Film Language Tag: cutaway
1. A brief shot that is related to, but not part of, the primary action in the scene where it appears.
Cutaways are often used to draw attention to a pertinent detail, to show the passage of time, to foreshadow a future event, or for symbolic or comedic comment upon a scene. For example, the passage of time can be shown by cutting to the hands of a clock, or cutting to clouds moving across the sky or the changing of the seasons in time-lapse photography. Comedic comment could include showing a train entering a tunnel, or a ship entering a harbor, as a metaphor for a sex act. Although this sort of cutaway was not originally supposed to be funny, it has since become so cliché that it cannot be used seriously. Cutaways can also help an editor build a scene when the individual shots do not edit together smoothly, for instance cutting to an audience reaction shot to hide the cut between two takes of a stage or dance act.
USAGE: A cutaway should not be confused with an insert shot, though the two terms are often used interchangeably.
2. A shot taken with the intention of using it as a cutaway during editing.
Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong'o) confronts Red (Lupita Nyong'o) who has captured her son, Jason Wilson (Evan Alex). As Adelaide creeps up behind Red, weapon in hand, Red begins a monologue about her life as a tethered. The monologue is overlayed with images of Adelaide and Red as young girls. The twist that Adelaide was originally a tethered is revealed.
The Pope had a nervous breakdown and has gone missing after the Papal conclave. The cardinals do not know that he is missing because the manager of the Vatican has placed a Swiss guard in the Pope's quarters to make his room seem occupied. While the Cardinals are waiting for the "pope" to emerge from his room, the psychiatrist who was hired to treat the Pope organized a volleyball game for the Cardinals. This scene captures the Cardinal's joy and commitment to the game.
Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) runs to stop Connie Kendrickson (Ashlie Atkinson) from bombing Patrice Dumas's (Laura Harrier) home. Ron gets stopped by the police for catching Connie and unknowingly, Felix kills himself, Ivanhoe, and Walker by pressing the button to the bomb while parked right next to the car.
Civil Rights leader Kwame Ture (Corey Hawkins) recites a speech at a local rally hosted by the Black Student Union. Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) attends, going in undercover on behalf of the police as Philip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) and Jimmy Creek (Michael Buscemi) listen in. Ture speaks on the need to embrace Blackness and Black beauty, police brutality, opposition to the Vietnam war, and the fight for racial equality.
Jerome Turner (Harry Belafonte) recounts the lynching of Jesse Washington at a Civil Rights rally as it is cross cut with Philip Zimmerman's (Adam Driver) - posing as a white version of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) - induction into the KKK. Turner describes in detail the murder and we go back and forth between this and David Duke's (Topher Grace) white nationalist speech. All the while, Stallworth is watching the induction ceremony happen from a window.
The Narrator (Edward Norton) blackmails his boss (Zach Grenier). He then punches himself in the face and stages an entire fight against himself in front of the boss. He says it reminds him of his first fight with Tyler Durden. Once he's sufficiently bloodied, the police arrive and assume the boss was responsible.
After showering, Wei-Wei (May Chin) retires to her and Wai-Tung’s (Winston Chao) bedroom, but he leaves and falls asleep in Simon’s (Mitchell Lichtenstein). Simon returns late and Wai-Tung accuses him of having an affair. The next morning, they discover that Wei-Wei is pregnant with Simon's child as Wai-Tung's Taiwanese parents (Lung Sihung, Gua Ah-Le), listen in.
Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) lays out the rules for Fight Club decided on by him and The Narrator (Edward Norton). This includes the well-known line, "You do not talk about Fight Club." The first fight begins, which includes someone from The Narrator's office. We flash forward to the following days where The Narrator explains that Fight Club only exists when you're in it—that in the outside world, it is not acknowledged. We see him and various other injured people go about their daily lives without talking about it.