If you’re a cinematography nerd (and the odds are good considering you clicked on an article with Roger Deakins‘ name in the headline), you probably ran outside and dunked a basketball this past February when Deakins won an Oscar for his work on Sam Mendes’ World War I epic 1917. Deakins is one of the most celebrated cinematographers working today, with several all-time classic films under his belt including The Shawshank Redemption, Blade Runner 2049, and virtually every single Coen Brothers movie. The man has been nominated for 15 Academy Awards over a career spanning four decades. That is wild.
But if you’ve been geeking out over Deakins’ filmography for a while now and are looking for some more fuel for your movie nerd engines, you owe it to yourself to check out the work of Wally Pfister. Pfister is the Jose Canseco to Deakins’ Mark McGwire, according to me just now, making them the Bash Brothers of cinematography in this weird analogy that I will now abandon. But seriously, Pfister is a massive talent responsible for some of the biggest movies of the past two decades, including a long collaboration with director Christopher Nolan. He’s received numerous accolades for his work, including four Oscar noms and one win, for 2010’s Inception. Yes, Wally Pfister is the guy who shot Inception.
In the interest of public service, I’ve singled out 5 of Pfister’s films that are 100% worth watching for anyone who sits through movies vibrating with excitement over how awesome the lighting is, or how well-framed that last scene was. Even if you’ve already seen some or all of them, give them a rewatch and pay attention to how well-constructed the images are. I guarantee you’ll have a new favorite cinematographer to add to your watchlist.