Old, but still worth visiting (we’ve been awfully busy) â€” the Onion AV Club has a rather superbly snarky list of well-known twist endings (no "Rosebud" though â€” does that even count?). Regarding "Saw"‘s finale:
Does it work? Good Lord, no. As an out-of-the-blue shock, it’s fairly effective, but it raises a ludicrous number of questions, starting either with "Why didn’t they notice him breathing?" or "Exactly how stupid do the filmmakers think we are?"
Could it work today? No. Perhaps some day, super-advanced medical technology will enable industrious serial killers to stop breathing for 90 minutes and watch their victims through closed eyelids, but that day has not yet arrived.
The list was of course in honor of our darling M. Night. (And it looks like our guess about "Lady In The Water"‘s ending was way off â€” the twist is, there is no twist! There’s a mindfuck for you.) At the LA Times, Patrick Goldstein writes about the glee with which much of the media and Hollywood has witnessed the film’s failure, and how it ties in to "The Man Who Heard Voices," which we’re almost certainly going to have to buy.
What makes the book especially damaging, despite its relentlessly sycophantish portrayal of the filmmaker, is that Night violated Hollywood PR Law No. 1: Never let people see you as you really are. In an era when stars hide behind their handlers, who vet writers, limit their access and keep them miles away from any dirty laundry, Night let [Michael] Bamberger see it all â€” straight, no chaser. If Night weren’t so insufferable, his honesty would almost be charming. In one scene, he is put out that [Disney production chief Nina] Jacobson is late arriving home from a children’s birthday party to meet Night’s assistant, who is delivering a closely guarded copy of the "Lady" script.
As Bamberger puts it, "Night felt the reading of his script shouldn’t be considered work. It should add to the weekend’s pleasure."
These films do to the viewer what parents must ultimately do to
children: force them to shift for themselves. If you’re in a certain
needy frame of mind, this is the very definition of the art-house film
nightmare: to invest hours in a story and have it end like a surly
shopkeeper pulling down the storefront grate. But it’s also a sign of
trust, on the director’s part, to let his children go forth to make
sense of things on their own.
Finally, Ben Davey and Joanna Cohen at the Sydney Morning Herald wrap their weekly top-five column with their top five ‘go out with a bang’ films.
+ "It’s people!": Are twist endings still necessary? (Onion AV Club)
+ Call It Shyamaladenfreude (LA Times)
+ The Surprise Ending? It’s the Absence of One (Washington Post)
+ Top five ‘go out with a bang’ films (Sydney Morning Herald)