But here’s the problem… you’ve got this cast that’s doing everything right, and you’ve got this script that strikes just the right tone, and you’ve got the action staged just right… and then you shoot it all like you’re embarrassed by it, like you’re determined to hide it all and make it impossible to see. Because that’s what Tony Scott’s visual signature has devolved to at this point, and I mean devolved. It’s been a sliding scale of incoherence for a while now, and Hollywood continues to fall over itself to reward him for it. It’s almost like a wicked joke that the name of the film that finally broke me in regards to Tony Scott is called “Unstoppable,” because he certainly is. If the film was just a bad film, it wouldn’t matter as much, but it’s a good film that is buried in a visual style that can best be described as “evasive.”
I agree that Scott’s style is fairly insufferable, but I think Unstoppable is his most “general audience-friendly” film in years. Compared to films like The Taking of Pelham 123, Deja Vu, and Man on Fire, Unstoppable is a model of self-restraint. That being said, Scott’s re-use of the same damn shots over and over and over again in Unstoppable is hilarious and should make for good MST3K fodder down the line.
[It’s actually hard to describe until you see the film; why would a director employ the same exact swooping camera move around the train “cockpit” a dozen times over the course of a film? Baffling.]