The Dinglehopper

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The Coen Brothers’ Masterful Use of Shot/Reverse Shot

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It’s probably the most used sequence of shot types in film: shot, then the reverse. A shot showing a character looking at something, then the reverse to show what they’re looking at. A shot to show a character speaking to someone, then a reverse to show how the other person responds. It’s a sequence practically invisible to audiences due it’s ubiquity and familiarity.


But the nuances of it’s use will make or break a film, defining it’s pacing and tone. In his most recent Every Frame a Painting, Tony Zhou analyzes the masterful use of shot/reverse shot in Coen Brothers films. He examines their framing and timing of cuts among other things that differentiate their use from more amateurish examples, including from a film they wrote but didn’t direct. As always, Zhou’s insight and affability make his video essays edifying and entertaining. Check it out.


Author: Erin Perry

I'm a high school English teacher specializing in AP Literature and Film Analysis. I'm interested in most things geeky, including superheroes, vampires, zombies, teen culture, postmodern philosophy, pop culture analysis, and combinations of the aforementioned. Follow me on Twitter @eriuperry.

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