Empire Australasia - May 2018

(Kiana) #1
put the great director’s
movies in order

Ian:How amazing is the opening shot
ofSnake Eyes? The rest of it is rubbish.
I think De Palma should direct a Marvel
movie. He should do one of those
set-pieces and make sense of it.
Nick:Hawkeye in a dress. I’d watch it.
Chris:Let’s focus on why people still talk
about him. He’s a stylist and can pull off
these incredible tracking shots. He uses
splitscreen, he uses...
Nick:Split diopter. I love saying that.
It’s essentially keeping two things in
focus at the same time, something far
away and something close. You get two
bits of information.
Ian:My favourite split diopter is in
Untouchables, where the opera singer
is singing in the foreground and Capone
is in the background.
Nick:There’s an amazing one inBlow
Outwith an owl. You see Travolta
recording and the owl is right near the
camera. The owl swivels its head and
looks right at the camera.
Chris:The owl breaks the fourth wall.
Nick:Nobody uses the camera like De
Palma. There’s another bit inBlow Out
where the camera is revolving slowly
around the room as Travolta works on
his tapes, which is amazing.
Chris:Is he more in love with technique
than soul?
Ian:Yeah. It’s a very cold day today and
he’s colder than today. He’s a very cold
ilmmaker. He doesn’t have a warm
bone in his body.
Nick:I wonder ifCarlito’s Wayis maybe
his warmest ilm. It’s quite soulful. You
really like that character. It’s quite rare.
You watchBody Double, you don’t warm
to that guy at all. ButCarlito’s Wayhas
a real humanity to it.
Ian:There’s also humanity in the late
’60s ilms.GreetingsandHi, Mom.
You get a sense that there are human
beings here.
Chris:I agree with Nick onCarlito’s Way.
The love story between Pacino
and Penelope Ann Miller really gives
it something. I don’t think at the end
ofScarfaceyou’re rooting for Tony

Chris:When did you irst get turned onto
De Palma?
Ian:I read a book called theThe Movie
Brats, which is the book that coined that
phrase, about Spielberg, Lucas, John
Milius, Francis Coppola, Scorsese and
Brian De Palma. So I got to know him via
that book and the irst one I saw was
Carrie. And it’s amazing. It’s so ’70s but it
hasn’t dated. Then I watched everything.
Jonathan:Mission: Impossible, which
Nick says is not a true De Palma ilm.
And he’s probably right. Before then,
the Brian De Palma I knew most of all
was the guy who hatedStar Warson
the irst screening.
Nick:The crawl was his idea, wasn’t it?
Thank you, Brian De Palma.
Ian:He famously took the mickey
out of the Force. Thought the Force
was ridiculous.
Nick:From the man who madeThe Fury,
that’s rich. He’s not in a strong position
to tell anyone what’s ridiculous or
ludicrous. Some of the stuff in his ilms
is bare bonkers.
Chris:Nick, your irst experience?
Nick:I remember seeingScarfacewhen
I was pretty young at school. I was
impressed. I know it’s not generally
beloved by people, but it made a very
strong impression on me.
Chris:For me, there’s something
bravura about a lot of the set-pieces
he attempts, whether it’s the soundless
heist inMission: Impossible, or the
amazing shoot-out inThe Untouchables,
orBlow Out.
Ian:Even the rubbish ilms.Bonire
Of The Vanitiesopens with an amazing
ive-minute tracking shot.
Jonathan:Snake Eyes!




Editor. Such a De
Palma fan that
he even loves
the Springsteen
Dancing In The


Once watchedBody
Doublewhile sitting
next to an old lady
on the Tube. She
wasn’t impressed.

Empire’s Dep. Ed.
Has a curiously
soft spot for
Mission To Mars.

Loves De Palma,
but admits he’s
made some
bad films. The
worst one? Well,
that would be


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