I caught an interesting movie last night on HBO: Gus Van Sant’s “Elephant“. It’s a compelling film, and terribly disturbing,
almost mirroring the high school shootings in Columbine.
What struck me most about the movie was the sound. Lots of ambient room sound — no ADR. It made a world of difference, with the camera often following the untrained actors around a Portland, Oregon high school. You could hear the dialogue just as it would sound if you were actually in the room. It’s as if you’re there, observing things as they happen. The result comes off like one long take of a film.
There’s a sound category for film awards, and instead of explosions and Foley artistry — “Elephant” should win for its sound recording being such a large part of the experience.