structure of Brett Easton Ellis's book -€“ though thankfully sparing us its excesses -€“ any semblance of plotting is thrown out the window early on. Arguably, the bones on which Patrick Bateman's parade of murder and narcissism rest are something resembling a murder-mystery plot, albeit from the perspective of the murderer.

To recap, Bateman murders Paul Allen, a colleague who had the temerity to pick up restaurant reservations easier, and possess a mildly snazzier business card. Willem Dafoe then turns up to creepy-face his way through proceedings as a private investigator tasked by Allen's wife with finding him. And that... that's sort of it.

The incident serves as the jumping off point for Bateman's insanity, with director Mary Harron deftly skewering the male ego by taking everything up to the next level. So while normal folk would sit and stew, Bateman butchers women in response. However, we're then blindsided by the twist: it's all in his head. Or is it? Hell, who knows?

But the finale's twist does make one thing apparent: all that's gone before has been pretty much irrelevant, because as the twist so deftly shows, the entire animus of the plot is actually a lie. Bateman has merely been applying his fantasies to already-occurring events, meaning that where we thought we were watching a film, we were in the minds-eye of a man doodling foul things in his monogrammed notebook.


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