First & Last Movie Shot Supercut Can Actually Teach Us A Ton About Filmmaking — VIDEO

A lot of people spend a lot of time seeing and thinking about movies, but on the whole most of those people are probably not spending a lot of time thinking about or deconstructing things like shot structure. That's not a bad thing, of course: I'm a big advocate in thinking of the art and media we consume in all the different ways it presents itself, but not everyone's got the time or interest for that. But whether you're a casual movie-goer or a cinema obsessive, I've got a recommendation: This supercut of the first and last shots in movies, cut together by Jacob T. Swinney.

A lot goes on in a movie, so it's rare that the first shot sticks with you through all the drama or laughter or general life moments 'til the very end. There are exceptions, of course — Gone Girl's got one of the more distinctive bookends of recent cinema — but for the most part it's not really something we think about. But, just as in a novel, the first and last shots of a movie can be crucial. The structure of the middle matters too, but this is what you enter and exit this experience with. Seeing how these major and memorable movies choose to make their first and last impressions, then, is interesting.

For example:


Falling, then it's ambiguous: It's either falling or flying at the end, and either way it fits in with how this film feels like an epic poem.

Silver Linings Playbook

Alone in an institution; with a loved one at home. Looking away from the camera; looking warmly towards that loved one. Progress.

Gone Girl

One of the most famous recent examples: Amy before we've unraveled the mystery in her head. Then Amy after.

Fight Club

At the beginning of the climax of this movie; at the end of it. The rest is what leads up to that climax.

See the rest for yourself, and think about the magic of movies:

For reference, here's a guide to which films are featured in the supercut and when they appear onscreen, via /Film:

The Tree of Life 00:00The Master 00:09Brokeback Mountain 00:15No Country for Old Men 00:23Her 00:27Blue Valentine 00:30Birdman 00:34Black Swan 00:41Gone Girl 00:47Kill Bill Vol. 2 00:53Punch-Drunk Love 00:59Silver Linings Playbook 01:06Taxi Driver 01:11Shutter Island 01:20Children of Men 01:27We Need to Talk About Kevin 01:33Funny Games (2007) 01:41Fight Club 01:4712 Years a Slave 01:54There Will be Blood 01:59The Godfather Part II 02:05Shame 02:10Never Let Me Go 02:17The Road 02:21Hunger 02:27Raging Bull 02:31Cabaret 02:36Before Sunrise 02:42Nebraska 02:47Frank 02:54Cast Away 03:01Somewhere 03:06Melancholia 03:11Morvern Callar 03:18Take this Waltz 03:21Buried 03:25Lord of War 03:32Cape Fear 03:3812 Monkeys 03:45The World According to Garp 03:50Saving Private Ryan 03:57Poetry 04:02Solaris (1972) 04:05Dr. Strangelove 04:11The Astronaut Farmer 04:16The Piano 04:21Inception 04:26Boyhood 04:31Whiplash 04:37Cloud Atlas 04:43Under the Skin 04:472001: A Space Odyssey 04:51Gravity 04:57The Searchers 05:03The Usual Suspects 05:23

Magic, craft, etc.

Images: Jacob T. Swinney/Vimeo