Director Joe Wright and my Sick Day

On December 20, 2011 by Kim Wetter
Mr. Darcy

I love, love, love him

Yesterday, I stayed home sick. For me, that meant I was up at 12:30 and working by 1:30. Doesn’t sound that relaxing? You’re wrong. I’d much rather just get work done while sitting on my couch and avoiding the tougher stuff – no phone calls or e-mails. And to top it all off, my housemate (who was also home sick) and I decided to have a Joe Wright marathon. For those of you that don’t know, Joe Wright is the director who did Pride & Prejudice, Atonement and Hanna. He’s known for his long tracking shots and the way he choreographs a scene as if it were a dance. As we went through his filmography, I could see him get better and better at his technique. Let’s go through each of them:


Pride & Prejudice: I watch this movie once a month. Or want to. My love for Keira Knightley first drew me to the film but then the story took a hold of my soul. Pride & Prejudice is the ultimate romance. There’s something so love-at-first-sight about this film and those of you keeping up know I’m a sucker for those story lines.


Mr. Darcy isn’t perfect and he rarely says the right thing, but from the moment he saw Lizzy, he was drawn in. His love may torture him, but in the end, it makes him a better person. Isn’t that what love is supposed to do? It makes you want to be worthy of the one you love. In this particular instance, money has nothing to do with who is worth of Elizabeth Bennet.


It’s a beautiful tale of love and sacrifice and it has a (spoiler alert!) happy ending. It’s my pick-me-up movie.


Key scene to watch: At Mr. Bingley’s ball, there’s a really long tracking shot at the end that goes through all parts of the ball. It shows Mr. Collins trying to find Lizzy and Charlotte warning Lizzy that Jane should show her feelings more to Mr. Bingley before he thinks she’s indifferent. The dancing, dialogue, interactions and lighting are all choreographed to perfection. And it’s all one shot!


Atonement: I’ll admit yesterday was the first time I’ve ever seen Atonement despite the fact that I own it. One of my best friends gave it to me because she knew I loved Keira so much. Although I’ve had it for years, I avoided it because I heard it was a dark, sad tale. From my viewing yesterday, sad it most definitely is, but I wouldn’t say it’s dark in a sinister way. It’s tragic.


The story is slightly elaborate but the concept is simple: a misunderstanding drives a couple apart. (spoiler alert) In the end, they are never able to reunite. Too much had taken place and they missed their moment in time. Their love is tragic because it’s never allowed to come to fruition. They spend their lives longing for one another.


The story is a sad one but exists everywhere you look. It’s a story much more relatable than the fantasy fairy tale love that takes place in Mr. Wight’s previous film. Bad things happen to good people.


Key scene to watch: Robbie and his companions make it to a rendezvous point on the beach and are told they must wait. Robbie wanders through the scene and walks through the mass of soldiers mulling around. It’s all one shot and culminates in a shot overlooking the massive scene. I have no idea how Joe Wright filmed this but it’s impressive in how large it is. It’s truly wow-worthy.


Hanna: This film couldn’t be more different than his first two. Hanna is an action film that follows a 16-year-old girl who follows out a mission for her father. She’s the super hero spy of this unusually brilliant film. When I first saw it in theaters, I didn’t find myself speculating how or why this young girl could so freely and easily snap a neck and escape a military facility. Instead, I was completely enthralled in the story, music, visuals and action.


At the core, the movie is about a father trying to prepare his daughter for what she’s going to fact in the world. You follow Hanna as she learns that there’s a lot more to life than just survival. She finds friendship and enjoyment along the way – things that really make her life something worth fighting for.


The Chemical Brothers actually did the soundtrack for the film. As their music ramps up, so does the action on screen, which makes the adrenaline rush of the action that much more powerful. I actually think seeing this movie ruined my first viewing of Fast Five. I’m obsessed with The Fast and the Furious series and I was told Fast Five was an “awesome action film.” Hanna was an incredible action film and I found myself comparing the two. The difference is that Hanna is just a good film in general.


Key scene to watch: Eric, Hanna’s father, gets off a bus in Germany. The camera never cuts away as he walks through the station, then the streets, and into the subway where several men follow him and close in for the attack. It’s perfection.


So that was my Monday and it was glorious. I apologize if I ruined anything for you. I should also note a quick search shows me that Joe Write did one film in between Pride & Prejudice and Atonement called The Soloist. I’ll definitely be checking that out sometime soon.


Also, because I must, this is the best music video I have ever seen.

When I make music videos, I can only aspire to be as good as this.

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