Why do so many do it? TV dramas, films. Why do they film so much of it in a coal cellar at midnight, lit by a single match, to create a ‘moody and atmospheric’ air about it?
What has actually kicked off this musing is watching the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes (the Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law one), while doing a pile of ironing.
Not that the ironing is relevant.
It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t Sherlock Holmes, either. It was a steampunk action movie, set in Victorian London, with a couple of blokes doing a lot of fighting (and recovering remarkably quickly from being beaten/blown up/set on fire) and some Indiana Jones/Da Vinci Code stuff thrown in.
In the dark.
Now, I know Victorian London suffered from air pollution (coal was the main fuel). But, just as the First World War wasn’t fought in black and white, I imagine 19th century London had sunny days sometimes.
And if the outdoor scenes had had some, it would have made up for the rest. Which had me peering over the ironing board into darkness, trying to see what was going on.
Downey mumbling at times didn’t exactly help.
There’s a reason sports grounds have floodlights, for instance: it’s so the crowd can see what’s happening on the pitch when the natural light goes.
The French for ‘darkness’ is ‘l’obscurité’. ‘Obscurity’ in English means ‘difficult to understand’.
I rest my case.