Plot Twist: Who didn’t see that coming?

This is a video essay about the basic characteristics of big reveals in major motion pictures. It focuses on three films: Gone Girl, The Dark Knight Rises, and Remember Me. Through the use of these films, I show the audience that plot twists aren’t actually surprising if you pay close attention to the detail within the movie.

Background Music: The Burden by Memphis May Fire

Editing: Garage Band and iMovie

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Project Update

Today I spent a good majority of my time editing my script to compensate for the video that I decided to omit from my video essay (You’re Next). I’m in the process of getting the last remaining clips from Gone Girl that I still need. Other than this, I am in the process of editing the clips to match what is being said in the script.

As of right now, I still need to:

  • download roughly three clips
  • finalize the script & rerecord it
  • complete editing of all parts of the video into one cohesive video instead of just sections/parts
  • decide on the background music that I will use for the length of the video essay and make sure it matches

I may have completed more of the above list if the internet worked properly somewhere (anywhere) on campus, but such is the struggle of a Rutgers student.

Project Update

TIMELINE UPDATE (may change depending on time of completion of each task)

March 26th : Pick the films that I would like to focus on and complete first draft of script.

April 2nd: Complete draft of script, make final selection of clips and begin editing.

April 9th: Oral Presentation

April 16th: Record voice over and continue editing

April 30th: Present final project


Today, I finally downloaded all of the clips that I will need to begin seriously editing everything together. My voice over is not currently in its final form, it is usable to edit the clips together in time with the script. I plan on doing a final recording within the next week or so. As of right now, the script leaves me at 7 minutes of talking + a minute or so of clip playing. Following final edits of the script, I would like to get my talking down to roughly 5-6 minutes of talking with around a minute or two of clips playing in between.

I’m also debating on whether or not I will be using all four movies as planned or if I will be using three movies instead. I would only resort to dropping a movie if my essay remains over the time limit that I have set for myself.

Project update

TIMELINE UPDATE (may change depending on time of completion of each task)

March 26th : Pick the films that I would like to focus on and complete first draft of script.

April 2nd: Complete draft of script, make final selection of clips and begin editing.

April 9th: Oral Presentation

April 16th: Record voice over and continue editing

April 30th: Present final project


As of right now, the script leaves me around roughly ten minutes. I’m hoping that as I edit the clips together to match the scripts, I will be able to omit parts of the script and let the movies speak for themselves. There are some aspects of the script that I have included as a mere reminder to myself that I need to include these aspects of the films that I am mentioning. I am hoping to take off at least a minute or two.


Tentative script:

In 1997, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, gave one of the greatest reveals in cinematic history. In this scene where Luke Skywalker finds out that his father, the great Anakin Skywalker, is in fact, the evil Darth Vader, the world of plot twists and major reveals changed forever.  Though it wasn’t the first “shocking secret” to be revealed to an audience, it was one of the most memorable, aside from Norman Bates and his secret other personality aka his mother, in the 1960’s film Psycho

During and after the 1970s, big reveals became a hot commodity in the world of major motion pictures. But over the course of the last decade or so, the world of filmography has found itself in an endless cycle of repetition and predictability. Styles of filming, editing, script writing, and directing have been copied and pasted across the genres, leaving little to no variance in the presentation of new films.

In Romance you have your slow, drawn out shots with melodic music that leaves you with the feeling of being on cloud nine. With horror you have choppy editing, jostled camera shots, and fast paced music with rapid crescendos and the feeling that something might just jump out at you at any given moment. These stereotypical characteristics are found in almost every film of each of the aforementioned genres.

There’s also numerous similarities between plots between genres, but there’s not enough time to get into all of them. For now,  I’ll focus on big reveals.

And if the topic of focus didn’t give it away, here’s your first and only official warning: I’m going to ruin the twist of every film mentioned in this video.

Like most aspects of film, big reveals tend to have the same five basic characteristics. These characteristics include but are not limited to: the type of reveal, characters usually involved, timing of the reveal, foreshadowing, and the genres that these reveals are usually used in. For four out of these five basic characteristic, I’m going to give a basic explanation. Then, for foreshadowing, I will explore two of the four films at a time and compare them.

The first of the five basic characteristics of your average big reveal is genre. And as we all know, most big reveals are seen in horror and thriller/suspense films. This is due to a need to keep the audience from guessing or predicting the ending.

The problem with this is that the consistent use of such reveals in the previously mentioned  genres has lead to the audience’s desensitization to this element of surprise, making most twists predictable. Like The House at the End of the Street? Where the sister isn’t actually alive killing people, but rather it is the son who was raised as if he were the sister after he witnessed her death as a child and then he pretended as if she were alive still and killed people until he was caught? Come on. And what about the Uninvited where once again, someone is pretending their dead sister is alive, kills people without knowing it, and ends up in a mental hospital? Who didn’t see that coming?

Though these kind of major plot twists are used mostly in the mentioned genres, they may also be found in other genres too. The genres I’ve chosen to explore are Romance, Thriller, Horror, and Drama. As for the movies, well, we’ll get to those next as we explore the other aspects of big reveals.

You’re Next falls under the “everything was a conspiracy” category. In this film, we find ourselves wondering why exactly a group of masked murderers have decided to take out every member of a family that was seemingly happy and only attempting to rekindle dwindling relationships. As the story progresses, however, we find that there is a lot of conflict within the bonds of the members so it comes as no surprise that it was the brothers who put everything together. First of all, goth girl just screamed, I’m crazy and I’m coming for you. Her boyfriend? Yeah we saw that coming. As for the Crispian? The fact that he was the first to runaway and the only one that we never saw killed? His guilt was guaranteed the moment he left the house.

In Remember me, we see an abrupt/unexpected ending as we watch Tyler die in his father’s office when the towers went down on September 11th. Though, I guess, we can’t really call this ending abrupt or unexpected. In the opening scene of the movie we see the female lead, Ally, and her mother in the subway. The towers are casually placed in the backdrop at Ally’s mother’s place of death as well as the root of her trauma. The next scene we see is set ten years later and the first person we see is Tyler’s New York City apartment. Any bells going off yet? 2001 New York City? No? Well if this doesn’t set you off then here are a few more clues:

Each aspect of the film draws us closer and closer to the September 11 attacks. For example, there’s a point in the film when Tyler and Ally are talking about their plans for summer vacation, setting the time for summer of 2011. Then there’s President Bush’s speech about stem cell research, which as we know, was given in August of 2001. Following this, Tyler, Ally, and their friends go to the beach on Labor day. Then there’s a partially written date “Thursday, September…” on the board in a classroom. We know that days are going by and time is bringing us closer and closer to the day the towers went down. And then there’s this scene. Behind him we see the Noguchi red cube, which is a famous piece of work that is very close to the World Trade Center. And moments later, the date is revealed.. It is then that we know exactly how Tyler dies and why the title of the movie is Remember Me. The camera pans out and his inevitable fate is revealed.

Gone Girl falls under the category of “character presumed to be dead but is not actually dead”. The script was well written, but the whole “unreliable narrator” aspect of Amy’s constant clues to her Husband’s guilt tends to leave viewers believing that she is alive more so than nick’s guilt. Not only this, but the most shocking aspect of the film is actually her blatant psychopathy. Of course, there’s also the ending where the cheating husband stays with the psychotic murdering wife.

The Dark Knight Rises falls under two categories, flashbacks and character identity switches. This is seen when Miranda Tate reveals who she is. This changes Bruce Wayne’s image of her character, as well as his idea of Bane’s. Flashbacks are then used to prove that Batman had been wrong and that by assuming that he was going after the mastermind behind everything, he ended up putting his own life and the lives of all of Gotham in danger.

However, if you look closely at the flashback of the legend of ras al ghul, you will see that the director basically handed this tid-bit of information to the audience. I mean, for starters, the child that was supposed to be Bane in both flashbacks was…..a girl.

There was also that small hint that she didn’t come from money, the scar that Bruce briefly caressed as they lay together, the matching scar on the side of Bane’s head, and also the fact that Bruce turned his company over to her.

Aside from all of this, when Bruce is listening to the story told by the prisoner that is helping him regain his health, we hear about the child who escaped. We also hear about how Bane was beaten to the point of being disfigured and needed the mask to keep the pain at bay. Was the child who escaped beaten to disfigurement? No.

But the protector was.

All in all, each movie has its pros and its cons.

Movies like You’re Next, don’t really work simply because literally everyone saw that one coming. This style of plot twist has been over used and abused. The plot has been beaten to death and the fact that we did not see Crispian die in itself gave his guilt away, never mind that his girlfriend was somehow really really good at killing people.

Gone Girl is decent to a certain extent but only because this is a creative take on the usual “character believed to be dead but is actually alive”. The director wanted us to know that she was most likely still alive. The fact that this was an idea that was set at the back of our mind the entire movie set it apart from other movies like The Uninvited where we’re kind of smacked in the face with the reality that the main character is mentally unstable and their sister (or whoever) is really dead. We knew Amy was crazy from the beginning. Just look at that face.

Remember me is good in a cheesy sort of way, where the death of one character becomes a learning experience for others and helps them reach all of their goals and better themselves, etcetera, etcetera. Thought we knew that someone was going to die based on the title, the way that Tyler poke throughout the entire film told us that it would be him. And though the hints to the way that he would die were subtle.

In conclusion, you can never go wrong with being subtle.

Project update

TIMELINE UPDATE (may change depending on time of completion of each task)

March 26th : Pick the films that I would like to focus on and complete first draft of script.

April 2nd: Complete final draft go script, make final selection of clips and begin editing.

April 9th: Oral Presentation

April 16th: Record voice over and continue editing

April 30th: Present final project

Movies to use along with their genres (subject to change)

  1. Gone Girl (psychological thriller)
  2. Now You See Me (thriller) or Batman (Action)
  3. The Uninvited (Horror)
  4. Remember me (Romance/Drama)
  5. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (only the scene where it is revealed that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father for the intro of my video essay)
  • Going to include a brief description of the importance of this scene in the history of film and major reveals.
  • From there I would go on to explain the basic characteristics of major reveals (characters involved, timing, types of major reveals usually seen in film, and the genres that I will be focusing on)
  • For each genre I will have a movie and a few clips from each (not positive on the clips to be used yet or how many I will be taking from each film)

Final Project Proposal

-plot-twist-

For my final project I will be looking at big reveals in film and how they tend to be similar no matter the genre of the film. Though I will go through the basics of your stereotypical big reveal such as the usual types of reveals, timing of the reveal, and the characters usually involved, I will focus mainly on foreshadowing in the films that I select. This project will be a combination of a supercut and a voice over. I will most likely edit clips that I have downloaded in iMovie and record using either a rented mic or Audacity on my mac (depending on the time that I have available).

im-not-surprised-who-didnt-see-that-coming

TIMELINE (may change depending on time of completion of each task)

March 26th : Pick the films that I would like to focus on and complete first draft of script.

April 2nd: Complete final draft go script, make final selection of clips and begin editing.

April 9th: Oral Presentation

April 16th: Record voice over and continue editing

April 30th: Present final project

Ideas for Final Project

1. (Video Essay) Editing across genres: the differences between romance and horror. (How does Annabelle differ from Her or Beyond the Lights? Are these differences present in romance scenes in horror movies?)

2. (Video Essay or Supercut) Similarities between scenes involving villains in movies (for example, similar shots/editing between Loki from The Avengers and Joker in Batman, and similarities in character)

3.(Supercut) Music in movies: the difference in musical composition based on the genre of the film