Video Essay: Falling in Reverse

What happens if you take one of cinema's most recognizable tropes, and then turn it upside down?

It is one of the most memorable tropes in Hollywood: a character falls from a high ledge and the camera follows them down, down, down. Often, the camera accompanying the character on his or her descent is a sign that said character will survive the impact (or their fate will at least be left ambiguous). Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Films like Dredd and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King force us to stay with the character through a fatal fall in order to express the magnitude of the situation. But what if you were to play these falls in reverse? How would falling in reverse change the feel of these plummets? Oddly enough, it creates something rather sublime. Perhaps it’s the fact that, instead of witnessing death, we are watching something close to the opposite, close to rebirth.

Jacob T. Swinney is a filmmaker and video essayist from Baltimore, Maryland. He is best known for his First and Final Frames series as well as a variety of videos that examine the techniques of today’s most acclaimed filmmakers. Check out more of his work here.