One of the most powerful emotions that we feel in movies/ TV is tension (one of the reasons it's so easy to get hooked onto Breaking Bad). I've been thinking a lot about what creates that tension, and I came to that it boils down to anticipation.
Two examples I'm thinking of. One of them is the scene in No Country for Old Men with Anton Chigurh and the gas station clerk. That coin flip scene. We already know what Chigurh is capable of. And we get the feeling that the clerk is realizing more and more that he's in a terrifying situation. But the dope thing is: not one word of it is ever mentioned. Even the threats are just "I can come back then" when the clerk says he'll be in bed at dark. It's so cool that everything is in the subtext.
Other example: the beginning scene from Inglorious Basterds. Ugh! I feel I almost start to sweat just thinking of it. Christoph Waltz's character interrogating the farmer hiding the Jews. The thing is Christopher Waltz is being so nice and charming, but we know the dude's reputation and how horrible he is. When he finally asks him if he's hiding enemies of the state, the farmer, so worn down with panic, breaks down immediately.
I think most would agree these are amazing scenes. What they have in common is that we know the threat, and so much of the threat is implied/ unsaid. That, and the acting in both is all kinds of amazing, which I'm sure helps.
Anyone else have thoughts on this?