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Usually involving two people, a discussion occurs where both parties talk about something in the least direct way possible. Both know each other's secrets and both know that the other knows their secrets. Being all wise and stuff, they talk about it in deep metaphors whilst being completely non-threatening and attempting to confuse the audience. This is usually ended with 'let's cut to the chase' or a quick change into a direct conversation where the audience realises what they were talking about (they often know anyway, depending on the skill/arrogance of the writer). The situation then becomes threatening. There will usually be a murder, suicide, a kidnapping or sometimes a fight which usually ends with the bad guy winning and the good guy losing.
These scenes are usually pivotal depending on the film type.
- The old man on the good side does it to slow down the pursuit of the protagonist and allow their escape.
- The two men give an overview of the bigger picture that the film's plot is happening within.
- The good wise guy figures something out, but we only learn of this when it comes to the confrontation, thus providing a plot twist.
The one thing that all types of this scene have in common is that it provides some sort of extra motivation for our protagonist to varying degrees. Not many of these scenes end in fighting because the good wise man usually is wise enough to know he doesn't have a chance and often knows that he has reached his doom.
The scenes can often be very direct in more action type films such as the Matrix: Reloaded where Neo meets The Architect or Star Wars IV where Obi-Wan holds of Darth Vader before sacrificing himself. They tend to have more circular dialogue and insinuation when they are present in tense thrillers such as Unknown.