Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Ryan Gosling in Talks for 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' Ryan Gosling in Talks for 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents Watch: The New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Has Landed Watch: The New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Has Landed Watch: This Exclusive Tribeca Trailer Promises a Vérité Southern Gothic in Malick Vein Watch: This Exclusive Tribeca Trailer Promises a Vérité Southern Gothic in Malick Vein 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 'Queen of Earth,' Starring a Gloriously Unhinged Elisabeth Moss, Goes to IFC 'Queen of Earth,' Starring a Gloriously Unhinged Elisabeth Moss, Goes to IFC Cary Fukunaga Takes Over Long-Stalled 'The Alienist' as TV Series Cary Fukunaga Takes Over Long-Stalled 'The Alienist' as TV Series Why the Istanbul Film Festival Cancelled Its 2015 Competition Why the Istanbul Film Festival Cancelled Its 2015 Competition MTV Movie Awards 2015: The Highs, the Lows and the Winners List (Videos) MTV Movie Awards 2015: The Highs, the Lows and the Winners List (Videos) Arthouse Audit: 'Ex Machina' Leads Four Big Openers, Kristen Stewart Opens 'Clouds of Sils Maria' Arthouse Audit: 'Ex Machina' Leads Four Big Openers, Kristen Stewart Opens 'Clouds of Sils Maria' From 'Boyhood' to 'Boy Next Door,' the 2015 MTV Movie Awards Noms Are All Over the Map From 'Boyhood' to 'Boy Next Door,' the 2015 MTV Movie Awards Noms Are All Over the Map 25 Years Ago I Wrote: "Hollywood's Female Stars An Endangered Species" 25 Years Ago I Wrote: "Hollywood's Female Stars An Endangered Species" The New Ladder: Anatomy of Indie Women's Picture 'Farah Goes Bang' The New Ladder: Anatomy of Indie Women's Picture 'Farah Goes Bang' Here's the First Image of Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Here's the First Image of Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Reese Witherspoon Nabs 'Luckiest Girl Alive' with Lionsgate, with "a wily, intelligent, complex narrator" Reese Witherspoon Nabs 'Luckiest Girl Alive' with Lionsgate, with "a wily, intelligent, complex narrator" Kristen Stewart Explains How She Held Her Own with Juliette Binoche in 'Sils Maria'--and Won a Cesar Kristen Stewart Explains How She Held Her Own with Juliette Binoche in 'Sils Maria'--and Won a Cesar Scientists Choose the 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies Ever Scientists Choose the 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies Ever Ryan Gosling Reveals How and Why He Shot 'Lost River' Ryan Gosling Reveals How and Why He Shot 'Lost River'

Legendary Editor Walter Murch Talks the Physics of 'Particle Fever'

Photo of Bill Desowitz By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood March 14, 2014 at 2:04PM

Mark Levinson's "Particle Fever" is the first great doc of the year (and let's hope it gets remembered during the next awards season). It's about the ground-breaking, Nobel Prize-winning experiment that helped unravel the nature of existence. Veteran editor/sound designer Walter Murch ("Apocalypse Now"), whose always had a fascination for physics, was brought on to "galvanize" the project but ended up spending a year humanizing this compelling work about the collision of science and art.
0
"Particle Fever"
"Particle Fever"

Mark Levinson's "Particle Fever" is the first great doc of the year (and let's hope it gets remembered next awards season). It's about the ground-breaking, Nobel Prize-winning experiment that helped unravel the nature of existence. Veteran editor-sound designer Walter Murch ("Apocalypse Now"), who's always had a fascination for physics, was brought on to "galvanize" the project but ended up spending a year humanizing this compelling work about the collision of science and art.

Walter Murch
Walter Murch

"Particle Fever" follows six leading scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider (built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research from 1998 to 2008). This marked the start-up of the biggest and most expensive experiment in history (costing around $10 billion), with 10,000 scientists from more than 100 countries joining forces to recreate conditions that existed just moments after the Big Bang and find the elusive Higgs boson, the key particle that holds the universe together, potentially explaining the origin of all matter.

"I knew director Mark Levinson for 30 years -- he was an ADR editor but graduated at Berkeley with a doctoral in particle physics in the mid-'80s," Murch recalls. "I grilled him on the string theory of time. I knew from 2007 on that he was working on this film. I kept in touch and he sent me a cut in early 2012 to get my opinion. Then a job fell through and I became available to work on it for three months as a consultant...sifting through 300 hours of footage."

"Particle Fever" is actually quite suspenseful for such a cerebral subject. The arc of the story was clearly "the vicissitudes of the machine." After getting up and running, the Collider suffers a leak and breaks down (that's where Murch decided to sneak in the scientific backstory after gathering invaluable comments from a slew of test screenings). His mandate was to "visceralize" the experience, which he accomplished through pacing, a ticking clock, music and sections that alternate graphics and photography, creating little safe zones within the film.

This article is related to: Particle Fever, Walter Murch, Editing, Immersed In Movies


E-Mail Updates