13 June 2024

Biggest Mysteries in Film

10 Cloverfield Lane

The plot of 10 Cloverfield Lane has been a very closely guarded secret. We know the majority of the film takes place in a bunker where John Goodman’s character keeps two others but other than that the whole thing is a bit of mystery. Though, it’s not the first time movies have been kept mysterious from their audiences to deliver devastating twists. So here’s a list of the top five mysteries in film;

Memento (2000)

Despite having great success on the film festival circuit after its debut at the Venice Film Festival, the plot of Memento was so confusing it had real trouble securing a distributor. The film follows the story of Leonard Shelby who pursues the men who killed his wife. However he suffers from a form of amnesia that stops him from remembering anything that happened after the death of his wife. Simple enough right? It would be, if the plot didn’t run in two separate interspersed sequences, in opposing chronological order, meeting together at the end. It’s so complicated someone had to make a graph to explain it.1

The marketing for the film didn’t shed any further light on the plot either. Jonathan Nolan, author of the short story on which the film was based and brother of director Christopher Nolan, designed a website that would reveal parts of the films plot, but only by reading mock news articles hidden inside other mock news articles. So needless to say the fact that in the midst of all this there was a shocking plot twist at the end, made Memento one of the biggest film mysteries of all time; if you could actually figure out what you had watched in the first place that is.

The Usual Suspects (1995)

This crime thriller was a bit more straightforward. After a deadly firefight destroys a ship in San Pedro Bay, the two survivors are interrogated by police to find out what happened. Through a series of flashbacks Roger “Verbal” Knit tells us the attack was masterminded by the mysterious criminal Keyser Söze. He approached Verbal and four others to pull off the heist through an associate, and blackmailed them into committing the suicidal heist. But just who is Keyser Söze? The police interrogating Verbal are desperate to know, just as Verbal’s gang tried to figure it out, but no one manages it until it’s too late.

The marketing of the film also focused on this question. Posters for the film were put up everywhere carrying little more than the question ‘Who is Keyser Söze?’ It was the question everyone wanted to know, and it worked. The film won two Oscars for best original screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Kevin Spacy’s role as Verbal, as well as BAFTAs for best original screenplay and best editing. I won’t ruin it for you though…Who is Keyser Söze?

Shutter Island (2010)

Directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring Leonardo DiCaprio Shutter Island tells the tale of two U.S. marshals investigating a missing inmate at an institution for the criminally insane on Shutter Island. As a storm traps them on the island, the doctors of the hospital become less and less cooperative, and as they interview the inmates, it appears that something more sinister than a missing patient may be going on.

What’s mysterious about this one though is that you never really know what is fact and what is fiction. As the doctors of the institution turn against DiCaprio’s character Teddy, he becomes convinced that it is all part of a conspiracy against him, and you’re left to question whose reality is real.

Gone Girl (2014)

Another psychological thriller, Gone Girl, based on a novel of the same name, tells the story of Nick Dunne who returns home on his fifth wedding anniversary to discover his wife, Amy, is missing, but as the police dig around they discover evidence that suggests Nick killed his wife. They find remnants of blood stains, evidence that Amy was pregnant, and a diary that described how she had become fearful of Nick. The only trouble is Nick has no recollection of any of these events, steadfastly denying he killed his wife. As he begins his own investigation, Nick discovers from his wife’s ex’s that Amy is not so squeaky clean herself, but as the evidence mounts against him the police soon close in.

Full of twists and turns, it’s not until the very end of the film that you get the full picture of what is going on, and even then you are left questioning the exact depiction of events; and this was all a distilled version of the plot. The novel had even more story lines and depth of character, that was inevitably lost as the 500 page book was turned into a 149 minute film. So for further mystery get reading.

The Sixth Sense (1999)

M. Night Shyamalan is famous for twists in his plots so it would be remiss not to give him a mention on this list. Arguably his best plot twist is in The Sixth Sense which follows the story of child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe. Feeling remorseful after one of his patients commits suicide, Crowe focuses on helping 9-year-old Cole Sear who says he can see dead people. At first sceptical of this ability, Crowe soon realises Cole is telling the truth, and encourages him to use his ability to help the ghosts he sees find peace. Cole begins to be at ease with his ghost friends and Crowe finally feels at peace having made up for his previous failures; then comes the twist. Don’t worry I won’t ruin it for you, though you really should have seen this film by now.

10 Cloverfield Lane is in UK cinemas 18th March.

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