Steven Soderbergh is as busy in "retirement" as ever, and his latest project is one of his most eye-opening and fun outings yet.
Turns out, Soderbergh is a really, really big fan of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." But whereas you or I might express our love for Indiana Jones' first adventure by blasting the classic John Williams theme or dominating the Indy category at Thursday night trivia, Soderbergh took a slightly more artistic approach to his fandom.
He sapped the entire movie of its color, making it black and white, and also made it silent, adding only some electronic music as neutral ambiance.
According to the director, taking out John Williams' classic score, the bevy of sound effects, the whip-smart dialogue, and the gorgeous color of "Raiders" allows you to focus specifically on the staging and majesty of each individual shot, and Soderbergh, of course, is right: they're amazing. Just look for yourself.
Spieberg's use of shadow emphasizes the mythic nature of Indy, something you can see much better without color.
Because Indy is a hopeful story, Spielberg allows us to look up from an abyss into a small window of light, and also makes great use of frames within frames to direct our attention.
There are Spielberg's already classic landscape shots, though again, Soderbergh's new contrast allows you to fully appreciate their beauty.
And these already iconic shots aren't too bad either.
An argument could be made that they look even better in black and white, making "Raiders" seem like the greatest 1930s adventure film never made.
As Soderbergh writes on his site, "I operate under the theory a movie should work with the sound off, and under that theory, staging becomes paramount... this filmmaker forgot more about staging by the time he made his first feature than I know to this day."
But it's not really enough to just see stills: You can check out the full movie, with its electronic soundtrack, in all its black and white goodness on Soderbergh's website.