An American Pickle: A Pickture is Worth a Thousand Words
Brandon Trost’s An American Pickle is masterfully shot. The imagery has the quality of still photography and captures familiar places in new ways. An American Pickle also contains nods to films of the silent era. John Guleserian and Brandon Trost are key players and both come from a background in cinematography. Combined, Guleserian and Trost deliver a meticulous visual work of art.
New New York
Cinematically, it is difficult to create new imagery for familiar places. New York has been a famous subject for many films. In the case of An American Pickle, New York looks different. For example, the Brooklyn bridge is on full display, but in new angles. Shots that feature the skyline seem new with panoramic views. On the ground, areas of New York appear less common. Overall, the city feels familiar but avoids mundane imagery.
Pictures in Motion
A pleasing aspect of the film’s visuals is its still-photography qualities. Nearly every shot in the film is worthy of a spread in a print magazine. You get quality with depth and dimension in every frame. Still, artistry never overshadows the focus of the subject on screen. Even dialogue scenes are dimensional. They showcase a shallow depth of field and draw your attention.
Another rich element in An American Pickle is the film’s color palette. There is a deep quality to the colors. Blacks, whites, and greys dominate most of the scenes. They allow overtone colors to pop. Visually, blacks, whites, and color bring the old and new world together.
A Throwback to Silent Film
An American Pickle begins in an iconic era of cinema. During the 1920s, black and white silent films dominated. Artists like Charlie Chaplin were at the height of their popularity. A common element of silent films is their framed title/transition cards. Text cards were inserted into the action to make up for a lack of dialogue. The film begins with a similar sequence. It pays homage to the silent era. Sequences that take place during the 1920s are also static which was another common element. What results is a look and feel that mimics the great silent films of the era.
Ultimately, An American Pickle is a visually stunning film. It honors films of the past and brings its own unique qualities to the comedy genre.