This scene from Blue Valentine, a movie that I’ve seen at least 20 times (and continue to watch because it’s incredible), always stands out in my mind when I think of the movie. Every time I watch it I notice something different about it or another thoughtful detail. Most shots in this film are very long, but in this scene they are much shorter and make the fighting much more intense and fast-paced.
A very interesting detail in the shots is how when you can see Ryan Gosling’s face, you can see the other character’s faces in the reflection of the glass. This provides an interesting spatial relation between the characters and sometimes what seems to be spatial manipulation, since you can still see the other characters but they aren’t actually in the shot.
The temporal and rhythmic relations between shots is also very important in this scene because it makes the fighting part a lot more interesting than if it were just one long shot like the rest of the film typically is. The short shots accelerate time and condense the actual time to make it feel more chaotic and dramatic.
Something else that this scene does with editing that really adds to the feeling and situation is the use of the axis of action. You can notice this when Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are arguing and the consistent eyelines are used to create a better image for the viewer of what the scene looks like. These constant shot reverse shots with changing perspectives really accentuate all the action going on in such a small space. The way the shots are filmed is very interesting and does a great job of capturing the situation and the role that each character plays in the action. The quick shots and cuts really bring out the emotion and important drama going on in the scene.