In this short video Tony Zhou looks at a couple shot clips from Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive” (2011) to show to composition can tell a story. A lot can be said about the movie’s ability to convey meaning through it’s cinematography, especially if we were to divide the screen into quadrants. As Zhou points out in this video, each quadrant is deliberately framed to tell it’s own story. For example, as Michelle Williams and Ryan Reynolds walk down their hallway and go their respected doors, the right side of the screen focuses primarily on Williams and her downcast pensive expression but ends with Reynolds going to this door and glancing her way before going in. But on the left side of the screen, the shot begins with Reynolds removing his driving coat (haven’t seen the movie, but I’ll be bold and interpret it as a symbol of his dangerous hidden life being a hired driver) and at the end Williams hesitating to enter into her apartment. Each side gives two different stories but come together as one to give the scene an extra layer of vivaciousness, depth, and life. Zhou points out how the quadrant system creates emotion and suspense through it’s method of dividing up space and blocking actors.

I always tend to like Tony Zhou’s videos as a place for inspiration when it comes to videographic criticisms. His casual friendly tone not only makes the content feel approachable but it also draws the viewer in, inviting the listener to see what he sees. In addition to voiceover, he uses a number of effects like super imposed graphics, changes in speed, and fade in and outs to show how the compositional balance of “Drive” works as a tool to make subvert conventional notions of cinematography.