Friday, April 4, 2008

In a Previous Entry. . .

. . . I listed The Mist as one of the best movies of 2007.

This last week, The Mist was released in a two-disc special edition DVD. Normally, I disregard the supplemental materials that come loaded on nearly every DVD and purchase the lesser (is more) edition. Furthermore, it's understood that marketing plays upon the purchasing behavior of sci-fi/horror/fantasy enthusiasts who will keep buying the same movie, as long as new artwork accompanies it. (See The Evil Dead-franchise for a shining example.) What makes this edition of The Mist worth picking up is that a black and white version of the feature is included, along with an intro by writer-director Frank Darabont, wherein he claims this to be his preferred version.

Had The Mist been released in black and white, it would have easily topped the best of the 2007 releases.

How does the absence of color make a movie better? Simple. It's not color that's being removed. It's texture that's being added. The feel of the movie shifts considerably, with shadows and contrast adding to that sense of the unknown. For a group of strangers confined to a small space, unsure of what lies within a strange fog, each dark space holds the opportunity for something to occur. This prolongs anticipation and suspense. Emotionally taut,we react more to every sight and sound.

Orson Welles referred to black and white as "the actor's best friend." Meaning the breadth of a performance is enhanced when the actor no longer has no compete with the surrounding color scheme and tones. I completely agree with this. Had Night of the Living Dead been a color picture, the only print would have dissolved some time ago after being forgotten in a garage. Compare the performances in that movie to the other (color) works of George Romero. I'll wait. You're back, great! Did you notice how the bad acting shines through? Day of the Dead is unwatchable. Is it that the cast of Night of the Living Dead was superior? By no means. But their stiff performances are muted by the film stock, giving them slack while making their work bearable.

And so to do the performances in The Mist become stronger. Giving weight to one of the most overlooked movies of 2007.


Anonymous said...

night of the living dead's cast gave stiff performances because they were zombies. you don't know shit about movies

A.v.E said...

I guess that means your mom is a zombie. . .in bed.