Movie fans have become a demanding group. Film discussions have grown to a point where simple mistakes are blown up, pulled apart, and shared with the world. While this can be harmful for a film, this type of attention can also work wonders. Many filmmakers include very subtle details in their films that are unlikely to be caught in the first watch through, knowing full well that the internet will spot it eventually if it's clever enough. Sure, this isn't a new practice. Filmmakers have been detail-oriented for many years, but this art is expanding. Now, it's possible to go overboard or misunderstand what makes details special. It isn't simply about hiding important information in the background. If we need to know it, it must be accessible. Otherwise, the first watch will be ineffectual, and we won't be clamoring to watch the film again.
The details that we're looking at today are those that empower us on additional viewings. These are the details that add to the information that we gained from our first watch. In some cases, they start to create other storylines or give us something to think about that is only possible when we know what's going to happen. When done well, it's a really amazing experience. Now, having written all that, some of these details are not all that complex, but we thought that they were interesting enough to include. Some are just neat little things that fans of the film may have missed. We've got all kinds. Since we're dealing with recent films, there are going to be some small spoilers here, so beware. We will try to only deal with the necessary information in the newest films, avoiding major spoilers wherever possible. Here are 15 Subtle Movie Details From Recent Films That Reveal So Much More.
15 Get Out
Get Out hits the audience hard with its message. The film works well, even without a deep dive into meaning, but it's when you start breaking it down that it becomes a true piece of art. There are far too many subtleties in this film to address them all, so we will focus only on cameras and flashes. Though many viewers have missed the point of the film, suggesting Get Out is more about the class divide than the racial divide, there is no mistaking the racism here. This is liberal racism. This is cultural appropriation and theft.
In Get Out, Chris uses his camera to escape and become a viewer rather than a participator, but the camera is revealing in several ways. It's through his camera that Chris first sees another black man. It is the flash of the camera that awakes this black man, Logan, up from within. This brings to mind the recording of police brutality as a way to awaken the public. Cameras, in many ways, are the best protection for the black experience, the best way of showing the world their experience. Without this direct and ugly awakening, Jordan Peele argues, the population are led to believe that we are beyond racism. This is liberal racism. This is who the movie is for and about. This is for the people who ask, how can the antagonists be racist if they love black culture?
14 Thor: Ragnarok
In the recently released movie Thor: Ragnarok, the director Taika Waititi threw in a little subtle reference to one of his previous films, What We Do in the Shadows. He did this through the character of Korg talking about a weapon that can actually kill three vampires huddled together. Even though there are four roommates in the film What We Do In The Shadows, Petyr doesn't really count because he's too ancient to participate in much of anything at this point. Knowing Waititi, this is probably all part of the joke we're talking about here.
When the production designer, Francois Audouy, was scouting for shoot locations for Logan, he and his team stumbled upon an old beehive burner that had holes all throughout it. Later, when they created the water tank that would house Professor Xavier in the film, Adouy wanted to incorporate holes in a similar way. Throughout the build, Adouy recognized some interesting parallels between the tank and Cerebro. "As we were going down this path of designing this tank, it started to really feel like a strange fever-dream version of Cerebro from the [past] X-Men films," he said. "I thought that was an interesting and poetic metaphor… [There's] this sort of starfield effect you get when you go into the water tank that mimics the starfield you see in Cerebro at X-Mansion." Now, when you take this even further, you can see how Xavier's past haunts his daily life. The stars in Cerebro were mutants. In the water tank, the stars are physical holes, representative of the absence of mutants. Even worse is the knowledge that the dead mutants were caused by something horrible that Xavier had done in the past, meaning the tank reminds him of this everytime he opens his eyes.
12 Guardians Of The Galaxy 2
The post-credit scenes in the MCU don't always reveal important information, but they give us fun little glimpses into the extended world. In Guardians of the Galaxy 2, we are shown one scene with some Ravagers that we hadn't been introduced to before. One of these is Krugarr. He is interesting in many different ways. Perhaps most noticeably, Krugarr is versed in the Mystic Arts. In fact, the comics tell us that Krugarr was trained by Doctor Strange himself. Though we can't really see his whole body, Krugarr is a Lem, a wormlike creature. Krugarr was also one of Dormammu's enemies, so it's possible that we will see him show up in the MCU again.
11 It Follows
When It Follows first came out, many people jumped on the STD interpretation because of the s*xual transmission of "it." Over time, people picked up other angles. The one that we subscribe to is the fear of adulthood and mortality. It is no accident that "it," or the entity, is always moving forward. This, like the endless trudging of life, is threatening to people coming to terms with their own mortality. We also are clued in by many of the entity's incarnations, such as the "tall man" and the "old lady," symbols of growth. When the one character is killed, it comes by the entity that looks like his mother. At the end of the film, the protagonists finally confront the entity, and it looks like a middle-aged man. The sister refuses to tell the main protagonist who the entity is. We know it's their father though, because this man is visible in photos throughout their house. Now, while there is a possible s*xual or domestic abuse interpretation, we see this again as fear of parents. Not necessarily fear of what parents do, but what they represent. They are our future, our older selves, and our mortality.
Honestly, these extra little details in Bright don’t add much of anything to the film, but they do make the world that the film takes place within a lot more exciting. While there are countless things going on in the background of the film, we spotted a few species that are pretty interesting. Take the centaur police officer, for example. This guy is seen most clearly in the background when Ward is questioning Jakoby's loyalty to the police force or orcs (one of the 20 or so times he does). There is also a shot of the sky at one point in the film, and a dragon is spotted flying around. We know that there are at least nine races in this world, so there are probably others visible in the film as well. We expect the sequel to explore these more.
9 Rogue One
When Luke Skywalker gets into the cockpit of his fighter in the Star Wars film A New Hope, he takes on the call sign of Red Five. For many, many years, this was just a useless piece of trivia for lots of Star Wars fans. But when the Rogue One film came out, we were finally given a little information and backstory to the call sign. In fact, we even see the poor sap who had the call sign before Luke got a hold of it. We are also shown why that call sign was open for Luke not long after that. Yup. The guy died. In case you were wondering, the poor guy died in a fiery blaze.
This little detail from It doesn't really add anything to the film other than a really creepy and potentially overlooked scare. It comes during the library scene as Ben is reading through old books about Derry. In the background are some other visitors and an old lady looking at some books in the top left of the screen. When Ben stumbles onto a page about an old Easter egg hunt, the music picks up a bit. He then flips the page and then a tragedy that killed 88 people in the town is displayed. As the camera backs off the book page, you can see the old lady in the background is now looking at Ben. Her face then twists and contorts into a horrifying Pennywise-like smile as she stares at Ben, unmoving.
There are no really important spoilers here. We are just in awe of the attention to detail in this Christopher Nolan film. Throughout the film, one of the most incredible things almost everyone notices about Dunkirk is the sound. The sound is not only powerful, but it is said to be quite accurate to the events as well. There is one moment when a character is underwater when an explosion goes off. In many films, we see characters escape explosions by going underwater and are completely protected. Well, in Dunkirk, water is not some impenetrable shield. Since soundwaves travel much faster underwater, an explosion underwater is even more ear-piercing. We see that in Dunkirk. We also see that a fuel fire burning in water can bring the surrounding liquid up to incredibly hot temperatures, burning anyone trying to hide away underwater.
6 A Monster Calls
A Monster Calls is a sweet little film that basically got passed over as a children's movie, but it's got a lot of different things going on. In the film, the protagonist, Conor, is visited by a giant tree monster who is voiced by Liam Neeson. The monster promises Conor three visits, much like A Christmas Carol. Now, in Conor's life, his mother is dying from terminal cancer, and the boy must come to terms with her fate. It's heartbreaking. We also meet the grandmother, played by Sigourney Weaver. Though we are never told this, we know that the friendly monster is actually the boy's grandfather because we see family photos in the house with Neeson in them. It's subtle but it's there. While this knowledge doesn't dramatically alter the film, it does give us a glimpse at who the monster is and why Conor chose him.
Okja is a film that positions the powerful corporation as a shadowy and militaristic agent. While there are allusions to the United States government in several different spots in the film, there are none that draw such a distinct comparison as the photo above. This not only connects the big bad corporation to the US government, but it connects these specific moments. The photo on the left is the famous photo that was snapped during the killing of Osama Bin Laden. The one on the right is the corporation in Okja watching the PR nightmare unfold. Copying this famous photo can mean so many different things, such as making the government seem like a private corporation, showing the distance between act and actors. Take your pick as to what the filmmakers are trying to say here.
4 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
We will dance around some spoilers here because this movie is both fantastic and brand new. In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, fire is everywhere. Fire might as well be one of the main characters in the film because it plays such a major role. As you might expect, fire represents anger in the film, and the size of it and the target of the fire is important. When and how people are hurt by the fire is also important. Late in the film, we see Sam Rockwell's character, Dixon, at a bar, a man who was basically a walking talking fire up to this point. He was fire personified. But at this point in the film, he has experienced some growth. He was given advice to be calm and to think in order to become a better police office. When he stumbles across some information that earlier would have made him burst into flames, he takes some deep breaths and walks outside. This is a major evolution for him. But then, we see fire again. Dixon pulls out a lighter to light his cigarette. When he strikes it, the flame is on its highest setting. It nearly burns his face, but he lights his cigarette and quells the flame. This is really the first time in the film that anyone shows true control over fire.
3 The Witch
Despite what people think about the ending and what it means, The Witch is a wonderful movie that explores witchcraft in a very historical way. The paranoia, the fear, and the imaginative accusations in the movie draw from actual historical accounts from the age of witchcraft. One important detail in the movie is often overlooked, though. The food on the farm in The Witch is clearly infected by ergot fungus. Many scholars believe that ergotism or ergot poisoning is one of the lead contributors to the paranoia surrounding the Salem witch trials. Since ergot poisoning can lead to hallucinations and convulsions (much like we see from Caleb in The Witch), people were convinced that the sufferers were possessed or cursed by witches. This all led to finger pointing and paranoia and the cycle continued. One of the possibilities for the happenings in the film is ergotism. It is not the answer, but, like the Salem Witch Trials, it is one of the possible answers.
2 Blade Runner 2049
It is impossible for us to discuss this detail without spoilers, so tread lightly if you plan on watching the film anytime soon. In Blade Runner 2049, the main character, K, speaks about a dream he has. In the dream, he is running away from some kids that were teasing him. He carries with him a carved wooden horse that has an inscription on it. Now, as we learn later in the film, this dream was created for K. Why is another story altogether, but it is important that he believes the dream and, by extension, that the trinket were his. K believed he was special. Now, look at the horse trinket carefully. You can see that it once had a horn that has been filed off. It was a unicorn; a unicorn without its horn, the thing that makes it special, is just a horse. This is a solid metaphor for K himself.
1 Spider-Man: Homecoming
Throughout the films in the MCU, we have seen Tony Stark take some major abuse and slowly get beaten down. His body was always in bad shape, but after 37 films or so, he has become a shell of what he used to be. While the film has kept it relatively subtle, there are signs of Stark's deterioration. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, we catch a couple of glimpses of Tony's left arm being favored. When Tony is remotely controlling his suit and speaking to Spidey, he can be seen leaning on his left arm and his hand is shaking considerably. Later, when he is talking to Peter in person, he holds his left arm by his wrist as if he is in pain. This left arm business goes back to the early films. He's taken a lot of damage on that arm, and it seems that it's taken a toll on him.
Sources: Wikipedia; IMDB; reddit; Youtube