There is a time when you watch (or read) something so original, so fantastically great, that you want to share it. I saw Park Chan-Wook's Oldboy a few weeks ago and it is one of those rare gems. Violent, disturbing, original. You don't see films like it much these days. It won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2005 and was voted one of the greatest Asian films of all time. It's worth watching for the infamous corridor fight scene alone which took (just?) three days and seventeen takes to perfect. It's a single, continuous camera shot that has to be one of the greatest, most realistic fight scenes of all time. You'll never see a hammer in the same light again.
Another example of a continuous shot - albeit much fancier - that leaves you wondering "How the #$%! did he do that?" is from Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men with Clive Owen and Julianne Moore - another great film. Cuaron is probably best known for his dark take on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. COM is a Sci-Fi thriller that shows off some real hot cinematography from Cuaron. Warning: there is a spoiler here, and the scene is visually bloody intense.... to say the least! Not for the feint-hearted.
The rig that was used to film the scene was crazy. The camera used was running down a track inside the middle of a car (a Fiat!) and the actors had to lean out of the way if they weren't in the shot. Cuaron composes some great sequences in the film and creates a bleak, Blade Runner-esque world. Well worth watching if you like that kind of thing, which I do.
I was going to stop there but I know that was a pretty intense scene, so a more positive one to finish with. From the master himself - Martin Scorsese.
Isn't it a great shot? How he moves with the action, from outside to inside. And it's seamless.