Watch: Fascinating, Side-by-Side Examination of the First and Final Frames from 55 Films

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First and Final Frames

Editor Jacob T. Swinney has created a fascinating five minute video featuring the first and final shots from 55 different films. In some cases we can attempt to draw meaning from what we’re seeing and in others there doesn’t appear to be much rhyme or reason, but that in itself can offer a window into what the director was attempting to achieve.

My only complaint with the video is the fact Swinney didn’t include the film titles in the actual video, opting instead to list them in the film’s description. While the majority of the images are recognizable enough, I did find myself looking at the descriptions here and there, taking me out of the video for a second and ultimately causing me to have to pause the video overall. Not a major complaint, just more a compliment in fact to the engrossing nature of what was created.

I personally find the images of Birdman, Gone Girl and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 visually appealing in their juxtaposition while I also appreciate the way Swinney did his best to put thematic beats, such as the similarities in Punch-Drunk Love and Silver Linings Playbook opposite one another. To that point, the absence of the film’s titles can actually be argued as a positive, should we attempt to decipher what we’re seeing without any knowledge of the plot of the film’s represented. Overall, utterly fascinating stuff.

Give it a watch below and don’t blame me if you spend longer than ten minutes looking it over.

[vimeo id=”122378469″ width=”640″]

What can we learn by examining only the first and final shot of a film? This video plays the opening and closing shots of 55 films side-by-side. Some of the opening shots are strikingly similar to the final shots, while others are vastly different–both serving a purpose in communicating various themes. Some show progress, some show decline, and some are simply impactful images used to begin and end a film.

  1. The Tree of Life – 00:00
  2. The Master – 00:09
  3. Brokeback Mountain – 00:15
  4. No Country for Old Men – 00:23
  5. Her – 00:27
  6. Blue Valentine – 00:30
  7. Birdman – 00:34
  8. Black Swan – 00:41
  9. Gone Girl – 00:47
  10. Kill Bill Vol. 2 – 00:53
  11. Punch-Drunk Love – 00:59
  12. Silver Linings Playbook – 01:06
  13. Taxi Driver – 01:11
  14. Shutter Island – 01:20
  15. Children of Men – 01:27
  16. We Need to Talk About Kevin – 01:33
  17. Funny Games (2007) – 01:41
  18. Fight Club – 01:47
  19. 12 Years a Slave – 01:54
  20. There Will be Blood – 01:59
  21. The Godfather Part II – 02:05
  22. Shame – 02:10
  23. Never Let Me Go – 02:17
  24. The Road – 02:21
  25. Hunger – 02:27
  26. Raging Bull – 02:31
  27. Cabaret – 02:36
  28. Before Sunrise – 02:42
  29. Nebraska – 02:47
  30. Frank – 02:54
  31. Cast Away – 03:01
  32. Somewhere – 03:06
  33. Melancholia – 03:11
  34. Morvern Callar – 03:18
  35. Take this Waltz – 03:21
  36. Buried – 03:25
  37. Lord of War – 03:32
  38. Cape Fear – 03:38
  39. 12 Monkeys – 03:45
  40. The World According to Garp – 03:50
  41. Saving Private Ryan – 03:57
  42. Poetry – 04:02
  43. Solaris (1972) – 04:05
  44. Dr. Strangelove – 04:11
  45. The Astronaut Farmer – 04:16
  46. The Piano – 04:21
  47. Inception – 04:26
  48. Boyhood – 04:31
  49. Whiplash – 04:37
  50. Cloud Atlas – 04:43
  51. Under the Skin – 04:47
  52. 2001: A Space Odyssey – 04:51
  53. Gravity – 04:57
  54. The Searchers – 05:03
  55. The Usual Suspects – 05:23