Just One Scene

Sometimes a movie has just one scene that, entirely on its own, makes the movie worth watching.

It’s rare, but happens. I’m not talking about good acting, but something that’s difficult and executed so well that it awes you. If you’re watching the movie on DVD for the first time, you immediately rewind to see it again. Something amazing, usually cinema-graphically performed. Like the spinning, slow motion camera of in The Matrix.

The scene I have in mind is from the movie Let Me In. It’s a vampire flick that draws from the same vein as the Twilight series. The similarities mercifully end there however. Let Me In was a terrific film with intense drama, great acting, an exceptional story with a few surprises and a phenomenal action sequence that sets it apart from the rest of the horror genre.

The scene involves an escape in a car. The camera is in the back seat, filming how the escape goes horrifically wrong and detailing with surprising clarity the full extent of the auto accident.

I cannot show you the entire scene, but I can show you the first portion of it. The making of the scene is also available.

What makes this scene great? Many things. First, there are no computer generating effects. This makes the scene so much more realistic. CG has made a lot of directors lazy and has detracted from the overall experience. Sure, some things are alright in CG like the space battle scenes of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. But it’s real easy to let the CG kill the awe, like it did with Hulk. When you add CG to a real life scene, that reflective shine just takes something away. Believability.

Second, once the crash scene starts you get one shot of the entire thing from beginning to end. Scenes like this make it hard to blink because it’s just too easy to miss something. One shot! It’s so easy to break that moment up. But they didn’t.

Third is the fact that the shot occurs inside the car. You’re there with the guy from the rough start to the undesirable conclusion. Anyone who has been in a serious car accident before would probably feel quite uncomfortable by the scene.

If in a dream world, I would ever have the chance to do a Dead Space movie, it’s scenes like this and this (spoiler warning) that I would follow Let Me In‘s example.

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