Seeking movies with interesting moments of specific, sudden turnarounds/"surprises"
November 29, 2006 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Which movies have the most interesting moments of specific, sudden dramatic turnarounds/"surprises"? (PLEASE, TITLES/RECOMMENDATIONS ONLY -- please keep this thread spoiler-free, thanks!) I'm interested in watching these movies with an eye toward what happens in design terms (sound design, camera movement, lighting, etc.) both during and just before the turnaround/revelation.

I'm talking less about movies like Mulholland Drive, Twelve Monkeys or Memento -- in which a large-scale "surprise" becomes clear gradually -- and more about individual moments of revelation where something like an event, a new fact, or a character's unexpected decision is suddenly made clear to the audience (and/or to the movie's characters).

I would also love any recommendations in non-English languages (assuming I could get a version w/ English subtitles).

PLEASE DON'T INCLUDE SPOILERS (PLEASE DON'T REFER TO WHAT HAPPENS). Thanks, I really appreciate it! Part of my observation process needs to be that I am intially surprised too at these moments wherever possible. I actually am choosing not to search for other mefi threads on movie surprises, because I want to avoid the spoilers that may be in them. Thanks for your understanding.

Finally, here are some I already know about:
- Cold Mountain
- The Constant Gardener
- The Crying Game
- [Cube trilogy]
- Dark City
- Do the Right Thing
- eXistenZ
- Fargo
- High Art
- The Illusionist
- Just Cause
- Kids
- L.A. Confidential
- [Matrix trilogy]
- The Others
- The Sixth Sense
- Strange Days
- The Talented Mr. Ripley
- The Usual Suspects
- V for Vendetta
- Vanilla Sky & Abre Los Ojos
- The X Files Movie
- Y Tu Mamá También
posted by lorimer to Media & Arts (142 answers total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
 
In Spanish: Nine Queens
posted by Sara Anne at 2:33 PM on November 29, 2006


Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, absolutely.
posted by Paragon at 2:38 PM on November 29, 2006


Oh, and perhaps a bit too obvious, but Fight Club?
posted by Paragon at 2:40 PM on November 29, 2006


The Upside of Anger
posted by i_like_camels at 2:41 PM on November 29, 2006


The Village.
posted by RoseovSharon at 2:48 PM on November 29, 2006


The Empire Strikes Back
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:53 PM on November 29, 2006 [2 favorites]


Suicide Kings
posted by solotoro at 2:53 PM on November 29, 2006


Wizard of Oz
posted by mattbucher at 2:54 PM on November 29, 2006


Funny Bones (final scene)
posted by j-dawg at 2:55 PM on November 29, 2006


Blair Witch
posted by pinksoftsoap at 3:00 PM on November 29, 2006


From Hong Kong: Expect the Unexpected.

A couple of the suggestions so far are too well-known to surprise the original poster.
posted by russilwvong at 3:00 PM on November 29, 2006


From Dusk 'Til Dawn. Kinda.
posted by TG_Plackenfatz at 3:00 PM on November 29, 2006


House of Games!
posted by scody at 3:03 PM on November 29, 2006


Psycho

i hate scary movies..
posted by pinksoftsoap at 3:03 PM on November 29, 2006


I think The Forgotten has the most sudden genre-switch of any movie I've seen recently.

Also, it'd be hard to find someone who didn't know, but Predator starts off looking like one kind of movie and turns into another. I bet it surprised a few people in its day.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:08 PM on November 29, 2006


Unbreakable (which along with the previously mentioned The Village was directed by M. Night Shyamalan of The Sixth Sense fame).
posted by flipper at 3:09 PM on November 29, 2006


A Beautiful Mind
posted by knave at 3:12 PM on November 29, 2006


Spartan
The Spanish Prisoner
posted by JekPorkins at 3:12 PM on November 29, 2006


Primer
posted by rabbitsnake at 3:14 PM on November 29, 2006


Caché. In some of the most horrible ways possible. Ugh...
posted by mykescipark at 3:14 PM on November 29, 2006


Opening scene of Pulp fiction. I'm sorry, did I break your conversation?

Seven.

The Thirteenth Floor.

I second the LA confidential. Amazing moment there.

Also Funnybones. Amazing unkown film.

I have to admit, films with HUGE reveals, like fight club, tend to annoy me. I find them much more enjoyable the second time around when I don't feel like I'm being jerked around.
Also, when you can see an actor working on 2 fronts at the same time, it's much more impressive if you know. Haley Joel Osmet's performance in Sixth sense is much more impressive if you're in on it.

Don't forget the ending of Angel Heart (which I whispered to my date 15 minutes in)
posted by asavage at 3:15 PM on November 29, 2006


Memento
posted by blink_left at 3:16 PM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


Les Diaboliques (the French one, not the remake with Sharon Stone)
posted by lemuria at 3:16 PM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


one more, Chinatown.
posted by rabbitsnake at 3:17 PM on November 29, 2006


OP here: no need to worry if your suggestion is too "well-known" (but if you want to say your suggestion is especialy recommended, like Paragon did, that's cool too)... Thanks!

Another way this thread is different from usual rules is that me-too or "seconding" responses are REALLY valuable, to let me know which might be the most interesting of the recommendations.
posted by lorimer at 3:17 PM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


The Game
Bound
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:17 PM on November 29, 2006


oh yeah, another, Kings and Queen.
posted by rabbitsnake at 3:18 PM on November 29, 2006


Brazil
posted by blink_left at 3:19 PM on November 29, 2006


You know, this is the thing I like about LOST.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:20 PM on November 29, 2006


No Way Out
posted by hwestiii at 3:21 PM on November 29, 2006


(and the thing I hated about The Prestige.)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:22 PM on November 29, 2006


The Notebook
The Score
Match Point (maybe)
Run Lola Run (a bit of a stretch, but maybe)
Hero
Minority Report
A Simple Plan (not "a" big turn, but a few)
posted by The Deej at 3:24 PM on November 29, 2006


Seconding "Cache"
posted by The Deej at 3:26 PM on November 29, 2006


Ocean's Eleven (at least the Clooney one, haven't seen the other)

Alien
posted by teleskiving at 3:28 PM on November 29, 2006


The Prestige
posted by The Deej at 3:28 PM on November 29, 2006


Wait Until Dark
posted by dirtdirt at 3:33 PM on November 29, 2006


Deep Blue Sea (has a scene which was the first time I heard the whole audience gasp in unison, then laugh at how we had been set up.)
posted by The Deej at 3:33 PM on November 29, 2006


Heist

(yes, mine are all David Mamet movies so far)
posted by JekPorkins at 3:33 PM on November 29, 2006


Sleepaway Camp.
posted by one_bean at 3:36 PM on November 29, 2006


Blink_left forgot to specify the directors cut of Brazil. The DVD edition commonly available in the US comes with both the director's cut as well as the studio version. Also, I think the UK theatrical release is the directors cut, whereas they changed it for the US, or something crazy like that. Anyway, if you're in the US make sure you watch the Director's Cut.

Casino Royale (the new one)
The Shawshank Redemption
posted by gauchodaspampas at 3:45 PM on November 29, 2006


Seconding The Forgotten. Genre-switch indeed.
posted by good in a vacuum at 3:45 PM on November 29, 2006


Rebecca (Hitchcock)
Total Recall
posted by adamrice at 3:53 PM on November 29, 2006


Heist has a never ending stream of surprises. LOOVE that movie.
posted by asavage at 3:54 PM on November 29, 2006


Oh yeah, the new Scorcese movie The Departed.
posted by adamrice at 3:55 PM on November 29, 2006


Resevoir Dogs
posted by macadamiaranch at 3:57 PM on November 29, 2006


Finally found the title of a mexican movie I was thinking of:
Maria de mi Corazon

Good luck finding it, but it's a good one. I go to school at the University of Minnesota, and we have it here (not in our libraries AFAIK, but at the "language center" which is like a resource center for foreign languages). Anyway, point being, check any local universities. They might have it.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 3:59 PM on November 29, 2006


Frailty
The Third Man
Oldboy
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:08 PM on November 29, 2006


The Rapture
Adaptation
posted by The Deej at 4:18 PM on November 29, 2006


2001: A Space Odyssey
posted by The Deej at 4:20 PM on November 29, 2006


Lucky Number Slevin
posted by slea at 4:21 PM on November 29, 2006


Spoorloos (The Vanishing)

Also seconding the original Les Diaboliques
posted by Demogorgon at 4:29 PM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


Serenity
French Connection II (more of an abrupt moment than a twist, but still)
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:29 PM on November 29, 2006


Someone has already mentioned Oldboy, but Chan Wook Park's entire trilogy:

Oldboy
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
posted by mamaquita at 4:35 PM on November 29, 2006


Emma
posted by belladonna at 4:39 PM on November 29, 2006


Bladerunner (may be version dependent)
Citizen Kane
The Crying Game

Or do these not meet the criteria somehow?
posted by chairface at 4:50 PM on November 29, 2006


Matchstick men
posted by PercussivePaul at 4:57 PM on November 29, 2006


Magnolia (I don't know if this counts, but the part near the end certainly surprised me)
posted by eunoia at 5:04 PM on November 29, 2006


Scream (I suppose all of the Scream movies qualify, but the first one is really the best example...)
Jacob's Ladder

There's a lot I could second, but if I had to pick just one it'd be The Rapture.
posted by gnomeloaf at 5:06 PM on November 29, 2006


The Shape of THings
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 5:07 PM on November 29, 2006


Six Ways to Sunday.
posted by littlegreenlights at 5:16 PM on November 29, 2006


Blood Simple - fantastic.
posted by iconomy at 5:20 PM on November 29, 2006


He Loves Me He Loves Me Not -- with Audrey Tatou. The first half is so trite I almost walked out... but then you learn that something else has been going on.
posted by nímwunnan at 5:28 PM on November 29, 2006


Soylent Green
Save the Green Planet!
Manos: The Hands of Fate
posted by ardgedee at 5:30 PM on November 29, 2006


I enjoyed Una Pura formalità.

American Beauty
posted by edgeways at 5:33 PM on November 29, 2006


Bitter Moon
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:42 PM on November 29, 2006


Miracle Mile (1988). It was shown to me by a spoiler-hating friend who told me nothing whatsoever about the movie before showing it, and wouldn't let me read the (spoiler-ridden) blurb on the box. Watch it that way if possible.

I was going to link to IMDb's page for the movie, but there are spoilers there too!
posted by tomboko at 5:48 PM on November 29, 2006



Dead Again. Emma Thompson & Kenneth Brannagh
posted by BoscosMom at 5:49 PM on November 29, 2006


Someone mentioned The Departed, and I felt it would be appropriate to point out that it's a remake of Infernal Affairs, which has at least as many sudden surprises.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:52 PM on November 29, 2006


While this isn't a movie, but an Xbox/PC game - Knights of the Old Republic has a devastating plot twist, and is presented in quite a cinematic style.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:56 PM on November 29, 2006


Planet of the Apes
Oceans series (or the originals if you prefer)
Inside Man
posted by Pollomacho at 6:35 PM on November 29, 2006


Manos, the Hands of Fate

LOL!!!!!!! What did the O.P. do to you to cause such a need for revenge?

But, yeah, sure, why not! :)
posted by The Deej at 6:50 PM on November 29, 2006


I don't think it's a great movie, but I suppose Primal Fear qualifies.
posted by peep at 6:52 PM on November 29, 2006


Andrei Rublev
Spanking the Monkey

Seconding:

Planet of the Apes
Bitter Moon
Deep Blue Sea
Citizen Kane
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:58 PM on November 29, 2006


Star Wars
posted by iconomy at 7:06 PM on November 29, 2006


No worries, I've loved Manos (via MST3K) for years...

Speaking of this: with the help of all these responses, I'm realizing what I most want to find is not movies that are globally shock-oriented or filled with lots of surprises, but rather movies with just one or two isolated moments of major turnaround. (For example, most of us know The Sixth Sense as a good example of this.)

I'll probably also post again asking my more specific question now that I've figured it out. In the meantime, thanks for any further ideas!
posted by lorimer at 7:27 PM on November 29, 2006


Logan's Run
posted by knave at 7:28 PM on November 29, 2006


Flashpoint, starring Kris Kristofferson and Trick-or-Treat Williams. Do no look at the box.

I don't think it's a great movie, but I suppose Primal Fear qualifies.
It's not a great movie, but it features a great performance by Ed Norton in his movie debut.

posted by kirkaracha at 7:55 PM on November 29, 2006


Festen aka "The Celebration" in the US version. In this Danish film "At Helge's 60th birthday party, some unpleasant family truths are revealed" . . . are they ever. Superb film, jaw dropping surprise, and the first of the Dogma films. More at Wikipedia, but watch out there's spoilers there.
posted by donovan at 7:55 PM on November 29, 2006


Seconding Brazil
posted by pombe at 7:56 PM on November 29, 2006


Flashdance!!!!!

(and I LOVE the MST3K version of Manos)
posted by The Deej at 7:58 PM on November 29, 2006


The Manchurian Candidate (I'm assuming the plot is the same in the remake, but I'm referring to the Frankenheimer)

And while I'm thinking of Frankenheimer, Ronin too.

And I would point something out about the similarity in the way they're presented, but that might be a bit of a tiny little spoiler. (I'm so intent on not spoiling for people that I refuse to even discuss the fact that a certain movie has a surprise ending -- the best one I've seen -- and won't do so here. (it has been mentioned in this thread, of course))
posted by pinespree at 8:00 PM on November 29, 2006


lorimer writes "I'm realizing what I most want to find is not movies that are globally shock-oriented or filled with lots of surprises, but rather movies with just one or two isolated moments of major turnaround"

lorimer, if you have not seen Jacob's Ladder, as gnomeloaf recommended, it is a fantastic example. As are several examples here, but that one jumped out at me.
posted by peep at 8:13 PM on November 29, 2006


oh yeah, another one: Cookie's Fortune.
posted by adamrice at 8:17 PM on November 29, 2006




I don't know why nobody has seconded Sleepaway Camp. It's exactly what you're looking for. The only reason it is available on DVD is its twist -- most people think it's a terrible movie otherwise. You will know the surprise when you see it.
posted by one_bean at 8:24 PM on November 29, 2006


The Thomas Crown Affair remake might fit the bill.

A second on Knights of the Old Republic. Love that game.
posted by lemoncello at 8:48 PM on November 29, 2006


Flightplan.

Match Point (maybe)

Oh, definitely Match Point. Others I'll second: Dead Again, A Beautiful Mind, The Spanish Prisoner, No Way Out (although the twist is a bit cheesy), Matchstick Men.

And if you want an unsecond, The Forgotten has a huge twist, but the ads kinda telegraph it, and it's also the dumbest, least logical movie I've seen in a long time.
posted by diddlegnome at 8:56 PM on November 29, 2006


Ten Days Wonder (La Décade prodigieuse) by Claude Chabrol. Starring Anthony Perkins and Orson Welles, it's also a great movie.
posted by dhammond at 9:13 PM on November 29, 2006


Primal Fear
The Game
Saw (the original)
Dead Again
Final Analysis
posted by illek at 9:29 PM on November 29, 2006


I'm so excted by this flood of suggestions! Here are some movies you've mentioned that I forgot to include in my list above of what I've already seen:

- Adaptation
- Alien
- A Beautiful Mind
- The Blair Witch Project
- Blood Simple
- Bound
- Fight Club
- The Forgotten (lame, I agree!)
- The Manchurian Candidate (the remake)
- Minority Report
- Ocean's Eleven (the remake)
- Serenity
- Seven
- Solaris (the remake)
- The Thomas Crown Affair (the remake)
- Unbreakable

Noticing that all I've seen are remakes, I definitely should see the relevant originals for comparison!
posted by lorimer at 9:35 PM on November 29, 2006



SO FAR: here are all the movies that have been seconded and/or strongly recommended, and that I haven't seen. Anybody have comments on these "top contenders"? (I will see as many as possible)

• Bitter Moon
• Brazil (director's cut)
• Cache
• Citizen Kane
• Dead Again
• Deep Blue Sea
• The Departed (remake of Infernal Affairs)
• Les Diaboliques (original)
• Festen / The Celebration
• Funnybones
• Heist
• Jacob's Ladder
• Match Point
• Matchstick Men
• Miracle Mile (1998)
• No Way Out ["although the twist is a bit cheesy"]
• Oldboy
• Planet of the Apes
• The Rapture
• Sleepaway Camp
• The Spanish Prisoner
posted by lorimer at 9:56 PM on November 29, 2006


I'll mention Dead Again, again.
There are a few Hitchock movies that qualify, Rebecca (already mentioned), Spellbound, Psycho.
posted by euphorb at 10:01 PM on November 29, 2006


Million Dollar Baby
posted by number9dream at 10:07 PM on November 29, 2006


Kick it old school with one of the classic examples: Laura.

Or Sharky's Machine (which is partially an homage to Laura.

i haven't seen it, but No Way Out is a remake of The Big Clock.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:32 PM on November 29, 2006


Slumming it a bit, but great moment: Charlie's Angels (the first movie)
posted by cps at 10:50 PM on November 29, 2006


From your newly revised list, and going by your criteria only, I enthusiastically second the following:

-Matchstick Men
-Oldboy
-The Spanish Prisoner
-Planet of the Apes
-Les Diaboliques

I have reservations about the following:

-Festen (pulls you in somewhat gradually)
-Jacob's Ladder (too confusing)*
-Match Point (kind of leads up to it)
-Brazil (the whole thing's rather unpredictable and quirky)
-No Way Out (as pointed out, lame and unnecessary)
-Citizen Cane (nothing is changed by the reveal)

The rest, I've either seen but don't recall enough of, or haven't seen.

*not the film itself, though it is confusing, but the reveal(s)
posted by war wrath of wraith at 12:03 AM on November 30, 2006


I'm seconding Matchstick Men. Definitely one of the finest films I've ever seen.
posted by every_one_needs_a_hug_sometimes at 12:08 AM on November 30, 2006


2nd or 3rd Match Point
posted by jontyjago at 12:37 AM on November 30, 2006


11:14 (2003)
13 Conversations About One Thing (2001)
Abril Despedacado/Behind the Sun (2001)
After Hours (1985)
American Beauty (1999)
American Perfekt (1997)
Angel Heart (1987)
The Beast of War/The Beast (1988)
Central do Brasil/Central Station (1998)
Charade (1963)
Clay Pigeons (1998)
Coup de torchon (1981)
Dead Man's Shoes (2004)
Don’t Look Now (1973)
Dragonslayer (1981)
Edmond (2005)
Dust (2001)
La fille de d’artagnan/Revenge of the Musketeers (1994)
Following (1998)
Freeze Frame (2004)
Gattaca (1997)
Happy Accidents (2000)
Haute Tension/High Tension (2003)
House of Games (1987)
Johnny Handsome (1989)
Kakushi-toride no san-akunin/Hidden Fortress (1958)
Insomnia (1997)
Into the Night (1985)
Lady in the Water (2006)
The Ladykillers (1955)
Le Locataire/The Tenant (1976)
Milwaukee, Minnesota (2003)
No Man’s Land (2001)
Paycheck (2003)
Poolhall Junkies (2002)
Ravenous (1999)
Repo Man (1984)
The Salton Sea (2002)
Seul contre tous/I Stand Alone (1998)
Signs (2002)
Smilla’s Sense of Snow (1997)
Swimming Pool (2003)
Things Change (1987)
Tully (2000)
Unbreakable (2000)
The Village (2004)
posted by plokent at 1:30 AM on November 30, 2006


Malice. I just can't recommend this movie highly enough.
posted by Clay201 at 1:31 AM on November 30, 2006


Oh, and let's not forget Cronenberg's M Butterfly.
posted by Clay201 at 1:34 AM on November 30, 2006


really great question.

try a japanese film called "the audition"

you will get extra mileage out of the different cultural approach to presentation
posted by edtut at 1:52 AM on November 30, 2006


"The Audition", great movie indeed, and what punch.

Let's add "Dead or Alive", also by Takashi Miike.
posted by gmarceau at 2:11 AM on November 30, 2006


forget The Departed and just see the original. One of the best movies I've seen it awhile. After wathcing The Office, I don't I trust an American not to mess up a great script... and the original director hasn't been too positive about it.
posted by trinarian at 2:34 AM on November 30, 2006


How about the Harry Potter movies? "Prisoner of Azkaban" has more of what you're looking for, but the other 3 are good too.
posted by divabat at 3:33 AM on November 30, 2006


The Usual Suspects
posted by spaceman_spiff at 6:12 AM on November 30, 2006


You definitely want to check out Something Wild, which has a major switcheroo in tone and style and even color palette part way through. It's one of the most interesting movies that way - almost two separate flicks melded together. And it works.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:20 AM on November 30, 2006


Gotta bump "The Usual Suspects" onto the seconded list...
posted by SpacemanRed at 6:28 AM on November 30, 2006


Wild Things
posted by bbrown at 6:37 AM on November 30, 2006


I may be alone, but I thought Heist was awful. I generally like movies with a surprise ending or a twist, but there were so many in Heist it just got tiresome. But then again, I'm not a fan of Mamet in general. The language he uses is so unnatural and stilted, it makes his movies uncomfortable to watch.
posted by electroboy at 6:46 AM on November 30, 2006


The Way of the Gun Written and directed by the writer of The Usual Suspects. Fantastic film.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:19 AM on November 30, 2006


Also, avoid The Departed. Watch the much better original Infernal Affairs I & II (the third one is not that great). If you watch the Departed, the best bits will be ruined for you and the impact the twists have is much more effective in the originals.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:22 AM on November 30, 2006


I will second my own A Simple Plan. As I thought about it more, the character changes are sudden and absolutely chilling. I plan on watching it again today.
posted by The Deej at 7:22 AM on November 30, 2006


Spoorloos (both versions, but american version not as good.)
Ôdishon
The Prestige

Anything M. Night Shyamalan.

Anything David Cronenberg, especially Dead Ringers and A History of Violence.

Anything David Lynch, especially Lost Highway

Wild Palms is good one too.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 8:11 AM on November 30, 2006


And Lucky Number Slevin.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 8:12 AM on November 30, 2006


Suprised nobody's mentioned:

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Mission Impossible
posted by reborndata at 8:31 AM on November 30, 2006


Seconding slimepuppy's comment about seeing Infernal Affairs instead of The Departed. The Departed is a fine movie, but the really shocking moment in Infernal Affairs is played differently (with less impact) in The Departed, for some reason.
posted by russilwvong at 11:29 AM on November 30, 2006


Seconding:

Malice
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Usual Suspects
Dead Again
The Spanish Prisoner
No Way Out

Suggestion:
The Last Temptation of Christ -? Discuss.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 12:27 PM on November 30, 2006


Old Boy (Korean)
posted by pantsrobot at 1:31 PM on November 30, 2006


the forgotten made my heart stop beating, kind of stupid otherwise though.
posted by thisisnotkatrina at 1:46 PM on November 30, 2006


Has Gaslight already been mentioned and I just missed it?
posted by hipaa_chik at 1:56 PM on November 30, 2006


I must strongly concur on OLDBOY.
It's great (albeit violent) entertainment from the word go.
It's one of those ones you chew on for days.

While on the Korean angle, if you can find "A Tale Of Two Sisters", that's a moody scare that's certainly worth a viewing as well.

I also agree with Sprout that "The Last Temptation of Christ" has a nice, strong rush of a moment that should certainly qualify. (Plus it's in the Criterion Collection now, always good for a movie-lover to work through at least a part of that list.)
posted by Tbola at 5:26 PM on November 30, 2006


Two movies I haven't seen in this thread yet, but stick out in my mind and which I'd recommend because of the fairly good twist at the end:

Fallen
The Skeleton Key

Not very acclaimed movies, them being in the "spooky" genre, but I thought they were actually better than expected. Way to go, HBO on Demand.
posted by krippledkonscious at 7:24 PM on November 30, 2006


Seconding "A Tale of Two Sisters", with bells on.
posted by phooky at 7:26 PM on November 30, 2006


Ooh, yeah, "Fallen." Good one. But KK, you've got some HTML issues in your second link. Perhaps you meant "The Skeleton Key," which I haven't seen.
posted by diddlegnome at 7:46 PM on November 30, 2006


Seconding Miracle Mile. I think this is one of the most under-appreciated films ever made. Especially given the writer/director, Steve De Jarnatt, had only ever written one film before, another twist film, actually, come to think of it: Strange Brew.

The soundtrack alone (by Tangerine Dream) is worth the watch.
posted by wolftrouble at 8:39 PM on November 30, 2006


A pox on imdb's newfound fondness for adding cruft to the end of their URLs, and mahalo for the correction, diddlegnome. That's the "Key" I was talking about.
posted by krippledkonscious at 9:25 PM on November 30, 2006


To Live, by Zhang Yimou. This falls under 'sudden revelations to characters' more often than 'sudden revelations to audience', but there are some of both.
posted by eritain at 2:13 AM on December 1, 2006


Jacob's Ladder still freaks me out, even after seeing it repeatedly.
Also what people said about oldboy and audition.
posted by boo_radley at 9:33 AM on December 1, 2006


Jacob's Ladder, indeed!
posted by shimmerglimpse at 10:23 AM on December 1, 2006


Adding more support for Dead Again, The Usual Suspects, Charade and Matchstick Men.
posted by junkbox at 12:54 PM on December 1, 2006


i second auditon and chinatown.
highly recommend evil dead 2 -the ending is mind blowing good fun.
posted by lapolla at 3:16 PM on December 1, 2006


Life is Beautiful.
posted by icanbreathe at 9:52 PM on December 1, 2006


Nthing the endorsements for:
• Citizen Kane (although I don't really think of it as a surprise, and I agree that it doesn't change things)
• Dead Again
• Les Diaboliques (original)
• Match Point
• Matchstick Men
• No Way Out [actually, I disagree that "the twist is a bit cheesy"]
• Planet of the Apes
• The Spanish Prisoner

And
• House of Games
• Psycho
• Run Lola Run
• Vertigo
• The Usual Suspects
• Gaslight
• Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
• LA Confidential
• Laura

I haven't seen mentioned:
• Deathtrap (although it's similar to another, better foreign movie also mentioned in this discussion ... but it got the biggest audience response I've ever seen when I saw it in original release)

This is an excellent thread topic, BTW.
posted by pmurray63 at 12:23 AM on December 2, 2006


Don't forget "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold" or "Stagefright".
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:39 AM on December 2, 2006


1987 Oscar winner for Best Foriegn Film, Babette's Feast. Full of surprises and reversals.
posted by paulsc at 11:45 AM on December 2, 2006


Sole Survivor (Spoiler) (1970) - CBS' first made-for-TV movie(!).
posted by asok at 6:50 PM on December 2, 2006



Brazil: unwatchable...example of great idea (heavy handed govt vs domestic terrorism, 21 years ago!) but truly horrible execution of it. The only reason to keep watching: it was Michael Palin at his best, and yes the catch at the end, albeit predictable by todays standards.
On million dollar baby: I don't see how the end was surprising in any way.
posted by uni verse at 11:14 AM on December 3, 2006


Thanks to everybody for the excellent suggestions and debate! A lot of people are menntioning movies I said I already know in my original post (but maybe this thread is long enough it's hard to keep track!).

I'll really enjoy making my way through these suggestions, and I will update this thread with my reaction. Also, later I will post another question that DOES have spoilers, because I think I am not the only one who likes discussing these moments.
posted by lorimer at 10:38 AM on December 4, 2006


Also, here's an updated list of all the movies that seem to have been most enticingly and/or frequently recommended here, and that I haven't already seen (unlike Usual Suspects & LA Confidential, mentioned above -- also I forgot to mention I've seen Million Dollar Baby [ugh], Run Lola Run and all things Lynch & Cronenberg).

I will also see others in the thread, but will try to make the following my first priorities.

• The Audition
• Babatte's Feast
• Dead Again
• Les Diaboliques (original)
• Festen / The Celebration
• Infernal Affairs (and Infernal Affairs II)
• Jacob's Ladder
• Malice
• Match Point
• Matchstick Men
• Miracle Mile (1998)
• No Way Out
• Oldboy
• Planet of the Apes (I know the twist from the countless pop-culture satires of it, but I'm really curious to see how it's presented)
• The Prestige
• The Rapture
• A Simple Plan
• Something Wild
• The Spanish Prisoner
• A Tale of Two Sisters
• The Way of the Gun
posted by lorimer at 11:03 AM on December 4, 2006


I'd add a strong second for both From Dusk Till Dawn and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels if for no other reason than that they are both very different (stylistically, thematically and whathaveyou) from most of the films on your list. Moreover, the turn in from Dusk Till Dawn is one of the most bizarre, sudden and dramatic that I can think of - it's almost like it turns into an entirely different movie. Also notable for happening early in the movie rather than at the end.
posted by rorycberger at 2:16 PM on December 14, 2006


I'm almost giddy about the fact that no one has said

The Zero Effect

yet. This is one of my favorite movies EVER, a total sleeper, and hardly anyone's aware of it. Its friggin brilliant, hilarious, artistic, and has a great twist. If you don't add it to your list, you're seriously missing out.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:44 AM on December 21, 2006


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