With Deadpool coming out in a few days, it’s worth noting that many love him due to his fourth-wall-breaking antics. What does this mean exactly? Simply put, it’s the idea that the character or the movie itself acknowledge there’s an audience watching them and that they’re part of a work of fiction. In his appearances, this has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of Deadpool as a character and one of the reasons I’m very much looking forward to watching the film. But he’s not the first to do so. It’s one of the most used aspects in film, and here we will list a few that already did it. Spoiler alert!
1. Band of Outsiders
The movie has an omniscient narrator that not only does it know everything about the characters and story, but also offers updates to people in the audience who arrived late and even gives them the unfulfilled promise of a sequel at the end. But on top of that, there’s a moment when Anna Karina says: “A plan? Why?” A nod from Jean-Luc Godard to his audience that his filmmaking methods are just as unconventional as the movie we’re watching. You can get it here.
2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
This one is a lot of people’s favorite. In some way, it puts in Ferris as some sort of god-figure in the story, why, he can get all of Chicago to ask for his salvation. So it’s no surprise he’s the only one in the movie who can talk to the audience and separate himself from the narrative. You can get it here.
3. The End of Evangelion
One of the trippiest moments in this ultra-trippy film is a live-action montage that shows an audience sitting in the theater waving, throwing peace signs at the camera, with some of them holding dolls of the characters from the anime. Neon Genesis Evangelion’s creator Hideaki Anno is known for berating otakus (at least a little), so it’s no surprise he makes them look at themselves. If anything, the series acknowledges there are different realities, which might very well include our own. Unfortunately, the movie is no longer in print in the States. Here’s hoping that we get a Blu-Ray release very soon.
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
Speaking of turning the camera on the audience, Belfort gets to have fun manipulating aspects of the film, such as asking for the color of a car to be changed as well as insulting the audience for oogling Margot Robbie. But the most crucial and subtle use of this is the very last shot, where a whole crowd of Belfort fans are sitting at one of his seminars just like us in the theater. It’s a moment of reflection, whether we like it or not, we all want to be Belfort, even if it’s just a bit. Buy it here.
5. Fight Club
It’s not just The Narrator, but what about the moment when Tyler Durden gives us his “You’re not your job” monologue, the film shakes so much it looks like it’s about to strip away from the gate? And what about the very end where we get a flash image of a penis that tells us that Tyler Durden or one of his cronies has taken over the projection booth? The point: We all have a little Tyler Durden inside all of us. Get it here.
6. Funny Games
The two killers take moments to talk to the audience, almost taunting them for having to watch how they torture the lead characters. On top of that, one of them gets shot and the film freezes and rewinds to bring the killer back to life. Buy it here
7. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Right off from the beginning, we get subtitles asking us to visit Sweden. Then, we get a narrator attempting to engage with us with his opinion about the movie, just as the characters later do as well. It’s hilarious and one of the many reasons why this has gone on to become a comedy classic. Get it here.