Say what you will about the films of Tony Scott–and you will say plenty, because his films are often divisive–one thing unifies them, and in fact links them to the rest of cinema history: their movement. When Eadward Muybridge brought the world his zoopraxiscope films back in the 19th century, the miraculous thing about them was that they were moving, and animated, little figures of the imagination come to life, even if they weren’t doing anything out of the ordinary. Scott has preserved the quality the earliest filmmakers found so magical. In every single shot Tom Kramer shows us in this terrific video homage, as he runs through the director’s images and themes–gunshots, explosions, dramatic, head-on looks at faces, death, danger, moral precariousness–is relentless, breakneck movement. Whether it’s the spinning planes of Top Gun (one of his more divisive films), the car speeding towards the lovers of True Romance, who have paused for a private moment, or the world that spins around Denzel Washington’s Creasy in Man on Fire, progress through space, even if it’s not necessarily linear progress, is essential. Even in the most still shots, as we see here, there is motion: it could be a flicker of activity in the background of an unmoving figure, or it could be, simply, a heat shimmer, casting everything into and out of focus, simultaneously. In Tony Scott’s films, the motion in the frame parallels the motion in characters’ lives, amplifying it, glorifying it, making it more, at times, than the movie screen can contain.
Watch: Motion in the Films of Tony Scott: A Video Appreciation