The 5th Of November: Editor Martin Walsh And V For Vendetta (2005)

Editing’s difficult to talk about. You find out by making mistakes. There is no wrong way but if it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right.
— Martin Walsh

Having been the editor for Chicago and Clash of the Titans, you got to believe Martin Walsh has a lot of range when it comes to storytelling. Would love to hear how his approach to Bridget Jone's Diary differed from Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Imagine the mash-up: Jack Ryan's Diary: The Musical. Think of the audience base.

In remembrance of the Fifth of November and Guy Fawkes nerds everywhere, let's highlight a classic editing technique used by Martin Walsh in V for Vendetta: cross-cutting. Simply said, cross-cutting gives the viewer the impression two separate events are taking place simultaneously. The challenge of cross-cutting is achieving seamless edits between entirely different scenes and is most successfully done when cutting on congruent action. It's very common to have audio, such as music or voiceover, assist with continuity. 

The beginning of V for Vendetta shows V and Evey are each preparing for a night on the town. Walsh cross-cuts on various actions and objects (i.e. the televisions and mirrors) to inform the viewer these are simultaneous scenes. Cross-cutting can also anticipate a connection between elements of the film and as Walsh speeds up the pace of his cuts, wouldn't you know, V and Evey meet each other and we have a movie. 

Another powerful use of cross-cutting in V for Vendetta occurs when a bald Evey in a moment of existential blah blah blah steps into the rain with arms raised and the film cuts to a hot and bothered V emerging from the flames in identical posture. Now some purists would argue this is not a cross-cut but a flash back. However, the beauty of viewing this as a cross-cut is seeing the symbolism of rebirth occurring simultaneously which is more than watching Evey having a similar experience as V.

 For more on cross-cuts, check out this video starting at 4:13.

Sean Schools

Sean Schools is Premiere Bro, the Premiere Pro User Blog and Fansite, dedicated to enriching the Premiere Pro editing experience and user community. Sean is a Full Sail University alum and the award-winning video editor for JK Design, a New Jersey advertising agency.