Greatest Film Plot Twists
Film Spoilers and
Surprise Endings


Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings
Film Title/Year and Plot Twist-Spoiler-Surprise Ending Description

Pandora's Box (1929, Ger.) (aka Lulu or Die Büchse der Pandora)

London Soho Prostitute Lulu Was Knifed to Death by Jack the Ripper

Director Georg Wilhelm Pabst's early erotic and hypnotic silent film melodrama produced hateful critical reviews for its overt sexuality. Throughout the film Louise Brooks portrayed a tempting goddess named Lulu wearing silky dresses and billowy gowns, even though she sported a pageboy haircut (or black bob).

The insatiable, free-spirited yet innocent 18 year old cabaret chorus girl and femme fatale Lulu (Louise Brooks) was caught in various scandalous situations - passionate kissing, flirtatious dancing, bisexuality and amorality.

In the concluding trial scene, the prosecutor accused the hedonistic Lulu (wearing a black veil) of being like a Pandora's box of evil. Destined to be punished, the expressionistic finale on Christmas Eve saw London Soho prostitute Lulu becoming another gleaming-knifed victim of 'Jack the Ripper' (Gustav Diessl) during an erotic embrace and kiss (her hand went limp to indicate her death after the knifeblade was stuck into her stomach - off-screen).

Lulu's Stabbing Death by Jack the Ripper

Pandorum (2009)

The Film's Main Character, Lieutenant Payton, Was Actually Corporal Gallo, an Insane Crew Member on Spaceship Elysium That Had Already Crash-Landed on Its Earth-like Destination, the Planet of Tanis. The Ship Had Been Underwater For 923 Mission Years. In the Film's Opening, After Gallo Was Notified That Earth Had Been Destroyed, He Began to Suffer From Pandorum Sickness, Killed the Other Crew Members, and Ruled Over Some of the Civilian Humans Taken From The HyperSleep Pods. Those Who Were Exiled Into the Cargo Hold Soon Turned Into Mutant Beasts. In the Film's Conclusion, Gallo and The Creatures in the Ship Were Drowned, While Surviving Humans in Jettisoned Pods Would Begin New Life in Colonies on Tanis During Year One.

Set in space, this derivative horror film by director Christian Alvart and producer Paul W. S. Anderson was a lengthy creature-feature. [It seemed to have borrowed heavily from Anderson's own Event Horizon (1997), and bits of Alien (1979), Pitch Black (2000), Ghosts of Mars (2001), and The Descent (2005, UK).] The film's title actually referred to a medical, physical and psychological disorder (fictional), aka the ODS (orbital dysfunctional) syndrome, a paranoid-hallucinatory insanity experienced by astronauts in deep space. Its setting was many years into the future onboard a sleeper cargo ship named Elysium, traveling (with astronauts and cargo in a state of hypersleep) in the year 2174 AD from an overpopulated Earth (with limited resources) to colonize Tanis, the only earth-like planet known to exist. Their ship's cargo was composed of 60,000 humans in hypersleep-pods, who were to be colonized on the distant alien planet. (When Earth was obliterated, a message was beamed to Elysium's crew: "You're all that's left of us").

There were only a few main characters, basically the two main crew members - technical engineer Corporal Bower (Ben Foster) and Lieutenant Payton (Dennis Quaid). Due to the ship's malfunctioning, the crew members in their extended hypersleep chambers had slept well past their wake dates. When Bower awoke, he was extremely agitated, disoriented and unable to remember who he was and what his mission was. A numbered tattoo on Bower's arm indicated he had been assigned to Team 5 for the long journey (the trip took 123 years) - and teams were meant to wake up in different shift-units. After Payton was also awakened by the ship, the two realized that they were in a race-against-time in the seemingly-abandoned spacecraft. The ship had an unstable reactor, sending out deadly and destructive power surges, and they needed to reset the reactor.

Bower (with Lt. Payton remaining behind to guide him via radio transmitter) ventured out with a flashlight-glowstick through a small air shaft into the ship's seemingly-abandoned, claustrophobic, dark corridors and soon learned that their ship was infested by cannibalistic tribal creatures -- strange, pale, hairless, fast-moving, warrior zombie-like humanoid beasts with blue lights who used bladed weapons and lassos to catch and murder their human prey. They also trapped their victims in hook and pulley systems. [It was later speculated that they were mutants derived from the thousands of civilian passengers in the hypersleep pods, who had suffered the effects of accelerators, a synthetic enzyme in the feeding tubes designed to help them adapt to the environmental conditions on Tanis. However, after waking unexpectedly within the ship, they adapted to its environment.]

In his journeys to search for his wife (although it was later revealed that after she left him, he enlisted for the flight), Bower came upon two other survivors: threatening German genetic engineer/biologist Nadia (Antje Traue), and Vietnamese agricultural expert Manh (Cung Le). He also encountered a desperate and disturbed Shepard (Norman Reedus), a Group 6 crewmember who was soon a victim of the ravenous creatures. Payton was also joined by a younger, naked and insane Corporal Gallo (Cam Gigandet) who claimed he had come from the bridge. And then Bower came upon one of the human survivors in the ventilation shaft - paranoid story-teller Leland (Eddie Rouse) who spoke in metaphysical riddles.

Simultaneously telling the same story although with different interpretations, both Leland and Gallo described how Gallo had originally been one of Elysium's three crewmen who had received a final message from Earth - that it had been obliterated (seen in the film's opening). Gallo went insane with Pandorum sickness, stayed awake, and killed his two fellow crew-mates. He woke up the civilian cargo ("his slumbering prey") and ruled over the people - believing himself to be a self-proclaimed king or God. Those who disobeyed were exiled to the cargo hold of the ship, where with an increased accelerator drug dosage, they were mutating into flesh-hungry creatures. Eventually, Gallo grew tired of playing his evil game and returned to his bed for hyper-sleep slumber.

After the reactor was reset and power was restored to the ship, many of the creatures nesting under it and aroused to attack were fried, although Manh's throat was slit by a mutant child during a chase back to the bridge. Gradually, more of the film's twist was revealed -- 'Payton' was Gallo. When Gallo went back to the hyper-sleep pod, he had mistakenly crawled into Payton's pod. The Pandorum-afflicted 'Payton'/Gallo was interacting with a younger hallucinatory version of himself (as he looked when he first started working on the ship). 'Payton'/Gallo was the crazed "God" from Leland's story.

Now to their horror, they realized that the Elysium had been on the destination planet of Tanis for 923 mission years (according to the ship's log). It had crash-landed and was now lying underwater in the alien world's ocean. Struggling not to go insane himself, Bower fought against 'Payton'/Gallo, and he and Nadia escaped to Bower's hibernation pod, while Payton (in the captain's chair) and the creatures were drowned as water rushed into the Elysium's bridge from a break in the glass wall. Nadia and Bower were jettisoned to safety, to the surface of the ocean near land. Because of the breach in the hull, all of the ship's remaining escape pods were also jettisoned to the surface as part of a pre-programmed emergency evacuation plan, and the remaining civilians began to wake up in the pods.

The final shot was a view of the two-moon planet Tanis. Titles appeared displaying that life was beginning again: "Tanis Year One " was followed by the number of survivors in the alien planet's population in its first year: "Population 1213..."

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)(aka El laberinto del fauno)

Ofelia Was Shot Dead by Her Stepfather Captain Vidal, Who Was Then Killed by Guerrillas; Ofelia's Blood Opened A Portal to the Underworld Kingdom Where She Obtained Immortality

In this wondrously imaginative World War II era fantasy film set in Spain during Franco's regime, young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) sought refuge in an imaginary escapist world in a forest home filled with fairies and a menacing faun named Pan (Doug Jones).

The film concluded with the unexpected death of Ofelia at the hands of malevolent and brutal Spanish fascist Captain Vidal (Sergi López) - her adoptive stepfather. Her murder occurred as she fulfilled the third of three tests given to her by Pan to prove that she was the true Princess of the underworld.

When she brought her newborn brother (her remarried mother died in childbirth) to the center of the labyrinth maze and presented him to Pan, she was told that she must shed the blood of an 'innocent' - her baby brother. When she refused (interpreting that the innocent was the baby), she was shot in the stomach by the Captain, who demanded the child. She fulfilled the test however, when her own blood dripped down and opened the portal. [Vidal escaped with the baby, but was shot by Pedro (Roger Casamajor), a guerrilla and brother of revolutionary housekeeper Mercedes (Maribel Verdu). Before Vidal died, Mercedes told him that the baby would not know its father's name.]

Ofelia was transported to the underground realm. She was seen dressed in gold joining her dead mother Carmen/Queen (Ariadna Gil) and actual father, the underworld King (Federico Luppi), in the land of the fairies' throne room. She was applauded as the long-lost Princess Moanna, whose soul had returned. She died believing that she had successfully completed the three tasks and achieved immortality. Pan spoke the last lines of the film, in voice-over:

"And it is said that the Princess returned to her father's kingdom. That she reigned there with justice and a kind heart for many centuries. That she was loved by her people. And that she left behind small traces of her time on Earth, visible only to those who know where to look."

The Parallax View (1974)

Frady Was Killed - And Framed As the Lone Assassin (There Was a Second Denial of any Conspiracy Theory)

This political thriller paralleled the JFK assassination to some degree and was made during the Watergate era. Rogue investigative newspaper reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) witnessed the assassination of US Senator Carroll (Bill Joyce) from California (and aspiring Presidential candidate) at Seattle's Space Needle.

Although a government commission, the Carroll Commission, declared it the work of a "lone gunman" (identified as waiter Thomas Richard Linder (Chuck Waters)), with "no evidence of any wider conspiracy," Frady took notice a few years later as witnesses suspiciously died off. He decided to obsessively pursue a possible conspiracy theory of his own.

His case led to the shadowy Parallax Corporation into which he found himself recruited (after watching a 'brainwashing' montage-collage of non-verbal images that functioned as a psychological test, juxtaposed with white-on-black words such as "Mother", "Country", and "Me"). He portrayed himself as a disaffected political assassin (with alias name "Richard Parton") in order to penetrate their organization to learn more ("Who's ever behind this is in the business of recruiting assassins").

He became fully aware -- after it was too late -- that he was being framed and set up by the company to take the fall for another similar assassination - this time it would be the murder of Senator Hammond (Jim Davis) in a convention hall during a political rally. By film's end, Frady was implicated and trapped in the killing of Hammond, and was thought to be the assassin as he fled from the scene (people saw him next to a planted unused gun and assumed he did it). When he ran, he was gunned down by the real unseen assassin (Bill McKinney).

Months later, the Hammond Commission (as it did at the film's opening) officially reported that Frady had blamed Senator Hammond for killing Senator Carroll - and had sought revenge ("Frady was obsessed with the Carroll assassination, and in his confused and distorted state of mind seems to have imagined that Hammond was responsible for the senator's death. He was equally convinced that Hammond was somehow plotting to kill him. And it is for those reasons that Frady assassinated him") -- Frady was declared the lone assassin of Hammond, and again it was declared: "There is no evidence of a conspiracy in the assassination of George Hammond."

Passengers (2008)

Grief Therapist Dr. Claire Summers Who Was Counseling Traumatized Commercial Plane Crash Survivors Was One of the Deceased Passengers Herself, Receiving Guidance From "Ghosts"

Director Rodrigo Garcia's long, drawn-out, suspenseless and pretentious thriller, with only a limited theatrical release, gave hints of its fairly-obvious, common and derivative plot twist (similar to The Sixth Sense (1999)) in its three taglines:

  • One accident. Ten survivors. One mystery to be solved.
  • The Truth Can't Hide Forever
  • The line between this world and the next is about to be crossed.

In the moody melodrama, highly-educated young grief therapist/counselor Dr. Claire Summers (Anne Hathaway) received a late-night phone call and vowed she was "wide-awake." She was appointed to work with five traumatized plane crash survivors (on a commercial airliner carrying 109 passengers with only a handful of survivors) who had differing accounts of their near-death experiences. Four were engaged in group therapy with her to reconstruct and re-visit the events of the incident, while one of them received individual attention.

He was an enigmatic, handsome, charming but slightly creepy male patient named Eric Clark (Patrick Wilson), a VP at a brokerage firm - Claire's love interest. She at first played hard-to-get and claimed their growing relationship was a conflict of interest, although she crossed an ethical line and made love to him - and then blurted out: "I'm a mess."

The New Sky Airlines flight had crashed on a nameless beach near Pinewood (in the state of Washington?), a city with overcast gray skies. Claire became very suspicious that the crash wasn't caused by pilot error but by a covered-up engine explosion and mechanical system failure (the film's conspiracy theory angle). Characters became sinister as Claire's patients began to disappear, while persistent airline representative Mr. Arkin (David Morse), who argued for human error, began to follow survivors and Claire. She feared the missing patients had been targeted by the airlines.

As Claire began to become unhinged herself, friend Mr. Perry (Andre Braugher) told her: "When we lie, we make up our lies with pieces of the truth...Maybe it's gone as far as it can." On the porch of her estranged older sister Emma's (Stacy Grant) house, Arkin told her that the flight had no survivors: "They're all dead" - and then admitted: "It was because of me" - he was the dead pilot. In Arkin's pilot log book left behind, she found the computer print-out of the passenger list - with her name on it. She was the seatmate of Eric during the flight.

All of her contacts over several weeks, including Eric, her Aunt Toni (Dianne Wiest), and teacher Mr. Perry, had been "ghosts." Eric explained they had counseled her to make peace with her situation and to help her move on: "People come back to help you come to terms or lead the way...They're just here to help us find our way."

The film ended with Emma and her husband entering Claire's empty apartment after the crash, where they found a note that she had written to help reconcile the two: "Emma, You are my sister. My life is incomplete without you."

Perfect Stranger (2007)

Rowena Set Up Harrison Hill For the Murder of Grace (Rowena Was the Actual Murderer, Who Had Sought Revenge for Grace's Blackmail Regarding a Childhood Incident); Rowena's Partner Miles Knew She Had Killed Grace and Wanted to Coerce Her Into Being His Sex Slave; Rowena Killed Miles and Made It Look Like Attempted Rape, Not Knowing That the Next-Door Neighbor Had Witnessed Everything

There were clues early on as to the twisting film's plot, unraveled in the blind-siding, surprise conclusion of this psychosexual erotic thriller (with lots of red herrings and non-clues). The hints were numerous:

  • the credits sequence with enlarged images of the retina of a dilated eye
  • various flashbacks to the troubled childhood of the main character Rowena "Ro" Price (Halle Berry) (a rip-off of Hitchcock's Marnie)
  • a short scene of Rowena meeting a childhood friend named Grace Clayton (Nicki Aycox) - a later murder victim

Rowena was an investigative journalist for the New York Courier tabloid newspaper, writing under the male pseudonym David Shane. She became disillusioned and bitter after her story about an anti-gay rights, closeted US Senator Sachs (Gordon MacDonald) was covered up (by a presumed pay-off). Sachs was found to be having a homosexual affair with a male intern. Rowena quit - but then decided to take up an even bigger case -- to investigate Manhattan ad agency magnate Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis), a charming, womanizing boss. Rowena suspected Hill as the brutal killer of her promiscuous friend Grace.

At a subway station during a chance meeting, Grace had told her of a recent betrayal by Hill, after they met online (she took the screenname Fast Filly), had passionate sex, and then she was dumped when he began sleeping with other women. Grace vowed to get revenge against Hill ("Actions have consequences, Ro. You can't just forget people. Bury them and pretend like they never existed. It always comes back to haunt you") by having Rowena publish his steamy emails. The disclosures were designed to inform Hill's covetous, rich "Armani wife" Mia (Paula Miranda) to get even.

Grace handed over a stack of Hill's steamy emails to Rowena to publish - but Grace soon turned up dead in a river. She had been poisoned with belladonna (dilation medicaton), also had her eyes burned out with it, and she was pregnant in her first trimester!

Rowena teamed up with her former co-worker and computer whiz Miles Haley (Giovanni Ribisi), became a temp named Katherine Pogue, and went undercover at Hill's company to try to find clues to pin the murder on him. At night, she went online to chat with him (with screenname Rocketgirl). She wanted to connect and prove that the screenname ADEX was his, the one Hill used with Grace.

Hill had an ultrajealous wife who held his fortune ("She finds him cheating, she and her money are out the door"), and had hired long-legged, brunette lesbian assistant "watchdog" Josie (Daniella Van Grass) to organize and police his affairs.

The film summed up all of the various secrets that the two main characters had:

(1) MILES - he was a perverted sleazebag. He had a tremendous crush on Rowena, and had insinuated himself (as TRUBLU) into her private chat conversations with Hill. He also kept a "secret" room in his apartment where he displayed nude photos and a love shrine to Rowena and evidence of his many kinky sexual encounters, including one with Grace on October 5. Miles knew that Rowena had always been aware of the company's "Virtual Tour" - her Internet browser had remembered the URL (before Grace was found dead). Rowena had used her knowledge of belladonna to tie Grace's murder to Hill's company and wife.

(2) ROWENA - one of her unrevealed motives was that she was an abused child by her white father or stepfather, seen in quick flashbacks. He threatened to molest her: "You know how much Daddy likes bath time!" while her black mother looked on.

In the film's ending in a flashback, Ro's mother struck the stepfather with a fire poker and killed him, and the two secretly buried his body in the outdoor yard. Everything was witnessed by young Grace at a window, who then went on to blackmail Rowena for the rest of her life. That was Rowena's motive to kill her. Rowena set up Hill for the murder of Grace.

She was successful in framing Hill - he was put on trial and found guilty. Rowena had sealed his fate by putting traces of Grace's hair, secretions and blood (commingled with belladonna) in Hill's car (Rowena had stolen the belladonna from the "pathetic" pharmacy where her ailing convalescent mother was being cared for, at Delano General). Belladonna was something that Hill would have had access to through his wife (it was stored in the medicine cabinet in the downtown photography studio).

In the final reveal, through voice-overs and flashbacks, Rowena was shown to be the murderess (she had poisoned Grace with a laced belladonna drink, to implicate Hill or his wife, and then disposed of her body in the river). Miles attempted to blackmail Rowena into having sex with him ("What are you willing to do for me to keep me quiet?"), but she stabbed him in the heart, and then made it look as if it was an attempted rape and murder due to self-defense. She called the police, informing them that maybe the wrong man had been jailed. She didn't know that the next-door neighbor had witnessed the stabbing.

[Note: The film was made with three endings, every one with a different character as the murderer.]

Phone Booth (2002)

The Caller/Sniper Was Not the Pizza Delivery Man, But The Man Who Spoke With Stu in the Ambulance at the End of the Film

The dramatic action in this Hitchcock-like suspenseful thriller by director Joel Schumacher, occurring in real-time, took place almost entirely in and around a mid-town New York City phone booth (at 53rd and 8th - symbolic of the mind of the main character). The movie deftly displayed split-screens and small cutaway boxes. Some were outraged that a spoiler revealing the film's ending was displayed on the DVD's cover.

Arrogant, hustling, wheeling-and-dealing hot-shot NY publicist Stuart Shepard (Colin Farrell) was married to pretty blonde Kelly Shepard (Radha Mitchell), although cheating in his mind. He was planning to sleep with "favorite client" Pam McFadden (Katie Holmes), an aspiring young brunette actress. As he was placing a call to her at work in a public phone booth (to avoid detection from Kelly who checked his cell phone records), Stu was interrupted by a pizza delivery man (Dell Yount) offering him an already-paid-for "Half pepperoni, Half mushroom, Extra crisp" pizza, but Stu turned nasty, paid him $5 to leave, and refused the delivery. He again dialed Pam's number, as he often did at the same time every day from the same phone booth. They spoke briefly and he hung up when she refused a drink-date.

Then when the phone rang, a Caller (Keifer Sutherland) revealed that he was watching from closeby and knew Stu's name. During a second call, the Caller described Stu's routine (of calling and lying to Pam), his girlfriend's name and number, and his wife's name and number. The mysterious Caller made Stu a hostage, and threatened him if he left the phone booth or ended the call ("Stu, if you hang up, I will kill you"). Using extortionist methods, the menacing, righteous Caller (after demonstrating his nearby whereabouts on a high-rise building with a silenced, high-powered sniper rifle with a scope, by blasting a toy robot) threatened Stu with murder if he didn't reveal the truth of his affair to both women. He explained Stu's sin that needed punishment: "You are guilty of inhumanity to your fellow man...It's time you learn, Stu. Deception can't go unrewarded."

Police were called to the scene following the sniper's murder of a loud-mouthed, harrassing, baseball-wielding pimp named Leon (John Enos III) who was demanding to use the phone along with his three prostitutes. Police Captain Ed Ramey (Forest Whitaker) and other E.S.U. team members, officers, and an ambulance soon arrived at the scene. When Kelly also arrived, Stu was forced to confess to her his desire to 'f--k' Pam, and also tell the truth of all of his "crimes" to his assistant, his wife, and to Pam. After Ramey realized it was a sniper situation, they eventually traced the Caller/Shooter to the nearby, dilapidated Baltley Hotel building, where in room 604, they found the sniper rifle aimed at the street and a man who had bled to death after slashing his own throat. Meanwhile, police had fired their guns at Stu when he became distraught, grabbed the planted gun above the phone booth, and panicked - it appeared that he had been killed, but he was only hit with rubber bullets.

The dead man in the building was revealed to be the pizza man, and Stu positively identified him as the Caller/Sniper. However, the twist was that the Sniper/Caller was still alive. After Stu was placed in an ambulance and given a shot to relax him by EMTs, the real Caller/Sniper came over to the open door and spoke to a drowsy Stu - the final dialogue in the film. The Caller/Sniper let Stu live, but warned him to be careful and watch himself, before walking away (carrying a case with the broken-down sniper rifle):

You hung up, Stu. I didn't get a chance to say goodbye. I feel bad about the pizza guy. But I couldn't miss seeing you and Kelly reunited. You don't have to thank me. Nobody ever does. I just hope your newfound honesty lasts. Because if it doesn't, you'll be hearing from me.

Incapacitated, Stu couldn't alert the police although he tried to call out for help. The film ended with the Caller's voice-over: "Isn't it funny? You hear a phone ring and it could be anybody. But a ringing phone has to be answered, doesn't it? (Whispered) Doesn't it?" (The phone in the booth rang) (A man answered: "Hello?")

[The Caller had been hiding across the street, not in the nearby hotel, and had ordered the pizza. Although it was an unrealistic scenario, the Caller had murdered the pizza man and planted the gun to deflect attention from himself - to make it look like the pizza man was the killer who had committed suicide.]

Pi (1998)

Max Drilled A Hole In His Skull To Stop the Pain, Paranoid Delusions and Mathematical Madness

Writer/director Darren Aronofsky's low-budget debut film was hauntingly Kafka-esque and tensely filmed in high-contrast, grainy and stark black and white, similar to David Lynch's Eraserhead (1977) with many close-ups. It opened with the voice-over rantings (with time stamps in military time) of a reclusive, white male named Maximillian "Max" Cohen (Sean Gullette) living in NYC's Chinatown in a walk-up apartment with multiple locks on his door. He told how he had almost blinded himself when he was six years old by staring into the sun - a resemblance to the myth of Icarus:

9:13, Personal note: When I was a little kid, my mother told me not to stare into the sun. So once when I was six, I did. The doctors didn't know if my eyes would ever heal. I was terrified, alone in that darkness. Slowly, daylight crept in through the bandages, and I could see. But something else had changed inside me. That day, I had my first headache.

He was a brilliant mathematical genius who could solve multiplication problems in his head (a game he played with a young neighbor girl with a hand-held calculator named Jenna (Kristyn Mae-Anne Lao)). However, Max suffered from frequently debilitating bloody noses, tremors, severe migraine headaches, hallucinations and pain, and would often self-medicate with pills and injections, although he found them to be "failed treatments." He thought that the truth of the world could be summed up in mathematics. He would continually state his assumptions about the universe:

Restate my assumptions: One, Mathematics is the language of nature. Two, Everything around us can be represented and understood through numbers. Three: If you graph the numbers of any system, patterns emerge. Therefore, there are patterns everywhere in nature. Evidence: The cycling of disease epidemics; the wax and wane of caribou populations; sun spot cycles; the rise and fall of the Nile. So, what about the stock market? The universe of numbers that represents the global economy. Millions of human hands at work, billions of minds. A vast network, screaming with life. An organism. A natural organism. My hypothesis: Within the stock market, there is a pattern as well. Right in front of me. Hiding behind the numbers. Always has been.

He obssesively worked on his computer, nicknamed 'Euclid,' to discover the stock market's formula or pattern that he assumed existed. He also whiled away the time by talking to elderly mathematics mentor Sol Robeson (Mark Margolis) while playing the Chinese board game of Go. When his computer crashed during computing, Max believed that the long digit-number string that Euclid had "spit out" on a print-out meant nothing, and discarded the paper in a trash-can. He also stomped on the motherboard after removing it. [It was possible that his computer went dead because a wayward ant short-circuited the system.] He told inquisitive Sol about how 'Euclid' crashed and died:

Euclid crashed. I lost all my data. Hardware...Burnt....First I get these crazy low picks. Then it spit out this long string of numbers. I never saw anything like it. And it fries. The whole machine just crashed...

But soon after, Max realized the numbers were actually accurate and predictive - and the key to decoding the stockmarket. Max spoke further with Sol about the 216 digit number, who cautioned that the world "can't be easily summed up with math. There is no simple path." Max stressed that the pattern in Go games was similar to the pattern in the stock-market or the Torah, although Sol warned him to be careful about making assumptions and becoming obsessive. [It was revealed later that Sol had been through the insanity of Pi himself in his own life, but told Max little about his own discovery of the number. Sol had devoted his life to finding the pattern in Pi before he claimed it had caused a stroke.]

When Max restored his computer and rediscovered the full 216 digit number, his computer failed to print it, so he had to hand-write the long number string. He went back to Sol and accused him of lying. Sol confessed how he had discovered the 216 digit number, but felt it had been "a dead end":

Sol: "...certain programs cause computers to get stuck in a particular loop. The loop leads to meltdown but just before the crash, they become aware of their own structure. The computer has a sense of its own silicon nature and it prints out the ingredients."
Max: "The computer becomes conscious?"
Sol: "In some ways, I guess."
Max: "Studying the pattern made Euclid conscious of itself? I had to... Before it died, it spit out the number. That consciousness is the number?"

Sol thought Max was driving himself over the edge of a cliff and going crazy ("You need to stop!"), and soon after suffered a second stroke (while resuming his own search for Pi).

As Sol predicted, Max was increasingly becoming insane. He thought that two groups were threatening and pursuing him for his mathematical knowledge and the numbers in his head:

  • a Hasidic Jew numerologist named Lenny Meyer (Ben Shenkman) believed that there was a mathematical basis to the Hebrew language; hidden meanings existed in the Torah where every letter stood for a number; the holy Torah was code sent from God - it held the 216 digit code/letters for the most holy and unspeakable "true name of God" - it was "the key to the Messianic Age, it can take us one step closer to the Garden of Eden!"
  • a black woman named Marcy Dawson (Pamela Hart), representing Wall Street financiers, who exchanged a mega-chip ("Ming Mecca"), necessary for computer number-crunching, for Max's 216 code numbers that would predict and manipulate the stock-market

To end his insanity, Max destroyed his computer, then took an electric drill to the right temple of his shaved head, spraying blood onto his bathroom mirror, with self-inflicted brain surgery.

In the last scene set at a park bench, Jenna again asked him a mathematical problem ("How about 255 times 183? I got it! I got it! What's the answer?"), but he could only shake his head, smile, and blissfully and ignorantly ask: "I don't know. What is it?" She answered, "46,655. See?" When she asked another question: "How about 748 divided by 238. I got it! What's the answer?", he only looked up at the beauty of nature seen in the sun coming through tree leaves. [The answer was the mathematical constant pi.]

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

The Faustian Theme Was Embodied by Dorian Gray's Eventual Fate, When the Painting Aged and Showed His True Hideous and Deformed Visage. When He Died After Stabbing the Painting, His Body Acquired the Monstrous Features, While the Painting Reverted to Normal

Writer-director Albert Lewin's black and white occult-horror fantasy drama was based upon Oscar Wilde's story about a man's soul and its evil destiny. It told about the fate of healthy, handsome, and young 19th century Victorian Englishman Dorian Gray (Hurd Hatfield), an aristocrat. He jealously spoke to the painting that he would "sell my very soul" if he could stay young forever and never grow old. The wish appeared to come true, as the painting aged (locked in his attic), while Gray remained youthful.

The film concluded with the sudden and shocking final view of the hideously-aged painted portrait of Dorian Gray (occasionally shown in Technicolor). It showed the ravages of debauchery, sin and withered aging (while he remained young, vain and handsome) in real life.

In the last scene when Dorian faced the painting, he stabbed the heart of his image in the picture to release his awful visage and the spell that had been cast upon him, but he actually stabbed himself. He collapsed to the floor and as he died, took on the hideous and deformed characteristics of the painting. The painting reverted back to its original (while a swinging lamp cast ominous shadows). When his body was discovered, it had taken on grotesque, monstrous features.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)

Resurrected Captain Barbossa Was Summoned to Rescue the Black Pearl and Captain Jack; The Crew's Dog Became Chief of the Cannibal Tribe

In the conclusion of this pirate film (the second in the series), Black Pearl Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) was tricked by Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) with a kiss. Leaving him to his doom tied to the ship's mast, Captain Jack was then swallowed by the sea monster - the Kraken, and dragged down into the water to his death.

He was taken to Davy Jones' (Bill Nighy) locker inside the gateway called World's End. In her shack, priestess Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris), with the power to resurrect the dead and see into the future, met with the Pearl's survivors: Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth, and some of the crew, about what they would do to save Jack at World's End:

Would you sail to the ends of the Earth and beyond to fetch back witty Jack and him precious Pearl?

When they answered affirmatively, she told them: "But if you go and brave the weird and haunted shores at world's end, then you will need a captain who knows those waters."

The film's surprise ending occurred when heavy footsteps and the sight of boots descending stairs were viewed - she had called upon resurrected Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) (who had died in the first film) to assist them. Barbossa entered the room and asked: "So tell me, what's become of my ship?" - he bit into a green apple, laughed heartily, and the monkey on his shoulder screeched as the film abruptly ended.

There was a post-credits view of the crew's dog, earlier left behind on the island, crowned as the new chief of the cannibal tribe.

Planet of the Apes (1968)

It Was Earth (in the Future) All Along - The Statue of Liberty Was Seen on a Sandy Beach

This film's iconic, chilling, startling, twist-surprise ending has become common knowledge.

Stranded American astronaut George Taylor (Charlton Heston), having escaped from enslavement and imprisonment by talking civilized apes, rode on horseback down a beach shoreline in the Forbidden Zone with mute cave-woman Nova (Linda Harrison). He suddenly stopped when he saw something, and dismounted to stare upwards.

As the camera panned forward toward Taylor, through a spiked object, he exclaimed: "Oh, my God! I'm back, I'm home. All the time, it was..." He dropped to his knees: "We finally really did it." He pounded his fist into the sand and railed against Earth's generations almost 2,000 years earlier that had destroyed his home planet's civilization with a devastating nuclear war: "You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! Goddamn you all to hell!"

The full object came into view as the camera panned backward - the spiked crown of a battered Statue of Liberty buried waist-deep in beach sand.

Planet of the Apes (2001)

Earth Was Ruled by Apes

There was a bizarre, non-sequitur, and confused plot twist ending in Tim Burton's 2001 remake. The film's opening plot was set in the year 2029, and told about USAF astronaut Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg), during a space mission in the USAF space station Oberon, journeying in a spacepod through a vortex to a strange planet ('of the apes'), almost 1,000 years into the future. There, humanoid apes and humans were battling together.

The apes were worshipping a holy site called Calima, composed of the crashed space station Oberon, that had originally launched Davidson from Earth. [The name 'Calima' was derived from a sign reading: CAution LIve aniMAls.] Caged monkeys in the spaceship had escaped and started ape society, dominating the few humans who also survived. The descendants of both the humans and a ruling leader-ape named Semos became the peoples of the planet, divided into two groups: human slaves and militaristic ape leaders (the lineage of Thade).

In the film's ambiguous conclusion, chimp Pericles' spacepod, sent out during the original space flight of the Oberon (as was Davidson), landed in the society's midst. Pericles was worshipped as a god, the returning first ape named Semos (one of the original caged monkeys).

Reusing Pericles' undamaged spacepod, Davidson went backward in time and returned to present-day Earth (?). He crash-landed in the Mall in Washington DC and ended up on the front steps of the Lincoln Memorial. He found that the statue of the President in the memorial had been replaced by a statue of ruthless, sadistic commander-ape General Thade (Tim Roth), with the inscription:


The world was dominated and populated by talking apes (had Thade beaten Davidson back to Earth?) with guns who swarmed around him in police cars and helicopters.

[Note: In some unknown way, Thade had freed himself from the Oberon at Calima, and reestablished himself by learning important knowledge from its computer databanks (i.e., a review of all electronic communications, the coordinates of Earth, etc.), or skills (i.e., how to fly a pod), and invaded Earth, possibly about 150 years before the new Millennium (2,000 AD) to enslave Earth humans with his technology - including advanced weaponry.]

The Player (1992)

Studio Exec. Griffin Got Away With Murder, and Had a Happy Ending For His Own Life

The subtle opening and closing shots of this film revealed the underlying joke of the premise - the movie was a 'film-within-a-film' about how the film came to be. It told about the murder of a disgruntled screenwriter, and its cover-up by a callous, insincere, back-stabbing, shallow, and egotistical film producer.

The opening provided a clue with the shot of a movie set getting ready to shoot the film, and the clack of the slate signaling the start.

It told about how Hollywood producer Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) was being harrassed and blackmailed by a mysterious and abusive screenwriter whose script he had rejected. During an altercation in a movie theatre parking lot alley with the alleged scripter named David Kahane (Vincent D'Onofrio), Griffin accidentally killed him. He was suspected by police and lined up for identification, but the witness chose Detective DeLongpre (Lyle Lovett) (who was tracking Griffin) as the killer.

Griffin then fell in love with Kahane's erotic and artistic Icelandic girlfriend June Gudmundsdottir (Greta Scacchi) -- but it was revealed that he had killed the wrong man! He was still getting postcards and calls from the scripter. [One of Griffin's ulterior motives was to encourage competitive co-worker Larry Levy (Peter Gallagher) to back a film script from the blackmailing scripter for a film titled Habeas Corpus. He knew the original script idea would flop, hurt Levy's future, and put Griffin in a position to save the studio by salvaging the film with a tacked-on upbeat ending. In the screened, re-edited film, star Bruce Willis saved wrongly-sentenced co-star Julia Roberts from going to the gas chamber.]

In the film's clever and happy ending of its own, Griffin drove home while hearing a pitch by a mysterious psychotic writer of a movie called The Player - about the movie just seen ("It's a Hollywood ending, Griff. He marries the dead writer's girl and they live happily ever after"). Griffin gave the writer the deal. As in the script, he then went home to his pregnant wife -- June (was she real or Griffin's fantasy?) -- and literally got away with murder. The film's plot about murder was the story that was pitched to Griffin and accepted.

There was a slight mocking of the audience with a subtle and faintly-heard: "Nyah, nyah, nyah-NYAH-nyah" sung by an infant in the score.

The Pledge (2001)

Jerry Was Unable to Conclusively Prove The Identity of the Killer, and Went Mad

Director Sean Penn's pretentious psychological thriller/drama (symbolically similar to the Little Red Riding Hood tale) opened (and closed) with drunken, retired cop Jerry Black (Jack Nicholson) sitting outside his dilapidated, rural gas station/home, ravaged and ranting: "She said it. She said it. She did" - the image was superimposed with views of black crows flying above in a pale blue sky.

Just before he retired, the gruesome murder of a little blonde girl with a red dress named Ginny Larsen (Taryn Knowles) was discovered in the snowy area around Reno, Nevada. Black, in the waning hours of his job, pledged his "soul's salvation" to the turkey farm-owning mother Mrs. Margaret Larsen (Patricia Clarkson) that he would find the killer.

He wasn't satisfied when mentally unstable Indian Toby Jay Wadenah (Benicio del Toro) (with a criminal record for statutory rape) was arrested, cajoled to confess, and then suicidally blew his head off during the botched interrogation. After learning of two similar murders of blonde-haired little girls wearing red in a triangular area of Monash County, and having in his possession Ginny's hand-drawn picture of the tall, black-garbed killer (called "the Wizard") driving a black station wagon and offering small porcupines to her, he began to track clues and possible suspects in the surrounding crime area.

He set up a surrogate family with abused single mother waitress Lori (Robin Wright Penn) and her 8 year old blonde daughter Chrissy (Pauline Roberts) - and eventually used the girl as bait for the pedophile child killer, causing Lori, as the stakeout ended, to disown him for pretending to love her and the girl (calling him a "f--king bastard...f--king crazy").

The unsettling film ended without closure, except for Black's hallucinatory insanity and the realization that his assumptions were right, but misunderstood and unfulfilled.

Was the killer?

  • a friendly town minister named Gary Jackson (Tom Noonan) who lived with his crafts-making mother Helen (Lois Smith) who made porcupine toys, and was also the snowplow driver who befriended Chrissy
  • the round-faced snowmobiler who discovered Ginny's body
  • Oliver (John R. Taylor), the grey-haired husband-storeowner of the Land of Christmas gift and candy store (which sold porcupine candies) near where Ginny's grandmother Annalise Hansen (Vanessa Redgrave) lived
  • the driver of a station wagon (with a porcupine trinket on the rear-view mirror) with Nevada license plate 394-VWN who was burned beyond recognition in a collision with a logging truck while on his way to kill Chrissy
  • Jerry himself

Jerry was convinced of the murderer's arrival (murmuring to himself: "He's coming. I know it") but he never appeared.

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

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