• Jaden Smith in After Earth

The most valuable player on After Earth, the big-budget sci-fi feature that opens in general release today, may well be cinematographer Peter Suschitzky. As David Cronenberg’s regular cameraman since Dead Ringers, Suschitzky has developed a look of uncanny glossiness in their numerous films together. His lighting never feels unnatural, yet there’s always something off about it—it seems almost too controlled, as if the drama were playing out in a museum diorama. Suschitzky’s contribution to Cronenberg’s work is most pronounced when the settings are the least artificial: the old Chinese exteriors of M. Butterfly, the sanatorium grounds of A Dangerous Method, the woodland settings of eXistenz. The latter film, a rare future-set sci-fi tale without a single metropolitan setting, may represent the height of Cronenberg and Suschitzky’s partnership; in it tall trees and country roads seem as alien as any futuristic technology.