Film Spoilers and
|Film Title/Year and Plot Twist-Spoiler-Surprise Ending Description|
Martyrs (2008, Fr/Can.)
Young Females Were Tortured By A Quasi-Religious Group, Led By Mademoiselle - They Were Believers Who Were Searching for A Rare True Martyr Who Could Achieve Euphoric Transcendence or Transfiguration And See Beyond Death; Anna Achieved Transfiguration After Excruciating Suffering, and Her Testimony Caused Mademoiselle to Commit Suicide
Writer/director Pascal Laugier's unrated, gory, nihilistic horror film was accused of being one of the most violent movies ever made - part of a hardcore trend in French films called the "New French Extremism" that portrayed intense pain, hatred and suffering. The controversial film was similar to the graphic, torture-porn film franchises in the US begun with Saw (2004) and Hostel (2005), although more compelling with greater intellectual significance. When the divisive film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, it caused many audience members to walk out. The final 15 minutes of the unpleasant film was considered unflinchingly horrendous in its portrayal of cruelty.
The plot was a brutal tale about abducted, abused (although there were no signs of sexual abuse) and badly-battered young 10 year-old Lucie (Jessie Pham) who - in 1971 - escaped from her captivity in a torture room-chamber in an abandoned, unused brick slaughterhouse. Found malnourished, dehydrated, bloody and bruised, half-clothed, filthy, and starving after running down a road, she was hospitalized in pediatric services and then placed in an orphanage, where she developed a close friendship with another abused victim Anna (Erika Scott). Lucie felt haunted and terrorized by an imagined ghoulish, masochistic pale-skinned Creature (Isabelle Chasse) - a scarred, filthy, emaciated, stringy long-haired female who caused mutilations and flesh wounds.
Fifteen years later in 1986, 25 year-old Lucie Jurin (Mylène Jampanoï) came upon an isolated house and savagely, cold-bloodedly murdered with a shotgun an entire middle-class French family - the Belfonds (the two teens Marie and Antoine, and Mr. Belfond and his wife Gabrielle) on a Sunday morning. The crazed killer shook the dead bodies of the two adults: "How could you do that to me?" Afterwards, she phoned Anna Assaoui (Morjana Alaoui) and told her that she had vengefully killed her tormenting, sadistic captors from years earlier.
Abruptly after the murders, Lucie who had apparently gone insane, had another envisioning of the Creature. She was first slashed and hacked at with a sharp-edged razor on her back and left wrist. Anna arrived at the house, stitched her up, and then Lucie helped her clean up the murder scene. They dragged the four bloody corpses to the bathroom before Anna dumped them into a muddy pit-hole outside.
The Creature attacked a second time, seemingly unappeased by the slaughter - [Lucie seemed to be consumed with overwhelming psychological guilt - during her escape 15 years earlier, she left behind another bound female torture victim, as she pleaded: "Forgive me, it's not my fault."] Meanwhile, Anna realized that Gabrielle Belfond was still alive, and tried to keep it a secret from Lucie, but she found them and mercilessly smashed in Gabrielle's head with a hammer.
The Creature returned and the suicidal Lucie slit her own arms with a razor blade, jumped through a glass window, and remorsefully ripped open her own throat with a box-cutter - giving her peace when she died in Anna's arms in the pouring rain.
A number of twists and surprises occurred in the film from this half-way point forward:
Match Point (2005)
Married Man Chris Escaped Charges of Murdering His Pregnant Mistress Nola, By A Few Lucky Strokes of Fate. His Staging of a Drug-Related Burglary In Nola's Apartment Building Ended With The Shotgun Murders of Both Nola and Her Next-Door Neighbor Mrs. Eastby. Chris Admitted to Scotland Yard That He Had Committed Adultery But Not Murder, After They Found Nola's Diary. Luckily For Chris, a Known Junkie-Drug Dealer Had Found Mrs. Eastby's Discarded Gold Ring (And Put it in his Pocket), Was Then Murdered - and the Authorities Pinned the Crime on Him. The Case Against Chris Was Closed.
Famed writer/director Woody Allen's first R-rated dramatic-erotic thriller, and his first film set and shot in England. The film, without Allen's typical humor, recalled elements of A Place in the Sun (1951), Body Heat (1981), Fatal Attraction (1987), Allen's own Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), his future film Cassandra's Dream (2007), and similarities to Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment 1866 novel. Its main tagline was: "Passion, Temptation, Obsession."
The film began with a voice-over narration, a metaphoric musing about chance, luck and fate - it was presented with a side view of a tennis net and the freeze-frame shot of a tennis ball suspended in space over the net - poised to fall on one side or the other:
Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) was a handsome, recently-retired Irish tennis pro from a poor background, and an instructor at an exclusive London tennis club. He kick-started a privileged life when he began dating Chloe Hewett (Emily Mortimer), the shy, sweet brunette heiress daughter of Eleanor (Penelope Wilton) and Alec Hewlett (Brian Cox). Soon after, Chris was appointed as an office-worker in the company of her father, as part of a preparatory "grooming" process.
While with Chloe and becoming acquainted with her wealthy family, Chris met Nola Rice (Scarlett Johannson), a struggling, chain-smoking, blonde and sexy femme fatale American actress from Boulder, Colorado. She was the girlfriend/fiancee of Chloe's younger brother Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode). Although he was about to marry into the wealthy Hewett family, he was smitten with Nola. The first steamy, clandestine tryst between Nola and Chris occurred shortly after another of Nola's failed auditions. They both met up in a wheat-field near the Hewlett country estate during a rainstorm, and made love.
The affair ended after Tom admitted that he had broken up with Nola (he revealed: "I've met someone else") - and she returned to the US to look for a job. Although Chris was now a married man, he became obsessed with Nola when she returned to London - and they continued their discreet affair. When Nola, ironically, became pregnant, she adamantly refused to get an abortion, and she threatened to reveal everything to Chloe. Chris contemplated murder as a way out of his guilt-ridden, adulterous dilemma.
With a shotgun (broken down and hidden in his tennis bag), Chris killed (off-screen) Nola's next-door apartment neighbor Mrs. Betty Eastby (Margaret Tyzack), then staged a burglary in her apartment; he also shot and killed Nola (off-screen) when she stepped off the elevator after returning from work. Scotland Yard considered Chris a suspect since he was often mentioned in Nola's diary. He denied being a murderer, although he did admit to being an adulterer.
Luckily for Chris, the gold ring (that he had discarded from the burglary into a river - and coincidentally fell back onto a sidewalk) was picked up by a known drug dealer-addict (a junkie who was later found murdered) and the drug-related burglary-crime was pinned on him ("The old woman's wedding ring was right in his pocket...Name and date engraved right on it"). The case against Chris was closed ("He's another poor schmuck who cheated on his wife"). Meanwhile, Chloe's baby was born - and her father Alec joyously toasted the boy: "With parents like Chloe and Chris, this child will be great at anything he sets his mind to." Tom retorted: "I don't care if he's great. I just hope that he's lucky." The final shot of the film saw Chris troubled, standing apart and very disconnected from his happy family.
Matchstick Men (2003)
Roy Didn't Have a Daughter Named Angela - She Was Part of an Elaborate Con to Steal His Money; After Reconciling with Angela, It Was Revealed That Roy's New Pregnant Wife Was Supermarket Cashier Kathy
Angela (24 year-old Alison Lohman) was not neurotic, mentally-ill, veteran LA con man Roy Waller's (Nicolas Cage) newfound, long-lost teenaged "daughter," conceived before he split 14 years earlier from his ex-wife Heather (Melora Walters). Heather had actually suffered a mis-carriage, a fact that Roy learned later in the film.
After an elaborate scheme that bilked Roy out of his own money (stashed in a plastic doggie bank in his living room), he learned that blonde Angela was part of the scam. She had been hired by Roy's younger con partner Frank Mercer (Sam Rockwell) along with others, such as Roy's psychiatrist Dr. Harris Klein (Bruce Altman) and Roy's new target-mark, a businessman named Chuck Frechette (Bruce McGill), to trick him into believing she was his daughter. She was part of the con to have him trust in her, so that the cons could completely fool him and steal all of his money.
In the surprising conclusion one year later, the ultimate 'con' of sorts, it was revealed that the betrayed Roy was working a legitimate job as a rug salesman and that he had turned his back on crime and con-games. He was virtually cured of his extreme obsessive-compulsive disorder.
When he met an apologetic, dark-haired Angela in his store with her boyfriend, he forgave her - and then it was revealed when Roy went home that his slowly-developing love interest with long-haired brunette Kathy (Sheila Kelley) - the observant cashier at the supermarket (from whom he bought canned tuna and cigarettes) throughout the film, was fulfilled. She was his new and pregnant wife.
Neo Was the One, Who Defeated the Sentient Agents and Saw the Matrix As It Really Was
Computer programmer/hacker Thomas Anderson/Neo (Keanu Reeves) was contacted by black leather-clad Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and later by mysterious cyber-terrorist freedom fighter and 'fatherly' mentor Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and told about the "Matrix."
Neo chose to take a red pill and go down the "rabbit hole" - essentially he learned that the Matrix was a fabricated, illusory dream world created by an intelligent, mechanized and artificial life form that was using enslaved, but unaware humans as its power source for heat and electricity. Humans were grown in pods and connected to the Matrix with cybernetic implants. According to the Matrix's premise, the world was really a virtual reality computer program that actually existed in the 22nd century.
Neo was informed that only a small number of free humans (Morpheus, Trinity, Switch, etc.) really lived in the real world - and others sought refuge in an underground city called Zion.
The Messianic figure Neo (the "One") must save and liberate humanity from indestructible government agents - powerful sentient software programs such as villainous lead Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), by hacking into the Matrix, 'unplugging' others and recruiting them for further resistance.
Neo learned to have control over the Matrix and in doing so was able to dodge bullets (with slow-motion "bullet time"), bend the laws of physics, and attain superhuman powers - he was able to perform impossible feats of physicality (such as running up walls or leaping impossibly high) and alter his perception so dramatically that he saw bullets in flight in order to dodge them.
The Oracle (Gloria Foster), however, told him about how he might not be the One: "You got the gift, but it looks like you're waiting for something."
Many of the crew members of the Nebuchadnezzar were killed (Dozer, Apoc, and Switch ) when Cypher betrayed the group to Agent Smith, although he was soon killed by wounded Tank. Neo was shot dead by Agent Smith (within the Matrix), but a kiss from Trinity's lips revived and reawakened him, where he realized that he was actually the One, left to singlehandedly conquer and vanquish Agent Smith in the film's conclusion.
As the One, Neo finally understood that the bullets fired against him were not real - he saw the Matrix as it really was, solely lines of downward-streaming green and white computer code (or 'digital rain').
Meet Joe Black (1998)
After Escorting Bill Parrish Into the Afterlife at his 65th Birthday Party, "Joe Black" Returned to Susan in the Body of Its Previous Mortal Owner
Martin Brest's tedious, manipulative and overly-long romance film told about a handsome unnamed young lawyer (Brad Pitt) who was killed in a vehicular accident. His body then reappeared, taken over by an inarticulate, often silent Angel of Death (also Pitt), taking the name "Joe Black."
Veteran actor Anthony Hopkins played the role of dying, imperious mid-60-ish entrepreneur magnate William "Bill" Parrish, who was given a negotiated reprieve from death by Death (Pitt) in exchange for introducing him to new things and experiences in earthly life.
Parrish's beloved, dark-eyed, vacuous, vulnerable and thin daughter Susan (Claire Forlani) fell in love with the passionless, metaphysical doppelgänger "Joe Black" in a doomed relationship. (Although engaged to be married to Parrish Communication's board member Drew (Jake Weber), she had recently met the young lawyer in a coffeeshop before his startling death. When the lawyer's deceased body was inhabited by Death, she couldn't understand why he acted differently.)
The film ended with an underwhelming, tear-jerking, fireworks-filled conclusion, set at Bill's 65th birthday party celebration. By this time, there was a strong mutual love between "Joe Black" and Susan. When Joe revealed his true identity to Susan and she expressed distress, he abandoned his plan to take her away. Joe also exposed dishonest business associate Drew as an undercover IRS agent trying to sabotage the company.
Bill and Joe walked over a bridge into death on the horizon, as Joe escorted Bill into the afterlife. Joe gave Susan a second chance at love by restoring his body to its previous mortal owner and returning to her out of a bright light. She knew nothing of their previous encounters. Arm in arm, they both then watched the fireworks celebrating her father's birthday.
Leonard Killed Teddy, Believing He Had Again Successfully Avenged His Wife's Rape/Death by Killing the Second Intruder - But It Was Leonard Who Had Killed His Own Wife (He Had Forgotten Due to the Effects of Short-Term Memory Loss). He Had Mistakenly Overdosed His Diabetic Wife With Insulin. She Did Not Die At the Hands of the Rapist-Murderers in Their Bathroom
This thought-provoking, unique and puzzling thriller was told in reverse and was challenging in itself just to watch due to its non-linear, backwards narrative structure. A crucial fact about the smoothly-edited film was that all the black and white scenes in the film played in correct chronological order, while the color scenes (each about five minutes in length) played in reverse order. The color sequences contained the main narrative of the story. Both narratives played separately and alternately until the film's climactic conclusion when the two strands merged into a color sequence - at the time of the strangulation of Jimmy Grantz.
Anterograde amnesia sufferer (with no short-term memory, and unable to create new memories) and ex-insurance investigator Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) was seen in an "anonymous room" at the Discount Inn (actually because of his memory issues, he was ripped off and tricked into renting two rooms, # 21 and # 304), telling a little about his situation, in voice-over, and talking on the phone.
He described what he was investigating - the allegedly brutal and cold-blooded rape and murder of his wife (Jorja Fox) - she was strangled after being wrapped in a shower curtain by a masked intruder. There were two murderous burglars involved in the violent incident - Leonard shot and killed one of them, but the second individual (before fleeing) threw him into a mirror, where he suffered a severe blow to the head. He fell unconscious to the bathroom floor next to his wife. The police didn't believe there was a second individual, according to the evidence at the crime scene.
In the first scene (although at the end of the story due to its reversed order), Leonard killed crooked SF undercover cop "Teddy" Gammell (Joe Pantoliano), whose real name was John Edward Gammel (John G). Leonard inaccurately believed that "Teddy" was the second murderous rapist-burglar of his wife, but as it turned out, "Teddy" was the 'wrong guy' and wasn't responsible for his wife's death at all. She had actually survived the rape attack! "Teddy" had been assigned to the case of the rape of Leonard's wife, and sympathized with the memory-damaged Leonard: "I thought you deserved a chance for revenge." All along, Teddy knew the truth about the case, but believed he could help Leonard by restoring some meaning to his life rather than having him face his own guilt.
The real assailant was named John G, who was executed by Leonard a year earlier: "We found him. You killed him" - but Leonard had forgotten. "Teddy" reminded Leonard: "But you didn't remember, so I helped you start looking again, looking for the guy you already killed."
Amnesia resulted from the blow to his skull, forcing Leonard to use self-inflicted tattoos, Polaroid snapshots, and cryptic notes to aid his short-term memory and provide clues that he used in his investigation:
And as the film unfolded, it was revealed that Leonard had, ironically, remembered only some elements about his wife's condition (she didn't suffer a traumatic death due to the rape incident), but only as a projection onto an accident insurance client he was investigating named Sammy Jankis (Stephen Tobolowsky). Sammy was a married, 58 year-old semi-retired accountant who also had an accident (a car crash) that caused anterograde amnesia. Leonard harshly denied Sammy's accident insurance claim, arguing it was a psychological (mental), not a physical problem - the insurance company argued that Sammy wasn't covered for mental illness. Leonard thought that Sammy had faked suffering from memory loss.
Leonard told a revealing but semi-confused story (intermixed with facts about his own life with his wife) about Sammy (whose name was tattooed in cursive writing on his left hand as "Remember Sammy Jankis"). Leonard recounted that Sammy suffered from apparent memory loss (like he did), and had accidentally killed his diabetic wife with an overdose of insulin. She was testing his memory, by repeatedly asking him to administer her insulin shots - and he dutifully gave her dose after dose after dose - until she died. This led clearly to suspicions that Sammy's story was actually Leonard's story (Leonard: "I could have done something like Sammy").
However, Leonard denied that his wife was diabetic ("My wife wasn't diabetic") - because if she had been, then it would have opened up the possibility that he had killed her with extra doses of insulin. Leonard insisted that the insulin death of Sammy's wife wasn't related to him: "That's Sammy, not me...Sammy let his wife kill herself. Sammy ended up in an institution." But "Teddy" reminded him -- "Who cares if there's a few little details you'd rather not remember...Well, I guess I can only make you remember the things you wanna be true...You don't want the truth. You make up your own truth, like your police file."
Most importantly, Sammy NEVER really existed as remembered by Leonard. [Note: At the end of the film, "Teddy" equated Leonard with Sammy Jankis: "Sammy didn't have a wife. It was your wife who had diabetes."]
Leonard, in parallel fashion, had killed his own wife - she had expired from a diabetic coma from an insulin overdose. Leonard's wife, who didn't believe his condition, had tested his short-term memory loss by demanding a succession of shots of insulin. He forgetfully complied, and provided her with too many insulin shots and she overdosed from the extra shots, which sent her into a coma and killed her.
Facts in the film revealed this about Leonard's repeating revenge - he was blindly avenging an act that had already been avenged:
As the film ended, Leonard knew that he couldn't remember what "Teddy" was telling him, about how he would continue his guilt-ridden vengeful mission to search for a killer. So Leonard did the following things to set up "Teddy" as his next suspect, although "Teddy" was innocent - he was NOT the second attacker of Leonard's wife:
The Rape-Murder of Leonard's Wife, and Leonard's Head Injury
Polaroid Taken Just After Leonard Killed John G, a Year Earlier
(Officer John Gammel)
"Remember Sammy Jankis"
The License Plate
Repeated Insulin Injections that Killed Sammy's Wife
"I've Done It"
Tattooed On Leonard's Heart
Teddy's Murder by Leonard
Men in Black (1997)
Earth Was Saved by the MIB Agents; Agent K Retired (After Being Neuralized), and Dr. Weaver Became Replacement Agent L
Men in Black (MIB) agents J (James Edwards III) (Will Smith) and K (Kevin Brown) (Tommy Lee Jones) saved the Earth from destruction. They recovered a miniature galaxy (concealed by being located on the neck 'belt' of a royal alien's cat named Orion) from the belly of evil cockroach alien and extra-terrestrial terrorist Edgar the Bug (Vincent D'Onofrio). The medical examiner Dr. Laurel Weaver (Linda Fiorentino) helped to destroy the cockroach alien.
K revealed he was not training J as a partner, but as a replacement after he retired:
There was a sweet, heartfelt conclusion - K instructed J how to use the amnesia-creating Neuralyzer to erase his memory: "Days... Months... Years. Always face it forward." Before J could protest, K told him in a tortured voice: "I've just been down the gullet of an interstellar cockroach, kid, and that's one of a hundred memories that I don't want."
After Agent K was neuralized (with an erased memory), he lived happily ever-after reunited with his wife and appeared on the cover of the National Enquirer (in a lead story about being in a 35-year coma), while Dr. Weaver became Agent J's replacement partner Agent L.
The film famously ended with a bizarre non-sequitur pull-back sequence as the Earth inside the vast Milky Way was shown to be a marble. It was one of many, and dropped into a collection bag of many marble-galaxies - the play toy of a tentacled green alien.
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