Cinema: Hot Films, Unhappy Endings

Two smart thrillers get blitzed out by dumb climaxes

Endings. Writers want them to be logical. Directors want them to be spectacular. Producers want them to be reshot. And the public does not want to hear about them -- not until it has been jolted by the hoped-for surprise it paid good money to enjoy.

In the long run, most of this fuss is for nothing. If we remember anything five years later about a movie's conclusion, it is usually an image, a scrap of dialogue or a performance, not how the plot unraveled, congealed or died. Unfortunately, most movies these days are made for the very short run; their...