In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_q3tdy3mosradn6i1kivfp1pjx91

Deep Web

Winter focuses so tightly on the details of his chosen story that he fails to place it in the context of overall issues of internet…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Cannes Archives
Other Articles
Far Flunger Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives
Primary_debt1-thumb-510x273-38651

As plain as the scar on Helen Mirren's cheek

debt2.jpg

I've never understood the pleasure (or the disappointment) some people seem to get out of trying to spot continuity errors in movies. Such a waste of time and attention. But I've seen this 30-second TV spot for "The Debt" starring Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciarán Hinds and Jessica Chastain several times this week (during "Louie," "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report") and this one's so obvious it throws me for a loop.

One of the first things you notice is a nasty scar on the leading lady's face. And in the TV spot it switches from cheek to cheek within seconds. We're talking about Helen Mirren, people. This is not some minor detail like the level of liquid in a glass or a scarf shifting positions. It's Helen Mirren's face. In every shot but one the scar appears on her right side (our left). Did they flop the other shot for some reason? Just for the ad? Or is it shot in a mirror? I don't know, but it's... disconcerting.

UPDATE:

Here's the same shot from the two-and-a-half-minute trailer online:

debttrailer.jpg

So, they did flop it. Here's why:

debt3.jpg

There's a shot of Tom Wilkinson (above, left) speaking to what looks like Mirren on the right. He says: "If I could go back... I would change it all." Three very brief flashback shots appear under his last few words: Two of armed guards/soldiers shooting to the right and a third of the younger characters (played by Sam Worthington and Jessica Chastain) running toward the camera:

debts1.jpg

debts2.jpg

debt4.jpg

debt2.jpg

And then comes the flopped shot, in which Mirren says, as if in reply to Wilkinson (though not necessarily in the same location or the same scene): "We can't go back." So, it's a pretty obvious solution to a basic problem: putting the actors on either side of the screen so that they look like they're having a conversation. If Mirren had remained on the left, it wouldn't have looked like she was responding to Wilkinson. Mystery (not much of one) solved.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Video games can never be art

Having once made the statement above, I have declined all opportunities to ...

Bill Murray, iPhones and Our One-Handed Species

An essay on how technology has rendered us a one-handed species.

Cannes 2015: "Macbeth," "Ice and the Sky"

A final film report from Cannes on two of the last films for 2015: an update of Macbeth and an environmental document...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus