Arnold Schwarzenegger comes off pretty well at the end of the sci-fi classic “Total Recall.” He’s gone from a sadsack husband to heroic secret agent, aiding the noble Martian rebels and getting the girl. But wait– what if that’s all part of his memory implantation “vacation,” the one he paid for at the beginning of the movie? What if nothing that happened in the movie was “real” after all? As Arnie himself puts it, it’s not really a happy ending as much as it is a “mindf*ck.”
The ending of Wong Kar-Wai’s romantic masterpiece “Chungking Express” seems pretty hopeful at first. The lovesick cop and his stalker/girlfriend seem to have made a genuine connection, and are about to embark on a great adventure together. But the whole rest of the movie is all about how nothing lasts forever, not even “undying love.” So if you’re cynical enough, the ending might not seem too happy after all. You’d have to be pretty cynical for that, though.