Top 10 most controversial movie ending scenes in cinema history

The final scene of a film is usually important and neat, like the last sentence of a novel or the last bite of a good steak: we enjoy it and we must not screw up. A final scene can embody a form of morality in the continuity of a story that has been told to us, offer an opening or a more global key to understanding the film. And from then on, these scenes can be dissected, interpreted, debated: and they often are, believe me.

1. Inception

And the top spins. But is it slowing down or is it not slowing down? In other words: has DiCaprio really joined his family, or has he decided to remain in the world of dreams indefinitely because he cannot find her? The camera fades to black at a time when the spinning top seems to wobble without us being sure. Everyone has their own point of view on this end, but what is certain is that in reality it was not decided by Nolan. For Nolan, the only thing that is important is the desire of Cobb, the character played by DiCaprio, to see his children again. Whether it happens in the dream or in reality. Everyone will make their own interpretation.


Ok so Jack Nicholson is out, Danny and his reum saved and we think the movie is over. And then the camera wanders around the hotel and gets closer to a photo fixed on a wall, dated 1921 and on which we see, in the middle of the crowd, the character played by Nicholson, all smiles during the Roaring Twenties party. Assuming that Nicholson could not have been there in 1920, how should this photo be interpreted? Does that mean Jack is evil incarnate? Did he join, after his death, the pantheon of demons that populated the hotel? The screenwriter gave information on this subject. There was a deleted scene during which Jack found an old sketchbook which he used to feed his book, thereby placing himself under the power of the hotel, symbolically: the episode marked the break in his behavior. Which makes Jack Torrence become a new incarnation of a recurring character in the hotel, another Jack Torrence who incarnates and reincarnates through the ages. Clues had been disseminated in this direction, in particular during the scene of the bar, when a ghost customer seems to recognize Jack.

3.Shutter Island

Mark Ruffalo and DiCaprio talk after the final reveal supposed to make DiCaprio realize that he is responsible for the death of his family and that he invents a fiction to better face this horror. If DiCaprio accepts this reality, he will escape the lobotomy; otherwise, squeak. Suspense, but DiCaprio seems returned to his delirium and takes Ruffalo for his assistant. Shit. He will be lobotomized: but isn’t DiCaprio lying in conscience? Doesn’t he pretend to deny reality to erase his demons and his guilt by being brainwashed? According to the psychiatrists recruited by Scorsese to help him on the script, it is indeed in all conscience that DiCaprio chooses the lobotomy, not being able to bear the weight of guilt. Here is.

4. Mommy

At the end of Mommy, Steve gets out of his straitjacket and runs through the halls of the hospital before, it’s suggested, jumping out the window. No longer supporting confinement, he would have taken his own life… Except that, more than death, it is quite possible that Steve is simply trying to join his mother by escaping through the only open place: the window. This theory is all the more believable as the entire film focuses on the relationship between mother and son. What is certain is that the question has never been settled.

5. 2001, a space odyssey

The astronaut became an old gentleman lying in bed while in a black hole two minutes earlier. In the middle of the room stands the monolith. The old gentleman turns into a baby. The baby floats in space and looks at the earth. What does this fetus that floats like a planet represent? Is it a message on the permanence of life through space and time or on the contrary a reflection on the end of the world now that the monolith has led humans to the end of their technological limits? Kubrick has never really settled the question, but most experts agree that once freed from the mysteries of the universe, the centenarian is returned to the state of a child as if to rediscover his naivety, his state of nature: man would not be destined to become a god but rather to be part of the world and the monolith having completed its civilizing mission, would send man back to his primary mission.

6. Lost in Translation

What does Bill Murray say in Scarlette Johansson’s ear? Will they see each other again or are they doomed to separate forever? Reading the actor’s lips, we see that he says: ” When John gets ready for his business trip, go see him and tell him the truth, okay? In reality, the character played by Bill Murray would therefore come out of his role as a lover to try to help Scarlett Johansson get better and better assume her choices.

7. Take Shelter

Ultimately, it wasn’t on Curtis’ mind, since the storm is coming. Moreover, the storm is very real since Samantha confirms it with a look and, with a simple “OK” seems to accept suddenly that Curtis was not crazy and that she was wrong on his account. But isn’t he really crazy? And will the protagonists all die for lack of having prepared as Curtis wanted? For Jeff Nichols, the idea is not there. Above all, this scene proves that fleeing is not the solution, the characters having fled to appease Curtis and now find themselves facing the same problem as before. On the other hand, the fact of finally sharing a common vision is a guarantee of solidarity and offers them the possibility of understanding each other.

8. 2046

At the end of 2046, Chow Mo-wan decides not to spend the night with Bai Ling, who nevertheless loves him. No, things can never be the same and Chow Mo-wan takes a cab as a symbol of his self-imposed loneliness. For some, this bitter end is a global reflection on love, the desires of each other never coinciding and love inevitably clashes with the selfishness of both parties. But with all the more reason, it corresponds to the end of a cycle for Chow who, after having loved several women in turn who, for one reason or another, partly reminded him of the woman he once loved, decides to completely free oneself from memories to project oneself into the present. He traveled to 2046 and came back: he is the only one to have come back, by the way.

9. Zodiacs

In the final scene of Zodiac, a former victim of the killer identifies Leigh as her attacker, more than 20 years after the fact. Why wasn’t Leigh arrested before? Fincher’s magic is to maintain the ambiguity even in this scene: while being formal in his identification, the former victim points to the roundness of the face of another witness portrait to describe the one who shot him and does not affirm to be sure that at 80%… A way of leaving the viewer the choice as to his verdict without providing him with a ready-made solution.

10. No Country for Old Men

After the killings, the speech. Why this long monologue by Tommy Lee Jones who evokes his dreams of the night with his wife? What does this bring to the story? Everything in fact. The anxieties of Tommy Lee Jones, who is now older than his father, who died several years earlier, are those of a supporter of an old world, an old world probably fantasized and based on justice, the order of things, the logical, a world that has completely disappeared and in which the old man, Tommy Lee Jones, no longer recognizes himself; all the rest of the film is just chaos: despite his repentance, the hero will die and the killer will get away with it, the victims will accumulate in disorderly violence and all that will make no sense. A message of pessimism sent from the Coens to their spectator and of which they are customary.

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