So, another thing that I'd invite all of you to do in this thread is to share particular scenes that stand out for you and write about them with as much detail as you want. We all do this- counting our favorite scenes "of jump scares" for example or those little moments that touch us- anyway... in separated threads. So why not have a chunk of them in one? It could be really useful to break down more precisely what each of us think about 'good cinema' and then what do we mean when we say the direction of some movie or certain actor in that role was great.
I choose a scene I've watched recently that has stick with me and (trying) to write about it was the only way for me to 'get it out'. It's from the finale of Peaky Blinders' season ONE so, major spoilers for anyone who wants to watch this show someday.
I thought the first season of Peaky was very good. This scene also was very exciting... but not from start to finish in my humble opinion. I generally like the scene and how it sorts the conflict at the center (more gangster movies have to finish one-on-one style I think; also love that the shot at 2:00 mirrors the one at 4:02), but I can point to three directional choices that almost put me off:
1. The first full minute. They clearly wanted to make a badass bit. Done-to-the-death group shots of foes walking towards each other (Fine) but what is that rock song playing in the background? It is nothing new and, wait for it, Tarantino is the first name that comes to mind when I wanna find the bastards that overdid this so many times... It can't always work and, if you remember the rather personal bit that came before this (Tommy thinking out loud in the bar, whispering) and how that added to the seriousness of the situation they're suddenly in (facing Kimb's gang), it felt like the wrong stylistic choice to make here. Weird, but 30 seconds later that music starts to 'roar' again it doesn't bother me as much. Could be because of the reveal of the stolen gun? do we have an actual reason for rock and roll now? ...
2. 02:06 - 03:06: Ida's interruption kills the tension. Really brought me out of the scene; like Nevil Longbuttom's speech in front of Voldemort. I get it's place in the story; but somehow I feel it's less-than-great to be... actually witnessed. The affair gets better once Kim shots Tommy HOLY SHIT...
3... Until 3:15-3:30 comes up. Those damned Slow-moes. I thought their (way lamer) use ruined the majority of Sherlock and I feel they don't help here either. Again, I *get* what are they going for (With all those flashbacks, we know Danny's death matters personally, even psychologically, to Tommy) but...why can't they do it The Departed style? fast, bloody and heart-pumping?
Does anybody feel the same in regards to the points made here or I'm talking entirely out of my butt? And again, any personal take or topic that you share here is much appreciated.
" Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. "
Love stuff like this - great idea/great thread.......here's one from a guy I could do this all day with - Brian De Palma for Dressed To Kill (1980) - spoilers
If De Palma had his way he would never have dialog - he'd just have set pieces like this - and actors would be props to movie around which is why when he gets to work with a great actor you better be on the same page as him or it'll blow up in your face because he needs someone to fill in the blanks. Here he is positively brilliant with how he suggests violence and uses environment/space and plays with our perceptions of all of it:
Nanny Allen argues with the cop - who knows she's a hooker - is annoyed with her and yet he's the one protecting her (they "speak" without speaking)....as the camera pans around the subway car - we see the danger she's in and we notice everything we are shown:
How Allen seems cramped in her seat .......the instructions and signs on doors etc - the killer was clearly visible to us but not focused on - you could miss the killer but that's not a cheat. Then at other the times the killer is out of our view/missing....the cop leaves.....and now there's danger #2....she runs.....then there's danger number #3 (the killer): the camera switches perspective again - so far we have seen a general perspective, hers, the cops, the lights go on and off (again masking what we "can" see) then.......the gang sees the threat of what we saw before when no one saw any danger at all (not even Nancy Allen!).
The camera shoots inside the car, from the subway platform (through glass), between two doors (through glass), the perspectives are always changing,and so is the context. This is exhibit A in what you'd want a young film student to know about tension and suspense, De Palma's juggling an awful lot of things here.