Director Andrew Neel’s Goat is a conceptually darker look at college life, focusing on a harrowing experience of fraternity hazing. The director, along with cinematographer Ethan Palmer, sought to convey that tone visually as well.
“We felt like most college films feel too cleaned up; slathered in sentimentality,” Neel tells IndieWire. “They have big sweeping shots of groomed campuses — everyone’s shirts are too new. Their rooms are unrealistically large. So in every department we tried to work on making everything look s***ty, stinky and cramped because that’s the way it really is. We wanted it to look dirty, dim, and grimy and drunk. Like college… [M]aking things look s***ty can be hard. You need to do a lot of work to make things s***ty in a good way. It still has to be visually engaging.”
“For [the color] palette I found myself looking a lot at [cinematographer] Greig Fraser’s work in Foxcatcher,” adds Palmer. “A slightly muted, unadorned look where the presence of the actors and a sense of place take precedence but we also find moments for a bit of stylization. Also The Hunt, Breaking the Waves and Abu Ghraib prison photos.”
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