Monday, November 28, 2016

Try Watching Movies Without Sound

Films are a visual medium, where we often get distracted by writing and dialogue from the much richer textures expressed by body language, lighting, shot choice, clothing and a hundred other things I don't even know to notice but you still react to.

Sometimes a good way to re-focus on this, is just to watch the movie, or key scenes, without sound. Without the characters saying things, can you still tell what's going on? Almost always. (In fact, a good rule about expository dialogue is that it's often a lie that tells you more about the speaker than the facts they relay.)

For instance, try this classic scene from American Psycho. If you haven't seen it, well I shouldn't explain what's going on. See how much you can tell (which is pretty much everything) from just the actions and facial expressions.

You've got this fantastic primate pack social dynamics stuff, where the rich executives are showing off their muted business cards, and either gloating or displaying resentment at the wealth displayed through various cards. Not a word is necessary for that.

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