Over the last 15-20 years, there’s been a disturbing trend in filmmaking. No, I don’t mean superhero sequels. I’m cool with that (mostly; I’m talking to you, moody, conflicted take on Superman). I mean shaky cinematography.
Obviously, cinematography can be used to create a mood or set the emotional tone of a scene in a film. Used properly, techniques in camera work can heighten the sense of urgency in a scene, and some degree of camera shake can give a sense of being along for the ride, or that feeling of watching a documentary rather than a work of fiction.
The problem is when the camera bounces around so much that it makes the viewer seasick, or causes headaches. Even this wouldn’t be too bad in limited doses. What’s really bad is when entire movies are filmed with cameras handled as if operated by people who just quit a massive coffee habit and are going through caffeine withdrawal.
I’m writing this while trying to watch “The Bourne Supremacy.” I started writing because the camera work in this film is so unsteady that I can only watch a few moments at a time for large stretches of the movie. What’s the point to making a movie that’s so hard to watch?
Of all the filmmaking techniques available, this is, I think, the most annoying even in limited amounts. Can this trend please finally stop? I’d rather have excessive lens flares. Really.