The overwhelming majority of movies want to immerse viewers and basically do as much as possible to distract from the fact that they’re a fictional work of entertainment.
Escapism is key, though it’s also fair to say that not all films are quite so invested in blurring the line between fantasy and reality, with some even keenly playing with the conventions of the cinematic form.
Aside from intermissions for longer movies, it’s extremely uncommon for films to interrupt their own story at any point, unless the filmmaker has a very particular reason for doing so.
These 10 films, then, all stopped the narrative trajectory in its tracks, whether to give audiences a moment to breathe ahead of a big reveal, to experiment with some surreal filmmaking techniques, or to straight-up break the fourth wall.
Whatever the reason, these films all derailed their own sense of time and place, pushing the pause button on the typical movie format in favour of something a little more unexpected.
In some cases the results were certainly divisive, perhaps even controversial, but in each example the director clearly wanted to break from the norm and do something audiences wouldn’t soon forget – for better or worse…
The 1965 adaptation of Agatha Christie’s iconic novel sees ten people invited to a remote mansion by a mysterious party known only as Mr. U.N. Owen.
Soon enough they start dying off, and it falls to both the remaining characters and the audience to figure out which among them is in fact the killer.
But the original theatrical release of the film, and some subsequent DVD versions, feature a “whodunit break” just before the truth is revealed.
At the peak of the climax as survivors Ann (Shirley Eaton) and Morley (Hugh O’Brian) discover an eighth dead body, a narrator interrupts the action, stating that there will now be a brief 60-second intermission where the audience can consider who the killer might be before it’s revealed.
The break even flashes up pivotal clips from the movie and encourages audience members to theorise with those sat around them, which must’ve made for a real hoot during the film’s original theatrical release.
Can you imagine if Knives Out 2 pulled out such a trick?