Column Gazing


Scene from Prince of the City

Scene from Prince of the City
Photo: Orion Pictures / Warner Bros.

Along with watching Kids last week, I also watched Sidney Lumet‘s near-three-hour epic Prince of the City starring Treat Williams as a New York undercover cop who agrees to work with a special commission investigating police corruption just as long as his partners are not implicated. The film is based on the book and true story of NYPD Narcotics Detective Robert Leuci and while it has a meticulous way of unfolding over the course of its 167 minute running time, it comes to a very satisfying conclusion.

However, instead of detailing the film (as I did with Kids yesterday), I was more taken by some of the long, wide-angled shots Lumet and his DP Andrzej Bartkowiak (The Verdict, The Devil’s Advocate) used for the film, the most impressive being the shot above as Williams ascends the courthouse steps, dwarfed by the massive columns running along the right hand side of the image.

There are several such shots in the film, but this was the most impressive. Based on the perspective of the image I love how it looks like just the foot of the column in the foreground is larger than the characters even though you can see that’s not the case the further down the line you go.