Yes, I’ve been neglecting my blog lately; there’s no real reason (not even “Battlestar Galactica” is to blame), I just haven’t been watching a lot of movies. But I’m back tonight with a spoilerific rant about twist endings in general and “The Life Before Her Eyes” specifically. Enjoy!
I hate twist endings.
What brought on this latest declaration/rant? Last week, I saw “The Life Before Her Eyes,” a movie about a woman, Diana (Uma Thurman), who is trying to cope with the aftereffects of a school shooting that took place 15 years earlier.
She and her best friend were cornered by the gunman, and well, something or other happened to them and Diana can’t let it, whatever it was, go. It’s a good premise, enough to convince me to rent it and sit through a languid and borderline clich treatment of teenagers. But I stuck with it because the central mystery, what happened in that bathroom, was both intriguing (I was a junior in high school during the Columbine shootings) and drilled into my brain in a series of rather pointless teases by the director.
All of these facts mixed together absolutely infuriated me at the ending.
Turns out, haha, the whole movie is a big lie; Diana died in that bathroom, sacrificing herself to save her friend, and we’re left with a five-minute movie that really wasn’t worth the time. But it did sum up nicely why I hate ‘gotcha’ style endings; they’re dishonest and designed completely to 1) fool the audience and 2) show how clever the screenwriter is.
Bah. There should be a new rule in film school about this crap; twist endings should only be allowed when the writer has built the clues into the story.
For a great, if somewhat clinical, example of how to do a twist ending properly, check out David Cronenberg’s “Spider;” if you pay attention, the ending is both easy to see and a logical extension of the previous 100 minutes of the movie.
Why can’t they all be like that? Hollywood, I’m begging here; no more “Life Before He Eyes” or “Hide and Seek” nonsense; let’s take the leap together and go back to organic filmmaking and leave the schlock behind us.