Complicated Endings

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Some people asked me, in reference to Friday’s post about the tendencies of classic movies, what’s the difference between a complex ending and an ambiguous ending.

An ambiguous ending doesn’t commit. It’s the worst.  It says nothing, means nothing.  It’s a refusal to engage.

The usual endings you find in movies do commit; they end on a particular note.

A complex ending ends on a chord.  You do hear one tone more then another, but there are other tones mixed in, a complexity that attempts to replicate the complexity of real-life emotions and events.

The above gallery revisits some of the movies talked about Friday and adds some more.  All have complex endings, and they’re all movies worth seeing.

It’s fair to say that there may be some argument as to what is complex and what is ambiguous.  For example, I think a lot of critics would descrive MULHOLLAND DRIVE as having a complex ending and THE GREAT DICTATOR as having an ending that’s too much “on the nose.”  But I think of MULHOLLAND DRIVE as ambiguous, uncommitted (frustratingly so), while I see THE GREAT DICTATOR’s ending as one with strange and painful nuances.

But that’s OK.  It’s not all about agreeing.  It’s about thinking about these things.

Categories: MOVIES, MOVIES AND LIFE

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