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5 examples of cinematographer Deakins' best work

Associated Press Published: November 8, 2012

— "Jarhead" (2005): I did not love this movie as a whole but Deakins created some powerfully dramatic visuals here. This was his first collaboration with Mendes (they'd also work together on 2008's "Revolutionary Road"), based on the true story of Marines who fought in Operation Desert Storm, with Jake Gyllenhaal serving as our guide. As the film descends into its darkest period, Deakins' depiction of a burning oil field is stunning — a bold swirl of orange and black, like some beautiful version of hell. And his shots of the desert, usually through an eye-level, hand-held camera, make the dry vastness and shimmering sun feel palpable.

— "A Serious Man" (2009): Not exactly the Coens' best-known movie (although it earned Oscar nominations for best picture and original screenplay) and not even the showiest example of what Deakins can do. That would probably be "The Big Lebowski." But the look of this film is so lovely and dreamlike, it draws you in. It's inspired by the brothers' youth in a predominantly Jewish suburb of Minneapolis in 1967, so it's very specific in terms of costumes, music and production design. But Deakins' often surreal cinematography adds to the off-kilter mood as we trudge along with the put-upon Michael Stuhlbarg. See it for the "goy's teeth" scene alone.


Think of any other examples? Tell AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire through Twitter: