Well we have looked at Emotion, and then swung wildly across the spectrum to Fun, and now we are completing that trifecta with looking at Tension. Tension is one of the most challenging facets of filmmaking to pull off because it requires the script, direction, acting, and editing to all work in tandem to evoke the perfect pace. If just one part of that group misses then an essential part of the film falls apart.
In 2020 we continued to see some excellent use of tension used to build mystery, or to be the harbinger of the coming dread, or even the ticking clock of inevitability.
So without further ado, these are the moments of tension that kept us on the edge of our seats in 2020. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question.
You enter a bunker of the enemy that is abandoned. You see signs everywhere that they are not long gone, and every step is fraught with the question ‘is this a trap?’
Directed by – Sam Mendes
Written by – Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Edited by – Lee Smith
Let Him Go
You open the door expecting to find your daughter-in-law but instead find her new family barging in being directed by a matriarch that does not care that one of her sons beats his wife.
Directed by – Thomas Bezucha
Screenplay by – Thomas Bezucha
Based on – Let Him Go by Larry Watson
Edited by – Jeffrey Ford & Meg Reticker
Queen & Slim
Everyone is having a nice dinner, a respite from the chase when out of the corner of their eyes they see the police descending, and they have only moments to act.
Directed by – Melina Matsoukas
Story by – James Frey & Lena Waithe
Screenplay by – Lena Waithe
Edited by – Pete Beaudreau
Opening with an attack on people watching a orchestra, then the attack on the attack that could go wrong at any moment.
Directed by – Christopher Nolan
Written by – Christopher Nolan
The Invisible Man
In the dead of night a woman quietly gets out of bed, she checks that her husband is asleep and then makes her escape, taking only what she needs to get away from his abuse, but every step is a potential noise.
Directed by – Leigh Whannell
Story by – Leigh Whannell
Screenplay by – Leigh Whannell
Based on –The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
Edited by – Andy Canny
Two men work in a lighthouse, but as a storm closes in and escape becomes impossible, the thin veneers of civilization begin to fail.
Directed by – Robert Eggers
Written by – Robert Eggers & Max Eggers
Edited by – Louise Ford
And the Winner is!!!!! – The Invisible Man
No film quite captured that feeling on being on the edge of your seat quite like The Invisible Man. It is a film that opened in that state and then continued to bask in it for the entire run time. Part of what makes this work is that the antagonist is invisible and the film leans into this by nearly always framing shots in the mid or long distance, leaving a lot of negative space. This means that you always feel that there is someone else in the room, no matter if there is or isn’t. The film continues that tension right up until the very end, and it a masterclass to watch.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
What are your favourite cinematic moments from 2020?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images used were created by the respective studio and artist of each film