Main The Ending Changes Everything Discussion

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02:58:40 AM Jul 7th 2014
I removed these entries from the page:

  • Andrei Tarkovsky's adaptation of Solaris.
  • The 2003 movie Basic is a gigantic case of this, complete with multiple revisions and multiple suspects changing their stories and giving differing flashbacks along the way.
  • French film Belle de Jour: a switch between reality and fantasy is usually indicated by a ringing bell, but there is much debate about how much of it is actually happening.
  • eXistenZ, about an extremely realistic virtual-reality experience that goes awry, takes the All Just a Dream ending and twists it until it snaps and becomes this.
  • The film Murder by Death would be a competitor for "king of the trope" were it not for the fact that it's played for laughs by twisting its ending into a deliberately incomprehensible Moebius loop.
  • David Lynch's Mulholland Dr.. In a mind-screwy way, anyhow.
  • The climax of Witness for the Prosecution is loaded with twists that turn everything upside down.
  • Fight Club is another one of the films that set in motion the popularity of the perception altering twist in popular culture.
  • The plot of Reindeer Games is a series of more and more convoluted twists.
  • The psychological thriller The Hole.
  • The Sixth Sense is a more conventional Twist Ending until you think about the implications.
  • The last line - in fact, the last word - of Iain M. Banks's Surface Detail.
  • Tim O'Brien uses a similar device several of his Vietnam War novels, notably Going After Cacciato and The Things They Carried.
  • G. K. Chesterton's short poem The Donkey is clearly about what a ridiculous and laughable creature the donkey is... until the very last line completely overthrows all of the imagery that has come before it.
  • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is built around this, in a Mind Screw sort of way. Let's just say when we say it changes everything, we mean it.
  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is a short story that utilizes this. It's pretty easy to find and not very long. Go check it out.
  • The very last word of Mickey Spillane's Deep.
  • Given his predilection for Gnosticism and eastern metaphysics about the illusory nature of reality, some of Philip K Dick's stories end like this. The Man in the High Castle and Ubik are probably the two most prominent examples.
  • Another episode ends with the perp(?) delivering this immortal line - "I swear to God it's the truth... even if it never happened."note 
  • The final 2 episodes of Season 4 of Breaking Bad are completely changed by a close up shot.
    Bryan Cranston: The final shot of the season is more of a revelation really of who this man has become, and the lengths that he'll go to, to get whatever he wants.
  • The Twilight Zone uses this trope in nearly every episode.
  • Baten Kaitos Many scenes from earlier in the game you saw from Kalas's point of view are told again from Xelha's point of view instead, and it changes the context of quite a few scenes.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty ends in a gigantic Gainax Ending, the idea being that the player reason out how much of the plot was real or not (to fit in with the game's Aesop that the inability to interpret things for yourself is very bad). It probably overdid it a bit. See this page summarizing the ending for details.
  • This happens with pretty much every case in the Ace Attorney series. A case will be introduced seemingly clear-cut, with a decisive witness and decisive evidence to pin down the defendant. To win the case, the player must uncover some well-hidden detail that turns the case upside-down and inside-out.
  • Kamereon's Touhou doujin "The End of the Maiden's Illusion".

These are all Zero-Context Example—that is, they provide little to no actual details as to why they're supposed to be examples of the trope. If anyone wishes to add in some context and add them back to the page, feel free to go right ahead.
05:28:06 PM Oct 29th 2012
edited by Grignr
I was steered here from YNTTW "Rosebud Ending" ( This entry contains many instances of "Rosebud Ending".

This trope contains only two sentences of definition, and they contradict each other. The first says that the ending "calls into question exactly how much of what you've seen was actually real". The second sentence refers to "Once More With Clarity", which applies only to cases where the twist ending changes the interpretation of events, rather than changing the events themselves. This is not a minor difference; these are two vastly-different types of stories.

This trope should probably be split into two subtropes, with one subtrope for "twist ending that changes or casts doubt on what physically happened", and another for "twist ending that changes the interpretation, causes, or consequences of what happened".
04:01:16 PM Jun 29th 2012
I removed Rashomon. The entry claims that it's the Trope Maker, but I don't see how it's even an example. The story is one of the most famous examples of Unreliable Narrators, but there is not final twist that changes everything we think about the rest of the film. After the first three stories, we already know that these accounts contradict each other and are not reliable. The only real twist after the woodcutter tells his final version is that we find out why he didn't make his statement at the trial: he stole the dagger. That doesn't change anything about the first three stories.

05:26:08 PM Oct 29th 2012
edited by Grignr
Rashoman casts into doubt what happened; this is the generally-agreed-upon interpretation of it. If it doesn't qualify as an example, it could only be because this doesn't all happen at the end of the movie. You seem to be saying that Rashoman is not an instance because the interpretation of what happened doesn't change. See my topic above; the definition of this trope says that it means the ending leaves you in doubt as to what happened (which is what Rashoman does), not that it changes the meaning of what happened.
02:32:17 PM Oct 25th 2010
Archived discussion from old trope title (The Usual Suspects Ending)

Could I add this quote from Futurama from "The Scary Door"? órb

"A casino where I'm winning? That car musta killed me. I must be in heaven! [He plays again and wins again.] A casino where I always win? That's boring. I must really be ... IN HELL!"

"No, Mr. Smith. You're not in heaven or hell. You're on an aeroplane."

"There's a gremlin destroying the plane! You've gotta believe me!"

"Why should I believe you? You're Hitler!"

"Noooooo! Eva Braun! Help me!"

(She takes of her facemask, revealing she is a human-fly.)

Bender: Saw it comin'!

Ununnilium: ...yes.

Seth: I concur excellency (Playing civ 2 for too long makes you say this line). On a completely unrelated note, Wild Things rocked.

((Sebastian)) Okay, I give up. Why is The Blair Witch Project mentioned here? The ending of the movie was exactly what was foreshadowed in the advertising and opening sequences: the witch killed them all. Did the guy who wrote that completely misunderstand what was happening in the film? BWP was certainly a film where you either "got into it" or you didn't. I thought it was beautifully done, while a lot of people thought it was awful. I would edit the entry out, but it would be rude.

Ununnilium: Not The Blair Witch Project. The sequel.

((Sebastian)) Clarification! Thanks. In that case, the guy gets applause for sitting through that turkey.

Morgan Wick: Perchance it should have been clarified in the entry so Sebastian wouldn't have had to waste so much time thinking about it and then ranting about it?

Mister Six: Is this trope about leaving the audience wondering what actually happened, or just films that have about fifty twists? Because if it's the former then most of the examples shouldn't be here. And if it's the latter then Usual Suspects shouldn't be here (since it has, what, two twists?).

Umptyscope: If we could get back to the topic at hand... something's always bothered me about the ending to The Usual Suspects.

So. We have Verbal being interviewed in Sgt. Rabin's office by Det. Kujan, right? And Rabin is listening in to the interview as it's being taped. And we find out Verbal is creating the story from the stuff on the bulletin board, right? All givens.

So... how is it Rabin doesn't recognize some of the things Verbal is saying? (Even if Rabin isn't listening closely, the crew in the office are running down leads as Verbal is speaking. But some of the details should sound familiar to Rabin, as they relate to cases he's working on and things on his bulletin board. (Redfoot, for example, is an alias of a criminal on his board [the "Orca-fat" lady.])

Gigantic Refrigerator Moment for me just now.

Morgan Wick: You mean Fridge Logic.

Jordan: Something similar I've wondered is with that whole robbing of the "cabs"- presumably that must have happened- wouldn't Kujan or Rabin have known about it? Also, I forget, but I don't think Verbal ever addresses why strings were pulled to have charges dropped against him- you would think that if Kaiser Soze wanted him killed he could do it just as easily in prison.
Kilyle: Okay, either the poster didn't understand Memento, or I've been deluding myself all this time. I thought it was well explained in the film that the whole bit about the guy who killed his wife via short-term memory problems and insulin shots was in fact about the main character, whose short-term memory problems started (obviously) before the death of his wife, and were caused by the attack by the rapist(s), in the form of I think a shattered mirror and brain damage. Am I wrong? The only unanswered bits in the movie were how many John G.'s Leonard had killed, and at what point the crooked cop went from well-meaning to self-serving.

Seanette: Kilyle, I think you've got it straight. I've lost count of how many times I've seen this movie (an all-time favorite of mine), and think I have a reasonable handle on the plot (as much as you can get in this movie, anyway).
Cassius335: Silly question: Shouldn't the name of this trope be The The Usual Suspects Ending?

Some Sort Of Troper: Not necessarily, for several tropes we don't include the definite article, particularly ones where we have a description of the sort of trope it is (ending, plot etc.)
Some Sort Of Troper: Put in a connection to Kansas City Shuffle. The cases of overlap I'm thinking of are cases where the Kansas City Shuffle has not been revealed to the audience until the end and we've been getting flashback information from the shuffler, thus we've been subject to the same misdirection as the characters. The Trope Namer for this trope is a good example of an overlapping case.
Ironeye: Trope Rename/Rework discussion in the fourm here
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