Slow Movies

When someone says, this movie is slow, they actually mean that the movie’s first act does not promise any big pay off to come in the third and final act. We see that all the old classics and majority of the Oscar nominees even today have this thing in common. The problem with telling your audience to expect something big is that it raises their expectations. Sometimes the movie cannot deliver on these expectations simply because the audience has expected too much. All good movies from 12 Angry Men to 2001: A Space Odyssey to shows like Breaking Bad being labeled as ‘slow’ means the audience does not know where they are going and our mind questions if there will be a payoff. When it finally does, in the final act, it just wows our mind and the movies are considered amazing. This slow pace can also be used to trick someone into thinking a normal movie is better than it really it. These movies are Oscar bait, take Hell or High Water for example. It is a good movie but Oscar nomination? Also Drive. There is someone comparing Drive to The Taxi Driver. It too is a good movie but tTD is considered a classic and to say a movie is better than a classic needs that to be seriously jaw dropping good. But this is just a surface observation. The challenge of a slow movie is to make it engaging and grab people’s attention and feelings or the pay off won’t hit as hard. This is actually the hardest part and challenging for the ‘slow movies’ as they do not have the fast paced action of the summer blockbusters. This is where the brilliance of the director shines. Not anyone can pick a camera, make a movie with nothing interesting except one thing in the end, can trick into be considered a good move. The audience can just feel it. This is what sets apart Drive and Hell or High Water because they are done right. Anyway, the point is that most viewers are not cine-literate and slow paced movie have better chances of being considered good or become a classic than a fast pace one. Action movies in particular struggle with the third act and fight hard to keep the momentum till the end. Winter Soldier is a good one but it is not slow and thus not a classic. A better example would be No Country for Old Men, or Heat that finds the balance between slow pace and action. One just needs to be smart and not confuse an actual slow movie with good nor blame a good movie for being slow.


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