The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing Review

“… a brilliant peek behind the curtain at something that many people take for granted.”

Continuing on with my documentary kick I decided to watch The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing. Now I have been fascinated with editing for a long time, and I have also wanted to see this movie for a long time, so I feel that a documentary like this is right up my alley. The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing is a documentary that explores the world of editing in movies. It talks about different editing techniques, how editing has evolved over the years, and the history of editing in movies. The main draw of this movie however is the interviews with many famous directors and editors that shed a lot of light on the editing process.

Like I said I’ve been fascinated with editing in movies for almost as long as I can remember, and that unfortunately translated into me knowing quite a bit of the information in this documentary. I’m not trying to brag, but the stuff that was being said wasn’t exactly groundbreaking information. There was the famous sentiment that “what you cut is just as important as what you don’t cut”, there was a crash-course on film history, and there were many directors who were all kind of saying the same thing. That being said, despite this information not being anything new I still found it deeply interesting. I also recognize that not everyone is familiar with editing in movies, so this documentary would be a great jumping-off point for those interested in the topic. The information presented was pretty straight-forward, and easy to follow which makes the documentary accessible to people who are completely new to the topic; and it wasn’t just the information that was valuable, but also the testimonials from people who work in the business. Like I mentioned before a lot of the directors in the film were kind of repeating each other, more or less reiterating the fact that editors are important, but some of the information they gave was still really interesting. Where the movie shines in my opinion is the various interviews with editors who work in Hollywood, and their insight into the art of editing. Once again nothing really groundbreaking was shared, but the information was nice to get straight from the horses mouth so to speak. The absolute coolest part of the movie was definitely when we got to sit in on Walter Murch editing a scene from Cold Mountain. Once again there was nothing new to me in these moments, but it was cool to see how the process is done nowadays (or at least in 2004, when the movie came out). The film was also able to use quite a few brilliant examples to strengthen their various points about editing, and they even used some examples where the editor of the film gave a pseudo-commentary letting us know what was going through their mind at the time. This was a brilliant peek behind the curtain at something that many people take for granted. I also really liked how the movie broke itself down into different types of scenes, and how they would be edited. This allowed for the film to give much more in-depth information that was really interesting to listen to. If I had to pick a flaw in the movie I would have to say that the transitions to the different parts of the movie were absolute shit. Honestly, they look like they were made in five minutes in Windows Movie Maker, but luckily that didn’t taint the message of the film. Probably the best part of the movie, at least for me, was the very end. After everything is said and done the movie allows the various editors that have been graciously giving us information time to gush about why they love editing. This moment was so real, and I related to so much of what these people were saying, that it completely warmed my heart. It was a brilliant end to a great documentary.


Overall The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing doesn’t offer information that I found particularly groundbreaking, but the information it did offer was done so in a way that was easy to understand which makes this a perfect film for those just learning about editing in movies. The movie really shines when you get into the various testimonials from people who work in the industry either editing films, or working with film editors. I would say that if you have any interest at all in film editing, definitely check this documentary out.

I give The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing a B

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