Cinema Bros’ Top 35 Shots of 2017


Director of Photography: Hoyte van Hoytema

By Sam

The claustrophobic nature of this shot is probably its most important quality. It is focused so tightly in on the soldiers that we barely see anything but them on the screen. It is also outstanding how many extras they were able to pack into the shot and the filmmakers ability to coordinate them so well. Worth noting is the fact that the shot works better with sound of the German planes approaching overhead, but it is telling that even silently it is able to portray the sheer dread that the soldiers are feeling due to their predicament.

It Comes At Night

Director of Photography: Drew Daniels

By Josiah

It Comes At Night wasn’t marketed the best, but it was this shot that got me hyped for it. Despite what the trailers would have you believe, it is not really a horror film. It features a few horror sequences, but most of the film is about dread and mistrust. This shot of the dog perfectly sums that feeling up in an image. The slow, creeping push in, the dog barking into the unknown and the mistrust we feel both toward the dog (How many times has your dog barked at nothing?) and whatever may be out there. This shot is simply *insert Italian chef kiss*.

Logan Noir

Director of Photography: John Mathieson

By Jacob

My top ten films of 2017 will be heavily influenced by emotion. More so than years past, numerous films of 2017 evoked deep emotional responses in me that were often a surprise. In this shot from Logan (the Noir version), we see Laura grasping Logan’s hand as he stands next to the grave of a loved one. Tied to the final scene of the film, this shot is soul crushing. We’re not accustomed to seeing Logan’s hands in this way. The Wolverine’s hands contain adamantium instruments of death. Now we see no blades, no clenched fists. Instead, we only see the trembling hand of an old, dying man being held by child. It’s a fitting tribute to Logan, and it makes us long for him to find the peace and rest that have long escaped him.  

The Florida Project

Director of Photography: Alexis Zabe

By Sam


The Florida Project has a plethora of static shots that rely on the beauty of the scenery and the actions of it’s characters. This one is super interesting because it somehow manages to transform a simple shot of a rainbow over a hotel into something straight out of a fairy tale. Much of this has to do with the wonderful purple coloring of the hotel and the bright summer sun beating down on it to really make the color pop. The last element that really makes this scene ooze joy is the eager way that the two girl run off towards the rainbow. It is a singularly happy scene in a film that does not always deal with overly happy themes.


A Ghost Story

Director of Photography: Andrew Droz Palermo

By Josiah

Yes, this is that shot where Rooney Mara eats a pie for like 9 minutes and I love it. After losing her husband days earlier, Mara’s character tries to busy herself with several house chores. Eventually, she decides to seek comfort in a sympathy pie someone left for her. She sits down and damn near eats the whole thing for one continuous static shot as her ghost husband looks on nearby. It is a perfect encapsulation of the nature of grief. We see Mara chip away at the pie, bite by bite, enjoying each one a little less. But she is trying to fill that hole that was left by her husband’s death so she keeps going and going. We never get that Oscar clip of Mara crying, but we don’t need it. For nine minutes, director David Lowery gives us time to contemplate death and this woman’s grief in a strikingly emotional and daring shot.

Blade Runner 2049

Director of Photography: Roger Deakins

By Jacob

With time, this shot may end up being the definitive shot from Blade Runner 2049. It encapsulates the films questions about humanity versus artificial intelligence perfectly in the lonely K, a replicant, gazing at the gigantic, nude image of his holographic love, Joi. Not only is this shot a microcosm of the films larger themes, but it’s also masterful attention to cinematic detail. Deakins and his team used a similar filming technique from Skyfall in which they actually projected a 30×40 image of Joi onto a blue background in pre-production. Deakins wanted this specifically for authenticity. He wanted to film something that was real and not on green screen. Post-production, of course, gives us the final product. Yet it’s hard to ignore the fact that this film looks the way it does due to Deakins’ commitment to going the extra mile.

Blade Runner 2049

Director of Photography: Roger Deakins

By Sam

Blade Runner 2049 gives a perfect representation of it’s aesthetic in this shot of K walking through the city. The bright flashing neon lights show the out of control and intrusive lengths to which future advertisement has gone. They glare through the haze that has been caused by humankind’s inability to control pollution and waste. Even with all of the lights there is still a looming darkness to the city and it is this darkness that silhouettes K against the urban background. This contrast between light and dark elevates this shot and makes it completely visually stunning.


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