Tuesday, September 2, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

5 examples of cinematographer Deakins’ best work

By
From page B3 | November 09, 2012 |

LOS ANGELES — Roger Deakins is the rare person I was actually nervous to interview because I’m such a huge fan of his work. When I talked to the veteran cinematographer in early 2008, after he’d received Academy Award nominations for both “No Country for Old Men” and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” I found him to be lovely and humble, with a dry and self-effacing British wit — which naturally made me admire him even more.

Now he’s shot the most gorgeous James Bond film yet: this week’s “Skyfall,” which marks his third collaboration with director Sam Mendes. But he’s probably best known as the Coen brothers’ usual director of photography, having shot 11 of their films. He’s a nine-time Oscar nominee but, in a travesty of justice, he’s never won. Maybe “Skyfall” will change that.

So we’re going to get a little nerdy this week and discuss five of the most excellent examples of Deakins’ work:

— “The Man Who Wasn’t There” (2001): One of my favorite films from Joel and Ethan Coen, and one that’s underappreciated compared to the better-known “Fargo” or “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Deakins photographed this darkly comic homage to film noir in lushly beautiful, striking black and white. He’s said this is his favorite film he’s made with the Coens; a longtime still photographer, Deakins lights for light and shade anyway rather than color. The scene in which a hotshot lawyer played by Tony Shalhoub explains Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle while walking back and forth beneath rigidly structured beams of light is just breathtaking.

— “No Country for Old Men” (2007): This is the Coens’ masterpiece, and it allowed Deakins to bring the harshly beautiful, seemingly endless expanse of scrub-brushed West Texas vividly to life. Much of this tale of crime and carnage along the Rio Grande, which won the best-picture Oscar and three others, is marked by a parched, bleak openness. But it’s also filled with many memorable, intimate images: a silhouetted reflection on a turned-off television screen, the shadow of a pair of boots in the crack of a hotel doorway, or a set of headlights shining into a crime scene at night.

— “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (2007): Andrew Dominik’s film is set during the late 1800s in Missouri, as Jesse James (Brad Pitt) nears the end of his storied criminal career and is shot to death by a member of his gang. Deakins bathes everything with a soft, warm sense of nostalgia and melancholy, which may seem like an unusual choice given the violent subject matter. But the result is disarming and inspired. A nighttime train robbery, for example, becomes an almost romantic ballet of light and shadow.

— “Jarhead” (2005): I did not love this movie as a whole but Deakins created some powerfully dramatic visuals here. This was his first collaboration with Mendes (they’d also work together on 2008′s “Revolutionary Road”), based on the true story of Marines who fought in Operation Desert Storm, with Jake Gyllenhaal serving as our guide. As the film descends into its darkest period, Deakins’ depiction of a burning oil field is stunning — a bold swirl of orange and black, like some beautiful version of hell. And his shots of the desert, usually through an eye-level, hand-held camera, make the dry vastness and shimmering sun feel palpable.

— “A Serious Man” (2009): Not exactly the Coens’ best-known movie (although it earned Oscar nominations for best picture and original screenplay) and not even the showiest example of what Deakins can do. That would probably be “The Big Lebowski.” But the look of this film is so lovely and dreamlike, it draws you in. It’s inspired by the brothers’ youth in a predominantly Jewish suburb of Minneapolis in 1967, so it’s very specific in terms of costumes, music and production design. But Deakins’ often surreal cinematography adds to the off-kilter mood as we trudge along with the put-upon Michael Stuhlbarg. See it for the “goy’s teeth” scene alone.

___

Think of any other examples? Tell AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire through Twitter: http://twitter.com/christylemire.

Christy Lemire

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Labor Day not a holiday for everyone

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Labor Day breakfast introduces union-backed candidates

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Pool provides last dose of summer fun in the sun

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
SafeQuest schedules peer counseling training course

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Aug. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

VP Biden says workers deserve ‘fair share’

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Obama: ‘Revving’ economy calls for higher wages

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Senegal monitors contacts of 1st Ebola patient

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
San Francisco to be 1st to test urban farming law

By The Associated Press | From Page:

GOP challenger tries novel tactics against Brown

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Texas’ Perry says disparaging tweet unauthorized

By The Associated Press | From Page:

US eating habits improve a bit – except among poor

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
No gray area: Beliefs shape views of Brown killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Iraqi prime minister pledges to root out militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Poland’s PM: Ukraine’s war must be stopped now

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Pro-Russian rebels lower demands in peace talks

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

US helicopter crashes in Gulf of Aden; all rescued

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Opinion

.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 2, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
.

Entertainment

Inquiries begin into nude celebrity photo leaks

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
‘Guardians’ tops Labor Day, summer box office

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Kirk rallies to win the Deutsche Bank

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Rockies top Giants after losing end of suspended game

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Dunn homers in 1st at-bat as A’s top Mariners

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Right guard Boone passes physical, rejoins 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders name rookie Derek Carr as starting QB

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Armijo beats Vanden 2-0 to claim All-City boys soccer title

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Armed with new deal, Chiefs’ Smith looks forward

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Column: Stewart’s Chase status doesn’t matter

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders ink CB Dowling, 9 others to practice squad

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Serena Williams, Djokovic roll to US Open quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Houston Astros fire manager Bo Porter

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Hamels, 3 Phillies relievers no-hit Braves

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Markets drift as Wall Street has day off

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Austerity debate flares as Europe recovery fades

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Civil disobedience expected in fast-food pay fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Blondie Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
B.C. Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Dilbert Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Garfield Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7