I’d like to talk about the 4 greatest moments in motion picture history. These clips have been chosen by me not for their dialogue (or lack of), and not for their technological marvel (none of these clips use extensive CG as far as I can tell), but for their impressionable nature. Even taken out of context, these are powerful clips. I judge these great clips by the degree they tug those emotional strings, and by how and how well they portray characters in the movie. We’ll start with the joker from The Dark Knight Rises:
Quite possibly my favourite scene, this short clip has no dialogue, no action, and no music. Yet, it portrays the Joker’s insanity (and ingenuity) perfectly. In order for a scene to be impressionable, it must relay a powerful message. In order for a scene to be impressionable, it must deliver this message in a powerful way. The bare bones approach used in this scene really hit home when I saw this movie, and that’s why it makes the list.
This clip is slightly unorthodox, as it isn’t part of a film, but gets a special mention here because of the despair portrayed by the damaged character that is House. This scene encapsulates the dynamics of the entire show. House MD was a TV series about a drug-addicted doctor whose spot atop the IQ bell (and his various physical mishaps) has left him lonely and vulnerable. His view of the world is potent and lacks compassion, but in the majority of cases, makes logical sense. And that is what House (the character) is about, the pursuit of truth.
Taken at face value, this is just a scene of a guy jumping off a balcony. That’s cool, but it also carries with it an undercurrent of despair and uncertainty, which I believe only seasoned House viewers can appreciate. House’s only friend, Wilson, is also summarised in this clip. He cares about House, but he’s never sure where he’s going or what he’s going to do next. House does care what Wilson has to think, but makes little attempt to show it (or act upon it), as demonstrated in the initial part of this clip. However, if others looking up to House at the beginning of this clip knew he was about to jump into the pool, why did Wilson worry? Because he knows the undercurrent, and he knows House is broken.
This scene makes Eastwood’s character a hero for me. The sacrifice he makes results in the arrests of the gang members, and completes the journey of a character. In a film, many things have to be right, especially the presence and nature of, a journey. Character starts somewhere emotionally, physically, materialistically, and ends somewhere different. Hopefully better, but this is not always the case. In the beginning of this film, Eastwood’s character does not favour others of Asian descent, and makes this clear when he points his rifle at some of the gang members earlier on in the film. But as the film progresses, he grows towards some of the Asian characters, and this is special because, at his age, people don’t tend to change deeply seated racial alignments – especially when you fought against them for you country in a war. Anyway, this scene displays his submission to the fact that 1) the gang needs to go 2) more importantly, he cares about the Asian families and the neighbourhood. This scene also demonstrates his genius and sacrifice, all in all, making this a very powerful movie clip.
The song in this scene ices the cake for me in this clip. At the end of Heat, two sides of the law face each other one last time, and one side loses. The character buildups and their initial encounter in the cafe is wrapped up perfectly in this scene. These guys were multi-dimensional, and respected one another. The only real difference between them was the side of the law they were on, and this forced them to deal with each other. A real 90’s classic, which I’m sure will mature in movie rankings and appreciation in the years to come.