Top 5 Hollywood Director’s Signature Style

You are in the mood for movies. How do you choose what to watch? Many of you would choose a movie after watching its interesting previews, studio names like Disney or Marvel, or see the line-ups of the stars. That is by far the easiest way to make up your mind. But then, you are watching a film and think to yourself, ‘I’ve seen a movie similar to this. The story is completely different, but the vibes are so similar.’. Well, my readers, you are not wrong. Some directors just happen to have such a strong signature style that you can’t pass by it without noticing. And once you notice each director’s signature style, it will become your sole standard on choosing a film for your movie night.

1. Wes Anderson-Symmetry Lover 

Director Wes Anderson is very well-known for his affection towards symmetries. You might not be familiar with his name, but you will definitely know the bright pink, symmetrical ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ movie poster. Film schools teach you about the Rule of Thirds, about how you should never put an object in the center of the frame. Well, it seems Anderson wasn’t listening very well, or he just didn’t feel like following the rules. He completely ignores the norms and puts his objects right in the center, right in the middle of the screen. Seeing some of his shots, you might find yourself wanting to fold the scene and see if each side matches. 

Source: Wes Anderson//Centered by Marcelo Paulo De Souza

His work is also well recognized for the Art Nouveau color palette. Each of his works seems to have its own color palette, from costume to filter. When you think of his work, his decalcomania scene and certain color will come to mind. His movies just work that way, it sinks into the audience’s subconscious and rules the forbidden forest of videography.

2. Quentin Tarantino-The Blood Thirst Genius

Tarantino’s movies are very much influenced by other works. But it is his sole talent to gather various styles of others and make them his own. This director’s signature style includes extreme violence, an homage to other movies, somewhat B-movie-ish vibe, and an excellent selection of music. Although his movies seem B-rated, his movies are very thoroughly thought through, well built, have a solid story, and most importantly, have high-quality lines. He builds up his characters with high-quality lines and makes his story whole. So I think it is safe to say that his movies are rather A-rated black comedies with a B-rated scent. So if you watch a movie with blood flooding, body parts flying everywhere, have crazy-long lines, and are full of black comedy, you are watching one of Tarantino’s movies.

Source: Kill Bill: Volume 1 | ‘Crazy 88’s’ (HD) – Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu | MIRAMAX by Miramax

3. Wong Kar Wai-The Master of Mise-en-Scène

Born in Hong Kong, Wong Kar Wai is nonetheless the most avant-garde director the country will ever have. His movies, however old, do not seem to age but continue to be loved by young generations. He is well known for using step-printing to effectively communicate to the audience what and how his characters are feeling. This technique is, of course, not invented by Wang Kar Wai, as it was already being used in music videos and commercials. However, it was he who created another name for movies, “art of memories”, by emphasizing the element of time through the use of step-printing in his films. His movies trigger memories that were never there before; every aspect of the movie including the emotions and even the streets feel as if they are all the past days of my life. They are nostalgic. 

Source: In the Mood for Love – Corridor Glance by criterioncollection

Wong Kar Wi also has this amazing talent for choosing the right music for the right scene. It is as if they were made for each other. Unlike many other movies, the music in his films is not for “backgrounds”, rather, they possess the stage. They punctuate the inner thoughts of the characters on screen.

4. Tim Burton-The Father of Adult Fairytales

Source: Top 10 Tim Burton Movies by

With this director, you will be able to spot even from miles away. He formerly worked for Disney as a graphic designer, but since his “grotesque” aspect was not what they were looking for, he decided to make a film on his own. What he makes is far from reality and definitely far from child-friendly. Almost all of his films revel in gothic imagery. He also has a preference for stop motion, especially the puppet animation technique because the unnatural movement of stylized puppets effectively ooze out the grotesque he wants. Such likeness can be seen in one of his most famous works, <The Night before Christmas(1993)>. Despite his movies seem dark and gloomy, that’s not all there is about his work. His films are fairy-tales for adults. What seems unreal and incomplete, like the Scissorhands, are actually the most complete characters among the villagers. He accuses the intolerance of the society through contrasting humanism of un-human characters and incompleteness of those who seek to take advantage of them. So if you happen to pass by a movie that is both grotesque and somewhat heartwarming, you are in Tim Burton’s theater.

5. Christopher Nolan-Serial Headache Provoker

Source: A Brief History of Christopher Nolan and Time by CineFix – IGN Movies and TV

Some movies are too obvious and cliche for you, then you go straight to Nolan’s territory. His stories are complicated and confusing, and watching them with your eyes wide open wouldn’t help your understanding. In his work, the concept of time is a crucial motif. His movies such as Memento, Prestige, Inception, Interstellar, and most recently, Tenet, all circle around the concept of time. Due to this particular preference, his movies do not run chronically. Time jumps from scenes to scenes, some movies start with the endings, suddenly the main character’s past memory pops up…The audience usually has a hard time understanding the movie without getting a headache. But even though you have a headache, your heart will run at the brilliance of the film and this director’s mindblowing signature style.

We spend almost our entire lives trying to bond with people because they are all different. People always have their style. The way they talk, the way they dress, write, drive, on every aspect of their lives. That is what makes his or her life interesting and unique. The same goes for movies. The director’s signature style of directing is what makes a movie. Knowing what you are watching can make the movie twice as interesting and fun. Now you’ve learned there are specific styles in movies depending on directors, a new theater has opened up for you to enter.

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