Thursday, 7 April 2011

Let's do the twist

Luke, (creepy breathing sound effects) I am your father. What an epic twist, the Empire strikes back really blew away audience members with its plot reveal. Hollywood has put forth some movies that will be forever known for their shockingly brilliant twists.

Some of my favourites include the Sixth sense, Saw I, Fight club, The others and Identity, all movies that would have you sitting on the edge of your seat with a surprised expression, looking to your friends to see if any of them had picked it up. . . they hadn’t. We, as enthusiastic movie goers, would like to think we would not be had, but alas Hollywood has delivered some tricky endings we just could not have anticipated. So what is the formula for a good plot twist? According to Dan Heller a story needs to be built around the main characters psychological objectives but then surprise audience members by delivering a logically-acceptable plot twist that abandons those objectives. For example in The Sixth sense Bruce Willis believed he was helping a boy who could see ghosts and in the process his marriage was falling apart, the twist revealed Bruce to be a ghost, explaining why he was always with the boy, didn’t eat or sleep and was ignored by his wife.

So, the formula for a brilliant movie twist should include suspense and the element of surprise, the more unexpected the outcome the more dramatic the surprise effect. Who could forget where, in Saw I, the bloody body that had been lying in the middle of the floor during the whole movie, stood up and walked out! The unpredictability of thriller movies will keep us coming back for more, well done Hollywood.

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