Monday, March 10, 2008

Addicts 2007: Art Direction

Best Art Direction/Production Design

Sarah Greenwood

A war-torn world is hardly a pretty one, but you wouldn't know it from watching Atonement. Its obsession with gratuitous spectacle has certainly divided audiences but few war films truly refrain from glamourising their events. Wright's film refuses to detail the lurid effects of its personal and social conflicts through cheap shots and throwaway sub-plots, instead mirroring the dismantling of its central relationship with global disarray. Sarah Greenwood's designs perpetuate this, constantly imprinting something luscious and beautiful into destruction, whether it be of a country or a relationship. A limited job? Maybe not. An ambitious one? Certainly.

Tim Harvey

For what began as a play and evolved into a film in its own right, Sleuth really did need to give us something new in this widely-regarded-as-unnecessary remake. However stagy you might find the film (and I'll admit that I find that part of the charm) its layout could easily have felt dated and worn had it attempted to make its remake scene-for-scene. As it turns out the sets feel fresh, and help the script to demonstrate aspects of the characters previously unexplored. Their clean, surgical feel plays on the film's contrivance perversely, a bold risk, which encourages and enhances its psychoanalytical scope, absorbing more of Shaffer's comedy of sexual politics than even the original managed.

Mark Tildesley

As a spiritual science fiction film Sunshine is much less eager to draw attention to itself than, say, Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. So there's much to be said for the production design that it visually enthralls at every turn and still remains flexible to the different elements of the narrative (spirituality, action, horror, psychological state). Tildesley's designs are organic in almost every sense, from the curiously-constructed oxygen chamber, a restricted and isolated suppression of nature, to the payload centre, the multi-dimensional ethical epicentre of the mission.

Sweeney Todd

Dante Ferretti

When Tim Burton does a musical, you know it's not gonna be all sunshine and roses. Ferretti understands this, and doesn't dilute any of London's infamous Victorian period, in which crime and punishment reigned supreme over England's capital. Mrs. Lovett's pie shop, and Sweeney's living quarters (and killing quarters) are prime examples of this. A peek at the squalid, empty life of a peasant; suitably ghastly as a capture of mood, and aesthetic companion to a grubby pair of irredeemable souls.

There Will Be Blood

Jack Fisk

A lot of Anderson's film is about human nature, and how it is demonstrated and extracted through the physical extraction of one of the Earth's natural fuels: oil. It's well-documented that there is no dialogue in the film for the first twenty-or-so minutes. That these minutes fly by is definitely a success for Anderson (and to a degree Day-Lewis), but primarily this sequence, and the wordless moments of the film in general, belong to Art Director Jack Fisk. His sets have such an ingrained, worn feel, that contribute to the essence of social paradigm, and together with the oil drilling equipment, represent the independent, fragmented and powerful intrusion of capitalism into a small town. Tremendous.

: Sunshine
Runner Up: Atonement

Sad To Exclude: Lust, Caution's lusciously decorated Shanghai, Zodiac's polished, and edgy-when-they-needed-to-be designs, and Hairspray's vibrant, colourful business. A joy to watch.

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