Friday, March 11, 2016

The Lay of The Land: How Denis Villeneuve and Ridley Scott Create Mood With Landscape

If your landscape is just a setting, then you're using your landscape wrong.

In The Martian and Sicario, the landscapes are foreboding characters all their own. These two video essays by Ashley Perry show how Denis Villeneuve and Ridley Scott did it, and it all comes down to the formative setting.

As opposed to a neutral setting, in which the landscape is indifferent to the action or the characters, a formative setting seeks to express the character's psychology. As such, your setting should be working in service of dramatic action rather than just existing simply as the space for the action to unfold.

In Sicario, some of the most tense moments occur when nothing happens at all:

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