7 Of The Greatest Long Takes In Cinema
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Sep 21, 2012

7 Of The Greatest Long Takes In Cinema

Long takes are used within film to evoke emotion and reflect sentiment form a scene. The mechanics of a long take, or long shot involve a sequence of uninterrupted film, perhaps from one scene to another. Depending on the tone of the scene and the way in which the long shot is filmed an array of different feelings can be conjured. It’s a really interesting cinematic tool that found it’s nascence in the world of art house and over expressionist film but has since seen a more mainstream acceptance and use. Here are 7 of the best long takes in recent film:

The Passenger (1975)

Michelangelo Antonioni’s penultimate scene of the 1975 smash has gone down long take history. Although the slow pace of the scene can be a little excruciating to some audiences, it eases the viewer to slip out of the story, leaving the protagonist, (Jack Nicholson) on his hotel room bed as the viewer is freed form the story line visually by breaking through the confinements of the hotel room bars.

Goodfellas (1990)

Martin Scorsese‘s Italian, New York, gangster classic: Goodfellas’ long shot is an introductory scene into a characters life style. This particularly entertaining and interesting scene gives the audience a first-hand experience of the character: Karen as she is lead into a world she hardly knows. Humanistic first person camera styling makes this a smooth elegant piece of cinematography.

Hard Boiled (1992)

The ender scene from John Woo’s action thriller, Hard Boiled drags the audience around the all guns blazing kamikaze mission with a first person perspective. Such strong affiliation and empathy has been drawn from the viewer for the protagonists throughout the movie, it seems fitting to be alongside them at the bitter end.

Strange Days (1995)

Katheryn Bigelow’s action packed, aesthetically futuristic (to its time) crime drama sees a new year’s party to end all new year’s parties go array as ex-cop (Ralph Fiennes) uncovers a conspiracy that goes further than he could of imagined. The opening scene sets the viewer up for what’s to come and the voyeuristic camera work gives the audience a first-hand insight into the level of depravity involved in the life of its characters. The long shot here is used to grip the audience and throw then head first into the rollercoaster of a plot line.

Boogie Nights (1997)

Director Paul Thomas Anderson takes on the grimy demi-monde that is the seedy underbelly of 1970’s Californian porn with perfect time frame relevant mise en scene. Like in Strange Days, the long shot here introduces the audience into the world of the characters and almost takes the camera man by the hand on a guided tour their world.

Old Boy (2003)

Chan-Wook Park’s Asia Extreme masterpiece Old Boy presents its audience with not only one of the most impressively filmed long shots in recent film but one of the most amazingly choreographed fight scenes orchestrated to date. The uninterrupted battle between the main character and his 12 foes mirrors the one man struggle depicted by the film’s plot as a whole.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

There are so many Wes Anderson long shots to choose from but the explanation of the Belafonte, protagonist Steve Zissou’s ship, in The Life Aquatic is one of the most interesting, iconic and unforgettable. Anderson uses his idiosyncratic cinematic style to map out the Belafonte in a seemingly crude and immature but undeniably effective and enjoyable fashion.

This article was put together by Vue Cinemas, who just love long takes!