I’ve been avoiding writing this blog for the whole week now, mainly because I quite like my two previous blogs and wanted to keep this one on par with it. However, I finally feel as if I may have come up with a blog of suitable quality, either that or I know I’ll forget to write this over the weekend due to storyboarding that has to be done and I’ll miss another weeks blog like a few weeks back. I must warn you though there will be film spoilers throughout this blog so read at your own risk.
So, this blog is about plot twists in films. Everyone enjoys a good plot twist providing it’s done successfully. When a plot twist epically fails it can be amusing, but most of the time it lets the whole film down greatly. No matter how good the acting and the direction was, if the audience can see the twist coming a mile off the writers done a shit job about it. With that said, I find that there aren’t simply two categories for twists to exist in; you see it coming a mile off, or it’s a complete surprise. There is of course the mis-leading plot twist, where everything points in one direction and so the audience assume the first category when a completely different revelation is given. This is personally I think achieved best in ‘Lucky Number Slevin’ as throughout a lot of the film you’ve lead to believe that Mr. Goodkat is the main protagonist for the whole film, when in actual fact it’s Slevin. I wouldn’t have been bothered if the plot twist we were led to believe was the real one though as it’s such a well written script with the use of dialogue.
Again I digress. Returning to the original two categories, there is the twist you don’t see coming. This can be sudden like at the end of ‘Seven’ where by Gwyneth Paltrow’s head turns up in a box or it can be something which was built up throughout the entire film such as ‘Coming Home’ ( a little known film, from chinese director Peter Chan, featuring on the 3 extremes DVD). I will reveal no spoilers for this film simply becuase few people have seen it and I suggest everyone does. So instead will move onto a far more well known film called ‘The Sixth Sense’. Most of you guys probably thought that a blog on plot twist would certainly give mention to ‘The Sixth Sense’ and you were right for doing so, so give yourself a pat on the back. There are plenty of subtle hints given throughout the film; Cole’s mother never seems to register that Malcolm is in the room. The significance of the colour red throughout the film; having Malcolm included with this colour. Anna’s (Malcolm’s wife) lack of response towards Malcolm, and so on. All the call signs are there and on a second viewing it seems almost obvious.
Nonetheless, the plot twist that bugs me the most is the heavily glossed over twist. One which, if you understand film and it’s conventions then it can be easily figured out, however if you don’t it seems like the most amazing twist ever and ‘oh my god I so did not see that coming’ behavior usually follows. The most recent film which this annoying form of plot twist has effected me on is ‘Shutter Island’. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the film, and probably will enjoy it more the next time I see it, I say that because from about a quarter of the way into the film I figured out the ending and sat there thinking surely I must be wrong as that’s such an obvious way to end it. Of course having spoken to friends who don’t share my enthusiasm with film, found it a prolific and worthy plot twist. I had expected more from Scorsese, and felt he took the easy option out by revealing that Teddy was indeed a patient in the institution. I has hoped for more, that I was simply being led on, only to discover I wasn’t. However, that fact that everyone else missed this obviousness is what makes me find these forms of plot twists more annoying, as, if I didn’t know about film theory and conventions and narratives, then I could have enjoyed the film on a different level.
I feel if I include anymore film’s plot twists then anyone who has read this far and has indeed had a few films ruined for them would hate me even further. So instead I will end on my closing thoughts which I see quite fitting. I do love plot twists when they happen correctly, which normally boils down to whether the script was good or not. These sort of twist will normally happen within the independent or non mainstream sector as most of Hollywood are more bothered about the concept rather than the story (that isn’t to say it doesn’t happen in Hollywood though). I enjoy writing a script where I mess with the audiences’ perception and expectations. It usually is a sign that a) they have enjoyed the film, or at least it was that intriguing that they kept watching it. And b) that it got the audience thinking. Of course when it boils down to it, well executed plot twists are basically manipulating people into believing one thing when in actual fact revealing something completely different much like a magician, which of course normally leaves audiences wanting more. This comparison of course demonstrates the appeal of plot twists as everyone enjoys a well timed and executed show, so it could give reason as to why the delicate art of audience manipulation is becoming abused more and more as time goes by.