On this week’s podcast, Alison and I reflect on the year in movies and highlight some outstanding moments and people that made 2010 special. The podcast is divided into categories, but instead of the typical “Best Director” and “Best Actor” type stuff, we give out slightly more unorthodox awards: Best Fight Scene, Best Onscreen Chemistry, Most Unfairly Maligned Movie, and so on.
We also picked our Favorite Shot of the Year. I went with an unforgettable one from the documentary “Sweetgrass.” I stand by that choice, but having just watched Juan José Campanella’s “The Secret in their Eyes” for the first time, there’s no way the long take that’s already being referred to in some circles as “The Stadium Scene” doesn’t deserve at least an honorable mention. Here’s a YouTube clip of the shot. It’s slightly sped up, but you still get a sense of its impressiveness.
Obviously, there’s a bit of showing off here, but the “bigness” of that long take makes sense within the film. Most of “The Secret in Their Eyes” is a slow, emotional burn; a crime story told across two time frames through flashes back and forth between the past and the present. The whole story builds to this moment, where the two federal agents finally track down the suspect they’ve been searching for the entire film. The lack of cuts (or at least the lack of visible cuts) enunciates the fact that this is the single most important scene in the film and helps to build suspense throughout the lengthy chase. Instead of wondering about one thread, we think about two: “Will they catch the suspect?” and “When the hell will this shot end?”
“The Secret in Their Eyes” is the sort of movie that gets lost in the shuffle around this time of year. Even though it was released in the U.S. last spring, it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2009. So it lives in this strange gray area between both years, not quite a 2009 film (when no one saw it) and not quite a 2010 film (since it won at last year’s Academy Awards). As a result, I think a lot of people have put it on the backburner it until they get through this year’s big award contenders. But as that remarkable shot indicates, it is definitely worth your time. Find it on Amazon or Netflix.