These days, audience so badly want unexpected things to happen in movies. In film terms, we call it as Plot Twist. Plot twist may have become a trend after Pizza. And nowadays it has become a normalcy for audience wanting their directors catch them off-guard. The point here is sometimes these twists worked. Many times it was seen as a cheap trick by the audience.
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Take Pizza for example. In retrospection, Pizza’s success is just seeming to be a miracle. Imagine, you are showing audience something close to an hour and then you tell them all you have seen is just a lie or a dream. But then it worked in Pizza, isn’t it? Audience bought the twist. Take another example, Mankatha. Prithvi (Arjun) whom we all assume as a good cop, Thanks to Arjun’s history of Good Cop roles, turns out to be the partner in crime. Again Audience bought the twist. But in Vivegam, things didnt work out well as expected. In terms of Plot twists, it is just an anti-thesis of Mankatha. Somehow we knew from the start that Vivek Oberai was the villain. Again things didn’t work in Thuruvangal Pathinaru. Though it was a big hit, I for once, cannot understand that masked man relevance. It was a cheap trick and the reveal was a big disappointment. (Though Fans of the film will argue that it is a metaphor used in writing… Nope I can’t buy it)
But one thing is for sure. To make the plot twist work, you have to make the audience come into your world, make them believe, get fascinate and then at the right time, drop the bomb. Some of the best twists in the recent times, include Aaranya Kaandam, Pisasu, and Maya.
The point here is if everyone is dreaming to attain a good plot twist in the movie, why not as filmmakers think the other way around? How about revealing the twist in the first place and then play with the characters in the inside. Take the example of Breaking Bad. You know who Heisenberg is and you badly want him to escape from the clutches of the cops. Take the example of Drishyam, You know again how the murder happened. You badly wanted the family to escape. And the whole movie is about that. Though Drishyam had a brilliant twist in the end, which sort of awes us completely, Still the whole movie is about empathizing with the characters, the kids, their smart talks and their plans.
Now compare the plot twist and the reverse, which I had just suggested now.
Plot twists are revealing things in the end, which might work, again may not work all times. For example, in many short films, schizophrenia or some disorders were cheaply used many times for plot twists. In fact Plot twists were a major component in short films and with short film directors. That’s why Plot twists became a major trend, with these short film directors getting into feature route.
Now the reverse, the idea is to break the news first and then gradually start building up things. Letting your audience getting concerned with the whole scheme of things is how it works. Here in this case, audience become weaker as in they knew the twist right in the beginning, but they have no idea how it will work out in the movie. How is Walter White going to hide his Heisenberg identity? How is Sridevi going to get rid of the Pyscho Killer Dileep in Sigappu Rojakkal?
Personally, I am inclined towards the latter style of telling stories. It is like you knew who stole the cell phone of your teacher. The teacher is inspecting everyone and the culprit is none other than your best friend. Will your friend get caught? How is the teacher going to inspect? You are head scratching isn’t it. In the former ( plot twist) the director is the one who should head scratch to make twist work.