Richard Linklater’s films are known more for their plotlessness and structured naturalism than their visual style. That’s understandable: his camerawork is subtle, and more concerned with getting the right shot for the right moment than producing striking images for their own sake. Thankfully, Nelson Carvajal’s new video essay gives this underrated work its due, demonstrating just how brilliantly Linklater’s films use cinematography to immerse the viewer.
From Slacker to Boyhood, Linklater’s camera induces a sense of easy intimacy with a film’s characters, even in scenes of rambling conversation and philosophical discussion. There’s no flashy composition, but the trippy landscapes of Waking Life and beautiful long takes of Before Midnight enthrall the audience, making us feel each moment as though it’s lived experience. Enjoy.