…and the quest to see everything

Best Shot: ‘…mother’s womb.’

My first reaction to Richard Donner’s movie, second to ‘Nat’s Best Shot series is back! Yay!’ is that I have now learned where that hipster singer’s name comes from, assuming of course that all musicians get their names out of thin air unless stated or informed of otherwise. And fortunately, the movie Ladyhawke isn’t as bad as the electro-whaetever musician. Little Boots is better.

An actor’s blocking and personality changes an image in a movie despite of how the camera sticks to the same frame boundaries. This shot of a dirty wall and a hand desperately trying to stick out comes after one that shows three men getting hanged. The first thing that comes to my mind is that this man faced another execution, of getting cemented within a wall or something, suggesting a brutality that the movie might have. It cuts to a scene when knights search for an imprisoned Philippe Gaston to be hanged next and it cuts back to the same muddy surface we see earlier.

And then we realize that it’s just Cooter Burger breaking out of that wall and we realize that he and we are just going to be fine. We see and hear Matthew Broderick’s luminous face and first words – comparing his current state to that of ‘escaping mother’s womb.’ Despite his and everyone else’s wobbly accents, he brings whimsy and youthful physicality to a movie that we’ll discover is anachronistically yet enjoyably cartoony, a Medieval adventure story viewed under a modern lens and a good God soundtrack.

Those are my favourite shots although there were many from which to choose, the movie simultaneously bringing my tendencies to compare the natural compositions with Brueghel, which is coincidental because Philippe’s unlikely road buddy in the cursed Navarre is played by Rutger Hauer, who will eventually play the painter three decades later. Other shots and the colour within them also remind me of Cezanne, Powell, Poussin and Cameron although the silhouettes makes a Western trope into its own thanks to cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. The movie also features Michelle Pfeiffer as the titular love interest Ladyhawke/Isabeau and Alfred Molina as Cesare, a man who works for the three characters’ common and blasphemous enemy.

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2 responses

  1. You captured the only sequence of Broderick’s I remember from the film – and one of the few lines of dialogue. I admit to being amused by that “mother’s womb” bit, but the rest of the time I found him annoying in the film and he was my least favorite element. (It’s been many years since I watched it though, so perhaps I’ll give it another go.)

    March 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    • Matthew Broderick has arguably always been considered annoying. I read a DVD review of Ferris Bueller calling his main character a sociopath. He had this overconfident nerd that can be awesome at times. I didn’t find him annoying but that’s probably because I refused to believe that anything in this movie was real. In the best of ways, if that makes any sense.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm

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