The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Rarely has Deakins been assigned to shoot a Western. And yet, one look at his approach to the wide-open expanse of Andrew Dominik’s breathtaking Jesse James, and even the least-trained eye realizes frontier America was meant to be photographed in majestic golden tones by the gifted British cinematographer. Choosing one shot to highlight in Jesse James is a fool’s errand, and yet, for the benefit of this exercise, I’ll mention this fascinating shot of doctors photographing Jesse’s corpse … hammering home the point that, even in death, the outlaw existed as a larger-than-life reflection in the public’s curious eye.

It's a coincidence that animated films have gotten more beautiful in the time that Deakins has been working, but only a little-- he's done work as a consultant on Rango, How To Train Your Dragon and other gorgeous efforts. His best contribution to animation, though, is Wall-E, with both the ravaged vistas of Earth and the gleaming space world of the Axiom coming to vivid life under Deakins' guidance. The most beautiful sequence, Wall-E and Eve's dance through space, has both the ache of romance and the loneliness of space-- two robots able to connect better than actual humans can.

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