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Blade Runner, Inception, Joker: 8 films with the most ambiguous endings to watch on OTT

Ryan Gomez

Ryan Gomez
Jul 20, 2021

Filmmakers have often used story endings open to interpretations as clever narrative tools to add to the overall experience the film offers, which are thought-provoking but frustrating at times. The following is a list of some of the best films with ambiguous endings available to stream on OTT platforms.

1
2001: A Space Odyssey
7.8OTTplay Rating
The film is the very definition of cinematic excellence, and no one made films like this better than Stanley Kubrick. From the framing of the shots and to the complex themes discussed in the film, it is a gripping narrative that has aged superbly well. However, this epic space exploration film does leave the audience with an ambiguous ending which is debated even today.
2
Blade Runner
8OTTplay Rating
Ridley Scott’s magnum opus was not well received upon release in 1984. However, the film starring Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard has gone on to become one the most critically acclaimed movies of all time. The original ending mandated by the studio was pretty straightforward with a closed ending. The director’s cut of the film was released later on with Ridley Scott’s true vision for the film has an alternative ending which had not only improved the overall but also left the audience with an open ending.
3
Inception
9OTTplay Rating
A film that needs no introduction and that has left cinephiles debating on Reddit and other social media platforms about the fate of Dom Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Director Christopher Nolan has mastered the art of subverting the audience regarding the film’s narrative.
4
Joker
8.5OTTplay Rating
When Warner Bros green-lit a stand-alone film, starring Joaquin Phoenix, about Batman’s greatest nemesis, the ‘clown Prince of crime’, the Joker without Batman, people were sceptical. A young Bruce Wayne, decades before he becomes Batman, does make an appearance in the film. However, this psychological drama told from Joker’s perspective, who is proven to be an unreliable narrator, ends with the audience being unsure whether the events at the end of the film are just a figment of Joker’s imagination.
5
Birdman
8.1OTTplay Rating
A film that deserves every bit of praise thrown at it. Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s masterclass in editing and direction was crafted to perfection with an ensemble cast of Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts. The drama ends with the audience questioning everything about the movie based on just the facial expressions of Emma Stone’s character in the very final scene.
6
Prisoners
8.3OTTplay Rating
Denis Villeneuve is quickly becoming one of the most acclaimed and coveted directors over the last decade helming projects like Arrival, Sicario and Blade Runner 2049. The excellent film, Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, and Viola Davis, leaves the fate of a particular character open to interpretation at the end of the movie.
7
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
8.4OTTplay Rating
Not many films can give the audience a sense of closure, despite leaving one of the core plot points of the story unresolved - the film does exactly that. Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell both won Oscars for their performances in this film. While the other films in this list are equally excellent and frustrating, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri focuses more on character development than on the rather ambiguous ending.
8
Pan's Labyrinth
8OTTplay Rating
The only non-English film in this list, Pan's Labyrinth is one of fantasy and horror legend Guillermo del Toro’s best works. The Spanish film is set in the 1940s during General Franco’s dictatorship of Spain and is told from a young girl’s perspective and the fantasy world she escapes to. To this day, fans of the movie have debated whether the fantasy world was an imaginary world created in the young protagonist, Ofelia’s, mind as a safe haven from her sadistic stepfather, Captain Vidal, an enforcer for Franco’s rule in Spain.
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