Tag Archives: surprise ending

IMDB Top 250: Donnie Darko (2001)

Ever since it was released, Donnie Darko, written and directed by Richard Kelly, has turned into one of the most talked-about cult classics in contemporary American cinema. Like other films with a similar cult status, Donnie Darko relies on rather odd symbolism to make its point across.

When a film suprises you and steps away from convention, it often stays with you well after you are done watching it. More than statements that push the story forward, these so-called symbols used by directors such as Kelly act as placeholders that allow us to remember a film for many years, maybe for our entire lives.

Continue reading IMDB Top 250: Donnie Darko (2001)

Secret Films: Hermano (2010 – Venezuela)

I begin yet another series in The Blog of Big Ideas that will concentrate on exploring great pieces of film that are worth watching but are very much unknown by the majority.

Today I start with a wonderful film titled “Hermano” which in Spanish means “brother”. Released in 2010 and directed by Marcel Rasquin in his first try at the chair, “Hermano” is a low-budget Venezuelan feature film that dreams big in the chaotic and violent setting of the “barrios” in Caracas, one of the world’s most dangerous cities.

Continue reading Secret Films: Hermano (2010 – Venezuela)

Halloween Movie Night

After a very entertaining weekend in which I was the host of a Halloween party, I decided to spend the actual night of Halloween in good company to enjoy a double-feature-stay-at-home-movie-date.
My evening started with 2007’s “Trick ‘r Treat” followed by 2003’s “High Tension”. Thankfully, both proved to be somewhat entertaining in their own ways making for a rather enjoyable end to the festivities.

Trick ‘r Treat

Directed by Michael Dougherty and starring Anna Paquin, the wonderful Brian Cox and Dylan Baker, “Trick ‘r Treat” follows interwoven story lines that take place on Halloween night in some nameless town in America. At first, I assumed I was watching your typical serial-killer type of movie where our murderer hides in the fully costumed crowds to perpetrate crimes without being noticed. Luckily, I was a bit off. From the beginning, there is a certain element of the supernatural that lurks in the shadows just enough not to become so obvious. The stories do rely a bit on the typical mistakes victims tend to make that ends up getting them killed, which I call “Low IQ horror Flick Syndrome”. Despite the obvious cliches, the film does pull through, especially when we are introduced to the terror-seeking group of kids that head to a quiet part of town to find out if the myths about a school bus massacre are true. As it happens often in Hollywood, talented child actors give a movie a sense of wonderment, innocence and tenderness that is otherwise unattainable with adult actors.

 

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The Best moments in film history: John Doe in “Se7en”

May contain some SPOILERS !!

For most of its running time, Se7en is a non-remarkable crime drama starring a young Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Gwyneth Paltrow.

It is only when a great actor by the name of Kevin Spacey comes into the picture, quite dramatically I might add, that Se7en is taken to a level of thrill and excitement that did not seem possible for most of the film.

Spacey plays a psychopath named John Doe who believes he is to set an example about the evils of society by making his severely flawed victims suffer their worst nightmare before they finally die at his hands. He chooses his victims carefully, based on the seven deadly sins, each one being guilty for committing one of them.

What is remarkable about Spacey’s John Doe is not what he has done, but the convincing way in which he portrays a man that is void of any moral compass, of feeling any sort of remorse, who is not able to feel bad for any of his victims because he feels they are not worthy of clemency. At first, John Doe surrenders while covered in blood in the police station. The detectives don’t understand why he would, knowing by then that his plan was not yet complete. John had killed only 5 of his victims, 2 were still missing. Somerset, who is the more inquisitive of the two detectives in charge, challenges this notion, always suspicious that there is certainly more to come. As the audience, we relate to Somerset as we automatically think that a serial killer as grotesque and merciless as John Doe would never give up when he is so close to completing his so-called “masterpiece”.

By the end of the movie we know that his plan was indeed complete and that he left it to the inexperienced and anger-prone detective Mills (Brad Pitt) to have the power in his hands to make it possible. The cleverness of his plan is shocking and we, as the audience, are probably as surprised as the characters in the movie.

At the end, we are secretly in awe of Spacey’s Doe for the precision of his plan. His serial killer is the incarnation of psychopathic behavior. He welcomes death, in fact, he looks forward to it, knowing that once he passes he will probably be immortalized by the media. What is unsettling about Spacey’ performance is that we believe in what he believes. He is so convincing in what he says that we cannot argue against it. We are lost in Spacey’s eyes, devoid of emotion or fear. His voice is malignant yet thrilling, revealing in hints and pieces that we are speaking to someone who cannot be persuaded or coerced.

Spacey’s performance is all the more thrilling and relevant because the film desperately needed it. What the picture lacked for most of its running time, Spacey’s Doe brought it to the fore and exceeded our expectations, delivering a surprising knockout punch to the story.

Spacey’s brief performance in Se7en elevated the film and he was the deserving recipient of several awards for his extremely electrifying portrayal (surprisingly overlooked by the Oscars). His John Doe, in my opinion, rivals even that of Anthony Hopkins’ Dr. Lecter anyday.

Niels