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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gravity: Long Shot vs Short

I remember being blown away with the beginning monologue in Sling Blade where Billy Bob Thornton does this scene that lasts, unbroken, for about ten minutes. Probably longer. There's never a cut to a different camera angle, or a quick shot of someone reacting to what Karl was saying. It's just Billy Bob, talking and talking and talking, and you get pulled right in because the camera never says, "Hey, stop listening and look at this other thing." Freaking awesome.

I love long, unbroken scenes. There's a weird magic to them. They can pull you further into the experience, or make you step right out of it.

Gravity has its own unbroken shot and I swear it lasts for, like, twenty hours. It's amazing, and it works perfectly as an immersive tool that forces you into that micro-gravity hell, because those little breaks between shots are tension relievers. They remind you that, "Hey, it's just a movie, Dummy. Relax."
Gravity doesn't do that. It just freaks you out and continues to freak you out until the credits roll.

Imagine if, during that scene, whenever anyone spoke, the camera would cut to their faces. Like, Clooney tells a story so we cut to Clooney's face, and then that other dude starts dancing so the camera cuts to him. It would be a completely different movie, that incredible rising tension would be diluted, and when the shit hits the fan we'd only be halfway invested in the story.

Sandra Bullock, you are fucking amazing. This movie is going to win so many god-damned awards.

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