Editing is not necessarily a terribly difficult thing to judge but it’s definitely a difficult thing to judge from memory. If I could take another look at some of these movies side by side and really get to the heart of how they’re cut together, but as it is I’m kind of stuck nominating movies that happen to have memorable little tricks in the way they’re cut which makes them kind of jump out to me.
- Bridge of Spies: Scene to scene the editing in Bridge of Spies seems competent but not wildly amazing, but it does feature a number of scene transitions that really stand out. For example there’s a moment when a judge tells everyone in the court to rise and it immediately cuts to kids standing up to give the pledge of allegiance in a classroom. There are a bunch of moments like that and they’re all pretty cool.
- Creed: One of the fight scenes in this movie is notable for being devoid of editing, but the other ones are notable for having a lot of really cool editing. Coogler and his editing team really knows how to make these fight scenes flow both in terms of making the punches land excitingly and also in terms of condensing the fights for time. Outside of the ring he also handles the series tradition of the training montage like gangbusters.
- Mad Max: Fury Road: Action movies have long been catnip for editing awards and that would bode well for this fourth Mad Max movie. Much has been made recently for the need to make action scene “coherent” and the action here would certainly count as that. The movie quite effectively manages to cut right on time when, say, a War Boy vaults from one car to the next and the film then focuses in on the vehicle he landed on.
- Son of Saul: Son of Saul is not a movie that claims to be in a single shot but it could almost be mistaken for something like that because the edits are in plain sight but the way they feel like they’re almost invisible. This never feels like some kind of gimmick either, rather it’s a strategy to make the film feel like this relentless nightmare that it’s protagonist can’t wake up from.
- Steve Jobs: The fine art of cutting in a dialogue scene is often overlooked but it is an important part of cinema and few writers provide more opportunities for finely cut dialogue than Aaron Sorkin. This particular movie’s cutting is actually fairly restrained compared to some of director Danny Boyle’s other movies but there are still some bravura sequences like a mid-film conversation between Jobs and Scully which cuts between two different eras.