There's nothing like watching a movie and thinking that you know what's going on and then being hit with a whammo! Or the wonderful anticipation of suspecting that something is about to happen, but unsure of what it might be ! Especially when they are really cunning twists. Now in some of these recommendations you may have previously heard things, or you may figure it out for yourself just before the denoument, but I guarantee there are a couple here you won't see coming. And even if you are clever and 'expect the unexpected', it wont detract one iota from these excellent movies. And I am very happy to say that not a single one of these films features 'I was only dreaming' as the plot twist!
The first 4 have all previously been recommended under other categories, but they are certainly worth revisiting.
Shutter Island- this is the latest collaboration between DiCaprio and Scorcese and I expect it will do very well at the 2010 Oscars next year. It is an excellent story from writer Dennis Lehane. DiCaprio is sent to ominous Shutter Island to search for a woman who has escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane.
The Sting-- an oldie but a goodie. Lots of fun with Paul Newman and Robert Redford.
Witness for the Prosecution- From the fertile mind of Agatha Christie and directed by Billy Wilder. This classic from 1957 stars Marlene Deitrich, Tyrone Power and Charles Laughton.
Sixth Sense--- even if you've seen it and know the ending, it's fun to revisit and catch all the clues you missed in the first viewing. With Bruce Willis, Toni Colette and Haley Joel Osment--who steals every scene he is in.
These next 6 are all brand new recommendations.
Body Heat- back in the 80's Kathleen Turner and William Hurt were everywhere on the screen. Individually they did some really excellent films. Together, they sizzle in this stylish murder mystery. Also features Mickey Rourke in his first incarnation as an actor. Don't pass on this one (currently on order)---very film noir.
Solyent Green---this ending is so well known, it's now part of the cultural zeitgeist, but this 1973 offering from Charlton Heston deserves its cult status. And although we don't currently have it, look for the other Heston classic with a 'gotcha' ending- Planet of the Apes.
The Usual Suspects---an above average heist/thriller, this won Kevin Spacey an Oscar for best supporting actor. Lots of other big names de jour.
Wait Until Dark--- now this one might not be a gotcha in the same sense as some of the others I've featured, but this is an excellent thriller and waiting for the outcome of the movie will keep you on the edge of your seat. I remember being in my late teens the first time I saw this and just about swallowing my head I screamed so loud. What fun!!
And if you read my recent Christopher Nolan post I promised to tell you about a movie of his that I absolutely love. Drama, fantasy, mystery, thriller--- this just works on every level. Starring two actors that turn up frequently in our posts---Michael Caine and Christian Bale---with the added bonus of sultry Scarlett Johansson and hunky Hugh Jackman. Once friends, now bitter rivals, two magicians seek to create the ultimate on-stage illusion---The Prestige.
And thanks to co-worker Leslie for suggesting I do a post on surprise endings.