09 April 2008

tightening the revolution





The HBO miniseries about John Adams is pretty good, generally. I've learned a lot despite some critical narrative omissions (the death of Ben Franklin, the Articles of the Confederation [thanks to Matt for pointing these out]).


BUT! One thing that simultaneously captivates and frustrates me is the cinematography of the thing. Tom Hooper, the director of other notable miniseries such as Prime Suspect 6: The Last Witness (ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre) and Byker Grove, is a virtuoso in the overuse of extremely raked angles and dramatic wide-angle shots. It's interesting as hell to watch, because you wonder what arresting moment in our political history is about to be distorted next...but I've begun to wonder how it serves the story to have a camera jammed up Paul Giamatti's nose, or to saw out the floorboards (a la Orson Welles) to get an angled establishing shot so dramatic that you think somebody kicked the rig over by accident.


Mr. Hoops: innovate in your miniseriesographies, by all means, but please do a better job of convincing me that it's worth the distraction.

10 comments:

Bone donor said...

tighten up, pepper; it's "articles of confederation."

otherwise, i think your post -- and the miniseries -- is really tight.

Bone donor said...

btw, tight 'citizen kane' reference.

Pete said...

Not like Pep to make such a glarring err in historical fact...

Pepper said...

ouch ouch ouch. man, i really screwed that one up. duly noted and corrected.

Sarah said...

I feel the same way about the cinematography! Remember, Pete when I was complaining about it and you were all like "shush, baby. you're a girl and can't appreciate cinematic art." ?

The Becca said...

"go make me some cookies" - Pete

The Becca said...

Pepper I think you're using pictures excessively. Pick 2.
Thank you.

Pete said...

I like cookies.

Pepper said...

Criticism noted. The chocolates are delicious.

Bone donor said...

pepper: tighten up and nix the second "the"

pete: i like cookies too. and girls. but most of all, girls who make cookies.