The Style of Wes Andreson

Just a few weeks ago I went to the cinema watch Wes Andreson’s most recent film, Isle of Dogs. You see, I’m a big fan of Wes, and firmly believe that his projects are an art form in themselves. Such is my appreciation for him that this Instagram channel is perhaps the only reason why I’m on Instagram in the first place. Thus, the prospect of watching another film authored by him was not only an opportunity to savour, but also a chance to ponder about his style of filmmaking.

Symmetry

We all secretly love the fuzzy, satisfying feeling that a perfectly symmetric object, device, drawing or picture gives us. However, it is no question that Wes Anderson loves symmetry even more, to the point that most of his frames exhibit a near perfect left-right alignment. Whether it’s the facade of a building seen from afar, a room interior or a frame that features six dogs peaking in from above, symmetry’s the word.

A flat, linear composition

Now, this goes hand in hand with the symmetry aspect described above and heavily contributes to Anderson’s distinctive style. Wes prefers to line objects, decor and characters alike on the screen, rather than have the camera pan at them from a variety of angles. He’s been known to take such a perspective once in a blue moon, when the need absolutely arises, but most of his alignments will be as flat as… a very flat thing.

The bright colour palette

I hope you haven’t decided to give this article a read without at least having watched The Grand Budapest Hotel, so I will continue with the assumption that you remember the colour palette utilised in that movie. A simple Googling act to refresh your memory will bring along all sorts of pink and red on your screen, harmoniously intermixing with different shades of white and cream. Other standout colours are bright yellow or a lime sort of green – always standing out in discrepant backgrounds. It’s wonderful!

Stop motion animation

Both of Wes Anderson’s two animated films, Fantastic Mr Fox and Isle of Dogs, were animated with the stop motion technique – which takes monumental amounts of work, but also creates memorable final results. In fact, Isle of Dogs is the 2nd longest stop motion animation of all time (with no CGI involved), clocking just one minute behind the rather recently crowned leader, Kubo and the Two Strings.

The use of slow motion

Slow motion is cool. We can all get behind that. Using it once or even a couple of times in a film is perfectly okay, if placed in the right moment and if it adds something to the scene. Using slow motion every time a character moves is clearly overdoing it. Before you go find Michael Bay and let him know that, please keep in mind that there are subtle ways to use this technique to great results, and amplify the spectrum of emotions transmitted in the process – look at how Wes Anderson does it in Moonrise Kingdom and The Darjeeling Limited, to name just a few.

Article written by Julian Leu for The Monthly Film Festival

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27.6.2018
 

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