Three Indie Flicks That Embody the Art of Film Editing

Chances are you’ve seen a movie that had you reeling at its brilliance as the credits roll. But why? What is it about a movie that captivates our attention so completely that we end up ignoring necessary bodily functions, professional responsibilities and familial obligations? It could have been the cast, the cinematography, the dialogue or the soundtrack.

More likely than not, it was the combined harmony of all four cinematic elements. The juxtaposition of a spectacular shot with dramatic music, intriguing characters and thought provoking dialogue. There’s only one way all these aspects combine to create the movies you love: the process of film editing.

These independent films put hum-drum Hollywood editing to shame.

#1 – Spun (2002)

Methamphetamine is the drug of choice for the characters in Jonas Akerlund’s 2002 film Spun. The editing in this film serves to mimic the way a tweaker experiences the world. It set a record with the number of cuts in the film totaling over 5,000. These cuts often last a fraction of a second and show everything from minuscule set details to drug induced hallucinations.

#2 – Sleuth (2007)

The editing in Kenneth Branagh’s 2007 film effectively contrasts themes of voyeurism and claustrophobia. Michael Cane is an older, wealthy man who is “entertaining” Jude Law, his ex-wife’s youthful lover. We’re treated to several beautifully composed scenes shot through the monitors of a high tech mansion security system. These “monitor” shots are peppered into the mix, giving us a break from the medium and close shot laden encounter between predator and prey.

#3 – The Limits of Control (2009)

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Jim Jarmusch’s 2009 film The Limits of Control. This film follows the journey of a dapper criminal on a “business trip” of sorts. The editing in this film is much slower than the previous two. Limits likes to take its time. Instead of rushing into the next shot, this film lets the action unfold right in front of you. Shots are cut from one picturesque composition to the other. Very minimal camera movement and an overabundance of ambient noise serves to suck the viewer into the scene at hand.

If you’re a filmmaker looking to make the next masterpiece of film editing, or just a viewer who wants to see more films like those above, contact us at to get things in motion.

Thank you,

Edward Panos