"Just Think of Someone You Hate"
Another cinematography lesson in how to make Elijah Wood look... uh... not completely beautiful. Maybe the best one we've had since Shelob's lair. In fact, it almost looks as if this shot took some cues from this one
In the first frame, we have a rather generically-scared Matt, who doesn't understand why they can't simply "Get out of here!" The rest of the shot shows his response to the instructions that fighting is easy: "Just think of someone you hate." The audience, of course, knows who he's thinking of. As this emotion develops, I have to say I think it's one of the weirdest ones I've seen on the face of one of Elijah's characters - which is saying a lot! If we look at the angle and lighting of the shot
, we can see that's it no accident that he seems to be torn between two conflicting emotions. So torn that by frame 12
he seems ready to vomit. The poor guy is absolutely scared out of his mind, but he knows he has to force himself to run forward into the fight.
Here's Matt's face from two frames, the first when he's just gathering his hate and the second when he's almost ready to run into the fray. I've split both of them down the middle of his nose, and switched the two sides to make it more difficult for the eyes and brain to subconsciously fuse them back into one face. The side to our right has been heavily lightened.
Everyone has an asymmetrical face; Elijah's is just moreso than most. In this shot, the person behind the camera has made great use of it by highlighting the one side and leaving the other in shadow; the lightened side is also emphasized more because of the shot being taken slightly off to that side so we see more of it. Ever noticed how many shots of Elijah split the light effects right down the middle of his face - or do basically the same thing by showing him in profile? In this case, at least for me, the overemphasis of the one side, through both the camera angle and bright - almost garish - lighting, makes Matt seem more thrown off-center both physically and psychologically.