Avengers: Infinity War knocked fans for a loop — but audiences can’t say they weren’t warned.
Directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo used a particular camera movement early in the film to clue in audiences that they were in for a wild ride. The roll, a movement that turns up in several films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is unlike tilting or panning, in that it doesn’t mimic our natural head movement as we look up or down or from side to side. Instead, it rotates the entire image, sometimes just on one side, upside-down, or even in a circle.
Directors have used rolls for decades as a storytelling tool. Sometimes this movement helps show a character’s disorientation (after a knockout in 2015’s Creed) or paranoia. Other times, it offers the audience a visceral connection to something unsettling, unusual, or special (moving through the Discovery One in 2001: A Space Odyssey; Fred Astaire literally dancing around a room in 1951’s Royal Wedding).
Director Christopher Nolan uses the roll to great effect in several films, notably 2010’s Inception, as well as one instance in 2008’s The Dark Knight. Viewers empathize with Batman (Christian Bale) as he dangles the Joker (Heath Ledger) upside-down, but as the Joker explains his skewed worldview, the image slowly rotates so that he’s right-side up while gravity still affects his coat and hair. It’s like peeking inside his topsy-turvymind.
(Excerpt) Read More in: The Hollywood Reporter