Though slow motion might be one of the most overused cinematic techniques out there, that’s because it’s also one of the most versatile. Whether you’re watching a horror, action film or comedy, slow-motion has a sure purpose; it can scare the s*** out of you, it can give you an adrenaline rush, or it can make you laugh uproariously. Primarily used to focus on something that would simply bypass us in real-time, it is able to draw attention to an Earth-shattering, epoch-making event that is generally of grand significance in a movie.
While it’s been somewhat run into the ground as a technique – as practically everything that could have been done has been – these 10 films managed to find ways to innovate the technique and provide an awe-inspiring cinematic experience in the process. Whether funny or just totally badass, here are 10 incredibly innovative uses of slow motion in movies…
10. The Van – Inception
Christopher Nolan’s Inception is a technically marvelous film from every perspective, no less its stunning use of hyper slow-motion to depict the disparity between the various dream levels the characters “reside” in. One of the keys of the narrative is time dilation within the different dream layers, and how each successive layer moves at 20x slower than the one above it. Thus, the first layer, in which Yusuf is driving a van is 20x faster than the hotel lobby level, which is 20x faster than the James Bond-esque snow fortress, and so on.
To convey this effect, Nolan constantly cuts back to the van in extremely slow-motion, which has careened off the edge of a bridge in order to provide the “kick” (the feeling of falling) necessary for the dreamers to be woken up once the mission is complete. In cutting between the various time states, Nolan employs slow motion in a manner like no other filmmaker ever has.
This article was first posted on June 7, 2013