Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blog Assignment #4: Out of Sight


The love scene from Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight (1998) is constructed in a nonlinear fashion. The scene is shown in a bifurcated way, showing the characters Jack Foley and Karen Sisco both while they're in their hotel room and also before they go to the room. Editor Anne V. Coates (who edited my all-time favorite movie, Lawrence of Arabia) pieced the scene together in such an obvious way that the viewer is always aware of the scene's back-and-forth energy, swinging like a pendulum between the hotel room and the conversation leading up to it. Because Coates cuts back and forth between Jack and Karen's conversation leading up to the love scene and the love scene itself, the scene effectively shows both thoughts and actions simultaneously. Dialogue is sometimes used in voiceovers, further blending the two parts of the scene. The non-diegetic music, an original score by David Holmes, fits the scene in a slow, moody way, never overpowering the visuals onscreen.

Color in Out of Sight differs depending on where the scene is set. In Florida, for example, the film focuses a lot on red and green, whereas Detroit focuses on shades of blue (like in this great shot). The hotel love scene is in Detroit, so its colors are muted and dark, if not actually blue, although there is a bluish tint to the restaurant where Jack and Karen are talking during part of the scene.

There are freeze frames at the 2:18 and 2:34 points. Coates utilizes that stylistic choice at other times in the movie, always to emphasize a particular feeling. When the scene freezes at 2:18, it's to underline how crucial this sex scene is; it's what the movie has building up to for the past hour or so, ever since Jack and Karen met. The freeze at 2:34, leading into a fade out, emphasizes how potent the characters' chemistry is, so strong that time itself stops.

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