Sunday, February 13, 2011

AFT Awards: Best Ending

Beware spoilers for “Inception,” “District 13: Ultimatum,” “Of Gods and Men,” “Red Riding: 1980,” and “A Prophet.”

This is the twenty-fourth category of the 4th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them. Click here to see previous years of this category.

The winner:
Inception capitalized on one of the film’s biggest questions – how do you know what reality is? After succeeding in his mission, Cobb returns home and finally gets to see his children’s faces. As he goes to see them, his totem continues to spin on the table, and we never get to see whether it falls or not, leaving the possibility of Cobb still being asleep very much open.

Other nominees:
District 13: Ultimatum dealt a game-changer as all of the leaders from District 13, after putting in so much effort to ensure that their home would not be destroyed, agree that it should in fact be razed so that they can start over from the ground up. It’s rare to find a public figure so eager to listen to his constituents.

Of Gods and Men did the best it could with unknown history, showing the monks being led up a snow-covered hill, disappearing into the ether since their true fates are undetermined. Adding voiceover from Christian describing how everyone would be better served to put their differences aside served as a tragic, fitting eulogy.

Red Riding: 1980 revealed to its protagonist that everything he had been working for was for naught. Peter’s face-to-face with the alleged serial killer resulted in his own staged death, as he was killed by the officers involved in the grand conspiracy. When viewed immediately before its sequel, this ending serves as the perfect noir transition into the even darker 1983 chapter.

A Prophet made clear in its final sequence that all of Malik’s actions in prison had resulted in all three of the rival gangs being loyal to him alone. Seeing that resolution after Malik’s shaky start in prison was all the more meaningful, and indicative of just how successfully subtle the film was.


Greg Boyd said...

Regarding "Inception"... after seeing the film I tried to reason out the ending, and as I recall I came to the conclusion that he couldn't possibly still be asleep. I could be wrong, and don't ask me how I got there (because I don't remember). But I don't think I am. That leaves two possibilites:

A) Cobb has finally achieved his dream, and that last shot was designed to show that.


B) The ending is Nolan's own "inception" on the audience. I read this theory somewhere, and I really love it. Think about it. In the weeks after the movie's release, there were people on message boards coming up with all sorts of convoluted explanations for him being asleep. In most cases, they came up with these explanations based on clues in the film itself. What if that was Nolan's intention all along? He plants the idea, and everyone thinks the various explanations came from them. Instead, it came from the movie.

I guess we'll never know. But that explanation's pretty cool, if it's the right one.

Movies with Abe said...

And, to me, that's what makes it the best ending. So many ways to interpret it, and so satisfying in most of those ways.

Greg Boyd said...

Where are your honorable mentions in this category, by the way? Hopefully "Toy Story 3" made it on the list, as that would be my personal pick (with "Inception" and "The Social Network" close behind). Perfect ending. Not just to the movie, but to the franchise.

Movies with Abe said...

I didn't include honorable mentions but I did have a few that I thought to put on the list: The American, Fair Game, The Ghost Writer, and 127 Hours. Toy Story 3 and The Social Network were great as well.