American History X (1998)

Posted by brian


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Director and cinematographer Tony Kaye’s American History X, is visually simplistic, yet powerful. The film’s visual style comprises of extreme close-ups, locked-off shots, and shallow depth of field. The most apparent and effective technique that characterizes the film however, is the use of black and white flashbacks and colored sequences. Portrayed by Edward Norton, the story of Derek Vineyard’s incarceration is cleverly depicted through a colorless world, representing his supremest, black and white perspective. Contrastingly, the present day scenes of Derek are illustrated using more color to denote Derek’s renewed understanding of people and life. Although simple, the uncomplicated coloring technique that is also applied to the opening and closing shots of ocean waves effectively evokes an existential feeling. Tony Kaye’s American History X, exemplifies how simple tools like desaturation go far to strengthen a film’s message.

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Posted on November 30, 2009 at 10:51pm

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Mixing my love for films, beautiful images, visual inspiration, and artistic study.