There are some movies that leave you with not so much of a clear-cut ending, and for some, the ambiguity of this is quite thrilling. If you too love to reach your own conclusions and love creating your ending, here are a few movies with ambiguous endings that will leave you itching you create a theory:-
Birdman, by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, is rich with dark satire. The film reaches its great point quite soon when Riggan Thomson shoots himself in the head; in front of a Broadway audience. The movie draws parallels with other such films as Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. All three of these films have a twist where the character's heartiest desires come true after they go through a dire turn of events.
The epilogue of Birdman hence shows him recovering in a hospital, and his daughter loves him again. However, by the end of the film, Riggan is seen to be jumping out of a high window. His daughter, Sam, runs to the window to see him fall. But instead of looking down, Sam's eyes turn up, maybe indicating that Riggan flew away. Or, maybe it could be that the whole ordeal is just a figment of Riggan's mind as he lays dying on the hospital bed.
The 200 thriller movie is known for its ambiguous ending, and even more than a decade later, the audience is still divided on what the ending of the movie could mean. Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a character who enters into people's dreams and becomes privy to their private information. Saito gives him one last job on the offer that he would clear the thief's record only if Cobb would steal some information from his competitor's son.
The end moments in the film are where the viewer is left guessing what might be real and what might be the dream. Throughout the film, Cobb's one only wish is to meet his children, but he wants to do so in real life. But the question is, has Cobb reached real life, or is he still in the dream?
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, The Shining is one of the greatest horror movies of all time. While the ending of the film seems to be pretty understandable. There isn't much that could be deemed in the category of ambiguity as we see Jack Torrance losing his sanity and deducing to kill his son and his wife. However, both of them manage to stay alive, and Jack ends up freezing in the snow and dying.
The part of the movie which is actually baffling viewers for quite some decades now is its very ending. The final scene of the film is the camera slowly zooming on a photograph, which seems to be clicked many years before the timeline of the film. The photograph is a shot of Jack attending a party along with some guests at the Overlook. The photograph doesn't seem to have any relation to the film's happenings, and that's what viewers have been trying to make sense of for years. However, it looks like Director Kubrick purposely chose this ambiguous ending for his film.
2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey, also by Stanley Kubrik, is another movie that has quite an unusual ending. The space thriller shows Dave Bowman, a character who reaches the "beyond the infinite" by being sucked into a void. The "beyond the infinite" is a place of several surrealist scenes and even more surreal happenings.
Upon reaching beyond the void, Dave seems to reach a parallel world on the Lunar surface, where he discovers a monolith in the middle of his bedroom floor. He tries to figure out where the monolith came from and comes across his own self, but who is much older and is having dinner. The film then progresses pretty fast, with Dabe going to bed, aging instantly, and dying. The character then is born again as Star Child.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, Taxi Driver isn't necessarily an ambiguous film if you are much happier with how the film ended. The film follows Travis, an ex-marine and Vietnam veteran, who comes across an underage prostitute. He decides to save her from her terrifying pimp and simultaneously help his city become a better place.
The film continues his adventure as he fights through the action-packed scene as he tries to save Iris. He saves her, and she returns home to her family, and Travis is hailed a hero for his good work after recovering from the brutal fight. Now, if you are happy with the ending, it's great. However, fans can't help but wonder how the entire horrifying film so abruptly gets a happy ending. Hence, the theory is that the ending is nothing but a hallucination that Travis envisions as he dies from his blood loss.