10 Smart Movies With Incredibly Dumb Twists

When clever movies do stupid things.

The Life Of David Gale Kevin Spacey

We've all sat through our fair share of average, so-so movies that irretrievably derailed themselves with insanely stupid plot twists, but what about when it happens to otherwise good, even smart films?

Coming up with a compelling movie premise is one thing, but filling it with memorable characters and well-crafted drama is another entirely. Sustaining a smart script all the way to the finish line, then, is a practically Herculean feat of storytelling, as these 10 films make evident.

Despite getting so much right with their thoughtful narratives, well-wrought characters, and technically exemplary filmmaking, these 10 films all dared to dish up a plot twist which left audiences considering just how much they really liked the movie.

From last-minute rug-pulls that completely remixed everything we'd just seen (in a bad way), to "happy" endings that didn't quite stand up to close scrutiny, and even laughable revelations crammed into otherwise "serious" works of cinema, these twists all cast serious doubt on everything that came before it.

For some viewers the whole was brilliant enough to compensate for the braindead reveal, while for others it fatally soured the entire experience...

10. Captain Stevens Steals Another Man's Identity - Source Code

The Life Of David Gale Kevin Spacey
Summit Entertainment

Duncan Jones' Source Code is for the most part a clever and ambitious follow-up to his cult classic directorial debut Moon, in which Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is sent into a computer-generated reconstruction of a train explosion to locate the bomber.

The first twist here is actually pretty neat, that Stevens was mortally wounded in action two months prior and is more or less a brain in a jar being hooked up to the simulation.

Stevens asks his superior, Captain Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), to terminate his life support once the mission is complete, but when she does so at film's end, Stevens doesn't die, because the source code isn't in fact a simulation at all but a series of alternate timelines.

And so, Stevens is allowed to keep living in a human body in this new timeline, where it's implied he starts a new life with love interest Christina (Michelle Monaghan).

It's a cute enough ending...until you remember that Stevens is actually residing in the body of a man named Sean Fentress, and in hijacking this man's existence, he's about to embark on a romance with a woman who thinks he's somebody else entirely.

In the very least it's insanely creepy, and at worst, a silly step down in a movie that's otherwise so creative and considered.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.