Film Spoilers and
|Film Title/Year and Plot Twist-Spoiler-Surprise Ending Description|
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Corrupt LAPD Capt. Dudley Smith Shot Vincennes To Death; Cop Exley Then Killed Smith (Who Was Ironically Remembered As a Hero)
In the surprising conclusion of this popular post-noir crime drama, "Hollywood" detective and technical advisor for the TV series Badge of Honor Sgt. Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), who was also receiving kickbacks for aiding in the arrest of celebrities, was shot in the chest and killed by LAPD Capt. Dudley Smith (James Cromwell) for knowing too much. As Vincennes slumped to the floor, he said the words 'Rollo Tomasi' to his killer as his "valediction," identify Dudley as the mastermind.
The metaphoric term denoted the corrupt police chief as the perfect example of a criminal who was able to escape punishment and literally get away with murder. Afterwards when held at gunpoint by Smith after a brutal shootout in the Victory Motel, idealistic young cop Sgt. Edmund Exley (Guy Pearce) told him about the meaning of the term 'Rollo Tomasi' -- (Exley had made up the name after his legendary cop-father was shot and killed by a purse-snatcher in the line of duty - and he now realized that the chief was a corrupt mastermind crime boss ("You're the guy who gets away with it. Jack knew it, so do I")). When the tables were turned, Exley shot Smith in the back as he walked away.
Afterwards, Exley confessed to superiors that the Nite Owl Coffee Shop's multiple murders were conducted by LAPD officers (including Smith, who was "assuming control of organized crime in the city of Los Angeles" by taking over the rackets). Ironically but true to form, Smith was remembered as a hero, and a compromised Exley was awarded a Medal of Valor - to avoid controversy. Injured but surviving officer Wendell "Bud" White (Russell Crowe) departed with Veronica Lake-look-alike prostitute Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger).
Lady in the Water (2006)
Narf Story From the "Blue World" (A 'Lady in the Water') Needed Assistance in Getting Home; Cleveland Heep Finally Identified the Roles of Apartment Tenants to Help Story to Depart with the Great Eatlon (An Eagle), After Evading an Attack of a Scrunt
Writer/director/actor M. Night Shyamalan's fantasy thriller about the power of myth and the importance of community contained no traditional trademark "plot twist," although there was a mystery element about the roles of the many characters.
It told about The Cove apartment manager in Philadelphia: stuttering Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti), who was hiding a tragic past (he was a doctor who had lost his family by murder). In the pool of his 5-story complex, he found pale-faced, red-haired Story, a "lady in the water" (a narf) (Bryce Dallas Howard) who was from the "Blue World."
As an opening voice-over with crude animated illustrations described, she had come to the land of men to help change the world and help lead humankind out of its troubled warring state, but she also had to return to her world.
A fairy tale, told by one of the tenants, a Korean mother Mrs. Choi (June Kyoto Lu), brought Story's scary predicament and life to reality. She described a bedtime story about a scared young water-nymph, actually a Madam Narf, who wanted to journey back to her home via a giant eagle known as the Great Eatlon, although her first task was to be an emissary and impart a healing message. She was to locate and then motivate serious but unpublished political writer Vick Ran (M. Night Shyamalan) to complete his work (a book titled "The Cookbook") - an influential and important historical book that would one day inspire a young boy to read it and later become the President of the US. She was fearful of growling, grass-furred scrunts, beastly creatures in the grass who would consume her.
The film's message was that there were different archetypal roles to be played by the talents of various apartment tenants to assist Story in getting home, but they needed to be matched up correctly during her departure ceremony. Eventually, they succeeded in identifying the proper roles:
As Story was about to be rescued by the eagle, the Tartutic monkeys in the trees attacked the wolfish-scrunt and killed it, and she was safely taken.
The Last Seduction (1994)
Femme Fatale Bridget Killed Husband Clay, Then Set Up Mike For Rape and Murder Charges, and Escaped With the Cash (While Burning the Final Piece of Evidence)
John Dahl's modern-day dark noir featured lethal, sexy, amoral, cold-blooded and brainy femme fatale Bridget Gregory (Linda Fiorentino), who used her sexual wiles to manipulate a dumb, love-struck boyfriend to murder her husband. [She followed in the footsteps of two other great femme fatales in film noir - Jane Greer and Barbara Stanwyck.]
She first absconded with her physician husband Clay's (Bill Pullman) $700,000 of pharmaceutical-cocaine drug money, and fled from NYC to Upper State New York to the small town of Beston near Buffalo. In the local Ray's Bar after she was ignored by the bartender, she muttered: "Who's a girl gotta suck around here to get a drink?" She was approached by the local, gullible bar pickup stud Mike Swale (Peter Berg) who bragged about his manly size: "I'm hung like a horse. Think about it," and the sexpot seduced and propositioned him: "No names. Meet me outside." They went to his place to spend the night, after which she began scheming with her lawyer Frank Griffith (J. T. Walsh) to divorce her husband and abscond with the money. She took a job in a local company, Interstate Insurance, as Director of Lead Generation, claiming she was alias Wendy Kroy (an acronym for New York) and was fleeing from her abusive husband. Hiding out, she took residence at the Beston Motor Court (and soon after rented a house), and frequented Ray's Bar occasionally. She made love to Mike again (as her "designated f--k"), in an alley behind the smoky saloon while hanging on a chain-link fence and straddling him with his pants down to his ankles.
When he asked, "Where do I fit in?" she coldy replied: "You're my designated f--k." Bumping and grinding later on top of him in the back of her Jeep, she admitted to her frequent sex partner: "I'm a total f--king bitch." He complained that he was being kept at arm's length like a "sex object." To keep him at bay, she stated: "F--king doesn't have to be anything more than f--king." Scheming, she tricked Clay's black private detective Harlan (Bill Nunn) (who was hired to find her and get the funds back, and had traced her to Beston) into becoming distracted by showing his large penis to her while she was driving. When he undid his seatbelt and exposed himself, she deliberately sped up and crashed the car into a utility pole, killing him by propelling him through the windshield.
She took a taxi to Buffalo to the Erie County Municipal Building where she identified Mike's earlier unwitting and mistaken marriage to a trans-sexual named Trish (Serena) - and then conducted an interview with Trish. She tricked Mike into thinking she had taken a weekend trip to Miami to murder Lance Collier, a cheating and abusive husband who deserved death, to claim the widow's pay-off. She claimed: "I did it for us, Mike," and wouldn't listen to his objections: "Spare me your brain with countrified morality. The world's better off without Lance Collier" - and showed him a case of cash (her own!) as "f--king evidence." When he was astonished at her brashness, she threw the love-sick Mike out of her house.
She resisted Mike's later apologies (she told him: "You have a way of making a woman feel like a one-way train ticket"), claiming that he needed to be her equal ("a relationship of equals") in order to show his commitment and interest in her. He replied: "Murder is commitment?" When Mike finally acquiesed, she cleverly convinced him into duplicating her scheme to show his love - to murder Clay (who was trumped up to be an unfaithful husband/cheater and wife beater in New York City named 'Cahill'), claiming the payout by the widow would be over three million ("You, me, three million bucks, New York City, Mike. It's reasonable"). And then to convince Mike to "pull up stakes" to leave Beston and accept her plan, she faked a letter from Trish to Mike asserting that she was returning to Beston to be with him.
The murder plan (an "unpleasant chore") to stab Clay in his NYC apartment went awry when Mike turned chicken and yelled: "I can't do it, Wendy, I can't do it" - and then he saw their wedding picture. He realized that the victim was not 'Cahill' but Wendy's husband, and that he had been seduced into committing her husband's murder. Wendy entered the apartment to check on the killing, where she found both Clay and Mike had teamed up, and Mike knew of her deception ("So you were gonna have me kill your husband"). In a clever double-cross, Bridget killed her own husband by spraying Mace down his throat, after kissing him, and then calmly told her naive boyfriend: "Now we have a future." Then to complete the deception, she aggravated the 'intruder' Mike to rape her by first removing her pants and displaying old fashioned men's underwear, reinforcing Mike's fears of being homosexual. She then taunted him about Trish: "You should have told me you never slept with a man before. Must have been some wild night, you getting married so fast." She angered him over his damaged marriage:
She also self-incriminated Mike by surreptitiously recording their conversation and the crime/rape confessional role-play on a 911 call, including the accusation that she repeatedly screamed out: "You killed my husband." Mike was arrested, jailed and obviously out-maneuvered and set-up for the crime, and he was destined for the electric chair.
The one remaining shred of evidence, Clay's 6B NYC apartment call-button label reading "Cahill," was taken by rape-victim and widow Bridget in the final scene - she burned it as she slyly smiled in the back of a chauffeured limousine, now free to escape with the cash.
Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Fr/It.) (aka L'Année Dernière à Marienbad)
The Entire Mysterious Film Could Have Been a Dream/Memory
Alain Resnais' enigmatic, allegorical New Wave film about dreamy seduction, memory, the past and the present, the reconstruction of reality, and time was set at an opulent, enormous European hotel in Marienbad (in the Czech Republic).
In the original screenplay, characters were referred to by letters. Handsome X/Stranger (Giorgio Albertazzi) endlessly attempted to convince sleek, elegant and alluring A/Woman (Delphine Seyrig) that they had met a year before and had an affair. A second man, implied to be A's authoritarian husband or lover, was M (Sacha Pitoeff).
In a dance of seduction, the two unnamed 'lovers' recounted a fragmented tale of their perceived reality and unrealized (?) love affair. The puzzling film never clearly ascertained whether X's claim of a relationship was true or false -- however, it could be argued that the entire film was only a dream/memory.
The Murdered Woman Was Not Laura, Who Was Very Much Alive; Waldo Had Murdered the Wrong Person - and in the Film's Conclusion, Waldo Was Gunned Down When He Again Vainly Attempted to Kill Laura So That No One Else Could Have Her
The major plot twist was that the titular Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) was never the murdered woman in her Upper East Side apartment - she had been out in the country (the murder victim was a young model named Diane Redfern in her negligee). Although there were many suspects, snippy gossip columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) was the actual murderer who in a jealous rage mistakenly shot the wrong woman (in the face) with a blast from a shotgun, thinking Diane was Laura.
Investigating, mildly obsessed New York City detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews), who had fallen in love with Laura's portrait in her apartment, expressed stunned shock when stirred from sleep as the "dead" Laura appeared in her own apartment - at first, he thought she was a ghost or figment of his imagination.
In the film's conclusion, Lydecker attempted to kill Laura a second time with a shotgun (hidden in the base of a grandfather clock) in a murder/suicide, rather than leave her to the "vulgar pawing of a second-rate detective" -- but she was saved in the nick of time by McPherson as Lydecker was mortally wounded in an exchange of gunfire with the police.
Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
Vengeful Vigilante Killer Clyde Shelton Had Wanted to Be Caught and Placed in Solitary Confinement. From a Nearby Auto Garage That He Owned, He Had Constructed a Tunnel From His Cell, To Supply Himself With Guns, Disguises, and other Killing Devices, To Perform Many Retaliatory Killings Himself - WITHOUT an Accomplice. In The Final Scene, DA Nick Rice Tricked Him By Placing Clyde's Own Suitcase Bomb Under His Cell Cot, To Be Triggered When Clyde Called His Own Cell-Phone.
Director F. Gary Gray's grisly revenge fantasy (based on a script by Kurt Wimmer, with homage to Death Wish (1974)) was released unrated after it was threatened with an NC-17 rating for its violent aspects. The set-up was slightly absurd, and its purpose was confused. Was it a sensationalist horror film, an example of torture-porn, crime thriller or crime drama, an investigative procedural, a socio-political expose of the corrupt justice system, or a mixture of everything?
A law-abiding family man, after an atrocious murder of his family, became a crime victim - the lone survivor of his family's massacre and a man with a score to settle. He planned to conduct an elaborate personal vendetta against his family's killer - a mission which became highly irrational, uncredible, uncontrollable and implausible by film's end.
The vigilante film opened in 1999 (a flashback actually) during the Philadelphia home invasion of intelligent engineer-inventor Clyde Alexander Shelton (Gerard Butler). Clyde was watching as his 10 year-old daughter Heather (Ksenia Hulayev) was making him a letter cube-beaded bracelet with the word "DADDY." Two men broke in, monstrous Clarence James Darby (Christian Stolte) and his less culpable accomplice Rupert Ames (Josh Stewart). Clyde was bound and duck-tape gagged (and stabbed in the abdomen), after which Darby told him: "You can't fight fate." He was forced to watch as his beautiful wife (Brooke Mills) was also gut-stabbed and her panties were ripped off (no rape shown), while his daughter was grabbed and taken off-screen (another scene of suggested rape and murder).
Suave prosecuting lawyer Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), a jaded and corrupt career lawyer only interested in maintaining his 96% conviction rate, believed that "some justice is better than no justice at all." Instead of taking a chance by trying the case, he made a deal for a plea bargain, in which murderer Darby cooperatively testified against his partner Ames. Darby lessened his conviction down to a three-year served sentence for third-degree murder, while Ames was sentenced to death row to be executed. Nick emphasized to a disbelieving Clyde that although it seemed unfair, it was a victory. He stressed: "We can lose. And then we'd have nothing." Clyde begged: "Please don't make a deal with this man. He's a monster -"
Ten years later, raging, sociopathic "tactician" Clyde, traumatized with inconsolable grief, sought ultra-vicious revenge and retribution for the slaughter of his family. He declared himself "at war" with the flawed criminal system, by first using one-man killing machine tactics which referenced the 'torture-porn' found in the Hostel and Saw films:
Planning his own surrender, masterminding Clyde lured a SWAT team to his remote home, where he had stripped himself naked (except for the beaded "DADDY" bracelet given to him by his daughter before she died). He was captured, put behind bars, denied bail and held for contempt of court, even though no evidence was found against him. He then offered specifics regarding Darby's murder as a confession:
After confessing, Clyde bargained for a 20 oz. porterhouse steak and his iPod from assistant DA Nick and his junior partner Sarah Lowell (Leslie Bibb), in exchange for more confessions about his diabolical planned scenarios:
Clyde was placed in solitary confinement. There was a reveal of how Clyde was so skilled with heavy machinery, robotic weaponry, and high-tech surveillance systems - according to CIA contact Bray (Michael Kelly). [Bray was described as "someone who does some really nasty s--t so we can live the American dream."] Bray described Clyde as:
Bray suggested an easy solution: "Walk into his cell and put a bullet in his head" - the only way to stop him. Soon, Clyde had orchestrated another death. Judge Laura Burch (Annie Corley) was killed with an exploding cell-phone next to her ear. Clyde stated that even from behind bars, the "larger picture" (of what he was doing or who was helping him) still eluded authorities. He challenged Nick to release him by 6:00 am, or otherwise, he would kill everyone - as he demonstrated.
The Mayor (Viola Davis) of the city was justly infuriated ("Get this situation under control"). Clyde promised Nick that he was going to wreak further havoc and destruction in the City of Brotherly Love:
On their way to a press conference following a mass funeral, there was a surprise assault on Rice's convoy of black city limousines by a robotic, weaponized bomb disposal unit on a trolley with a mounted .50 caliber machine gun. In the lead car, District Attorney Jonas Cantrell (Bruce McGill) was killed when the limo was struck by a projected missile bomb. The Mayor replaced the deceased DA with newly-sworn in Rice, who responded to Detective Dunnigan (Colm Meaney) about his new approach to the treatment of Clyde: "F--k his civil rights."
In the 'surprise' ending and revelation, Rice discovered through records of Clyde's real estate purchases that he owned an auto-garage next to the prison. He had constructed a sophisticated tunnel from the building to his solitary confinement prison cell ("He had wanted to be transferred into solitary"). From there, with a supply of guns, disguises, explosive plastic, and other video surveillance equipment, Clyde had executed the murders himself. Clyde's final target, while impersonating a janitor, was the bombing of City Hall (with a cellphone-activated suitcase bomb filled with malglinite-napalm) where a 6th floor meeting with the Mayor and other city officials was about to take place. His plan was discovered by Rice and Dunnigan and a bomb squad expert.
In the last scene, Rice confronted Clyde in his cell and refused to make a deal with the clever vigilante ("You played us real good...I don't make deals with murderers anymore, Clyde. You taught me that").
In the last line, Rice spoke to Clyde, who was prepared to trigger the suitcase bomb with the cellphone in his hand:
As Clyde pressed the send button on the phone to the bomb-attached cellphone, Rice quickly exited the cell and locked the door behind him. He repeated:
Rice had removed the suitcase bomb from City Hall and placed it under Clyde's cot, while Dunnigan had blocked the tunnel for escape. Clyde realized that he had triggered his own bomb to kill himself. He calmly accepted his fate as he sat on the cot and looked longingly at his daughter's bracelet.
Thereafter, Nick was peacefully and safely restored to his family life. He was seated in an audience, beaming and proud next to his wife as they watched their daughter playing onstage during a cello concert.
Morrison's Wife Allayne Had Collaborated With Jack To Set Him Up; Jack Was Impersonating 'Roy Dennis' With Vickie
This plot-twisting, complex techno-thriller (with the tagline "A Deadly Seduction"), told about microelectronics businessman Dan Morrison (David Hasselhoff) who lived in Chicago and had a troubled marriage with his wife of eight years Allayne (Sherri Alexander).
During a lay-over in San Francisco on his way to Tokyo, he met flirtatious, conniving femme fatale Vickie Dennis (Italian model Yvonne Scio) at the airport bar who came up to him and boldly propositioned him for sex - quickly consummated in an unclaimed baggage room. Soon after, she was revealed to be married to a pushy, opinionated jewel (diamond) merchant named Roy Dennis (Gregg Henry) that Dan had met earlier on his previous flight. The jealous, abusive dealer suspected that Vickie was cheating on him, but didn't know that Morrison had just had sex with her.
At their home where Dan was lured to help Vickie, he used Roy's gun to 'kill' Roy, and found himself held at the SF police station and (falsely) charged with the murder. He realized that he had been set up when he saw:
Dan escaped from the police station and returned to the scene of the crime where he confronted Vickie, asking: "Why'd you set me up?" and she falsely blamed everything on Jack. Her plan was to have her husband killed, and then abscond with $18 million (wholesale) worth of diamonds ("You did all this just for diamonds?"). Dan was deliberately set up to take the blame for the death of the real "Roy Dennis" - who had actually been killed in his own home by Jack, using the gun with Dan's fingerprints.
And then in one of the film's most surprising moments set in a getaway airport hotel room, Jack suddenly shot partner Vickie in the stomach - his plan was to pin Vickie's death on Dan and have the diamonds all to himself; but things went awry when a bloodied, still-alive Vickie stumbled out into the hotel corridor where Jack had to pursue and kill her, allowing Dan to escape. Dan followed Jack to the SF International Airport terminal and into an off-limits airplane maintenance hangar for a deadly stand-off.
The film ended with Allayne, who had flown to SF, shooting Jack to death as he was poised to kill her husband - and then in another shocking twist, she admitted her involvement with Jack:
Unbelievably, she proposed fleeing with Dan and the diamonds - "You and I could walk out of here and have a great life together...What's it gonna be, Dan? You and me?" -- but he rejected her crazed plan: "I want never to see your face again. I want a divorce. F--k you!"
He revealed that his cell-phone gadget had recorded their conversation and that the police were on their way, foiling her scheme as she was wounded in the leg by approaching cops and then handcuffed. Dan was cleared of all charges and walked off, knowing the location of the diamonds in an airport locker and luckily having the key in his possession.
Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings
(alphabetical by film title)
Intro | A1 | A2 | B1 | B2 | B3 | B4 | B5 | C1 | C2 | C3 | D1 | D2 | D3 | E1 | E2 | F1 | F2 | G | H1 | H2 | H3 | I | J-K | L1 | L2
M1 | M2 | M3 | M4 | M5 | N | O | P1 | P2 | Q-R1 | R2 | S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | S5 | S6 | T1 | T2 | T3 | U-V | W1 | W2 | W3 | X-Z