The film is an intense, high-energy film about relationships-- and it's a film in which Woody threw out all the rules of filmmaking. The opening scene is as fascinating an opening scene as you could hope to see. Everything is told in single master shots -- there's no cutting (to different angles) although he chooses to have sharp, abrupt cuts, moving the action along. Usually when you watch a film there are smooth and natural feeling edits, whereas here Woody is happy to cut mid-sentence to move things along. It's jarring at first--- but within minutes, you forget it's happening. Woody creates a new film language and makes us enjoy it, all in a matter of minutes.
It is also memorable because of the fantastic visual style created with his long term collaborator, Carlo DiPalma. The three films I am focusing on were, in the end, a great way to end his career and, as it turned out, his life. The camerawork is handheld, often shaky; in fact, a complete mess, much like the characters in the film.
"I've always been thinking that so much time is wasted and so much is devoted to the prettiness of films and the delicacy and the precision. And I said to myself, why not just start to make some films where only the content is important. Pick up the camera, forget about the dolly, just hand-hold the whole thing and get what you can."
But what could be limiting, for some director's -- was absolutely freeing for Allen and his actors. When you watch the opening scene, notice how you get a strong sense of what each character is going through. Cutting to different angles is, in essence, lying to the audience -- or at least, manipulating their attention. Doing it in this way allowed Woody to do it in a more subtle and compelling way. Watch this: