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27 April 2012 @ 06:26 pm
Writer's Block: Didn't See That Coming  
What movie's ending or pivotal moment surprised you the most? (If you're going to reveal details, be sure to use an lj-spoiler or lj-cut tag to protect those who haven't seen it yet!)


One: It was early enough in M. Night Shyamalan's career that his name wasn't yet synonymous with "twist ending".

Two: The best twist endings recast everything you've just seen in a different light, and ideally, it should make even more sense in the light of the twist. Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense did that, but Unbreakable did it even better -- when it hits, both viewer and protagonist are overwhelmed by the horrific implications of the revelation.

Three: The twist -- and I won't spoil it here, on the off chance that a reader of my journal hasn't seen it -- relies heavily on the tropes of the comic-book superhero genre. I am intimately familiar with those tropes; superhero comics are My Thing. Despite that, I did not see it coming. I was utterly gobsmacked.

Araquan Skytraceraraquan on April 28th, 2012 05:04 am (UTC)
Hmm. Unbreakable remains my favorite Shyamalan film in part because that twist was just so well done, as you've described.

But he did kind of overplay that card later, didn't he...
McGuffinhitchkitty on April 28th, 2012 09:47 am (UTC)
Indeed. Now, the only way for a Shyamalan movie to surprise people would be to have no reveal whatsoever. Just complete WYSIWYG from start to finish.

"What a tweest!"
Hafochafoc on April 28th, 2012 05:22 pm (UTC)
The thing about a good twist ending, though, is that it doesn't spoil rereading the story later. If it was really well done, you will find clue after clue that escaped you the first time through.
Your Obedient Serpentathelind on April 29th, 2012 02:55 pm (UTC)
... aaaand you just summed up the difference between Early M. Night and Later M. Night.

You can watch The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable over and over again, and they're still solid narratives that hold up even when you know the twist. In fact, I went back to see The Sixth Sense just a couple of days later in the theaters, and watched ALL THE CLUES PILE UP. It turns into a completely different movie, but one that's just as engaging.

With his later movies, knowing The Twist just makes you kinda roll your eyes when you watch them again. "Really? Oi!"

(All of this is just more evidence supporting my Shyamalan Theory: two movies into his directing career, he got saddled with being "the Next Hitchcock" -- and he didn't want to be. So the increasingly-cheesy quality of his "suspense" films are his way of rebelling against that.)

Edited at 2012-04-29 02:59 pm (UTC)