LESSONS IN VIDEO EDITING, as derived from the film INCEPTION.
So here is a bootleg video from the last minute of the Chris Nolan join, Inception - yes, that multi-layered fever dream of an action film. Say what you will about the film - maybe it’s a dumb-smart movie, or it’s too self-serious, or JGL is just a tool for exposition - but regardless there is much to be learned from this film… especially on the editing front.
In editing, rhythm is everything. The way editor Lee Smith has staggered different timelines (dreams within dreams) really gives a sweeping feel to the movie. This is what, primarily (IMHFO), keeps this flick from ever feeling basic or “smart/dumb.”
BUT, what I want to get at is this: in the last minute of the film, the infamous spinning totem scene, we watch as this little metal top is spinning and spinning. Central to the top’s balance is the question: is this real, or is Leo just making this shit up?
Well, the cut Lee has made, pushes that shot to the brink of teetering IRL (“in real life”), and thus creates this probing moment… is Leo a nutcase? or not?
This is a bonafide example of the merits of teasing moments in film out whilst in the editing process. It is also a bid for longer takes, and against too much editing. There is tension in this scene, and it’s crystallized by this perfect cut.