Martin Vail, played by Richard Gere, plays a defense attorney who is defending shy, stuttering altar boy Aaron Stampler, who is played by the then-unknown Edward Norton. Stampler is on trial for the murder of an archbishop, but he is eventually found not guilty due to multiple personality disorders, as it was known at the time – one of his alter egos, Roy, killed the archbishop.
After the trial is said and done, Stampler shyly confesses he doesn’t have multiple personality disorder – he’s just a sociopath. This kind of twist might seem a little simple to viewers nowadays, but back then it was a big surprise, and Norton’s performance sold it well, putting him on the map.
This best-picture winner was a shock to many because of the way it portrayed the different class struggles of South Korea. In it, a low-income family tricks a wealthy family into giving them various jobs, keeping it hidden that the workers are all from the same family. They replaced the other workers for the family, but the old housekeeper’s husband had been hiding in a secret basement to keep loan sharks off his back.
After several bloody moments, the family’s patriarch has to go on the run, and the twist is that he also ends up hiding underneath the house, much to the family’s and the audience’s surprise. It grabs and never lets go, which is surely one of the reasons why it was able to nab the top award at the Oscars.
This film seems to be quite straightforward, as much as a drama could be. A young woman (Briony, played by Saoirse Ronan) has a crush on the housekeeper’s son (Robbie, played by James McAvoy), but the housekeeper only has eyes for Briony’s sister, Cecilia. Seeing as how Cecelia is played by Keira Knightley, it’s hard to blame him. Cecelia returns his affection, and in a fit of envy, Briony frames Robbie for an assault, getting him sent to jail.
After that, however, Cecelia becomes a nurse during World War II, and Robbie is released to serve. The two meet again, and their romance is rekindled. Aww, how sweet. Except not really – that story is what Briony tells the viewers much later. Both actually died during the war, and the book Briony writes tells us that she feels terribly guilty about her lie.
Adapted from a book by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the screenplay for the movie, “Gone Girl” has Amy Dunne, played by Rosamund Pike, disappear, seemingly killed by her philandering husband Nick, played by Ben Affleck. Though he tries to find her, it seems more and more likely that she is dead at his own hand, mostly since he doesn’t seem all that interested in finding her.
It’s then revealed that she IS alive and that Amy orchestrated everything to get back at her husband for his extramarital flings. Amy is revealed to be a twisted individual who plays her husband like a fiddle until the surprising, sickening end. It’s a shocking movie, and having the missing woman be the mastermind was a huge twist that threw everyone for a loop.
This film is the “Citizen Kane” of movies – meaning that it elevated the art style into something that had never been seen. Orson Welles took a fledgling art form and turned it into something that could bring people to the theater in droves. Kane is a clear reference to William Randolph Hearst, a famous tycoon of the time, but the mystery of what his last word – Rosebud – means isn’t explained until the final shot of the film when it turns out it was nothing more than his beloved childhood sled.
It explains how a man who got so much – money, power, fame, relationships – could be so haunted by something he didn’t have. Nowadays, this film will seem old (and it is), but it did many things that movies had never tried before, from shots to lighting to writing.