Running thoughts on movies and their makings.
March 11 2005 2:37 PM

Clanks a Million

Robots plus Millions, In My Country, Hostage, The Upside of Anger, and a new reader contest!

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Don't Swing Away: The entries are pouring into my e-mailbox, with the Shyamster, M. Night Shyamalan, predictably far out in front. It's going to take the weekend (at least) to sift through them all, especially with Robots, Millions, Hostage, and In My Country still demanding your humble critic's attention. But it would be useful to define the term "twist" before too many more people submit the dread "Swing away" from the dread Signs.

For my purposes (if not O. Henry's), a twist is a particular kind of surprise: one that not only forces us to reorient ourselves radically, but that comes close to demolishing the very premise of everything that has preceded it. The Shyamster's three other mature films have premise-demolishing finales, but I would classify "Swing away" as a "surprise," as well as "retarded."

David Edelstein is the chief film critic for New York magazine and a film critic for NPR’s Fresh Air.