dramamovies Newsletter

Drama Movies

November 9 2015 Drama Movies Newsletter

"We all spend so much time not saying what we want, because we know we can't have it. And because it sounds ungracious, or ungrateful, or disloyal, or childish, or banal. Or because we're so desperate to pretend things are OK, really, that confessing to ourselves they're not looks like a bad move. Go on, say what you want...Whatever it is, say it to yourself. The truth will set you free. Either that or it'll get you a punch in the nose. Surviving in whatever life you're living means lying, and lying corrodes the soul, so take a break from the lies for just one minute." Nick Hornby from his novel "A Long Way Down"

The characters in Nick Hornby's novel speak in first-person monologues, which are tricky to transpose into film images. The writer and director of "A Long Way Down" do a fine job. I did have a problem with one technical aspect of the movie, and that is the obvious use of digital compositing. Also known as green-screen, this is when actors are photographed separately from the setting of the action, and then the different images are combined.

In the opening scene, which takes place on the top of a skyscraper, the use of digital compositing is expected. You can't put the cast and crew at risk. However, it is used in even the more sedate scenes in this film, such as when the characters are in a car. It is obvious the vehicle is not moving and the background has been added in. Most viewers, myself included, hold feature films to a higher standard than other visual entertainments. Also, in dramatic movies that are set in the "real world", it is annoying when something interferes with that illusion.

The use of the technique is inescapable now that digital technology is here, but does it need to be used so often? When motion pictures first began, they made frequent use of location shooting and the outdoors. With the sound era, the camera was moved inside and films were shot on sound stages. Once sound technology advanced, location shooting again became the norm. Now, with digital, the camera and the actors have moved indoors once more. Digital compositing may be a faster and cheaper way to film a scene, but in the context of dramatic films, it is not always the best way.

Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.

A Long Way Down Film Review
A chance encounter between four strangers on New Year's Eve causes their lives to be irrevocably altered, for the better. Pierce Brosnan and Toni Collette star in the screen version of Nick Hornby's "A Long Way Down".


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Angela K. Peterson, Drama Movies Editor

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