Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners was photographed by the great Roger Deakins — whose work you’ve undoubtedly admired in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and The Shawshank Redemption. The cinematographer brought his A-game to Villeneuve’s thriller about two missing girls and the father desperately searching for them.
Deakins’ chilly palette creates a haunting air about the ordinary. Landscape shots become psychological and casual conversation is captured with subtle unease. A fellow cinematographer who admires Deakins’ work, Matthew Scott, has dissected several of the scenes in Prisoners, analyzing the setups with fascinating details. It allows us to pick up a few patterns in Deakins’ work on the movie, such as shooting through dirty glass or his low-light settings.
If you’ve wondered how a master cinematographer thinks, you’ll want to explore some of Scott’s favorite scenes on his website.
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