Eternity: The Impact of Slow-Motion on ‘American Gods’

Making moments last.

Making moments last.

If you watched the American Gods series that just wrapped on Starz, then you know that like other shows from co-creator Bryan Fuller – Hannibal, Pushing Daisies – it has a very distinct visual landscape, a hyper-theatrical aesthetic that aides in the series’ world-building and helps to establish an atmosphere of mystery, magic, and intrigue.

Of the many techniques Fuller has his directors – namely David Slade, who directed 3 of 8 episodes here and 5 of Hannibal – use to create this aesthetic, the copious and dramatic use of slow-motion has to be near the top of the list. To prove how prevalent and effective such shots are, editor Zackery Ramos-Taylor has cinematically stitched together the following compilation of all American Gods’ slo-mo sequences. Notice how they almost interrupt the narrative with their staggering beauty, how they take you for a moment out of the narrative and transport you into the headspace of a character. As was the case in Hannibal, the use of slow-motion here is a tension-heightener, it’s an opportunity to make the viewer feel every single beat of what’s happening on screen, to live it, emotionally-speaking, from the comfort of their couch; in a show about deities, it also stresses the manipulation such beings would have over our natural world.

Bottom line, Fuller has had a hand in some of the most visually-daring shows in recent memory. Any chance you have to explore their aesthetic you should take, starting now.

H. Perry Horton: Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist