I'm way behind on my movie and theater reviews, so I'm going to make short work of this list. I've chosen a topic where the less said the better. Often, even knowing that a surprise twist is coming has already ruined the surprise. This was the reaction of many to Unbreakable, where the shocking ending was heavily advertised before the movie's opening. What a mistake. So, I'm going to list below the movies that most blew my mind when some revelation occurred, and I'm going to be brief.
10. Clue (1985)
I'll say it now to get this out of the way: Clue is my favorite movie. I've been working hard to keep from mentioning it in every paragraph on this blog, but it seems to actually belong on this list. I recently listened to an interview with the screenwriter who gave compelling reasons why the film's structure, novel though it is, decreased ticket sales. I can only imagine the confused delight that must have erupted in the movie's wake for those not in the know, comparing notes with people who had seen it separately. This is the unique surprise twist where the twist doesn't even happen in the movie; it's only afterward when talking with someone else that the gimmick reveals itself. The home video experience, which is all I've ever known, holds up as well. "So, everything's been explained."
9. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
You've probably never heard of this little indie film, nor do you suspect the truth. Vader: "Obi-Wan would never bother, telling you about your father." Luke: "He told me enough, he told me you killed him." Vader: "There is something that I must explain then . . ."
8. The Matrix (1999)
Neo takes the red pill, and sees how far down the rabbit hole goes.
7. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
This one got me, despite my heightened suspicions from other movies on this list.
6. Fight Club (1999)
I knew going in, and still enjoyed it. Really good surprise endings are good even once the secret is out. In this particular case, I think I would have been too anxious not knowing the truth.
5. Dark City (1998)
Blew my mind.
4. The Usual Suspects (1995)
This method of revelation has been adopted by many films since, and typically is an insult to the audience's intelligence, as if we need extensive flashbacks to help us understand slight twists to simple films. But this movie definitely needs the recap, because the film does such a good job of keeping the evidence in the background.
3. The Sixth Sense (1999)
No way. No effin' way.
2. The Crying Game (1992)
Another one I knew going in, otherwise it would be number one on this list. This is a famous twist, humorously revealed in the credits of one of the Zucker movies.
1. Color of Night (1994)
My jaw hit the floor. Unlike most mysteries, here we have all the same evidence our detective character does, and we're just as surprised as the detective is.