Movies > Top 10 plot twists

Top 10 Plot Twists
Plot twists can make or break a film. Some love them, some hate them. And with super-plot twisty "Trance" in cinemas this week, here we take a look at ten of the best... Warning though, if you haven't seen any of these films, there might be a few spoilers below.
10. The Sixth Sense - "I see dead people..." M. Night Shyamalan has seriously taken a nose-dive in terms of quality lately, but his first film, and arguably his best, took everybody by surprise. When little Haley Joey Osment uttered those four words, little did he know he was unleashing what's now become a byword for plot twists.

9. The Empire Strikes Back - "I am your father." For people of our generation, it's hard to imagine how much of a shock this was for people watching it for the first time. Not only that, but it's also rumoured that nobody knew about it - not even Mark Hamill, the actor playing Luke Skywalker - until the film was screened at the premiere. Apparently, the body-actor for Darth Vader said the lines, "Obi-Wan Kenobi killed your father" and Hamill reacted accordingly. The voice-actor for Darth Vader, James Earl Jones, said the lines in a recording studio and dubbed it over the film. Before the film was released, only he, George Lucas, the film's writers and director Irvin Kershner knew. Imagine trying to keep that secret locked down nowadays?!

8. Atonement - "I gave Robbie & Cecelia the time they deserved." Joe Wright's heart-breaking film of unrequited love and loss ends with a tearful confession by an elderly Briony (Vanessa Redgrave) that Robbie (James McAvoy) and Cecelia (Keira Knightley) never reunited and that they died apart and alone. Not a dry eye in the house.

7. Body Heat - "What if she's been using this other girl's name?" Before Kathleen Turner famously played Chandler Bing's transsexual dad in Friends, she vamped it up in this absolutely filthy noir thriller. Playing the devious Matty Walker, she manages to twist her lover, William Hurt, into killing her husband. But the really clever bit? She fakes her own death and makes off with all the money. Sound familiar? That's 'cause Wayne's World 2 pretty much copied the same idea from Body Heat.

6. Die Hard - "Who said we were terrorists?" Alan Rickman's fiendishly clever Hans Gruber manages to stage a hostage situation as a clever ruse to steal $640 million in negotiable bearer bonds (what are they, exactly?). He even goes so far as to issue demands for the release of fellow terrorists to the police outside. Watching this film is just a sad reminder of how far Die Hard has fallen - read our review of 'A Good Day To Die Hard' here.

5. Shutter Island - The whole film. Martin Scorsese's gothic crime drama set on a fictional prison island is one of the best films he's made in the last ten years. But wow, was this film confusing. You start off thinking it's a prison. No, it's a test facility. No, it's all Leonard DiCaprio's imagination. No, it's actually a prison. No, Leonardo DiCaprio is actually the killer. Or is he? Mind. Melted.

4. Chinatown - "She's my sister AND my daughter." Chinatown is a classic crime drama and arguably the best role Jack Nicholson's ever taken on. Playing Jake Gittes, the hard-bitten detective trying to track down the daughter of wealthy industrialist Noah Cross, he stumbles on a conspiracy that reaches all levels of Los Angeles society and exposes a dark secret – that the woman he had been tracking was actually the result of an incestuous relationship.

3. Ace Ventura - "Einhorn is a man!" You'd have to wonder how Sean Young, the actress playing Lois Einhorn / Ray Finkle, felt about playing a transsexual American football player. Nevertheless, this twist had everybody reeling / laughing. That really was the worst case of hemorrhoids we had ever seen.

2. The Usual Suspects - "And just like that, he's gone." Kevin Spacey plays Verbal Kint, the enigmatic, cerebral palsy-suffering criminal who is - in actual fact - the criminal mastermind, Keyser Soze, behind the entire film. The script was so complex that when Gabriel Byrne initially read it, he thought his character was Keyser Soze. The role earned Spacey an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and launched Bryan Singer's career. A modern classic.

1. The Prestige - "How are you alive?" Outside of the Dark Knight trilogy, The Prestige is easily Christopher Nolan's best film. Working with a fantastic script and brilliant performances from Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, The Prestige twists and turns throughout the film. The film itself a twist. There's so many to choose from in The Prestige, but our favourite is right towards the end. Right before Bale's character is due to be hanged, he meets the mysterious Lord Cadlow, who has bought all his possessions and is offering to adopt his daughter. Who is he? It's Robert Angier - the man he's convicted of killing. Looking back over the film, there are plenty of nods and references to the fact. Watching The Prestige with someone who hasn't seen it before is always a blast - "it's the look on their faces", as the line from the film goes.
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