Every once in a while there is a scene that hits you like a rock. Cate Blanchett’s acting in the movie Heaven (2002) about a woman being accused of killing four people, is one of those scenes I’ve watched so many times from a realness point of view as well as the strong choices. If given the choice I’d look at real footage of people crying, but this scene I found it so strong that I really wanted to share. Watch in 720p if possible.
Main thing I wanted to point out were the different attitudes throughout the shot, and the overall progression.
- She first starts out pretty dismissive. Expression through half eyelids/mouth corners is pretty self explanatory.
-The next 30 seconds follow with tons of details going on throughout the face before she leans forward. Some of these that really stick with me are:
0:16: “Quattro”. If I turn the volume down, my eyes go to the hesitation through the eyelids.
0:24: the subtle eyebrow move after he says the word “Ascensor” brings great subtext to her taking in what’s going on.
0:26-0:30: this is some of my favorite stuff. Pay attention to the white surrounding the pupils. Again it’s subtle, but less is more sometimes.
Her choice leaning forward and covering her mouth is a great one. Somehow feels real to me. Something that I’d see someone doing in real life under tragic circunstances. If it feels real, to me then it’s a great choice as I can relate.
0:34-0:44: She stays in the same pose. Pretty much what the guy says carries this length beautifully. Again less is more. This is a great example that you don’t need to always have acting/gestures or the face moving.
0:50: from this point on, the way she tries to handle her feelings and emotions and breaks down, is a display of both intense and serious amazing acting. From the subtle looks away to the lip quivers. Watch away and take away what you see.
0:54: great internal dialogue between her and the character played by Giovanni Ribisi without saying a word.
I don’t see acting progression that much different than scene/shot/story progression…unless there is a point to the lack of progression, or there is something helping that progression otherwise. For examples, two characters talking. One is not moving or doing anything, however the other character and the exchange is what’s still helping it move the shot forward.
If there is anything to take away from this post, is to bring your shot somewhere…be it in the acting, the story, etc. Don’t keep it flat or without changes or else it’ll be trickier to have an audience follow throughout. Changes keep things interesting.
I hope this helps.
Happy New Kick Ass 2012 Year for everyone.