Larry Madaras. Feature Film Editor. 4 Sept 2009.

Hey Ed,

The technique of showing an action oriented clip from near the end of a movie at the beginning has a long history. Sometimes it’s planned, often it isn’t and is implemented to pump a movie that isn’t working.

The basic idea is to increase “the jeopardy” that the audience feels for the bulk of the movie. Often when a movie is a thriller, and not action oriented its a good way to “raise the stakes” of the movie right from the start. That way even if the film is a little slow, the audience still feels tension for the main character because they know something is coming that he doesn’t. Similar to the way that Hitchcock would reveal plot elements to the audience that the main character wouldn’t know.

It’s funny. I wrote that paragraph yesterday and didn’t finish the email. Last night I watched “The Machinist” with Christian Bale and they did exactly what you were talking about, LOL…

As for your other observation, it could have been written in the script, or more likely was a suggestion from Art department, LOL. They’re often good at increasing the connections within a movie with suggestions like that. I’ll admit I didn’t pick it up, but then again I only watched it once, LOL. Nice catch by you.

Sometimes in movies we will leave in things knowing that only a small percent of the audience will pick it up. The interesting thing is different people pick up different clues, symbolisms, or foreshadowing. It’s one of the good things about seeing a movie with a group of people because everyone has a “I knew that” moment thats different from everyone else’s.

Of course sometimes we leave it in just because we like it, LOL,


Published by William Vaughan

filmmaker, artist

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