Parallel Action

A cut to another scene or line of action that is usually (but not always) spatially remote from the original line of action, but which seems to be happening simultaneously in time. A common use of the cross-cut that never seems to go out of fashion is alternating shots of an imperiled person with shots of another person coming to the rescue, generating in the viewer’s mind the question: Will the rescuer get there in time? One or more lines of action are often crosscut to create dramatic irony (in which the film viewer is given information of which the characters are unaware) or otherwise to “thicken” the plot.