The Son ★★★★★

I want to credit Dan Sallitt for this idea (though I can't find any link to where he said this), but I believe he explained that the Dardennes are obsessed with shot composition, but simply don't cut between their shots. This is quite apparent in The Son and also very necessary. Shooting often in close-up, if one were to cut to say, Olivier's hands, or the various faces, it would feel jarringly awkward. So instead, they just keep the camera moving. Add this into the 360 soundspace they create, and one could call this "screen realism," which it certainly is to an extent. But it's also a great way to create tension and surprise. Example: Olivier stalks Francis in the kitchen; his back is turned from us. The camera moves to see Francis just passing by into the other room. As the camera moves back, Olivier is now facing right toward where Francis was. This shocking moment would not be the same if the Dardennes employed a shot-reverse shot. This method probably culminates in the film's car shot from behind, which I'll probably be writing on later. Also the narrative is pretty much a perfect example of only giving exposition when you need it. Plus, setting this type of narrative around a place of business filled with sharp objects...pretty much pins and needles for the entire running time. So yea—I was taken with this one.

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