Film editing, if done well, isn’t something you notice. It’s meant to enhance, not distract, and thus why so many film fans were shocked and appalled when Bohemian Rhapsody, a film seemingly cut by a sentient dose of speed, walked away with the Academy Award for Best Editing this year. Recently, YouTube film buff Thomas Flight broke down a particularly shoddy scene from the Queen biopic and explained what makes the editing so awful.
With 60 individual cuts taking place over a 104-second period, this meeting scene between the band and their soon-to-be manager, John Reid, is about as frenetic as it gets. As Flight points out, the majority of these cuts provide no new information about the characters or their emotions and show a complete disregard for the spatial continuity of the scene. This jumbled mess could be blamed on the fact that the Bohemian Rhapsody production was plagued by scandal and there just wasn’t time to shoot these scenes in a way that made sense. But Flight shows pretty easily that, by simply rearranging and trimming the existing shots, you can make a less vomit-inducing dialogue scene.
“Counterintuitively the Oscar sometimes ends up going to films with the most noticeable editing, which generally is not the film with the best editing,” Flight says. It’s pretty clear which one Bohemian Rhapsody is.
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