Truly, there is nothing I love more than a well-executed breaking of the fourth wall. Netflix's political drama House of Cards does it with a sinister perfection. I could watch Kevin Spacey give me a side-eyed smirk or a raised eyebrow all. Damn. Day. And famous films like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, A Clockwork Orange, and The Wolf of Wall Street utilize this cinematic tactic to let the audience in on secrets, make us feel like we're in on the joke, or in Silence of the Lambs' case, to terrify us beyond belief. Fight Club stole the tactic to showcase the duality of its character, as both Tyler Durden and The Narrator.
But the biggest reason breaking the fourth wall is used by filmmakers is to create empathy. If these characters are talking directly to us, to you, to me — we have to listen. We are no longer passive viewers, but invested accomplices.
Vimeo user Jacob T. Swinney put together a five-minute supercut of some of the most memorable fourth-wall rebels in film history for our viewing pleasure. From Brad Pitt's Tyler Durden warning his captive, and the audience: "Do not fuck with us," to Malcolm McDowell's deliciously eery smile, sit back and enjoy: