Cliffhanger endings have been keeping movie audiences on the edge of their seats since virtually the dawn of cinema. Not to be confused with stand alone films containing ambiguous, “open” endings, this storytelling device sees films draw to a close without a true resolution, but rather with the promise of more events to come.
First popularized in serials of the 1920s and 1930s – famous for the “To be continued” text that rounded each instalment – cliffhangers have long proven divisive among cinemagoers. After all, by their nature, cliffhanger endings typically prevent a film from having a truly satisfying conclusion.
How can they, when they’re designed to build anticipation for a follow-up movie containing the story’s actual finale? Even so, when done well, cliffhangers can be a thrilling way to wrap up a film, dramatically raising the stakes even as they surprise viewers with shocking revelations and happenings.
As cinema history is filled to the brim with famous – and infamous! – cliffhanger endings, we’ve pulled together this list of 10 Amazing Movie Cliffhangers (And 5 That Are Terrible) for your reading pleasure.
There’s been a lot of buzz lately around Christopher Nolan’s latest film, Dunkirk, which opened last month. As stunning as Nolan’s war epic is, recently, I’ve actually found myself more preoccupied with one of the director’s earlier classics, dream-heist caper, Inception.
Specifically, I’ve been fixated on one question: at the end of the film, is Cobb awake or not? It’s a question that cinephiles have debated constantly since Inception was released way back in 2010 – and in this month’s Live From The Pop Culture Studio, we’re going to answer it!
If there’s a common criticism levelled at films by moviegoers, it’s that they can be too hard to understand. Whilst some audience members enjoy the exciting sensation that comes with piecing together what a movie actually means, plenty of people just want to be entertained, not bewildered.
However, while some flicks are indeed a chore to follow – sometimes intentionally so (although not always!) – often times, they’re actually not that hard to figure out, with just a little effort. And why shouldn’t viewers meet filmmakers half way, when it comes investing themselves in the narrative?
After all, while we all enjoy the satisfaction of switching off our brains and relaxing in front of a film with a straightforward plot, there’s also something to be said for movies that force us to use our grey matter.
Sure, films by directors like Stanley Kubrick, Christopher Nolan, and Terry Gilliam may leave us scratching our heads at first, but the “Eureka!” moment when it all clicks into place – either in the cinema or days later – is always worth it.
With that in mind, this list takes a look at 15 “Confusing” Movies That Are Actually So Easy To Understand – if you’re prepared to use the ol’ noodle, that is!
Welcome to Part 2 of this month’s Five Minutes With… Q&A, featuring production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas (you can check out Part 1 here).
In this second instalment, Guy discusses his work with Steven Spielberg on Indiana Jonesand the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, provides insight into the mind-bending world he helped create for Christopher Nolan’s Inception, discusses his recent work on Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs, and much, much more!
It’s funny to think of a time when nobody had heard of Christopher Nolan.
Yet only 15 years ago, the director behind The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, Interstellar and The Prestige was – with only one low budget, little seen feature to his name – hardly a major player in Hollywood.
All that changed with Nolan’s second outing, Memento, a dizzyingly fragmented take on the noir thriller genre, released this month back in 2001.
“Do not go gentle into that good night Old age should burn and rave at close of day Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
These words by poet Dylan Thomas form a key motif in Christopher Nolan’s most recent film, Interstellar, an occasionally flawed yet ultimately mesmerising paean to humanity’s potential to strive for greatness.