I just watched Assassination Games, and I noticed some killer shots we, as aspiring filmmakers, should keep in mind.
1. Powerful Focus
Nothing is quite as awesome as a follow-shot of an important object... like a gun. This shot blew me away with the movement and the sheer power of the image. The cops in the background absolutely help sell this moment.
2. A Little Dazzle
The diamonds sparkle and shine in the bag. But to help the audience feel the temptation of the offer, we need to see the light play on our hero's face. There is no way this was accomplished with the diamond props. They had to have used a light to play on his face.
The lesson: Cheat. Always cheat if it helps your audience follow action or idea.
3. Religious Icons Are Powerful
Religious visuals are frequently used in movies. It's really easy--and cheap--to use the theme of hypocrisy and abuse of power with a man of the cloth. But equally as often, it seems to me, the practice of religion is used to portray something higher and uplifting in an anti-hero or jaded-butt-kicking-assassin/master-thief. Why? For all the ups and downs played out in history by major religious institutions, the idea that something more is in there, somewhere, is hard to shake.
Is it cliche to use such images? Sure. But if it communicates--as we see in point #2--do it.
Your Media Production Mentor