Long takes are a staple of cinema. They can be wondrous. They can be gratuitous. They can have hidden narrative implications (Goodfellas) or sort of just be there to be flashy and a little bit pointless (Atonement). But a really great long take is something that’s pretty hard to beat. Film fanatics can reel off their favourites – The Player, Touch Of Evil, Goodfellas, Children Of Men, etc.
But while long takes have their benefits, such as lending a sense of unparalleled immersion and spacial coherence, they also have distinct limitations. Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock was disappointed with the way in which he experimented with long takes in his film Rope? This wonderful video essay from the YouTube channel, Now You See It, explores what’s so great about long takes and where they can fall short.
Video essays, like most things, can be great and they can be terrible. Great video essays are hard to beat. This is a great video essay, so if they’re hard to beat why aren’t you already clicking on play?
Check out the video below –