It needs timing and a sense of the sudden. The twist in the tale thrives on impact and awe and the success of the film depends on that.
There are many filmmakers who got it right and a few that didn’t.
Here are five films which are guaranteed to shake you up just when you thought of the ending would be predictable.
The Sting (1973)
Cast: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw
Director: George Roy Hill
This is among the ultimate con game films of all-time and has won several awards, including 10 Oscar nominations. With Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Robert Shaw in the lead, not much would go wrong in this tale of the ticker set in the 1930s.
A small-time con artist has his partner killed by a mob boss and seeks revenge. He needs the help of a big-time retired conman to weave a web of deceit to which the mob boss succumbs.
The constant twists and turns in the plot leads towards a surprise climax. Old Blue Eyes Newman steals the show with a superb performance.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak, Benicio del Toro, Pete Postlethwaite, Giancarlo Esposito
Director: Bryan Singer
The tale is so convoluted that you are made to think at every moment. Five criminals try to pull off a heist which goes wrong. A lame man is being questioned about what really transpired on a ship where the bodies of the criminals are found.
Through clever use of flashback a tale unfolds which will confound you. There is a hand somewhere which has orchestrated the whole story. It only falls into place at the climax. Spacey is at his supreme best.
Cast: Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon
Director: Sidney Lumet
A down and out Broadway playwright resorts to murder to steal a script written by a student of his. He plots the killing along with his wife.
The student is invited but things take a sudden turn and a whole new plot unfolds. You are left to wonder what the truth is and what the lies are.
Lumet’s excellent skills in the crime genre will keep you engrossed all the time. Watch it.
Mystic River (2003)
Cast: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden
Director: Clint Eastwood
Master director Eastwood delves into a dark crime drama involving three childhood friends. Back in 1975, one of the boys is kidnapped by two men and sexually abused.
The three meet again when a personal tragedy hits one of them – his daughter is murdered. One of the three is a detective who is investigating the case. The ghosts of their past begins to haunt all of them and one of them is a murderer.
Sean Penn and Tim Robbins won the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor Oscars for this film.
Cast: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
It needs no introduction. This is a top of the range horror film which takes a lot of twists and turns at a creepy place called Bates Motel.
A woman on the run seeks refuge at a motel which is run by a mother and son. It ends up in her being murdered in the shower, one of the classic scenes of Hollywood cinema.
More mysterious deaths happen and the hotel owner and his mother come under suspicion. The classic ending is pure Hitchcock brilliance.