Pacing can make or break a book or film. It doesn’t matter how good the story is, if the pacing is too slow the audience will lose interest. The following five films are paced in such a way to captivate the viewers.
- Leon: The Professional (1994) 110 min – Crime | Drama | Thriller
Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson
Stars: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman
A professional assassin rescues a teenage girl whose not so nice parents were killed by a crooked cop and his henchman.
Leon is a memorable character. A cold-hearted killer who drinks milk and pampers his plant. His lack of social skills makes the interaction between him and Mathilda endearing. Besson is a master at action. He knows when to ramp things up and to slow things down. There are no wasteful scenes; each one reveals pertinent information to the overall story.
I’d love to see a sequel. Portman could pull off the cold-hearted killer role.
- Phone Booth (2002) 81 min – Mystery | Thriller
Director: Joel Schumacher
Writer: Larry Cohen
Stars: Colin Farrell, Kiefer Sutherland, Forest Whitaker
Stuart Shepard (Farrell) finds himself trapped in a phone booth, pinned down by an extortionist’s sniper rifle.
The setting for this film is very limited, a phone booth and the surrounding area. There is a lot going on and each scene builds upon the last. It’s filled with tension and the characters are multi-layered. Again, every scene is necessary.
- Cellular (2004) 94 min – Action | Crime | Drama
Director: David R. Ellis
Writers: Larry Cohen (story), Chris Morgan (screenplay)
Stars: Kim Basinger, Chris Evans, William H. Macy
A young man receives an emergency phone call on his cell phone from an older woman. The catch? The woman claims to have been kidnapped; and the kidnappers have targeted her husband and child next.
Perhaps the input of Larry Cohen is what makes this one work. Action, tension and revelations blend seamlessly; the viewer has no choice but to grab a hold and hang on tight.
- RED (2010) 111 min – Action | Comedy | Crime
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writers: Jon Hoeber (screenplay), Erich Hoeber (screenplay), Warren Ellis (graphic novel) and
Cully Hamner (graphic novel)
Stars: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman
When his peaceful life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, former black-ops agent Frank Moses reassembles his old team in a last ditch effort to survive and uncover his assailants.
This film uses all tools available to create a perfectly paced adventure. Great acting, humor, action, explosions and seamless assemblage of scenes. Nothing extraneous, no fillers, just plain fun.
- Columbiana (2011) 108 min – Action | Crime | Drama
Director: Olivier Megaton
Writers: Luc Besson (screenplay), Robert Mark Kamen (screenplay)
Stars: Zoe Saldana, Lennie James, Michael Vartan
A young woman, after witnessing her parents’ murder as a child in Bogota, grows up to be a stone-cold assassin.
What woman doesn’t wish to be beautiful, sexy and able to kill those who harm us or those we love? Cataleya is a fascinating character. As a child she shows a resourcefulness most adults only dream about. As a grown woman she’s down right terrifying. Besson helped write this one and he knows what it takes to make the story work.