Film editing is a task everyone agrees is important but few people know much about. The editor’s task is the only one particular to the medium. So a film about the history of this artful craft is both welcome and overdue. Literate and well-informed, Edge Codes can almost feel like a video seminar at times — albeit a pretty entertaining one. “Editing is putting the good stuff in and leaving the bad stuff out” is how it sums things up more than once. Ironically, it’s a failure to adhere to this rule that causes the film to falter.
Relying on commentary from the top editors in the biz — including Thelma Schoonmaker (Raging Bull, Goodfellas) — we’re treated to the fascinating history of the evolution of the cut. From Buster Keaton’s inspired buffoonery, through Godard’s revolutionary slashes to the gleaming Matrix incisions. It makes a great case for the central importance of editing in how stories are told, then bores us with overly elaborate details about state of the art technologies I doubt anyone outside cinephile circles cares much about. Ultimately it’s a necessary movie that probably has pretty narrow appeal. Or maybe it just needs to be re-edited. Opens September 8 at Two Boots Pioneer