FAVOURITE MOMENTS OF CINEMATOGRAPHY FROM 'DARK PHOENIX'
Director of Photography: Mauro Fiore
Director: Simon Kinberg
Year of Release: 2019
For all its pacing problems and corniness, 'Dark Phoenix' low-key had some slick cinematographic moments.
When writers direct, they direct like writers. Meaning, they don't pay much credence to tone or visuals. They just focus on protecting the story and making sure the actors say their dialogues in verbatim. Look no further than Aaron Sorkin with 'Molly's Game' which also featured Jessica Chastain or 'Marriage Story' by Noah Baumbach. Ditto for actors who cut their teeth on filmmaking. Their main preoccupation usually revolves around performances and carte blanche is given to cinematographers and other heads of departments to make those creative calls on their behalf. So basically, directors' backgrounds inform their approach towards the craft. A consummate director on the other hand, considers all the moving parts to service and create an identifiable tone that elevates the sum total beyond a mere audio-visual narrative form. Not to digress but, again, this is why no person of colour nor woman was nominated for Best Director across all the recent award platforms. With the slight exception of 'Honey Boy's' Alma Har'el, they mostly all bore down on the written word than the overall look and feel of their work.
On hearing this would be Writer, Simon Kinberg's directorial debut, I wasn't expecting there to be anything aesthetically fanciful about this installment but I had another thing coming. The costumes and the storytelling sucked but the camera work showed flashes of an authorial mind in Kinberg. He's been part and parcel of the X-Men franchise practically from inception because of his extensive knowledge of the source material and that element of being a comic-book nerd was brought to bear via a few of the graphic and picturesque shots in this iteration. I really dug Slide 5 where Cyclops runs sideways across the hall and Enters Charles' Chamber in an unrelated shot with a gentle Zoom In. There's also that same subtle zoom when Lilandra charges at Jean from the back in Slide 9.