5 Movie Plot Twists/Share

Slide 3 of 11: David Fincher is no stranger to rug-pulling storytelling -- look elsewhere on this list for further examples of his work. But in his adaptation of this 2012 best seller, Fincher’s about-face regarding the culpability of philandering would-be murderer Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and the whereabouts of Amy (Rosamund Pike), his long-suffering wife, ranks as one of the most exhilarating turns -- not just for the characters, but for the manipulability, and inescapable subjectivity, of the medium itself.

Gone Girl’ (2014)

David Fincher is no stranger to rug-pulling storytelling — look elsewhere on this list for further examples of his work. But in his adaptation of this 2012 best seller, Fincher’s about-face regarding the culpability of philandering would-be murderer Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and the whereabouts of Amy (Rosamund Pike), his long-suffering wife, ranks as one of the most exhilarating turns — not just for the characters, but for the manipulability, and inescapable subjectivity, of the medium itself.


Slide 4 of 11: Before J. A. Bayona was ushering audiences through a new “Jurassic” era with “Fallen Kingdom,” he established himself as a top-shelf purveyor of suspense and surprise with this story about a woman who opens an orphanage and, not long later, loses her own adopted son. The terror that ensues is only a prelude to the tragic truth that emerges about what happened -- and what her role is in his fate.

‘The Orphanage’ (2007)

Before J. A. Bayona was ushering audiences through a new “Jurassic” era with “Fallen Kingdom,” he established himself as a top-shelf purveyor of suspense and surprise with this story about a woman who opens an orphanage and, not long later, loses her own adopted son. The terror that ensues is only a prelude to the tragic truth that emerges about what happened — and what her role is in his fate.


Slide 5 of 11: Franklin J. Schaffner’s adaptation of the eponymous book by Pierre Boulle makes a shrewd and methodical series of revelations to its protagonist George Taylor (Charlton Heston), the astronaut who crash-lands on a world where man and ape have reversed roles in the biological pecking order. But the film’s final shots gobsmacked audiences back in 1968, with the discovery that the alien planet upon which Taylor landed was, in fact, Earth all along.‘Planet of the Apes’ (1968)

Franklin J. Schaffner’s adaptation of the eponymous book by Pierre Boulle makes a shrewd and methodical series of revelations to its protagonist George Taylor (Charlton Heston), the astronaut who crash-lands on a world where man and ape have reversed roles in the biological pecking order. But the film’s final shots gobsmacked audiences back in 1968, with the discovery that the alien planet upon which Taylor landed was, in fact, Earth all along.


Slide 6 of 11: Edward Norton was a virtual unknown at the time of this film’s release, the story of a jaded defense lawyer who encounters more than he bargains for after taking on a client (Norton) suffering from multiple personality disorder. But the combination of Norton’s performance, and some effective sleight of hand by director Gregory Hoblit, successfully obscures exactly which of those personalities is in charge until the perfect moment for a stunning emotional wallop.


Slide 7 of 11: Alfred Hitchcock consistently tested the boundaries of audience expectations -- and tolerance -- but never more memorably than in this film about a young woman (Vivien Leigh) who flees from the authorities after stealing a wad of cash from her boss. The movie’s identification with her through the first half makes its second a stunning change in direction, as audiences not only have to deal with her death, but the prospect of following one of the accomplices (Anthony Perkins) to her murder.

‘Psycho’ (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock consistently tested the boundaries of audience expectations — and tolerance — but never more memorably than in this film about a young woman (Vivien Leigh) who flees from the authorities after stealing a wad of cash from her boss. The movie’s identification with her through the first half makes its second a stunning change in direction, as audiences not only have to deal with her death, but the prospect of following one of the accomplices (Anthony Perkins) to her murder.

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