In a new video for IMDB, director Rian Johnson expertly explains the approach he takes to plot twists in his films.
I've been a huge fan of Johnson's work — both as a creator, and consumer of stories — since I first watched Brick in college nearly 15 years ago. And what he illuminates here is precisely why. We live in an era where spoiler culture dominates, and the craftiness of a twist seems to take priority over actual storytelling. Audiences crave the thrill of the surprise, and creators cater to that, to the detriment of storytelling.
What I admire and respect about Johnson's work is that his twists are always anchored in the emotional journeys in the characters. They're the kind of surprises that are simultaneously both shocking and inevitable — arriving unexpectedly, while also being intrinsically tied to the story that came before it that they feel like an obvious, foregone conclusion. And that's what makes them resonate even more powerfully.
Regardless of whether you're a creator or a fan, it's worth spending these 5 minutes in Johnson's head.
Image via Dick Thomas Johnson / Flickr
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. Image via Wikimedia Commons / CC 4.0
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