editing: 21 Grams

Started thinking about recent movies I’ve really enjoyed from an editor’s perspective, and one that springs to mind is 21 Grams, a fairly bleak piece of movie making but brilliantly edited by Stephen Mirrione.

The first time I watched 21 Grams, I was fairly disorientated for 20 minutes or so, and then the whole non-linear theme became less confusing. In a sense the movie started to wash over me. Brilliant performances by Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro. I suppose this non-linear way of telling stories is a lot like the way memory can work, not necessarily sequential. 

The whole non-linear telling of the story can also be likened to the modern editing process – it’s easy to see how chunks of scenes could easily be moved around a timeline with ease. What must have been difficult though, is keeping sufficient distance from the story in order to evaluate the restructuring processes. Objectivity can be difficult to come by in the late stages of a cut, and drastic changes are often hard to assimilate.

Sometimes I need to go and have a good hard stare at a blank wall.