Heartstopping climaxes are a freek occurrence in today’s movies. So many of them have become generic and lack a sense of individuality. When and where this climax should occur is somewhat suspect as well. For a film like “Cliffhanger” (1995: Carolco Pictures Inc., Cliffhanger Productions, Le Studio Canal+, Pioneer, and RCS Video; directed by Renny Harli), it’s never too early to serioulsy let go of it all. For other films like the recently released “Crash” (2004: Bull’s Eye Entertainment, Paul Haggis Productions, Stratus Film Co., DEJ Productions, ApolloProScreen GmbH Co. Filmproduktion KG, Blackfriars Bridge, Bob Yari Productions, Harris Company, Mambo Inc.; directed by Paul Haggis), chilling, at any point, would be as odd as snow falling in the middle of Los Angeles. For straight shooters, climaxes come at the end. These following 10 films deliver that unique sense of pleasure when you need it most. .
Arlington Road (1999: Arlington Road Productions Corporation, Gorai/Samuelson, Lakeshore Entertainment, Screen Gems Inc.; written by Ehren Kruger).
Braveheart (1995: 20th Century Fox, B.H Finance C.V, Icon Entertainment International, Paramount Pictures, The Ladd Company; written by Randall Wallace).
Carlitos Way (1993: Epic Productions, Universal Pictures; adapted for the screen by David Koepp from a novel by Edwin Torres).
The Crying Game (1992: British Screen Productions, Channel Four Films, Eurotrustees, Nippon Film Development and Finance Inc.; written by Neil Jordan).
La Bamba (1987: Columbia Pictures Corporation, New Visions Pictures; written by Luis Valdez).
The Life of David Gale (2003: Universal Pictures, Intermedia Films, Dirty Hands Productions, Mikona Productions GmbH & Co. KG, Saturn Films; written by Charles Randolph).
Seven (1995: New Line Cinema; written by Andrew Kevin Walker).
The Shape of Things (2003: Mepris Films, Pretty Pictures, Studio Canal, USA Films, Working Title Films; written by Neil Labute).
Shawshank Redemption (1994: Castle Rock Entertainment, Columbia Picture Corporation; written by Stephen King and Frank Darabont).
The Usual Suspects (1995: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Spelling Films International, Blue Parrot, Bad Hat Harry Productions, Rosco Film GmbH; written by Christopher McQuarrie).
These are 10 films during the last 20 years that have stoned me in the end. Some of them twist information into a point where irony seems totally unjust. Some of them take that irony and make it astoundingly romantic. It really depends on the plot.
Some of these films have small holes in their plot which aren’t revealed until the end. These are the tricks, but the hole is usually so great that it makes the entire film explode. Still, others have a plot that is so well constructed, the tension between narrative lines of action is that compelling.
The tricks in several cases may serve as the best climaxes, but those that provide a morally justified point could be the most meaningful. Some of these films have a moral to them that will make you want to stand up and renounce your religion. No joke.
Themes are important as well. Some of these films have themes whose plot is so efficiently laid out that they both seem to collide head on in a profound moment of truth. This is not uncommon in everyday filmmaking, but being able to deliver that blow when it matters most and then stoning your audience in the process really takes an act of sheer brilliance. Sometimes though however these climaxes are saddening, so saddening that it makes you swell up with grief. In turn, the irony is never more lucid.
What kinds of cinematic climaxes do you enjoy? How are they created? Do they romance you to death? Make their hidden holes explode? Perhaps they create a moral that makes it all seem worthwhile.
When this climax happens, does it really matter? Some of these films are well known, but others aren’t. When and how good the climax is will certainly not indicate how successful a film is to become. What about how long it lasts? The pleasure! Many films are packing it in for hours. They don’t wait for the end. They hit you so hard and for so long that when the end comes, it’s anti-climactic. Why? Because it’s over. The drama, the suspense, the hype; it’s all come to a peak and you can soak in it, but how long will it really last? Will it last at all? Have any of these ever put you to sleep? I have been put to sleep by some. Those are the best ones. Of course if you’re intrigued, maybe you should seek immediate medical attention. That sensation may have robbed you blind and taken your heart out in the process while urinating in your skull. Urinating in your skull. How disgusting.