Ah, death. The end of the line. The last good night. The final trip to Uncle Vinnie’s Fish Shack in the sky. But whatever you call it, death is a significant life event for almost everyone who goes through it.
But as we shuffle off this mortal coil, what better opportunity to let everyone who’s staying behind know what we really think. Without giving them the right of reply. Your children a disappointment? Now’s your chance! Have always thought present day Helen Mirren was a bit of alright? Tell your wife! Secretly an alien from the Beta planet of Sargasso 5? Tell your wife! Whatever horrible secrets you harbour, death is your chance to get them out, free of charge.
So, what has cinema made of this opportunity to have your say in the most final, moving and occasionally hilarious way? Here’s ten of the best.
10. Russell Franklin – Deep Blue Sea
Dying monologues are almost invariably better when the character delivering them doesn’t know they’re about to be eaten by a shark.
9. Bill Murray – Zombieland
“So, do you have any regrets?” “Garfield, maybe... Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh - ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”. God I love you, Bill Murray.
8. Mercutio – Romeo + Juliet
Say what you will about Shakespeare, the guy knew how to send his characters out with a bang. As did Baz Luhrmann. A storm gathering? OMG METAPHOR!
7. Optimus Prime – Transformers: The Movie
Leaving aside the question of why exactly they have a robot hooked up to a heart rate monitor, as a six year old this was some pretty moving stuff. I mean, killing off Optimus Prime? The leader of the Autobots? That shit is bold.
6. Lester Burnham – American Beauty
I guess, technically, this entire film is a post-death monologue, but we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt because –overwrought as it may be - this is a pretty corking way of going out.
5. Clifford Worley – True Romance
Dennis Hopper sees a bang up opportunity to air some questionable political views before Christopher Walken shoots his ass.
4. HAL – 2001: A Space Odyssey
A perfectly creepy and strangely moving moment in Kubrick’s classic film where Dave, suddenly looking robotic and inhuman, plucks apart the brain of HAL while the computer softly pleads with him to stop.
3. Rock Biter – The Never Ending Story
When you look back at The Never Ending Story
with the gift of age, you start to realise exactly how grim the entire thing is. The Nothing? The wolf chasing Atreyu down? The death of his horse in the cheerily named Swamp of Sadness? That stuff stays with you. And then, from nowhere, along comes a fatalistic earth golem called Rock Biter to deliver one of the more superbly resigned pre-death speeches in modern cinema. You know, just to really drive the happiness home.
2. Selma Ježková – Dancer in the Dark
A heavy, heavy ending from a heavy, heavy film. Might not have quite the same impact if you haven’t gone through the preceding 90 minutes of escalating despair, but it’s still a pretty incredible scene however you look at it.
1. Roy Batty – Blade Runner
Damn, Rutger Hauer, I never realised you had it in you.
Words by Luke Ryan. More at thevine.com.au