The first and last shots of a film are arguably the most important, determining how a viewer feels going into and coming out of a movie. Accordingly, a lot of first and last shots complement each other in some thematic, substantive, or aesthetic way. Jacob T. Swinney is the latest to honor the tradition of the paired opening and closing shot with a new supercut of first and final frames. Curating 55 films that range from recent favorites like Under the Skin to canonical titles like Dr. Strangelove, the video highlights both the most symmetrical and asymmetrical beginnings and endings.
There are some welcome but eclectic choices in here. Alongside The Searchers’ doorway shot and Michael Corleone’s weathered visage, there’s more off-kilter fare like Melancholia’s blistering cosmic destruction, Burial’s minimalism, 12 Monkeys’ infamous airport scene, and Funny Games’ itchy schadenfreude. The best part of this may be seeing these scenes without context, though something like the aforementioned Funny Games feels almost too light devoid of information about the actual nature of the games. The video is also a reminder that many of these films, at least aesthetically, end with their characters in a better position than where they started, even when that change belies the film’s actual content.