Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Most Wanted Man: Cinematography by the guy who shot those GE commercials


The other day I shared the NY Times' Anatomy of a Scene video in which director Anton Corbijn walked us through one of the key chase scenes from A Most Wanted Man, the suspenseful thriller and Philip Seymour Hoffman starred based on John LeCarre's book. In addition to promising more of my own thoughts later - they're coming - I kvetched about the cinematography; the use of the handheld camera, in particular. 

But beyond the camera work which got me feeling a tad seasick on the occasions when it ventured too far into the shaky side of things, I really should say that Benoit Delhomme, the cinematographer, absolutely captured the ominous, tinged-with-danger feel of the multi-cultural Hamburg location. 

In concert with production designer, Sebastian T. Krawinkel, he also revealed the industrial port city of Hamburg not just as a place of suspicion, ugliness and desperation where graffitied walls and trash littered streets abound but as a place of beauty; we also saw Rachel McAdams as civil rights lawyer Anabele Richter cycling through a lovely tree-laden park that's at one with the city, the modernistic riverfront home of wealthy investment banker Tommy Brue (Willem Dafoe) and the highly dramatic look of the building where the offices of the secret spy organization where Philip Seymour Hoffman's Gunter Bachman and his crew are based.

My visually savvy son who shared my distaste for some of the most obvious jerky camera moves found the overall moody look of the film not just very compelling but curiously reminiscent. He did a little googling here and googling there and discovered that Delhomme was also the DP for the GE commercial that highlights the imagination of GE's engineers and designers. 

We're both fans of the TV spot's arresting visuals so I thought it would be cool to share the commercial along with the trailer for A Most Wanted Man to highlight Benoit Delhomme's very distinctive style. First up is the spot where the little girl talks about her mother's job at GE. You know the one where 'trains are friends with trees'. 



Compare those silvery, grey tones with those in this trailer for A Most Wanted Man. See what I mean?


A Most Wanted Man stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, 
Grigoriy Dobrygin, Robin Wright, Daniel Bruhl and Nina Hoss. Directed by Anton Corbijn, A Most Wanted Man is in theaters now. I say GO, see it now while it's on the big screen, definitely don't wait to watch it on your itty bitty tv, and definitely not on your i-pad or whatever tablet you like to use. Please! You wouldn't read a book on the head of a pin, would you?






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