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Gone Baby Gone


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#1 Tom Lowe

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 08:54 PM

I was not let down by Gone Baby Gone, actor Ben Affleck's surprisingly adept directorial debut.

The acting in Gone Baby Gone was top rate, especially from Casey Affleck, and the story was great, but it was His Excellency John Toll's return to the big screen I was really there for. The picture is an example of "realistic" photography, letting dark interiors be dark and capturing the gloomy, stark reality of certain parts of Boston at all times of day. The photography was obviously the work of a skilled DP, but drew almost no attention to itself at all. Had I not known this was Toll, I would not have been able to guess it.

I wish the AC article about Gone Baby Gone in this month's issue would have focused more on the photography and less on the "breakthrough" HD dailies workflow.

Even more exciting.. my local arthouse theater just got Jesse James, Lust Caution, and Into the Wild today! This will be a cinematography weekend long remembered! :)
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 10:41 PM

Check out his work on "Seraphim Falls".
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#3 Tom Lowe

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 12:26 AM

Check out his work on "Seraphim Falls".


Will do! I meant to catch that at the theater and somehow missed it.
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#4 Jason Reimer

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 01:58 AM

Tom, you'll dig Seraphim Falls. There was one shot that stood out to me where Liam Neeson and his crew are hunting Pierce Brosnan through the forest. Toll simply exposed for the background (some mountains you could see through the trees) and let the characters in the scene fall off into a really deep shadow/sillouette, and occassionally you could see a little bit of their faces when they were sidelit by the hot background. I just thought it was cool that he didn't try to cheat on that shot and bring in some lights to even things out, but instead he just picked what he wanted to expose for and let the rest fall where it may. Overall it's pretty naturalistic, so if you like the sorts of things that Lubezski and Deakins did in The New World and The Assassination of Jesse James, you'll like it. The story takes kind of a weird turn at one point, but that aside, it was an enjoyable movie that looked great.
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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 02:09 AM

...but it was His Excellency John Toll's return to the big screen I was really there for.


You made that sound as if he'd been gone for some considerable amount of time, ha ha
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#6 William A Chapman Jr

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 03:17 AM

Check out his work on "Seraphim Falls".


That was a great movie, I really enjoyed the Cinematography, Who was the DP on that?
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 11:35 AM

That was a great movie, I really enjoyed the Cinematography, Who was the DP on that?


Haven't you been reading this thread???
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#8 Tom Lowe

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 01:28 PM

Haha.
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#9 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 09:24 PM

That was a great movie, I really enjoyed the Cinematography, Who was the DP on that?


wow
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#10 Tom Lowe

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 10:18 AM

Anyone else see this? You guys will enjoy it... it's a good picture. I think it's at like 92% on rottentomatoes.
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#11 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 06:05 PM

Ben Affleck's movie is surprisingly good. Much better than anyone could have expected from him.

John Toll has delivered a very low-key approach, with a simple, natural and realistic look that never draws the attention to itself. The cinematography could have more slick if it been more contrasty and less pastel, but it's clear that he avoided any kind of stylization. And it serves the story very well.
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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 07:07 PM

Just saw it. I think it's one of the best movies of the year, along with "No Country for Old Men", which I saw yesterday, but this one is even better in some ways, certainly more emotionally gripping. Great screenplay adaptation, great acting, directing, etc. Powerful, complex, thought-provoking.

I love that the photography is so not-show-offy, very natural and dramatic without falling into cliches involving urban crime movies.
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#13 Tom Lowe

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 01:23 AM

I'm really looking forward to "No Country for Old Men."

David, if you had not been told in advance that Toll shot this, would you have been able to guess it?

I agree he did a great job in keeping the photography low key.
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 02:04 AM

David, if you had not been told in advance that Toll shot this, would you have been able to guess it?


No, but Toll doesn't have a key signature visual effect, a favorite special processing technique, like some DP's do. That's not a criticism either. He has a clean, elegant style, likes soft lighting with a lot of fall-off on the shadow side (similar to Roger Deakins in that regard.) But some of his movies are really crisp ("Braveheart", "Rainmaker") and others are softer and more pastel or romantic ("Almost Famous", "Vanilla Sky", "Elizabethtown"). "Legends of the Fall" is somewhere inbetween, a little diffused-looking sometimes, clean & sharp other times. Like with Deakins, there is an intelligence behind the shot sizes, movement, framing, almost classical.

It gets very hard to "spot the cinematographer" when you're talking about a medium-to-small movie shot on location with naturalistic lighting. A movie like "Assassination of Richard Nixon" (Lubezsky) is rather similar in visual tone to "Gone Baby Gone" (though that one is a little rougher in setting and style). It's not like a Tim Burton movie.
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