The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. (Don't worry -- it's not pictured here -- and I won't give the plot away.)
It comes during a calm, silent close-up of journalist Mikael Blomkvist as he realizes everything he thought he'd figured out was wrong. It's subtle, sublime work by the actor (confusingly named Michael Nyqvist) and it reminded me of some of my favorite other moments of realization, when a character catches up with the audience (or they realize something simultaneously.)
Well, of course suspense and horror movies are going to have these moments. But two of my earliest memories of this kind of moment come from comedies. And I realize the laughter stems from the same anxiety as the scream.
Bugs Bunny cartoon, Rabbit Hood, in which his object of torment, instead of Elmer or Daffy or Porky, is the Sheriff of Nottingham. At one point, Bugs runs into the Royal Garden, and the Sheriff berates him. In a few swift leaps, Bugs is suddenly tricking the Sheriff into purchasing the property to build a house on. We cut to the Sheriff merrily hammering away at the framework, then he slowly comes to a halt and turns to the camera. He realizes he's been had....and promptly hits himself on the head with the hammer, screaming "I hate myself!" We're on Bugs' side, and delight in the protracted dawning of the comeuppance.
The more complex, genius comedic moment-of-shit that remains iconic in my memory is Jackie Gleason playing Ralph Kramden in The Honeymooners episode "The $99,000 Answer." Because while Gleason is the star, unlike Bugs (more like Daffy), he's also the butt of everything.
Ralph gets to be on a "Name That Tune"-style quiz show, and he is convinced he will win it all and move to Park Avenue. He practices relentlessly, driving everyone else crazy. His test pianist is Ed Norton (Art Carney), who brings in a pile of sheet music and, true to his own eccentricity, prefaces every song with the same annoying introduction. Finally Ralph screams at him to stop.
He stammers, sweats, and finally croaks out, "Ed Norton?"
Why does this still tickle and haunt me all these years later? I guess for the same reason that moment in Dragon Tattoo struck a chord. We all want to be the smartest guy in the room and we shudder with recognition when we realize that despite all our hard work (or hubris), we may have missed the obvious.