Have you ever watched a movie character die, only for it to provoke confusion more than anything else? Whether we are emotionally involved with a character or not, sometimes deaths can be straight up disappointing. Here are the top five movie deaths that make you go “Wait, what?”
Oh, and I know I don’t need to mention it – but this is a pretty spoilerific zone. So be warned.
5) Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt) – Burn After Reading
The Coen Brothers love throwing curve balls, as we’ll find out later on this list, but first up is their 2008 black comedy Burn After Reading. Featuring a star-studded cast including Francis McDormand, George Clooney, John Malkovich and Brad Pitt, the twisty-turny missing data story ends up pretty badly for Pitt’s character, Chad Feldheimer.
Despite being one of, if not the most likeable characters in the whole film (as well as coupled with Pitt’s obvious starpower), Chad is shot dead halfway through without so much as a by-your-leave. After hiding in a wardrobe from Clooney’s Harry Pfarrer, the discovery is surprise enough for Harry to shoot first, ask questions later, sending one of the world’s biggest movie stars straight down without batting an eyelid.
4) Ned Stark (Sean Bean) – Game of Thrones
Alright, stop being so anal – I know Game of Thrones is a TV show. But that doesn’t stop the death of the main character before the end of the first season being something that made people raise an eyebrow or two. Just as you thought things were picking up for the good guys, Prince Douchebag had to go and remind you that you’re playing by George R.R. Martin’s rules. Less disappointing and more downright surprising, the following seasons prove that in Game of Thrones you’re better off not getting attached to any of the characters.
3) Llewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin) – No Country For Old Men
Four Oscars didn’t stop Joel and Ethan Coen from killing off the main character halfway through the film. Josh Brolin’s Llewellyn Moss meets his match after a long game of cat and mouse when he decides to keep some drugs money for himself. Despite Cormac McCarthy’s original novel focusing on Tommy Lee Jones’ sheriff, the Coen Brothers shifted the role of protagonist onto Moss. So when he winds up dead in a hotel room after being dismissively executed off-screen, audiences had earned the right to exclaim a little. It doesn’t get much better for any of the other characters from then on, either. Bleak stuff.
2) Hicks and Newt (Michael Biehn and Carrie Henn) – Alien 3
I can’t think of a more satisfying end to a characters’ story than to kill them off immediately after having spent an entire movie saving them. No, wait, that’s not right. But that’s exactly what happened to Colonel Hicks and the ever-annoying Newt at the beginning of Alien 3, rendering Aliens pretty much completely pointless. Despite all being well at the end of James Cameron’s phenomenal take on the Alien franchise, director David Fincher decided the best action to take in the sequel was to dispose of the remaining characters as quickly and silently as possible.
1) Bane (Tom Hardy) – The Dark Knight Rises
The third and final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s gritty Batman reinvention featured something that had been lacking in many recent superhero films – a villain that can best the hero. When Batman meets his match with masked muscle Bane in the sewers beneath Gotham, audiences are treated to one of the most brutal, excellently shot scenes of the entire trilogy. Batman is beaten, bloodied, and broken, then thrown into a prison and forced to watch while his city burns. Clearly, Bane is not somebody to be trifled with.
With Bane representing overarching political themes such as class warfare, corruption and the failure of a corrupt system, such a physically and intellectually superior villain warranted something special for his defeat. Instead all we are treated to is a quick gunshot and a smutty one-liner from Anne Hathaway. That’s it. I’ve yet to meet someone who didn’t expect Bane to have some kind of part to play in between his death and the end credits – but no. As soon as it is revealed that Miranda Tate was the brains behind the whole thing, it is somehow justified that Bane can be swatted away without another word, like just another henchman. Poor effort.
So there you have it. Five of the most disappointing screen deaths we have been subjected to. I’m sure they aren’t the only ones, and they certainly will not be the last.