In Contention


The top 10 shots of 2010: part one

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 11:06 am · February 22nd, 2011

I have to admit, I procrastinated this column quite a bit this year. It has become a favorite staple for me, and, I’m happy to see, for our readers. But something was holding me back from pulling the trigger on getting the list together this time around.

It’s a lot of work, of course. So I’m sure that played into it. Who isn’t lazy every now and then? But part of it, I came to discover, was that there wasn’t a lot of memorable work behind the camera this year. By that I mean, while there was plenty of quality photography, single images that demanded a spot on a list like this were difficult to come by. Boiling things down to a specific collective was difficult as a result, so it took a little time.

But I’m frankly realizing just now that I’ve written this intro before. I’m spoiled by this column’s inaugural year (2007), where it seemed easy to come up with a set of 10 images and then some. The lack of singular imagery was so considerable this time around that I’m unable, even, to come up with a brief list of also rans, which is something I generally like to do.

Nevertheless, it should be said that great cinematography isn’t (and shouldn’t be) dependent on singular frames or visual moments, but the overall canvas and mise-en-scene delivered from beginning to end. I have a lot of fun digging into the visual vocabulary of a year in film and, to say the least, discussing that vocabulary with the craftsmen and women involved, so who can complain? I hope you enjoy.

#10

“THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES”
Director of Photography: Félix Monti

This sequence dramatically breaks the story in two: before and after finding the murderer. [Director Juan José] Campanella had this sequence in mind from the beginning when he was writing the script. He felt the need to tell this particular moment in a different way, using time and rhythm as an element to play in the whole story. All in all there were nine different camera positions.

–Félix Monti

One of the shots that I immediately knew would at least be considered for this list I saw at the tail end of last year’s Oscar season. The Best Foreign Language Film winner “The Secret in Their Eyes” was actually, I think, the last of 2009′s nominees that I caught, but it didn’t see a U.S. release until 2010, so it was eligible for consideration here this time around.

The shot is a daring, even somewhat out of place fluid master, beginning with the frame you see above, sweeping across a soccer match and into the stands to catch up with our investigator heroes. The camera then, with plenty of effects and editorial help, stays with them as they pursue a criminal through the crowd, into the lower reaches of the stadium and finally, out onto the field itself.

Sometimes the sheer audacity of a shot is enough for me to give it a shout out here, particularly when it’s pulled off this well. It may not have been the most thematically relevant take of the film, but it certainly got my heart racing for a solid five minutes.

#9

“THE KING’S SPEECH”
Director of Photography: Danny Cohen

Where we put him in the shot, it’s like, here is a man who is cornered. There was a way of putting Colin [Firth] in the frame and giving him lots of head room and short-sighting him that really gives you that sense that things are uncomfortable. There’s not a lot of light going into his eyes. There are deep shadows and all of that kind of builds the tension that it’s not going to be an easy journey. And it breaks up the pacing. There’s no chaos if there isn’t any calm before the storm.

–Danny Cohen

The visual characteristics of Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech” have been a source of ridicule for some, but when I saw the film at Telluride back in September, I was immediately appreciative of its aesthetic and thematic virtues behind the camera. And cinematographer Danny Cohen puts it rather succinctly in the quote above.

The shot that first stood out for me in the film and indicated this purposeful thematic framing came in the first few minutes, as Prince Albert, Duke of York (not yet a king) prepares to deliver an address at the British Empire Exhibition in 1925. He is, as noted above, “a man cornered,” and there is clearly an anxiety revealed around the character that will come to define him throughout.

Again, some may find this aesthetic clumsy or often misused, and sure, there are instances of this. But this image wasn’t one of them, I felt. It laid the groundwork well and with simplistic ease.

#8

“SHUTTER ISLAND”
Director of Photography: Robert Richardson

That was entirely developed out of Marty’s mind. He wanted one sustained take. Once the initial shot was fired and all the soldiers began firing, his idea was, ‘Let’s maintain it. I don’t want to break.’ It was a dolly shot, a hundred some-odd feet, maybe close to 200. And a great deal of the blood was CG blood because of the number of shots fired. We shot it outside of Boston in a small town. It was I believe a mill at one point that Dante Ferretti transformed it into what you saw.

–Robert Richardson

It was really a shame that “Shutter Island” didn’t fare well with the Academy this year, and particularly that Robert Richardson’s typically expert lensing was ignored completely throughout the year. But he and director Martin Scorsese nevertheless found a striking way to tell the story of a man trapped in his own fantasy, one that is, in this viewer’s opinion, misunderstood to this day.

The film is full of vibrant images. And much of the visual journey is impacted more significantly by Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing, but when it came to deciding upon an image (as I knew one would have to be considered for this column), I couldn’t help but remember how rocked I was by the extended dolly of American soldiers taking ruthless vengeance by executing equally ruthless Nazis, part of the main character’s many flashbacks.

The shot is affecting because of that extension. After the initial shock of the moment wears off, the dolly keeps moving, allowing the horror to settle in again, and more deeply.  The film marked Richardson’s fifth collaboration with Scorsese to date.  Here’s to many more.

#7

“THE GHOST WRITER”
Director of Photography: Pawel Edelman

In the original script there was no such ending. From the very beginning we were thinking of how to end this film, how to find this image that would just close the whole story. It was Roman’s idea, two weeks before we were supposed to shoot that scene. We wanted an evening, magic hour shot, mysterious and dark. And we didn’t want to show, we wanted to suggest that something dramatic may have happened. We took two or three takes and the last take was the best.

–Pawel Edelman

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer” this year, but I was, as I imagine many were, quite taken by its final image.  The filmmaker collaborated once again with cinematographer Pawel Edelman on the film. If you haven’t seen it, perhaps it’s best to duck out after this paragraph, lest you be spoiled.

The final moment comes after Ewan McGregor’s nameless title character ill-advisedly reveals the twisted truth he has discovered of the former British Prime Minister’s death. He makes his way out into the streets of London (shot in Berlin) and meets, we think, a deadly fate, the story of which is told by countless pages of his tell-all, ghost-written manuscript flying into the shot one by one before ultimately filling the frame.

Images like this are simple but effective, and they reveal artists looking for unique ways to convey a story visually. That is, after all, the trademark of the greatest directors (and great cinematography), and Polanski found himself in their league long ago.

#6

“CAIRO TIME”
Director of Photography: Luc Montpellier

This was a true dance between Patricia, the camera, the design and her wardrobe just to try to communicate in every frame that there’s an evolution there. It’s almost like she’s 15 again and she realizes she’s alive again. We did numerous takes, just to get her hand positions right and her expression. It was very closely choreographed. Any time we can make the audience feel the way she does, and it doesn’t always have to be with the big vistas, that’s the success of the film, in a way.

–Luc Montpellier

One of the most underrated films of the year when it comes to cinematography was Ruba Nadda’s “Cairo Time.” The same could actually be said of its exquisite score, but Luc Montpellier’s sun-kissed photography was kind of a show-stopper for me. There are a number of frames that are captivating, both in composition and in visually telling the story.

The image that leapt off the screen at me, however, was the simple frame above of Patricia Clarkson’s Juliette Grant, after spending a wonderful day with her local escort, Tareq (played by Alexander Siddig), waiting to spend time with her UN official husband.  We see the beginnings of an unexpected emotional affair (just moments after a stolen kiss) unfold crisply and powerfully in a glamorous composition.

I really don’t think I could say it any better than Montpellier does above. And it’s nice to know it was less a happy accident than a rigorously detailed shot that was very aware of its thematic virtues.  I could have selected any number of shots from this film, though.  It was a personal favorite in that regard.

That’s it for part one. Feel free to start rifling off your picks for the year’s best shots in the comments section below if you like.

Continue to part two and the top 5 shots of 2010.

The top 10 shots of 2009

The top 10 shots of 2008

The top 10 shots of 2007

[Photos: Sony Pictures Classics, The Weinstein Company, Paramount Pictures, Summit Entertainment, IFC Films]




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75 responses so far

  • 1 2-22-2011 at 11:09 am

    Colin Walsh said...

    This just made my day! Thank Kris!

  • 2 2-22-2011 at 11:18 am

    Maxim said...

    I don’t really mean to be nitpicky here (and I do believe its selection is ultimately very deserving, especially from the point of view of a viewer) but this being a movie site and all, I am not sure your pick #10 really meets the definition of a shot.

    To me, it is more like a sequence, both due to how much it covers geographically and, more importantly, because it was stitched together using various shots, albeit very seamlessly.

    Like I said, this comment is both very obvious and very easy to work around – if you consider the first take by itself it will be impressive enough on its own merits.

  • 3 2-22-2011 at 11:22 am

    Marc R. said...

    As a big fan of Shutter Island’s cinematography i have to say i was surprised at your pick as i was expecting a more visually lush or striking composition (as there were many). It was a good choice though. But for me, the overhead shot of Teddy wading through the water with the bodies of his kids on a clear spring day, the sun reflected in the water, really hit me. The beauty and calmness of that shot, juxtaposed w/ the horror of what has happened, was very powerful. I also loved the shot of Natalie Portman coming on the ballet stage as a white speck amongst darkness. The shot of matt damon stitting on the porch w/ the cigarette light illuminating his face in true grit was another pretty one. And then i’d also have to pick the shot in inception of leo and page sitting outside with the stuff exploding everywhere

  • 4 2-22-2011 at 11:22 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Maxim: I get liberal. Shots I’ve picked in the past have been enhanced by CG and editing. My list, my rules. :)

  • 5 2-22-2011 at 11:33 am

    JJ1 said...

    My favorite shot of this batch is the one from The King’s Speech. Such a great visual to depict the film as a whole.

  • 6 2-22-2011 at 11:34 am

    JJ1 said...

    Kris, how does one edit their comment as you just did? Or can only you?

  • 7 2-22-2011 at 11:36 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Only on the back end. So only editors. We wield mad power.

  • 8 2-22-2011 at 11:38 am

    americanrequeim said...

    you have two that would certainly be on my list-the ghost writer and shutter island

    good start and im curious to see the rest

  • 9 2-22-2011 at 11:40 am

    Maxim said...

    Haha, that’s fair enough, Kris.

  • 10 2-22-2011 at 11:44 am

    Dan Ang said...

    just out of curiosity, how would you define “mise en scene”?

  • 11 2-22-2011 at 11:50 am

    Will said...

    Awesome! I’d have to say, the one from The Ghost Writer would be my choice for #1 this year.

  • 12 2-22-2011 at 11:51 am

    JJ1 said...

    Gotcha. :)

  • 13 2-22-2011 at 11:53 am

    J.R. said...

    I’m SO glad to see Cairo Time! Gorgeous film. I might have picked that scene toward the end, where Juliette and Tareq are gliding around the hotel room in the early morning, trying to decide how to interact. It was, like Montpellier indicated, very much a “dance.”

    Still. I loved that you included the film.

  • 14 2-22-2011 at 11:59 am

    Nelson said...

    The Ghost Writer’s ending shot has got to be my favorite of the year. This is one of the annual articles that defines InContention and I am so glad to see it again. Be back tomorrow!

  • 15 2-22-2011 at 12:01 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Dan: Essentially, the visual elements used to tell a story. It’s become catch-all term, though, and I tend to apply it to composition and the overall interplay of elements within the frame toward a thematic goal.

  • 16 2-22-2011 at 12:08 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Always look forward to this feature — stellar work, as always. I’m particularly excited by the individually-minded selection of Cairo Time: curiously enough, I had the film on my costume design ballot, but all its technical elements are painstakingly considered, and the film hasn’t received much credit for that.

    Part of me wishes you’d chosen any other shot from Shutter Island, since I find that whole sequence so grotesquely misjudged, but your reasoning for that shot itself, regardless of its narrative context, is solid.

  • 17 2-22-2011 at 12:12 pm

    troy said...

    kris,

    Great work,so excited for this & hav been looking fwd to the series for a long time;i’d been introduced to the work of some underrated& obscure cinematographers thru this list,thanks a lot.I thot,may be i can recommend you the work of 2 European DP’s that i came across recently.I found them to be absolutely brilliant,and their work rivals the best of what hollywood can offer i.e the likes of Deakins,Lubeszki and so on.

    Artur Reinhart – Jestem
    Tibor Mathe -Witman Fiuk

    I stumbled on to their work browsing thru the website of Camerimage festival held in Poland.I’m sure not all the work of these magicians,is available in dvd.So i hope u get to watch those mentioned earlier,i would like to know u’r opinions on the work of these great,but virtually unknown cinematographers?

  • 18 2-22-2011 at 12:24 pm

    Fitz said...

    Guy, if it’s not a bother, what do you mean by calling that scene grotesquely misjudged?

  • 19 2-22-2011 at 12:28 pm

    DylanS said...

    Kris: Here’s hoping that that shot from “Inception” featured interstingly enough in today’s round-up article is on here, it’s my favorite shot of the year.

    I also have to agree with you in regards to the shot selected from TKS. I had my issues with the composition of that film, but that is a shot that works. It’s also worth pointing out how much emotion Firth is capable of displaying in a still frame, his face just beams with self-doubt and shattered confidence.

  • 20 2-22-2011 at 12:31 pm

    James C said...

    Love that Ghost Writer shot.

  • 21 2-22-2011 at 12:41 pm

    Samuel said...

    Best article on this site. Good choices to start out with. Glad the final shot of The Ghost Writer got in and it’s interesting that it was Polanski’s idea. In a review I wrote for my local student newspaper I mentioned that only a seasoned, expert director like Polanski could pull off an ending like that. Good to know I was right.

    Here’s hoping a bit of I Am Love can get in there tomorrow.

  • 22 2-22-2011 at 12:42 pm

    Anjul Gupta said...

    The Ghost Writer shot is the best one among these! Waiting for your 1-5 list

  • 23 2-22-2011 at 12:46 pm

    Amir said...

    I really thought the Ghost Writer shot would be placed at number one.
    For me, that’s the single most memorable shot of the year.
    but this makes me look forward to the top five even more.

  • 24 2-22-2011 at 12:46 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I’m going to preempt Guy’s answer to Fitz and note that, in my view, that sequence shouldn’t be taken too literally. It is, indeed, ghastly, from both sides, but mostly I think it is heightened in the protagonist’s mind.

  • 25 2-22-2011 at 12:51 pm

    Hans said...

    Great start, Kris, I didn’t even realize I was finished, I was craving more. The Ghost Writer and TKS images are downright iconic to their respective films, and that Cairo Time shot looks gorgeous (it reminds me a bit of a shot you considered from Ben Button of Cate Blanchett in the red dress).

  • 26 2-22-2011 at 12:56 pm

    Sam C. said...

    Every year, I love this piece. It’s so true that single images, to me, ultimately are my lasting specific impressions of a film.

    Maybe a year won’t live up to 2007 in terms of this category for a while, but this year’s slate is nothing to scoff at, especially over the last few years. And really in a more subtle way, like Black Swan’s against-the-grain work or The Social Network’s sublime use of dark colors.

  • 27 2-22-2011 at 1:14 pm

    Mike_M said...

    Glad one of the war/camp scenes from Shutter Island made it in, easily my fav scenes/shots of the year, simply stunning!

  • 28 2-22-2011 at 1:29 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    I don’t remember that shot but I did love Cairo Time.

    The final shot in Ghost Writer is gold, would have easily made my top three.

    As for the remaining five here I know we will see the opening shot of True Grit and maybe something from Inception (prob the van falling into the water), one of the various portraits of Mary from Another Year.

    I do side with Maxim in a way that #10 is more about that entire scene than any specific shot.

  • 29 2-22-2011 at 1:35 pm

    San FranCinema said...

    The shot you picked from Shutter Island was one that confused me when I saw it:

    The victims are lined up in front of a firing squad. Presumably the soldiers all fire at once. Yet the moving camera has the victims falling down one after another, over the course of many seconds, as if the soldiers are firing in sequence, which doesn’t make sense to me. The desire to use this dolly shot seems to have trumped a realistic depiction of the moment, which lessened the horror of it for me.

    Or is that the point, that it’s not “real” for the character, thus the stylization of the camerawork? I’m curious about your take on this.

  • 30 2-22-2011 at 1:35 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Matthew: It’s structured as a single shot, though. However it is achieved is beside the point, to me. (The same logic would be applied if an animated shot was selected.)

  • 31 2-22-2011 at 1:37 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “a realistic depiction of the moment”

    Once again, I see it as a heightened memory rather than a realistic depiction, of anything. So I guess I refer you back to comment #24. I think a lot of what annoys some about the film’s stylization is easily explained away by the heightened “reality” it’s depicting.

  • 32 2-22-2011 at 1:43 pm

    Fitz said...

    Thanks, Kris.

    That shot – and you seem to share this belief – like most of Teddy’s flashbacks is not played for realism, but more for traumatic effect.

  • 33 2-22-2011 at 1:45 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    I was always under the impression that these lists were just the best, I guess frames or stills of the year even though the column is called best shots and a shot is indeed just uncut footage however long it is.

    But if you post something like that shot in Secret in Their Eyes or Shutter Island it’s probably more ideal to post the entire shot via an embed than just one frame of it as people who have not seen those films won’t possibly understand why they are in this column from the images above.

  • 34 2-22-2011 at 2:00 pm

    BPH said...

    In the spirit of Kris’s “my list, my rules” declaration, I’m trying to come up with a set of rules that would allow me to include the opening credits of Enter the Void on my own mental list. I’m ambivalent about the movie as a whole and that inclusion would most certainly stretch the meaning of a “shot” beyond any reasonable limits, but it’s nonetheless one of the most distinctive visual moments of the year in my book. Bonus: what other “shot” this year has become the inspiration for a Kanye West video?

  • 35 2-22-2011 at 2:00 pm

    americanrequeim said...

    im hoping something from the added car sequence form let me in, something from black swan and true grit

  • 36 2-22-2011 at 2:06 pm

    Mike_M said...

    @americanrequeim finally caught let me in this weekend, was ok, I enjoyed the original better, but every shot while within a car was great (didnt matter if it was the driving shots or the accident, they were great, even in the bus when it was moving) – loved them.

  • 37 2-22-2011 at 2:08 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    I’m with Guy. That Shutter Island sequence and the other WWII flashbacks are part of the reason I walked out of the film.

  • 38 2-22-2011 at 2:08 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Matthew: Maybe, but I posted that shot in its entirety via YouTube a year ago. I imagine most are familiar with it by now. I do follow a template here, but maybe links to these kinds of shots are in order.

    Though I’m not sure why you’d have that impression. It’s not just about single frames for me. If it were, any number of tracking shots from Zodiac, Control, Michael Clayton, The Bourne Ultimatum and Revolutionary Road, not to mention general motion shots from The Dark Knight, Hunger and The Lovely Bones wouldn’t have appeared on these lists over the years.

  • 39 2-22-2011 at 2:09 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Chad: When you see the whole film, I’ll be glad to care what you think of it.

  • 40 2-22-2011 at 2:09 pm

    Gabriel D. said...

    wow…
    THANK GOD you put Cairo Time.
    I really loved this film and I thought I was alone.
    Everything’s perfect in this movie, especially cinematography (& Patricia Clarkson).

    *ok, this comment is not THAT objective*

  • 41 2-22-2011 at 2:10 pm

    daveylow said...

    Thanks Kris. I enjoy reading this feature of yours each year. I haven’t seen Cairo Time and now you make me want to see it.

  • 42 2-22-2011 at 2:50 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Mattie, fallen into a cave, desperately reaching out to a sea of sunlight – “True Grit”

    Tom Chaney, on horseback, silhouetted against a mystic blue sky as he rides away – “True Grit”

    Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield alone on a pier – “Never Let Me Go”

    Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart sitting contently on lawn chairs at the end of “Rabbit Hole”

    Extending a toe into the sunlight – “127 Hours”

  • 43 2-22-2011 at 2:55 pm

    Hero said...

    I’m just giddy! What a great start! And, frankly, even as a single still image, I love the choice from The Secret in Their Eyes.

    And bless you for including the shot from Cairo Time! I’ve been going back and forth in my mind ever since I saw the film which frame from that movie was my favorite of the year. I’m still debating between the two of them sharing a drink at the wedding and looking past each other, and Tareq on the balcony while Juliette makes tea.

  • 44 2-22-2011 at 3:26 pm

    Andrej said...

    My favorite shot’s from How to Train Your Dragon, when Hiccup tries to walk out of Toothless’s drawing in the ground. Whenever he stepped on the line, Toothless would get angrier.

    Similarly to when Wall·E went to sleep in his home, that shot sold Toothless to me as a really well designed character. ☺

    Another shot I liked was from Toy Story 3. When Andy gave Woody to Bonnie. It’s not just a emotionally crushing moment, but it’s also serves as a reflection of how those who grew with the Toy Story films are now presenting it to the younger generations. Nostalgia being used at its finest.

    And away from animation, there’s this one, very subtle shot from The Social Network that speaks volumes. During Mark’s deposition of the Winklevoss, Eduardo shows up to give his statement. When he’s leaving, he stops a couple of seconds by the door to hear Mark’s furious replies to the twins and Narendra. The shot itself has a vibe of Eduardo thinking “dude, wtf happened to you”.

    This is nicely connected afterwards, because we don’t see Eduardo leave the room. Mark says that he needed his ‘best friend’ to create Facebook, tries to look at Eduardo, but his chair is empty. He didn’t even notice he was gone. Yikes.

    Those three are my favorites shots. Oh, and the spinning top shot at the end of Inception, because… damn. Cliffhanger of the year.

  • 45 2-22-2011 at 3:42 pm

    AJ said...

    I’m sorry but lol, that shot of TKS is so ridiculous. Out of these five my favorite is def The Ghost Writer. That ending was so great.

  • 46 2-22-2011 at 3:47 pm

    Andrej said...

    Whoops. I just reviewed the scene I mentioned in TSN. Eduardo wasn’t leaving, he was just getting a glass of water. It’s so brief and in the background I didn’t picture it from memory.

    But still, my point stands. Awesome shot. ☺

  • 47 2-22-2011 at 3:57 pm

    N8 said...

    Loved Richardson’s work on Shutter Island, but that dolly shot didn’t work for me. There are dozens more interesting shots I would have included over that one.

    To see The Ghost Writer’s final shot here totally made me shout “YES!”. That one would probably make my top five.

  • 48 2-22-2011 at 4:01 pm

    Fitz said...

    Chad, how do you walk out of that film? There’s almost no room to breath during.

  • 49 2-22-2011 at 4:29 pm

    Joseph B. said...

    Great list! A few of my favorites from last year:

    1) On a rooftop, silhouetted by the setting sun, a guy consoles a girl as a flock of birds flies away. Wordless romanticism visualized to perfection in “The Exploding Girl”

    2) “Secret Sunshine”- A woman wailing uncontrollably in a pew in an extreme long take, and then a hand slowly reaching out and touching her head

    3) In Le You’s “Spring Fever”, the boat ride shared by three people in silence as they all understand their time together will not last much longer… a longeur visualized in heartbreaking terms.

    4) A man, in slow motion, walking directly into the camera as he carries the limp, lifeless body of a dead girl in “Animal Kingdom”

    5) A man framed deep in the left corner of the frame, through a window with a vase of yellow flowers dominating the center of the frame…. The cold blooded hit-man-thriller given a painterly point of view in “The American”. It only continues to look better from there.

    6) A quiet, slow tracking shot behind a parked car. As a train loudly rolls in front of the car, a shadow jumps up from the backseat to provide food for his young love. “Let Me In”

  • 50 2-22-2011 at 5:09 pm

    Glenn said...

    Always one of my absolute favourite year-end wrap up pieces, Kris. Loving it so far.

    Some of my favourite shots of 2011 would be:
    That final shot of Lesley Manville in “Another Year”
    The prawn dinner with the spotlight on Tilda from “I Am Love”
    The alien emerging from behind the petrol station in “Monsters”
    The wife of “Everyone Else” standing in the pool.
    The mallet moment in “Triangle”.

    Oh my gawd THE MALLET!

  • 51 2-22-2011 at 5:37 pm

    Anthony Ruggio said...

    I don’t trust anybody who walks out of a film they paid 8 or 10 bucks to see.

  • 52 2-22-2011 at 6:43 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    I don’t trust anybody who walks out of a film they paid 8 or 10 bucks to see.

    Why would you trust them less than a journalist who walks out of a film they got into for free? That’s a far easier decision to make, after all.

  • 53 2-22-2011 at 7:20 pm

    KalelJ said...

    The Ghost Writer is full of great imagery. While that’s probably the best choice, it’s a shot of McGregor looking outside of his hotel window – a red glow, with his head seemingly floating – that stuck out just as much for me.

  • 54 2-22-2011 at 7:47 pm

    DylanS said...

    Guy: I don’t know how you an Kris feel about this as journalists, but I think their is a responsibilty, it being a profession like any other, for a film critic to sit through an entire movie, no matter how gruelingly unwatchable it is. I would say the same thing about a musician walking out on a performance. Thoughts?

  • 55 2-22-2011 at 8:17 pm

    MovieMan said...

    All I know is: If I can watch the entirety of “Furry Vengeance,” anyone can watch all of “Shutter Island.”

  • 56 2-22-2011 at 8:28 pm

    John M said...

    The Ghost Writer was an excellent choice, I love that shot.
    I’m hoping that we’ll see shots from both True Grit and Inception somewhere in your top five.
    I personally love the shot in 127 Hours where the camera follows the girl as she jumps down into the water.

  • 57 2-22-2011 at 8:31 pm

    James D. said...

    Except Chad isn’t a film critic.

    For what it is worth, I would probably hate Shutter Island less if I had walked out. The ending only made it worse.

    It is hard to disagree with The Ghost Writer selection. Most memorable part of the film.

  • 58 2-22-2011 at 8:41 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    For the record, I have no problem with someone walking out of a movie. Just don’t attempt an educated conversation with me on said movie.

  • 59 2-23-2011 at 4:19 am

    Michael W. said...

    That shoot and entire sequence from The Secret in Their Eyes is simply breathtaking. It’s also very showy, but in a good way because of the setting that is perfect for a sequence like that.

    Can’t wait for the top 5. Hopefully there will be something from The American!

  • 60 2-23-2011 at 4:46 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    DylanS: I don’t think a critic has any responsibility to sit through a movie that’s not giving him anything — as long as he’s decided he’s not going to review it. I occasionally walk out of films at festivals — when time is precious, and something potentially better is starting in another theatre at any given moment, why not?

    I’ve only once walked out of a film as a casual, paying moviegoer — and it was for my friend’s benefit rather than mine. But I think walking out of a film one only went to for entertainment purposes is a strong statement that shouldn’t be underestimated, even if you’d never do it myself. It can be interesting to observe: I’ll never forget how rapidly the theatre emptied when I saw “Kinatay” — a film I rather admire — at the LFF two years ago.

  • 61 2-23-2011 at 5:01 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    After all this, I only just noticed Fitz’s original question — sorry. I think the Dachau sequence is in highly dubious taste. I get that they’re intended as a representation of Teddy’s own trauma, but I’m still queasy about using imagery that violent, tied into history that association-ridden, for jolt-mongering purposes — or, worse, to lend a sense of gravitas to what’s essentially a weightless genre exercise. I know Kris will disagree sternly with all of this.

  • 62 2-23-2011 at 6:09 am

    DylanS said...

    Guy: That was a good point when it comes to film festivals, I hadn’t considered that.

  • 63 2-23-2011 at 8:18 am

    Andrew said...

    Wow! I didn’t know there were so many Ciro Time fans out there. I saw this movie back in August and it hasn’t left my memory since. It’s wonderfully quiet and melancholic.

    That said, I don’t remember this shot clearly (what exactly was happening?), but I remember I was struck by the cinematography when they went to visit the Pyramids at the end and sat there for a moment.

  • 64 2-23-2011 at 8:18 am

    Andrew said...

    *Cairo Time (sorry)

  • 65 2-23-2011 at 8:48 am

    JJ1 said...

    ‘Cairo Time’ did little for me, as a film. Decent performances, nice visuals. It really didn’t go beyond that for me. But it’s nice to see it has fans and got a spot in Kris’ line-up.

  • 66 2-23-2011 at 8:58 am

    David said...

    I would add the opening shot of Last Train Home, the documentary about Chinese migrant workers. It was a great opening to a great film.

  • 67 2-23-2011 at 9:00 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    I’ve never walked out of a movie in a theater but I have stopped maybe one or two movies at home. The most recent being Yi Yi One and a Two.

  • 68 2-23-2011 at 9:39 am

    Javier Corral said...

    I agree with The Secret in Their Eyes stadium shot. Perfectly synchronized, beautifully shot and relevant to the plot. Here’s the full sequence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fgjoAPiMOk&feature=related

    And I am surprised no one has mentioned the “Black Swan Dance” scene!! My favorite shot of the year.

  • 69 2-23-2011 at 9:43 am

    Anjul Gupta said...

    When does your Part 2 come out? Am waiting in India for that before I sleep! Please..

  • 70 4-15-2014 at 12:30 am

    Jickeiy said...

    i want to say yes