The movie ends (and I don’t think this is a spoiler) with a long shot of a lighthouse (much like this one, but not this one) and then immediately cuts to black. End of movie.
The sudden cut, as opposed to the “fade to black” of the traditional. It can be a little off-putting. It’s almost like someone is slamming the door in your face instead of lowering the lights … or, a little more drastically, like you’re suddenly dead instead of slowly drifting off to sleep. It’s a statement and its use deserves some warrant.
I’ve been noticing it a lot more in movies, but most prominently in two Coen brothers films: No Country for Old Men and A Serious Man.
In No Country, Tommy Lee Jones is relating the story of a dream, it’s a dream rife with meaning (though you have to figure out the meaning for yourself). Then, there’s a beat of silence and — boom — black.
You’re left with a “Huh?”
In A Serious Man, the end of which is below, it’s kind of the same thing.
And, after 100 minutes or so, you’re left with a “Huh?”
In Shutter Island, though, the lingering lighthouse doesn’t leave you with a question “Huh?” but more like a statement: “Huh.”
As in, “Really? The sudden black? Huh.”
But, that may be a little off topic.
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