Shoot the Shaggy Dog/Playing With
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Basic Trope: A story's entire plot is rendered redundant by the protagonist's death.
- Straight: Alice spends an hour and a half of screen time trying to find the owner of a lost shaggy dog, only to be shot for trespassing.
- Exaggerated: Alice embarks on Hero's Journey, completing an epic quest to defeat the Big Bad. When she turns up at his unholy palace for the final confrontation... she's shot by a low-ranking guard.
- Downplayed: A story about an aimless, self-destructive drifter, who gets mixed up with dangerous criminals for want of anything else to do, ends up with him dying pointlessly, alone and unmourned.
- Justified: Recklessness is Alice's Fatal Flaw, and there's been a lot of Foreshadowing that if she doesn't overcome it, it will be her undoing.
- Inverted: A How We Got Here, Dead to Begin With story told via Posthumous Narration turns out to have been a Mind Screw from the start; the narrator survived his "death", and it was all part of a devious Thanatos Gambit.
- Subverted: The protagonist comes back from his apparent death to complete his goals before dying of his wounds.
- Double Subverted: The protagonist comes back from his apparent death, takes down a few Mooks, and is taken down in a hail of gunfire. This time, they Make Sure He's Dead.
- Parodied: The protagonist unexpectedly dies... and there's a Fade to Black, with No Ending.
- Zig Zagged: The hero dies... but he managed to get a message off first! The Cavalry charge in to save the day... and are killed by Colony Drop. But the hero was Not Quite Dead, and that distraction has given him the time to slink off to destroy the Artifact of Doom. He's caught by The Dragon, who shoots him unceremoniously. The End - or Is It? The final shot is of a timer slowly ticking down on a digital display inside the Big Bad's throne room...
- Averted: The protagonist survives, or at least accomplishes something meaningful before dying.
- Enforced: The film was made under the Hays Code, and the Villain Protagonist was given a last-minute Karmic Death to abide by it.
- Lampshaded: "You Wouldn't Shoot Me! It'd make this whole story a complete waste of time!"
- Invoked: Alice kills herself pointlessly because of her Nietzsche Wannabe philosophy.
- Exploited: ???
- Defied: When she sees the fence and "No Trespassing" signs around the house, she turns around and opts to send a letter instead.
- Discussed: ???
- Conversed: "Wait, he's dead? What was the point of that?"
- Played For Laughs: It's a Black Comedy with a Carnival of Killers in Four Lines, All Waiting. Every storyline ends with the meaningless death of its protagonist. (Why yes, Guy Ritchie did direct it, how did you know?)
- Plotted A Good Waste: It's an action movie with an Excuse Plot that sets the hero up to extricate himself from a devious Bond Villain Stupidity-esque death trap. With that out of the way, all the audience wants now is for the plot to be wrapped up neatly so they can go home. So at the very end, The Dragon, who asked his boss at the very beginning "Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him", Just Shoots Him. Fin.
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