10 Opening Scenes That Change Meaning After Watching The … – Screen Rant

After watching the whole movie, the importance of an opening scene can change the way it’s perceived in unexpected ways.
The opening scene of a movie is incredibly important, as it has to draw the viewer in and set up what the movie is about. For example, Multiverse of Madness' Xochitl Gomez revealed reshoots took place, changing the opening. Thor: Love & Thunder even had an alternate opening, according to Screen Rant.
Sometimes watching the whole movie can change how the opening scene is viewed. It can offer clues to a twist, change how a character is viewed, or even include small details that make the movie better. Reddit listed the movies whose opening can be viewed in a different light after watching said film. Interestingly enough, many of Christopher Nolan's movies were mentioned.
The Matrix was a visual game changer for future movies, yet its plot was just as crucial to its success. It bounces back and forth between the real world and an artificial one.
Related: 10 Movies That Were Lightning In A Bottle, According To Reddit
The opening plays with this idea beautifully, as Redditor reatter states. The voice-over between Trinity and Cypher (which also foreshadows Neo being The One) takes place in the real world and becomes The Matrix as the camera zooms into the falling numbers. PhillyTaco adds that since Cypher turns out to be working with Agent Smith, this puts a whole new spin on the opening as now it's known that the Agents were listening into the conversation.
RLDKA suggests that by watching the opening scene in Gone Girl, one will look at the whole movie differently. As fellow Redditor MacruthersBonaparte points out, this is exactly the point of the scene, which is to change perspective.
Throughout the film, Nick is made to be the villain, and Amy as the victim. Nick is guilty of cheating on Amy, so this certainly holds water. However, the end of the film reveals that Amy tried to frame Nick for her "murder" even going as far as killing her ex-boyfriend. It's also revealed that she is pregnant as a result of a scheme she pulled on Nick, thus keeping Nick around to raise their child. Being obsessive, controlling, and manipulative are just a few aspects that make Amy a very unlikeable protagonist.
Redditor TheDarkKnight1035 loves that Steven Spielberg subverts expectations in the opening of Saving Private Ryan. The old man with his family at the cemetery isn't Tom Hanks, but a more vital character.
Because the camera pans in on the old man then cuts to Tom Hanks in the boat at Normandy makes one think that the old man is in fact Hanks. It's actually Matt Damon's titular character, Private James Ryan. As thosearecoolbeans states, "there wouldn't be any tension, as we'd know that Private Ryan survived the war". JettRinkCalTrask also brings up a good point. The old man being Damon and not Hanks explains why he is so emotional while looking at the grave. He hopes that he has earned the life that so many sacrificed to give him.
Christopher Nolan has a knack for non-linear storytelling, and it all began with Memento. It's because of this non-linear storytelling that makes the opening so unique and why drgoatlord picked it.
Related: 10 Best Quotes From Christopher Nolan’s Memento
Telling a story in this fashion was brilliant, as it made Leonard relatable, as the audience was similarly trying to piece everything together. The opening scene is actually the last scene of the movie. Although it isn't really clear who Leonard kills initially, realizing later that it's Teddy makes Teddy's death much more tragic despite him using Leonard for his own personal gain. By already knowing the ending, Leonard's actions throughout strengthen his case for being a morally gray character.
The twist in The Sixth Sense makes numerous Redditors including Billy_Gilmore view the film in an entirely different light. Bruce Willis' character, Malcolm, is shot in the opening scene by a former patient. Malcolm realizes at the end of the movie that he has been dead the whole time.
An effective twist is one that nobody sees coming, even though the clues are there. For example, the camera holds on Malcolm as Cole is talking about the dead not knowing they are actually dead and "only seeing what they want to see". Malcolm also never interacts with anyone throughout the movie other than Cole, further indicating that Malcolm is dead.
This Redditor nominates Pulp Fiction's opening scene as one that changes meaning after viewing the movie. While it may not seem like it, this scene can be looked at differently afterward.
Pumpkin tries to convince Yolanda to rob the diner as nobody ever robs them, and the diner isn't expecting it. Yolanda even says "I bet you could cut down on the hero factor in a place like this". Ironically, at the end of the film, the two lovers are caught unexpectedly by Jules. His actions negate Yolanda's hero assumption as he keeps them from robbing the restaurant. It's unknown whether Jules memorable speech actually got through to them.
Nope stands out here as it arguably has two opening scenes. Both are just integral to understanding the film as the other, as they contain hidden details and Easter eggs that are easily missed.
The first opening scene, as Censius points out, "starts with a shot looking out some sort of chute into a dark windy sky". It's discovered later that this chute is actually Jean Jacket's eye. This eye acts like a camera, which symbolizes the eyes of the audience and their inability to look away from the spectacular. The second opening is identified by isbutteracarb and involves Gordy the chimp. Gordy looks at the camera, but it's only later that one realizes that he is actually looking at a younger Jupe, which emphasizes the "bad miracle" theme.
Redditor npor nominates Interstellar as having an opening scene that changes meaning after finishing the movie. The film opens with older people talking about dirt and dust, similar to the Dust Bowl in 1930s middle America.
Related: 10 Movies Destined To Become Classics, According To IMDb Polls
As the Redditor states, one thinks that the people being interviewed are actually alive. It's only towards the end of the film that it's revealed most of them are deceased. One that isn't is Cooper's daughter, Murph, albeit older now. Once realizing this, her comment of "Well, my dad was a farmer, like everyone else back then" is much more impactful, as she is clearly talking about Cooper.
"Are you watching closely?" is the perfect summation of The Prestige. There are so many twists and turns throughout, but the opening makes sense of it all.
While Redditor markdavo believes it's the scene with Michael Caine explaining how a magic trick works (with multiple cages of identical birds), it's actually the scene directly before that involves top hats, as fellow Redditor zhard01 points out. Regardless, both scenes emphasize the theme and twist of the film. They set up the cloning reveal twist at the end, as well as the theme of "man's reach exceeds his grasp" and the two rival magicians' obsession for perfection, which ultimately costs them more than just their secrets.
Redditor happyhippohats argues that the opening scene of Arrival changes meaning after viewing its entirety as it's the "emotional crux of the film".
This is exactly right, and Meatycheesyboy strengthens that position, saying: "Knowing the twist makes the movie so much more melancholy". Much like Christopher Nolan, Dennis Villeneuve uses the ending for the opening. However, this opening is something that hasn't even come to pass yet. Upon knowing this, the opening scene of Louise playing with her daughter is much more tragic, as Louise realizes she has to endure the pain of losing her daughter for the good of mankind.
Next: 10 Best Opening Scenes In The MCU, According To Reddit
Sean McDade is currently a Movie/TV List writer for Screen Rant. He graduated in 2014 with a B.A. in Cinema & Television Arts from California State University, Northridge. Based near Los Angeles, Sean loves writing about movies as well as for them. He has written and directed short films (currently in pre and post production) including one that won the CHC Air Quality Short Film Contest in 2020. Sean loves to immerse himself in anything DCEU, MCU, Star Wars, and especially Lord of the Rings. In fact, his favorite movie is The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King followed by Jurassic Park and The Dark Knight. Nothing beats getting lost in a movie on the big screen.


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