The Art of Movie Suspense

The Brick movie turned a lot of heads when it first launched because of its pacing. People thought it was weird. People thought it was a little bit off. There were even many film critics who were saying that it was awkward. But a lot of these really have more to do with these people being awakened from what they assumed films should be. Put simply, they were just accustomed to basic, run of the mill, traditional narration.

As you well know, the sequence of a story plays a major role in how the audience approaches the story. Case in point, Pulp Fiction. What if I told you that Pulp Fiction could be watched from the end going back to the front?

I know that sounds crazy, but try it. You can edit the movie and cut out all the sequences to play from the end of the movie all the way to the beginning, and you will still get the same story. That’s how well written it was. It really is a piece of cinematic genius.

The same applies to Memento. In fact, Memento is my personal favorite because it really does a great job of highlighting the importance of narration direction. In other words, you can watch a movie from many different perspectives and the truth will still remain. But what makes the movie really distinctive is when you add a lot of mystery because of the perspective you take.

In particular, Memento really blew my mind because it played a trick on how people remember stuff. And that it really all boils down to pacing, narration and direction. In other words, the direction of the time. And if you were to slice and dice and mix up the movie, it may well turn out to be a very different movie. Crazy.

This is the kind of fun experimentation that you are treated to in the Brick movie. Again, it’s not very popular. There are a lot of people who would think that it’s generic on the one end, and others think it’s some sort of art house or art school thesis on the other end. You really can’t please everybody.

What really excites me about this movie is that it really plays up on the art of movie suspense because suspense really boils down to pacing.

Why is this?

The human mind works in terms of relationships and pacing. Master how it puts these together and you will be able to scare anybody on any part of the planet. Hands down. Guaranteed. That’s right-even if your stuff is in English and there are no local language subtitles, you will still be able to freak people out. Indeed, if you play your cards rights, you might even scare the stuffing out of them. Why? The mind has certain rules when it comes to processing information. Work around these and tease them and make them produce logical illusions and you will create the effect you desire time and time again.