Breaking Bad and the Image


The way in which the camera and the projected image in Breaking Bad is manipulated is both seductive and uncomfortable.The shows opening scenes and credits feature the rare television long shot, representing the great expanse of the American west and in a way, allowing the audience to brace for the intimate experience to come. The early scenes of Jesse using methamphetamine feature jerky camera movement and low lights, situating the audience in a very private way within Jesse’s intoxicated world. The low lighting of Spooge’s house also contributes to the dingy and desolate atmosphere of a chronic drug users home, without even beginning to address the dirt and clutter that compose the environment.

Concerning sound, the cafe scene in which Walt and Gretchen meet to discuss circumstances, is particularly interesting. A delicate piano tune plays in the background while the two argue in hushed voices, the contrast emphatic and effective. It is also interesting to note that this episode (maybe the whole series, I am not familiar with it) is generally punctuated by silence. There is no music track in the background, and sound effects are minimized. The focus is on the voices, the words, contributing to the gritty feel of the program.

It is quite clear upon reading Lury’s image and sound how the medium is used to produce certain effects and how these effects maximize the drama that is built up in a show such as Breaking Bad.



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