What are movies if not grand illusions intended to trick the viewer, for better or worse? Films are all about casting a spell on the audience, about manipulating them into getting emotionally drawn into a story.
This can occur one of many different ways, but one especially interesting feat of narrative chicanery involves removing a character from the fold for a certain amount of time, only to return them later for dramatic or comedic effect.
It can be a tough trick to pull off in films with small casts and limited locations, requiring directors to get creative about how they choose to distract the audience from a character's absence.
But when it works, it really works, ensuring viewers are jolted by a surprise return, or depending on the type of movie it is, perhaps extremely amused.
These films certainly aren't all of the same cloth, though: in some cases the filmmakers wanted you to forget about a character due to potentially problematic associations, or because they simply didn't want to explain what happened to them.
Whatever the reason, the filmmakers wanted you to at least temporarily forget about these characters and their entire existence...
10. Sgt. Dignam - The Departed
Staff Sergeant Sean Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) certainly makes quite the impression in the first two acts of Martin Scorsese's The Departed - a stern yet quick-witted, wise-cracking cop who doesn't suffer fools lightly.
And though Mark Wahlberg's terrific performance netted him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, his character disappears quite abruptly ahead of the film's climax.
Following the murder of his superior, Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen), an enraged Dignam lashes out at Sgt. Sullivan (Matt Damon) and is placed on suspension for two weeks.
The rest of the movie plays out with undercover cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) facing off against mob rat Sullivan, while it's assumed that Dignam won't be coming back.
But in the film's very final scene, some 30 minutes after we last saw him, Dignam makes a surprise re-appearance, hiding out in Sullivan's apartment to shoot him dead in revenge for killing Costigan.
It's all the more unexpected given that this never happens in the Hong Kong film upon which The Departed is based, Infernal Affairs.
Between this and keeping Dignam out of the audience's mind for so long, it ensured his last-minute return was a genuine crowd-pleasing shock.