Open endings in books and movies (and music, sort of)

I have seen movies with open endings, I have read books with open endings (and to link it with music, I’ve listened to songs the fade out towards the end). And I came to the realization that I hate open endings. I don’t know if it’s because of the human need for closure or because of the fact that I consider this as the lazy man’s way of ending something, but I don’t like them at all.

I don’t get why people do it. There was this episode from House M.D. where House was obsessed over a series of books and the author of those books becomes his patient for the episode. And when the last book of the series comes out, House is pissed because the ending is open. And the author gives him a pretty cool reason for it, something along the lines of “isn’t life actually a series of events with open endings where you can’t know for sure what happens?”. House sort of accepts this answer, but still seems pissed about it.

And I feel his annoyance towards this issue. I don’t like open endings and of the two reasons mentioned in the first paragraph, if I am going to be completely honest with myself, the fact that I find it as lazy writing is more proeminent than the human need for closure. Open endings are easy, simply because you don’t have to actually resolve anything. You just leave it in the air and let people theorize the sh*t out of it. And I guess if you’re a fan of theory and maybe have a knack for philosophy or enjoy these kind of discussions, these endings are for you.

But imagine, if you will, the movie The Dark Knight Rises had it ended with Batman carrying the bomb and Blake looking into the distance after him and then BAM! roll credits. If that had happened, I’d have been so annoyed I’d have considered it the worst of the 3 from the trilogy. As it stands, it’s my favorite, though maybe not necessarily the best one. A more recent-ish movie that comes to mind with an open ending is The Judge, with Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. I actually enjoyed the movie and, for once, wasn’t really that annoyed with the fact that the ending is rather open to discussion. Does he stay in his hometown to become a judge? Does he leave his apparently cheating wife and failing marriage in order to be together with his childhood sweet heart? No one knows. I mean I know it works in movies like Inception, in which the whole idea is based on whether or not all of that is a dream or not, but…most movies are NOT Inception.

Speaking of Batman, the guys over at Rocksteady pulled this open-ending crap with the final installment in the Arkham game trilogy, where after you have to endure those stupid, sadistic, abusive, f***ing tank battles and Riddler challenges, you get to see the full ending of the game which…SOLVES NOTHING!! I mean is it Batman? Is it some comic book direction they’re taking? Will we get a Superman game as semi-hinted through some Easter eggs from the Arkham Knight that will solve the mistery? I’m hoping for a spinoff game or series, but nothing was confirmed, as far as I know.

And music wise? Come on, is it really that hard to find a bloody chord or note to finish the song on? I’ve always interpreted this as the artist saying “meh, don’t know how to finish this one, so just keep playing for a few more seconds and then we’ll fade it out to make it seem more artsy”. In the words of Kimi Raikkonen: “BWOAH!”.

So yeah, I can safely say that I am not a fan of not having closure to something. You may feel differently and that’s fine, but I like having a conclusion to a story, be it one I like or not.

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