Explore What is Dutch Angle in Cinematography

Is the Dutch angle the black sheep of cinematography? A technique created by tilting the camera any number of degrees to either side, the Dutch angle (also referred to as a Dutch tilt or canted angle) is often met with mixed opinions. Film Noir classics like Carol Reed’s THE THIRD MAN are applauded for their use of the tilt and how it enhances the seedy, discombobulated nature of the films. On the other hand, more modern films such as BATTLEFIELD EARTH and THOR were berated by critics for their excessive use of the angle. Being that the tilted camera angles lines that are straight in reality, we become disoriented as our eyes try to adjust to the tilted environment. When a character makes a devastating realization, a slight tilt of the camera can make the moment all the more uncomfortable for us as a viewer (even on a subconscious level). While some Dutch angles are blatantly obvious and easily defined due to extreme angles, others are subtle to the point of going unnoticed—we sense that something is off, but we can’t quite put our finger on it. The Dutch angle seems to be at its most effective when it is used to convey or enhance a feeling. Here is a look at the Dutch angle used in a variety of films to a variety of extremes.

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