Home Entertainment Midweek Movie Mouth-off: your favourite single take

Midweek Movie Mouth-off: your favourite single take

1 min read


The single take (or long take if you want to get specific) is one cinematography trick that is incredibly powerful. Whether being used to make the movie feel like a stage play (like its earliest usage in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope), establishing layouts (and showing off) like in Panic Room or escalating tension without breaking the action in Children of Men, a single take without any cuts is tricky to pull off but damn impressive when done well.

While not from a movie, my favourite use of this single take technique is from season one of True Detective. If you haven’t watched the show, I don’t want to give you any spoilers, and if you have, you know exactly which scene I’m talking about. All I will say is it’s one of the most dramatic, white knuckle, edge-of-your-seat scenes. With the single tracking take, the camera never breaks away from the actors, and as the situation escalates and the camera pans around but never cuts to anything else, you feel like you’re right there. Everything came together perfectly in that scene.

So whether it’s an impressively choreographed unbroken fight scene in Oldboy, an Oscar winning shot from Gravity or nearly an entire damn movie like Birdman, what has been your favourite single take?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: August 5, 2015


  1. James Francis

    August 5, 2015 at 07:39

    Rick Moranis’ apartment scene in Ghostbusters. Not only a single shot, but totally ad-libbed too!


  2. Hugh Lashbrooke

    August 5, 2015 at 10:39

    It’s not from a movie, but John Cleese did a few single take scenes in Fawlty Towers that were just incredible. By the end of the scenes (usually in which he’s yelling a whole lot) you can see him sweating and clearly out of breath – just makes it so much more funny.


  3. The Sten

    August 5, 2015 at 10:57

    Zack Snyder’s signature action sequences from 300 and Watchmen were pretty awesome.

    The single take shot from Daredevil (series) when he beats up the russion thugs in the hall way who kidnapped the little girl really impressed me. It really made you feel the exhaustion that it would take to beat up 10 guys at the same time. I’ve never seen that before.

    In M. Night Shamylamylam’s earlier movies when he wasn’t terrible he used to do these tense, moody conversation scenes where the camera was far away from the actors and there was no panning or cutting. Most notably used in Unbreakable i think.


  4. Kervyn Cloete

    August 5, 2015 at 11:02

    Without a doubt the car scene in Children of Men. The amount of technical wizardry that went into pulling it off is simply astonishing. I remember watching it for the first time, and just constantly thinking “How the hell are they doing this?!”


  5. Lourens Corleone

    August 5, 2015 at 12:00

    Either the action scene in True Detective S1, or Gravity.


  6. Koko

    August 5, 2015 at 21:06

    not a movie scene, but OK GO’s this too shall pass music video.


  7. Koko

    August 5, 2015 at 21:06

    not a movie scene, but OK GO’s this too shall pass music video.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Halo Infinite will let you yeet stuff off the Zeta ring

Halo Infinite will let you chuck stuff off of the edge of the Zeta Halo installation. That…