More often than not, Wes Anderson’s world-building colour palettes and the whimsical complexity of his cinematic universe take centre stage in a critical understanding of his approach to filmmaking. It is true that the symmetrical framing and the beautiful composition of his shots constitute the essence of what makes a movie Wes Anderson-esque, but it is important to acknowledge one of the most important camera techniques Wes Anderson employs that have become so synonymous with his films: the slo-mo shots.
Wes Anderson has the magical ability to distil the significance of a cinematic moment by slowing down time, something which is only possible in the narrative medium of film. Unlike a traditional tracking shot which is used to capture the rapid motion of characters, in Anderson’s slo-mo cuts, the camera pans or rather creeps along to lend subjectivity to the characters while the concept of time slowly recedes into the background. These camera movements beautifully complement the quaint nature of Wes Anderson’s cinema.
“I have a way of filming things and staging them and designing sets,” Anderson once said of his cinematic style. “There were times when I thought I should change my approach, but in fact, this is what I like to do. It’s sort of like my handwriting as a movie director. And somewhere along the way, I think I’ve made the decision: I’m going to write in my own handwriting.”
He added: “Usually when I’m making a movie, what I have in mind first, for the visuals, is how we can stage the scenes to bring them more to life in the most interesting way, and then how we can make a world for the story that the audience hasn’t quite been in before.”
This super cut of Anderson’s slo-mo shots, compiled by Alejandro Prullansky, provides a quick look at the distinctive cinematic technique that Wes Anderson has repeatedly employed in his films.
See the clip, below.