Welles in Mr. Arkadin (aka Confidential Report)

  • Welles in Mr. Arkadin (aka Confidential Report)

It’s a good time to be looking up at the movies. Two high-profile recent releases, Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain and Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder, employ the low-angle shot like it’s going out of style; and the Music Box Theatre is in the middle of an ongoing series devoted to Orson Welles, the filmmaker most commonly associated with that device. Welles is the king of the low-angle shot, in part because the device fits so well with his theatrical aesthetic—it makes an impression similar to looking up at a stage from the orchestra pit. It also adds to the monumentality of his bigger-than-life characters who appear in all his films; in fact, the low-angles of Mr. Arkadin, which screened at the Music Box this weekend in the original European release version titled Confidential Report, are one of the reasons why the film feels mythic in spite of its obvious low budget.