The Plot Twist Gamble

Nothing like a sudden turn of the wheel that leaves the audience in disbelief. But what happens when the audience actually disbelieves? Screenwriters are aware of the double edged sword quality of plot twists: they can make a story successful almost by themselves, but can also turn against it if they come off as predictable or implausible.

In some genres (horror, thriller) they have become an expected, almost mandatory device. Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) set the foundations for the use of narrative unreliability in films. And it’s already a great example of a twist that didn’t only aim for shock- it also tried to provide a solid justification for the visual and narrative styles of the film.

Night Shyamalan’s irregular career illustrates both the rewards and the risks of subjecting the story to a plot twist. The recent success of Split may have brought him to a second youth, but for many years, the ‘Shyamalan twists” served more as a burden than a perk, becoming the smoking gun that proves and defines the film’s failure.

So what makes a good plot twist? If Aristotle stated that good art should be both unexpected and inevitable, contemporary screenwriters like William Goldman have pinpointed a reality that Hollywood has exploited well: that a controversial ending may still work effectively if it’s at least satisfying.

Some examples of films with memorable plot twists are:

(1941) The Maltese Falcon

(1958) Vertigo

(1960) Psycho

(1968) Planet of the Apes

(1973) The Sting

(1973) Soylent Green

(1973) The Wicker Man

(1980) The Empire Strikes Back

(1987) Angel Heart

(1992) The Crying Game

(1995) The Usual Suspects

(1995) 12 Monkeys

(1996) Primal Fear

(1999) The Sixth Sense

(1999) Fight Club

(2000) Memento

(2004) Saw

(2006) The Prestige

(2016) Arrival

Interstellar Script

Year:2014
Director:Christopher Nolan
Written by:Christopher Nolan (Writer), Jonathan Nolan (Writer)

Script Synopsis:Interstellar chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.
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Following Script

Year:1998
Director:Christopher Nolan
Written by:Christopher Nolan (Screenplay)

Script Synopsis:A struggling, unemployed young writer takes to following strangers around the streets of London, ostensibly to find inspiration for his new novel.
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The Dark Knight Rises

Year:2012
Director:Christopher Nolan
Written by:Bob Kane (Characters), Jonathan Nolan (Screenplay), Christopher Nolan (Story), Christopher Nolan (Screenplay), David S. Goyer (Story)

Script Synopsis:Following the death of District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman assumes responsibility for Dent's crimes to protect the late attorney's reputation and is subsequently hunted by the Gotham City Police Department. Eight years later, Batman encounters the mysterious Selina Kyle and the villainous Bane, a new terrorist leader who overwhelms Gotham's finest. The Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy.
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The Nolan Brothers Scripts

For some reason, the film industry loves family teams who direct and/or write screenplays. The Coen Brothers have created innumerable successful for their brother directing team, while the Nolan Brothers have done the same in the screenwriting industry.
True, these brothers have a much smaller career that has not brought their name notoriety. However, every film that they have written for has turned out to be a major successful. Their work is intricate, detailed and concise: all the things that make up a fanciful story that pleases audience.
In the newest addition to the Dark Knight series, the Nolan Brothers had to deal with the painstaking requirement of editing hundreds of pages of script into a script fit for the screen. In addition, they had to incorporate and base the finalized script on the classic Charles Dickens story, A Tale of Two Cities. 
Upon release of The Dark Knight Rises (2012), the future of their career could skyrocket them into a household name. Only time will tell what their future has in hold for them.

Insomnia

Year:2002
Director:Christopher Nolan
Written by:Hillary Seitz (Screenplay)

Script Synopsis:Two Los Angeles homicide detectives are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn't set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.
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The Prestige

Year:2006
Director:Christopher Nolan
Written by:Jonathan Nolan (Screenplay), Christopher Nolan (Screenplay), Christopher Priest (Author)

Script Synopsis:A mysterious story of two magicians whose intense rivalry leads them on a life-long battle for supremacy -- full of obsession, deceit and jealousy with dangerous and deadly consequences.
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The Dark Knight

Year:2008
Director:Christopher Nolan
Written by:Jonathan Nolan (Screenplay), Christopher Nolan (Screenplay), Christopher Nolan (Story), David S. Goyer (Story)

Script Synopsis:Batman raises the stakes in his war on crime. With the help of Lt. Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman sets out to dismantle the remaining criminal organizations that plague the streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as the Joker.
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Memento

Year:2000
Director:Christopher Nolan
Written by:Christopher Nolan (Screenplay), Jonathan Nolan (Author)

Script Synopsis:Suffering short-term memory loss after a head injury, Leonard Shelby embarks on a grim quest to find the lowlife who murdered his wife in this gritty, complex thriller that packs more knots than a hangman's noose. To carry out his plan, Shelby snaps Polaroids of people and places, jotting down contextual notes on the backs of photos to aid in his search and jog his memory. He even tattoos his own body in a desperate bid to remember.
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Inception

Year:2010
Director:Christopher Nolan
Written by:Christopher Nolan (Screenplay)

Script Synopsis:Cobb, a skilled thief who commits corporate espionage by infiltrating the subconscious of his targets is offered a chance to regain his old life as payment for a task considered to be impossible: "inception", the implantation of another person's idea into a target's subconscious.
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