A visual breakdown of the sci-fi western Young Ones (2014)

Director: Jake Paltrow

Cinematographer: Giles Nuttgens (check out our interview with Nuttgens here)

The Plot: Told in three chronological chapters (think American lit, not Tarantino), this sci-fi western follows the saga of a farmer (Michael Shannon) and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) struggling to survive the harsh lives of a drought-ridden dystopian future.

Technical Details: Shot on 35mm anamorphic film in South Africa. Nuttgens pull-processed the film to flatten out the contrast and desaturate the image and lit Young Ones’ first section with available sunlight to emphasize the harshness of the setting.

Where to See It: Currently on VOD

Filmmaker Quotes
Young Ones writer/director Jake Paltrow on the script’s genesis…
“(Young Ones was inspired by) two news articles, one was about moving the capital of Yemen due to a lack of water and other was about the driest town in the world in Chile. It was about all the people that stayed behind and why they all stayed for these odd personal reasons.”

Cinematographer Giles Nuttgens on how Michael Shannon channeled the 110-degree South African desert heat into his performance…
“Michael Shannon is a phenomenal actor and he’s a tough guy. He would go out and he wouldn’t have an umbrella, he wouldn’t have a hat on and he went out and suffered the heat. That helped make him into this guy who was right on the edge.”


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