Tag: Top ten memorable scenes

Top ten memorable scenes: #7 Trainspotting

Danny Boyle is quite the visceral director which lends itself well to this scene. Here Renton (Ewan McGregor) fishes around a shit infested public toilet (the “worst toilet in Scotland”) for his mislaid opium suppositories. The uncomfortable wonder of Renton swiming serenely through toilet water is perfectly realised and delicately balances the awkward dichotomy of the euphoria of drugs and its associated squalor. Boyle does such magical job of recreating filth and beauty at the same time. He did it again in Slumdog Millionaire which I’m sure was motivated (at least visually) by this scene. Trainspotting is such a brilliant film … I’ll let the scene do the talking.

Top ten memorable scenes: #8 Raiders of the Lost Ark

Not much to say here really … we all know the iconic scene that introduced Indiana Jones to this franchise. There is so much iconography on show in the first twelve minutes of this film; the rolling ball, the poison darts, the hat, the whip etc. I was ten at the time I first saw Raiders and it has to be one of the most enjoyable films I’ve seen. Watching it now it still fills me with nostalgic awe and magical wonderment. Despite recognising the irony of Spielberg’s pulp nostalgia, Raider’s still effortlessly transports me to the fantastical world of swashbuckling archeaology in the thirties.  This scene (and yes, perhaps I am taking liberties calling this large 12 minute chunk a “scene”, it’s more a sequence of scenes), set deep in the Mayan jungle, can stand alone in its own right.  It is a so well defined and the boundaries are layed explicit for all to see.  The pacing, the production design, the lighting, the direction, and Harrison Ford; what’s not to like.  You can view the scene here.

Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Top ten memorable scenes: #9 Pan’s Labyrinth

At number nine is the pale man scene from Guillermo del Toro’s excellent Pan’s Labyrinth.  This film was a pleasant surprise to me, but lot more brutal than I was expecting … not such a bad thing considering its subject matter.  Pan’s Labyrinth is a visceral journey through Ofelia’s (played by Ivana Baquero) troubled mind and gives a very thoughtful account of the way she deals with the horrors of war.  I chose this scene from many that were extraordinary in this film.  Despite being constructed around the classic “look behind you!” trope this simple scene is so much more when viewed in relation to the rest of the film.  It cinematically paints Ofelia’s mental allegory for her real world desperation, her struggle with temptation, and the evil that ensues.  I found the pale man to be a unique yet familar horror, and one that twangs on the nightmarish “I see you at all times” motif.  You can see the clip here.

Top ten memorable scenes: #10 Mission:Impossible

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.