Got a chance to catch the movie Shame a couple of weeks ago, and really enjoyed it. It sat with me for several days, and loved how minimal dialogue there is in the main character, and yet it drives you in throughout the film. This below is a scene worth studying in terms of acting (Fassbender’s facial expressions and intensity progression throughout the shot is great), also where/who/when to look at, body language and status and overall scene intensity.
Some things to point out:
- Sometimes quiet moments make a scene more intense. This has been brought up before by many animators, so it’s not new. But there is a tendency to always have the character moving a lot…and it’s nice when it’s not sometimes. In fact, for me, when it’s more still on the right places it makes me focus on the face a lot more to get into what the character is thinking. I’d lose all that if the whole character is moving around too much.
- Acting wise, there is a lot of status back and forth moments. The way the personal space is used between them helps the scene a great deal. Not sure how much improvisation was done in this scene, but it adds the scene a new layer of intensity, especially when he’s grabbing her face while keeping it still.
- Facial expressions: Choose your battles. If this character was intense throughout the whole shot, it wouldn’t feel as strong. Instead he gets very intense in a few moments…and it really makes the scene stronger.
- Working within a face pose: This goes a long way. Dialogue within an attitude. Check out the part where he says “You are not looking after me, I’m looking after myself. How are you helping me…”. Same facial expression and working the dialogue within those lines. Same thing with the line “Stop…playing…the victim”. Great stuff.
I found this shot very inspirational so I hope this helps.