Yesterday’s Sidney Lumet tribute by Salon‘s Matt Zoller Seitz was the most perceptive and best written of the nine or ten I’ve read so far. Lumet’s style of directing “has a subliminal effect on what we’re feeling as we sit there in the dark,” he said. “He thought about the story from the inside out, letting text and performance dictate visuals, rather than superimposing meaning.
“It’s not the only valid way to make a movie, but it’s demanding and illuminating, and there are not as many rewards in it as there are in the shoot-the-camera-out-of-a-cannon type of directorial pyrotechnics.
“That’s why, even though Lumet’s films sometime became hits and won awards, they never gained much currency with auteurist critics. [But] just because you don’t instantly notice what directors are doing doesn’t mean they aren’t doing anything.”