Episode 3 – Reversal and Double Reversal
In detective fiction, someone gets killed and a detective will be on the path to catch the killer and when the killer gets caught, the film ends and sometimes it may surprise us when we come to know the victim is the killer.
This process of interchanging the characters roles in a story is known as Reversal. This switching up of character roles can change the conflict in the story world and how we perceive it.
Most of the time writers tend to use this method on antagonist but what happens if we apply it on the protagonist; we end up getting DARK INVERSION.
A protagonist holding an ideology and making up decisions on it goes against it in the climax is known as Dark Inversions.
A film that has employed the archetype of Dark inversion is Kreedam, Directed by A.L.Vijay, Sakthivel, a morally upright citizen wanting to become a cop like his father ends up killing a man, thus making him a criminal. We can also find the same dark inversion in The Godfather, Michael Corleone, a war hero ends up killing men in the end.
This reversal of ideology that the character holds can create chaos ending up creating a dramatic impact on the audience. It will make us question our sanity; we’ll ask ourselves whether we would take decisions against our own morality. This dark inversion, when witnessed on a large white screen can mess a human psyche.
Now, what happens if the reversal archetype gets employed into two main characters of the film, we can find the concept of Double Reversal.
It is a state where two major characters usually the protagonist and the antagonist switch places i.e their way of life and their ideology.
Take Jigardhanda, antagonist Assault Sethu , a hardcore gangster ends up being an actor and a father to a widow whose husband he killed, while Karthik, a novice filmmaker ends up threatening Actor Vijay sethupathi with thugs forcing him to act in his film. The journey we put through them through made them to interchange their archetypes and in the climax, they end as opposite to their beginning self.
This double reversal can be found in love stories where a player and innocent girl meet up and at the end of the film the player becomes innocent while the innocent becomes the player.
The concept of Reversal and double reversal is great writing device and it lies in the theme and writer whose writing it, if effectively used, we can witness a memorable climax.
In fiction writing knowledge can be termed as a fact, a piece of information, a secret or a truth that flips over the story world and its characters. If it’s played well, it’ll be etched into cinematic history like “I am your father Luke”.
In Star Wars: Episode IV, this one line rewrites Luke skywalker’s entire history, five words that existed in the story world comes to the surface and throws us off the ledge making us go “WHATTTT”. Sometimes obtaining a new knowledge can change a character’s world and how the character understands the conflict.
Now Luke not only needs to kill Darth Vader but also his father, this further creates emotional complexity on Luke’s decision making, leading to intense drama in the film’s sequel.
Knowledge can be used in another way that is to employ twist in the story by a form of REVELATION.
The usual suspects plays is right on the note, wherein the end the revelation of truth makes us look like fools and we are awestruck by Kevin Spacey’s character who has lied on our face, thus leading to creating a memorable event in the film history, which is making us talk about it even two decades later.
A director who has handled this use of knowledge as revelation to reach the peak of the drama is David Fincher and his films Seven and Fight Club.
In seven’s climax, we get know his wife is killed, while in fight club we get revealed that there are no two separate individuals. These types of revelation can internally and externally change the story world and its character.
In seven after this revelation we see Brad Pitt’s character David Mills committing the seventh sin, thereby ending the objective of the antagonist, while in Fight club, the revelation brings internal stasis to our protagonist while the world around him is starting to fall off.
The concept of knowledge can easily be put off as a twist (Petta-Ne singara thoda pulla dhaan) but if it structured correctly it’ll lead up to creating cinematic moments and no it’s not Petta climax twist.