Having your own trademarks as a filmmaker is essential in knowing how to make movies. It makes you unique among other directors when you have distinct characteristics in your films.
It also can reveal certain themes that continuing throughout your filmography and in the end gives your audience an understanding of how the filmmaker sees the world or would like to see it. Or it might be a visual pattern that is coming over and over again to show your audience what’s going on.
Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve has become the next big thing in Hollywood. Prisoners, Sicario, Arrival, and Blade Runner 2049 have convinced both critics and audience.And one of the reasons for his success is the distinct language he uses.
The YouTube Channel The Take created a video in their You know its____IF series about Villeneuve where they listed 14 of his most obvious patterns and what is making him one of a kind.
One of these trademarks is the opening of his films, where he often uses a pullback shot to create tension with a violent act that might happen. He creates a certain expectation to hook his audience right in the beginning.
In Polytechnique, Arrival and Sicario there are strong female protagonists set as an outsider in an unfamiliar or male-dominated environment. The characters feel displaced or isolated, but impress us with a strong sense of professionalism. All three characters contrast to the traditional male hero, who would solve their problems in a … well … different way.
Going along with the modern female hero, it is also modern to portray both sides of a conflict. To show intimacy with victims and villains. To show characters in private moments of vulnerability makes us feel compassion due to their lonely or tragic circumstances.
And these are just three of the 14 innovative trademarks, to see how creative he is with his visual language and what kind of worldview he has, check the video.