What final shots can be interpreted in multiple – even contradictive – ways?
Here’s a few to immediately pop into my mind:
The Thin Red Line
Once Upon a Time in America
I imagine just in terms of the shear number of discussions it generated, Caché should win this thread.
Akira Kurosawa’s The Lower Depths is one of my all-time favorite ending shots.
I do really mean it when I say I love the closing shot of The Prestige, but unfortunately Nolan has made it his own personal cliche by utilizing the exact same hard cut on The Dark Knight and Inception, and I fully admit it’s getting annoying. Worth mentioning is that I, of course, have all these ideas for movies and quite a few of them end with hard cuts sort of like Nolan does. It’s sad, one of those, “Damn it, if I ever pull it off I’m going to get compared to that guy… Aw well, if the shoe fits…” situations. At any rate, The Prestige is the best example of his use of that shot.
There is, of course, the closing of No Country for Old Men and A Serious Man, showing the Coens are kinda feeling a little ambiguous, lately.
I do like the closing shot of Kids, : “What happened?” Great stuff.
My man Tarkovsky, like mentioned above, is a master of closing shots. Add Nostalghia to the examples above, and tell me dude coudn’t command the friggin’ weather. (Also see: The Sacrifice )
I love a good closing shot, like a full stop or an exclamation point after the sum of the whole experience. Sometimes closing shots themselves can really make the whole movie, which for me was what No Country for Old Men was all about. I was following the story, following the story, following the story, and then suddenly looking and credits and thinking, “Uh buh guh whhhuuuu???” Took me five minutes of stunned silence before I realized, “Oh.”
Altman said [SPOILER!] that he guessed, but didn’t know, that there was a body underneath all that car wreckage. I can’t find a screenshot of it, and don’t own the movie, but you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout, right?
Smiles all around — “the heck?” the audience says.
The silencio lady — maybe not ambiguous, but certainly as startling as the whole picture — maybe even more so for selecting it as the final moment.
I couldn’t find a picture of it but Cure has a good one
this final shot of song kang-ho in memories of murder kills me every time i see it. and it pisses me off to no end. ugh.
Leone’s cut of ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA had a pretty enigmatic end shot. Or was it ambiguous?
One of my favorites is the end of Days of Being Wild.
Hate to be obvious, but I love the final shot of Fight Club.
But yeah, that can’t really be interpreted any other way.
“Altman said [SPOILER!] that he guessed, but didn’t know, that there was a body underneath all that car wreckage. I can’t find a screenshot of it, and don’t own the movie, but you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout, right?”
Yes I do. Good choice!
Yeah, that penis sure was half-aroused…
But I know what you mean too, and also agree. Heck, the closing of Se7en was pretty great, too, even though it’s remembered more for the quote and less for the gorgeous sunset.
Herzog’s ’’Aguirre’’ comes to my mind, with Klaus Kinski speaking to the monkeys…
And I really like Bunuel’s ‘’Diary of a Chambermaid’’ with the crowd marching and shouting ‘’Vive Chiappe!’’ (probably heading towards the movie theater to smash and burn the screening of ’’L’age d’Or’’)
great examples here. the “Snake Eyes” final shot, up until the end of the credits, reveals a lot, aside from being technically amazing and beautiful.
Eventually someone will bring it up, but the final, 10-minute long shot of Antonioni’s “The Passenger” is amazing.
Tsai Ming-Liang – Vive L’Amour
Claire Denis – Beau Travail
Hm,now that Grey Daisies mentioned Tsai,I remember the finale of What Time Is it There.Pretty enigmatic I must say.
The climax of Lindsay Anderson’s “If . . .” Of course, the massacre takes place. Of course, it doesn’t.
it has to be Klimov’s Come and See, for me. the last shots always haunt me. the graphic nature of most of his last section is nightmarish. the entire section speaks on the futility of war and the history of mankind.
That last shot in Come and See is pretty ambiguous, especially when compared to the final sequence that came before it.
@Anthony – I love the final shot in Mulholland Drive. The strangeness of it always keeps the mood and atmosphere going after the movie has ended.
For many, the last scene of Claire Denis’ L’intrus.
Made perfect sense to me….
The last part of Bruno Dumont’s Twentynine Palms maybe.
Antonioni’s The Passenger. That one resonated with me long after seeing it the first time.
I really love the ending shot of La Dolce Vita, I haven’t seen a lot of these, I’ll have to watch them
I gotta say I’m a sucker for the last shot of every Mann film. Love the last shot of “Thief”.
Don’t have a still handy, but the final shot of Kurosawa’s Cure. Here’s a video clip (the whole final restarant sequence is pretty enigmatic):