There are some movies that leave their mark on you long after the credits have rolled; films that feature endings which are, by all accounts, extremely vague and confusing. While having a confusing ending might be seen as somewhat troubling in most cases, sometimes, if the movie is good enough, a perplexing ending can actually enhance the experience. The following 5 films are not only highly lauded by critics; they also feature baffling endings that will twist your mind into the shape of a pretzel with the uncertain conclusions they present:
Patrick Bateman is both a successful New York businessman and a serial killer; or at least that’s what we’re led to believe. American Psycho is essentially a movie dedicated to exploring the hidden obsessions of a wealthy man who delights in murderous rampages. Later on in the film however, the line is blurred between what is real or imagined and we are left with a broken down individual who is confused and alone.
John Carpenter’s 80’s horror masterpiece, “The Thing” is an exploration of the themes of paranoia and loneliness set amidst a terrifying scenario involving a potential alien invasion. A US research team in the arctic stumbles upon a desiccated Norwegian base that’s been ransacked by an otherworldly force; they quickly discover the cause of the destruction. In the end we are left only with assumptions concerning whether the alien menace was actually destroyed…or not.
“Blade Runner” is one of those movies that raised a number of interesting philosophical questions in addition to providing some great entertainment. The futuristic story hinges around the duties of a Blade Runner, Deckard (played by Harrison Ford), his job being to track down and terminate androids that have thwarted their expiration date. The problem, as he discovers, is that many of these “replicants” don’t want to die. Decker ends up falling for one of the droids and they end up running away together, but we never know for sure whether or not he was one of them the entire time. This is a classic film that everyone should see at some point.
If you were to enter a virtual reality, how can you really know if what you’re experiencing is part of the simulation or just an elaborate ruse? This is the conundrum presented in Total Recall; Quaid, decides to take a virtual vacation to mars via a memory implant, but something goes terribly wrong….or is it all part of the simulation?
When it comes to baffling endings, you’d be hard-pressed to find one as deeply layered as Christopher Nolan’s “Inception”. Taking place across multiple dreamscapes simultaneously, Inception is a film that explores many concepts in the guise of a spy-thriller. Simply put, the ending leaves us wondering whether the main character’s “totem” was evidence of a deeper reality in which he was being manipulated, if he perished, or if the entire thing was actually real.