I was daydreaming the other day, replaying in my mind some of my favourite movie scenes. So I thought I’d attempt to offer my top ten. These scenes are not necessarily from good films, but each scene is memorable for one reason or another, and has made an indelible impression on me. With so many to choose from it will be difficult keeping it to ten … but here goes. Starting with number 10 and counting down over the next few weeks:
#10: The cable drop sequence in Mission: Impossible
Brian De Palma’s foray into the Mission: Impossible franchise is easily the best of the four films to date. Despite many a movie goer’s recent propensity to dislike Tom Cruise, I think that he is excellent in this film. Mission: Impossible is actually quite a good film and certainly parts of it are excellent, like this scene. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is literally hanging by a thread as he is is lowered by Franz Kieger (Jean Reno) into a room full of intruder alerting sensors in this, the most memorable, and I would argue iconic, scene of the modern spy/action genre. The hero, his sidekick, an oblivious employee, a rat and a betraying bead of sweat, make up the characters in this tension filled scene. The scene itself is not a complex one and the key to its success is nothing groundbreaking. But it is the precision to which it is constructed that makes it work so well. This is a scene built around what it lacks: a backing track, gratuitous use of sound, over zealous camera movements. Yes, this is an exercise in restraint combined with a rythm of tension and ease.