Top 5 Most Confusing Movie Endings

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There’s an unspoken contract between filmmakers and viewers. When watching a film, you agree to give the filmmaker a few hours of your time and attention. The filmmaker, in turn, agrees to wrap up the story cleanly at the end, tying up or kindly snipping off all the loose threads left as the story unraveled—or not. Sometimes filmmakers conveniently forget this unspoken contract, leaving you with more questions than answers. Of course, the only solution to this problem is to watch the movie over and over again until it makes sense. Maybe these filmmakers are on to something.

5 The Matrix: Revolutions

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As the final chapter of a thrilling and mind-bending trilogy, you’d think “Revolutions” would deliver a final explanation to all the questions raised by the first two movies and tie up the entire story in a neat bow – and you’d be wrong. Of course, it all ends with a battle royale between Agent Smith and Neo – or does it? In many ways, the ending raises more questions than it answers. Is Neo dead? Did he defeat Agent Smith? Is it possible for the Matrix to peaceably coexist with Zion? Is there more popcorn?

4 Vanilla Sky

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If you weren’t confused by the ending of “Vanilla Sky,” you weren’t watching it right. Even Cameron Crowe said there were several different interpretations of the ending—and he made the film. Granted, the film was itself a remake of the Spanish film “Abre Los Ojos” (“Open Your Eyes”), which leaves you to wonder if “Vanilla Sky” was so confusing because Crowe himself didn’t really understand it, but decided to make it anyway. To paraphrase a line from the character Sophia, perhaps this movie will make sense in another life when we are cats.

3 Sucker Punch

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A dissociative girl in a mental asylum. A fantasy world where she and others are forced to dance in a burlesque club. Plenty of the villains in this fantasy world correspond to authority figures in the asylum reality, which might make you think of Dorothy’s comatose dreams in “The Wizard of Oz.” But unlike “Oz,” which explained everything at the end, “Sucker Punch” delivers, well, a sucker punch that leaves you wondering what was real and what was imagined. Did the other girls die, or were they lobotomized like Babydoll? Did Sweet Pea really escape? And whose fantasy world was this anyway?

2 Mulholland Drive

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David Lynch originally intended “Mulholland Drive” to be a television series, but given “Twin Peaks,” it’s unlikely a few extra hours of footage would have made this story any easier to understand. Was there even a coherent story line? Lynch’s ultimate desire, it seems, was for you to watch this movie and say “I have no idea what just happened but I want to watch it again.” Throwing in Naomi Watts and Laura Harring making out probably didn’t hurt.

1 2001: A Space Odyssey

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If you do an Internet search on the title for this film, the first two pages of results read something like, “What happened at the end?” If you found the end of “2001” baffling, fear not—it was supposed to be that way. Stanley Kubrick insisted there were multiple legitimate interpretations of the ending. Does the movie make more sense if you read the book? Probably not. According to author Arthur C. Clarke, “If anyone understands it on the first viewing, we’ve failed in our intention.”

Confused? Riddle me this: can you at least agree with these Top 5 Batman Movies?

Do you prefer our Top 5 Depressing Movie Endings to these confusing ones?

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