Martin Scorsese showcases how an “image” can speak a thousand words in his gangster film “The Departed”. What I admired most in this movie was Scorsese’s ability to tell a story simply through using props and lighting. Notice how Colin (Matt Damon) walks past a / of a lighting that crosses right through his head. How Billy (DiCaprio) walks past a couple of Xs at the airport, and how the windows behind Queenan (Martin Sheen) are tattered with X tape as he falls to his death. These symbols, of course, have meaning. What all these three characters have in common is [spoiler alert] they all die. And the “/s” and the “Xs” are recurring symbols throughout the film which foreshadows a character’s imminent death. Although, Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) does [spoiler alert] die, I have yet to find his “X” in the film, but I am sure its somewhere.
The movie is primarily about finding the mole in the police force who keeps leaking the information to Costello’s gang. The mole, in the end, was never clarified and that’s encapsulated in the last gif.
Mr.Nobody. One of my favorite movies that follows three timelines from numerous life decisions of the protagonist Nemo through what you can call a 5th dimensional plot. Mr.Nobody’s story is both intriguing and visually unique.
Above is an example of the visual storytelling found in movies which are often under looked in the world of cinema. Films are often too critiqued on the aspects that don’t matter or not critiqued on the aspects that do matter. The gif above is from the meticulous director Wes Anderson in his Oscar nominated film “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. The Grand Budapest Hotel consists of shots, such as the one above, the diverge from dialogue and focus simply on the visuals. The example above focuses strongly on the girls face while displaying out of focus colours schemes in the background. Such shots appear in most of Anderson’s films and have a nuance to his characters development. I find these shots to be so powerful when Anderson forces the viewers to gaze back at the eyes of his character. Not only is this shot so powerful, but viewers gain an understanding of who this character through a 3 second, lingering shot.
If you are not a Wes Anderson fan, you may find his writing to be quirky, or you may not like this film or any of his others. But a couple glances of this shot (hopefully) will demonstrate how sometimes films should be entirely neglected of their story and should be admired for their visuals. This gif is a perfect example of some of the true intentions of film, telling a story without even saying it.