Monday, August 9, 2010

Movie Meme: Day 09

"31 Day Movie Meme"

Day 09 - Best scene ever

Three scenes. Two movies. One director.

Even though I've seen Pride & Prejudice before in its various incarnations on screen, I've never been so captivated by its beauty before director Joe Wright really highlighted it in his 2005 film version. I can pick out many good scenes, but the one that left its lasting impact was the 4 and a half minute tracking shot during a party/dance at Bingley's manor.

The camera weaves in and out of the various rooms spending only a few precious moments in each one enough for the audience to hear a main character say or do something revealing (Elizabeth talking to Miss Lucas, Mr. Collins looking for Elizabeth, the other Bennet girls having fun, Mr. Bingley pining for Jane, Mr. Darcy dancing with Ms. Bingley, Mrs. Bennet getting drunk, etc.). The fact that it was one continuous shot made it the more impressive, but the staging, the costume, the sound, the actors... it all worked. By the end, when you realized what you had just witnessed, you want to rewind and watch it again.

Wright's follow-up film was Atonement and he was even less afraid to play around with his camera. The film itself was cinematic eye candy from start to finish and I could probably pick ANY scene from the film and it would be the perfect choice for today. I'm only going to touch upon two scenes. One of my favorite scenes happen in the beginning and it pretty much sets up the main conflict of the film as young Briony misinterprets what is happening outside with the two figures by the fountain, one of which is her sister.

The whole sequence is gorgeous from Cecilia running through the woods to Briony looking through the window at Robbie and Cecilia by the fountain. There's so much great stuff here and Andrew provided an extensively look at this precise scene a few weeks ago. So rather I ramble on more, check out what he had to say.

Finally, we get to the scene that everyone seemed to talk about when the film came out i.e. the long tracking shot of Robbie walking the beach at Dunkirk. At this point Wright seems to be saying "That's right. Another tracking shot. It's a long expensive difficult beautiful tracking shot! I. Am. Awesome." which I actually totally respect, so more power to him.

While I liked the tracking shot in Pride & Prejudice because of its unexpectedness and charm, it was the epicness and its lyrical nature here that left me breathless. For five and a half uninterrupted minutes, the camera pans the beach showing us the visages of war as well as the weary, war-torn Robbie and his friends trying to take it all in. Beautiful.

Those are the scenes I love. Are they the "best scene(s) ever?" Probably not, but they are damn great and my love for those two films and its director is bordering on fanboy-ness so there you go.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant choices all. I'm such a fanboy for Joe Wright (and Keira Knightley)


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