Brow Beat

Breaking Bad’s Secret Weapon: The Wide-Angle Shot

Few shows conjured a sense of place like Breaking Bad. As has been said time and again, the show’s Southwestern setting was as much a character as Walter White or Gus Fring, with creator Vince Gilligan and cinematographer Michael Slovis using an array of visual tools to bring New Mexico’s landscape to the fore.

The most potent of those tools? The wide-angle shot. In every episode, Slovis at some point sets the camera far, far back from the action, rendering humans as mere blips and emphasizing New Mexico’s desert vistas, infinite horizons, and brightly blue skies. Gilligan’s love for Sergio Leone inspired this approach, and now Jorge Luengo Ruiz’s best-of compilation provides a fresh opportunity to marvel at the show’s panoramic beauty.