Some things are just meant to go together. Peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, and, of course, the Coen brothers and Roger Deakins. Through the past two decades, the dynamic filmmaking duo and the esteemed cinematographer have collaborated on upwards of 10 feature films, most of which are iconic in their own right. It's safe to say that the Coen/Deakins collaboration train has produced, and continues to produce, some of the finest films of the generation. Like all great things, it can be both fun and educational to look back at the varied work that the legendary team has produced and analyze what makes their work so effective and entertaining. A new retrospective video from Blag Films lets us do just that.
Like the other Deakins retrospective that we shared at the beginning of the month (we really love Deakins here), it's easy to see some trends through his varied work with the Coens. With that said, the last video that we shared focused heavily on some of the more scenic wides and master shots in his vast filmography, but considering that the Coen brothers deal largely in character drama -- with unique and compelling characters always at the forefront of their films -- the cinematography from Deakins follows suit. While breathtaking wide shots still play a role in some of the Coen/Deakins collaborations (No Country For Old Men and True Grit feature some gorgeous landscape cinematography), the vast majority of the shots in this retrospective focus on character and emotion more than anything else.
We still see some of the trademarks of Deakins' cinematography, such as a masterful use of composition, contrast, and camera movement. However, many of the shots featured in the video are full shots and mediums of characters that still feature a playful use of leading lines and symmetry that always help lead the eye to where it needs to be in the frame. The camera movements are subtle, yet highly effective in revealing key pieces of story or character information. His use of high contrast visuals and silhouettes, especially in The Man Who Wasn't There, allows the subtext of the film to be portrayed in a way that is both unique and visually stunning. All in all, the Coen brothers and Roger Deakins really are a match made in cinematic heaven.
Tell us about some of your favorite Coen/Deakins collaborations down in the comments!
[via Blag Films]