“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Those words are as true today as they were when Semisonic sang them in 1998, and they apply manifestly to “First And Final Frames Part II,” a haunting new supercut by Vimeo user Jacob T. Swinney, who has beautifully juxtaposed the first and final shots of various famous movies, ranging from 2007’s sci-fi thriller Sunshine, which appropriately opens and closes with shots of the sun, to 2009’s darkly comic World’s Greatest Dad, which has some fun with the words “THE END.” As the supercut’s title implies, Swinney has been to this particular well before. The first installment arrived back in March of this year and included shots from Shame, Cabaret, Gone Girl, Taxi Driver, and dozens more. The sequel seems to have been prompted by public demand. Swinney attributes the new video’s existence to “numerous” requests from viewers and says that “the side-by-side comparison can communicate an entire story, but also allows us to develop new theories about a given film.”
Swinney’s approach to this material has not changed much in the six months since his first video. “Part II” is accompanied by Clint Mansell’s elegiac, piano-driven “Together We Will Live Forever” from The Fountain, rather than Thomas Newman’s elegiac, piano-driven “Any Other Name” from American Beauty. Also, this time, Swinney has put the titles of the excerpted films onscreen rather than in the description below the video. Viewers who want to make a game out of this, i.e. “I can name that film in two shots,” are advised to stick with the first video. As for what is included here, Sweeney leans heavily on artsier, more respectable titles: indie flicks, a few art house imports, some Oscar winners, and plenty of Criterion titles. In other words, more Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and less Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. There is no denying, however, that these are five gorgeous minutes containing some absolutely breathtaking cinematography. And, yes, there are lessons to be learned here. Like, for instance, Mystery Train is bookended with shots of trains, but they’re going in opposite directions. In fact, the montage contains a cluster of films which are similarly symmetrical, including 10 Years, Milk, and Lost Highway.