Home Opinion Midweek Mouth-off: Ambiguity or answers?

Midweek Mouth-off: Ambiguity or answers?

34 second read

As the world debates Prometheus – and endless other prequels and remakes are apparently greenlit just to answer some of moviedom’s great questions – today we want to know whether you’re someone who prefers ambiguity in their movies, or demands an explanation? What films have left you pondering long afterwards, and what could have actually benefited from ending before everything was clarified? What are your all-time favourite cinematic head scratchers?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: June 13, 2012


  1. Geoffrey Tim

    June 13, 2012 at 11:10

    i’ll never understand how dumb and dumberer ever got greenlighted. 


  2. WernerE

    June 13, 2012 at 12:55

    I’m a fan of ambiguous films. People might disagree with me, but I always feel that I’m getting more than I paid for if the film makes me think afterwards and causes debate.
    Just of the top of my head is Donnie Darko and a brilliant film by Andrei Tarkovsky called Stalker…. wow… I still have questions about that one.
    I guess some films/questions are probably better left unanswered.


  3. Tracy Benson

    June 13, 2012 at 13:57

    For me, there’s a difference between ambiguity and blatant exploitation of ambiguity. 
    Example: the ending of Inception, did the top carry on spinning or did it fall? For me this is how it’s done right, the majority of the plot was resolved but that last little (excuse the pun) twist was thrown in to keep you thinking. However, when you specifically ignore the questions you’ve asked and made people think about for the whole movie in favour of an obvious cliff hanger in order to get a sequel / next season of your TV show, that irritates the shit out of me. You can’t force people to keep watching and keep coming back by saying “you’ll get the answers next time, for realsies”. That has the exact opposite effect as you intended on me, I will be like, “well that sucked, I guess you don’t trust that I found your story entertaining and WANT to come back, you’re trying to trick me instead” and ignore your sequel / next season. 


    • Justin Hess

      June 13, 2012 at 14:41

      The one part of Inception that I didn’t like was the ending. For one thing, massively predictable, for another, it seemed unnecessary.

      Of course, it makes sense within the context of the film, but given everything that had come before, the spinning top felt cheap instead of thrillingly suggestive.

      I don’t like or dislike ambiguity. When it’s done right, I enjoy, and when it’s done wrong, it annoys me.

      For it too work, you need a solid narrative which the ambiguity either does not detract from or, upon reflection, hints at something you may have missed.

      Done wrong, it feels like a student movie straining for the epical and thought provoking.

      Like anything in scriptwriting, it needs to be properly set-up to prove effective


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