DEFINITION August 2022 - Web


THE SPOOKS With a story taking place in the shadows, the DOP casts an eerie glow over proceedings

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Part of the Stansted Airport chase cuts to Wembley Stadium because of the need for escalators.

Cohen’s camera sits on characters’ shoulders, spending time with them as they go about their duplicitous tasks. He also utilises a surveillance style of shot, gladly spying on proceedings. The camera snoops on people through doorways and broken frames, as Cohen’s stills training comes to the fore. “That’s all about the nature of spy films and to keep the tension flowing. One of the things James Hawes wanted was to always feel like the camera was alive. Even on static scenes, it is always doing something, even if it’s just a bit of movement. It could never be dull to look at – a little bit of dynamism gives the image life. It has an unsettling feeling, creating an impression something is about to happen.

“For static scenes, the camera is always doing something, even if it’s just a bit of movement”

“You don’t want to overdo it, you have to be subtle. Too much will get noticed and it may become a hindrance.” NOT A BOND MOVIE The first season starts with the reason why main character River Cartwright, played by Jack Lowden, is exiled to Slough House – the scene of his huge mistake and transformation into a slow horse. To stage this, the production was lucky enough to hire a terminal at London’s Stansted Airport. This was in the middle

of lockdown, so it wasn’t doing anything at the time. Cohen explains how they took advantage of the opportunity. “Stansted said that if we turned up, they would give us access. We had about five days to shoot it and, as the whole terminal had been mothballed, we moved in. Weirdly, it gave us a lot of freedom we wouldn’t normally have. On a regular day, they have 90,000 people going through there. “It did have its difficulties, as everybody had to be tested for us to operate in a Covid-safe way. But the way we shot was in a typically thriller style – you’re going 90 miles an hour and are suddenly put into reverse. You set it up to be a successful chase and then don’t deliver, which is the tone of the show; it’s not a Bond movie, even though it starts out just like one.” The Stansted shoot purposefully paralleled a famous scene in Casino Royale , placing the viewer in familiar territory: good spies overcoming bad with a frenetic chase. The way Slow Horses subverts that from the beginning seals the flavour of the show. River’s failure is a recurring theme, but his redemption slowly overshadows it. Season 2 of Slow Horses will stream this year, with Seasons 3 and 4 expected in 2023

13. AUGUST 2022

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