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Shots taken from a canted camera angle, often from a low position. Usually used to help create a jarring, "off center" feel.

Originated in 1930s German cinema, causing it to become known as the "Deutsch angle"; this was then corrupted to "Dutch angle", its most common name. Also known as Canted Camera.

Like any trope, this can be played with. Some examples may start with a normal, "straight" angle and then shift to a Dutch Angle. Others may start with a Dutch angle tilted in one direction, and then swivel to tilt the other way, which is even more jarring.

Done right, it can create an eerie setting that isn't quite right. Done wrong - or even in the wrong places or way, WAY too many times, and it looks... well, a little silly.

Examples of Dutch Angle include:


Anime & Manga

  • Noir uses this frequently, sometimes even from a low position.
  • A staple of anime, manga, and Visual Novels, which use these often and to great effect.
  • Used quite a bit in Baccano!, particularly during conversations with one of the show's (many) Crazy Awesome characters.
  • Avenger liberally used this trope. One scene was even drawn completely sideways for no apparent reason.


Film

  • Infamously overused (to the point that every shot is slanted) in Battlefield Earth, causing Roger Ebert to remark, "The director, Roger Christian, has learned from better films that directors sometimes tilt their cameras, but he has not learned why."
  • The classic 1949 film noir The Third Man makes great use of tilted camera angles through the whole movie.
    • After finishing the movie director Carol Reed was presented (either by the crew or a fellow director) with a spirit level to put on his camera in future projects.
  • Used a lot in Do the Right Thing.
  • Used in some of Terry Gilliam's films, e.g. Tideland.
  • Used at the end of the first American Pie movie, when Kevin and Vicky have sex for the first time. It is extremely awkward for them, symbolized by the shot being tilted just a little too much.
  • Craftfuly used by John McTiernan in Die Hard in the scene when Hans and John meet face to face for the first time. John McClane is unaware (or unsure) of Hans' identity, while Hans perfectly knows who John is. John decides to give Hans a gun to protect himself. Now, for the whole movie McTiernan use a straight angle for anything Hans related (symbolizing Hans straight, thought-out plan), and a dutch angle for John (symbolizing his role as a fly in the ointment and his love for improvisation). Of course, Hans plans to shoot John, but you know before him that the gun is empty... because the camera slowy tilts in the shot of Hans aiming at John.
  • Used in one scene of the movie Serenity (combined with an odd, rollercoaster-like dip) as a visual cue when River Tam is reading the minds of a room full of people.
  • Used for two scenes from The Dark Knight: when Harvey Dent is tied up and falls on his side, and when the Joker is left hanging by his foot, the camera rotates to match the characters' odd angle.
  • Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, since the series was taking more and more inspiration from the TV series.
  • Part of Michael Bay's Signature Style. This even extends to the commercials he directed.
  • Used occasionally in Brick.
  • Used a lot in Bogeyman.
  • Used in the 2009 film Star Trek when Spock appears before the Vulcan High Council.
  • Used extensively in The Element of Crime, and combined with wild but slow camera movements, to induce a sensation of loosing directions and gravity perception in the audience (justified because the whole movie is a hypnosis-induced flashback).
  • Overused by director John Patrick Shanley in his film adaptation of his play Doubt.
  • Used a lot in the new movie Thor.
  • Heavily abused in Curse of the Zodiac. At random times, the camera will just completely tilt to the side.
  • Casino Royale 1967 uses this type of shot extensively in a sequence with Joanna Pettet's character in Berlin, appropriately in a German Expressionist-style set.


Live-Action TV

  • The old-school 1960s Batman TV series habitually tilted the camera 45 degrees so you'd have a visual cue that you were in a bad guy's lair.
    • Tilt the camera 90 degrees and Batman and Robin could climb up the outer wall of the building as easily as they walked along the studio floor. And talk to Sammy Davis Jr. at the same time.
      • Word of God said they actually used a 45 degree angle here, too. Why? Who knows. (Likely reason: so the capes wouldn't be "hanging" perfectly horizontally.)
      • To clarify, our heroes are walking up a 45 degree hill, with the camera tilted 45 degrees the other way, to add up to a 90 degree vertical wall.
    • One fan commentary joked that this indicated that the villains were "crooked". Gutsplitting, huh?
      • The official commentary said the same thing. Apparently that was the actual reasoning behind that choice of visual cue.
    • The Dutch Angle became so connected with the TV series that when Star Trek: The Original Series had Frank Gorshin (who played The Riddler) on as a guest star, they threw in a few as a homage.
  • This happened a lot in the old Twilight Zone series; the one that sticks out most is "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street", where by the end everyone is getting shot like this.
  • A favourite of director Edgar Wright; used in Spaced, specifically when Brian and Marsha question Tim and Daisy's two-anniversary facade in the first episode. Edgar name-checks the technique in the DVD commentary.
  • On TV's Mystery Science Theater 3000, most shots of Deep 13 are done with the camera tilted, though from a high angle. Justified by the fact that the Deep 13 shots we see are from an actual camera they use to communicate, which is likely at said angle.
  • Justified in the UFO episode "Sub-Smash". A Skydiver submarine has become trapped on the bottom of the ocean, with its deck tilted on an angle -- which subtly indicates the protagonist's increasing sense of Claustrophobia.
  • Good Eats is saturated with Dutch angle shots, taken from just about every conceivable place in a kitchen that one could fit a camera.
    • The Other Wiki even stated that most of his appliances were built with clear backs so that these could be achieved.
  • The 2010 remaster of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, especially during the Green With Evil arc. The Evil Green Ranger is so nasty that even cameras become twisted in his presence...
  • Used to signify that Kira and Bashir have entered the Mirror Universe on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. They kind of overshot the angles a little, making it very distracting and hard to concentrate on the Expospeak.
    • The montage from "Amok Time", too.
  • Seemingly used for every establishing shot in the HBO series John Adams.
  • Used interestingly in the House episode "Insensitive." At the beginning, after a car accident, it shows a shot of the front of a properly oriented truck, but as the camera slowly zooms out, it rotates as well to show that the truck is actually on its side.
  • Here's a challenge: try and find a steady, level shot of Samuel. Helpful hint: there aren't any.
  • Used in the Babylon 5 episode "The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari" to indicate shifts between reality and Londo's hallucinations.
    • Unusually, rather than cutting to the angle shots, the camera slowly tilts and slides into the angle as it moves with Londo.
  • Nash Bridges.
  • Of all shows, Family Feud in the Richard Karn era would slowly start tilting the camera to a ridiculous angle coming into/out of commercial.
    • Not so slowly in the last year or two--sometimes it would tilt in one direction (rapidly), then tilt the other way so fast it was dizzying. It could be even worse coming back from commercial.
  • In the Charmed episode "Charmed Again", the early scenes at a wake held in the Manor are tilted. By the end of the episode, when the Power of Three has been reconstituted, the camera is level again.


Videogames

  • In Eternal Darkness, the more insane your character gets, the more tilted the camera gets. One cutscene in the game even began with the camera tilted and in the lowest corner of a room.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, there is one hallway in Ultimecia's Ominous Floating Castle which uses a very steep Dutch Angle, which is a tad disorienting for someone using the analog stick to move around.
    • Several scenes in the satellite in Disc 3 appear at odd angles, largely to give the appearance of life in zero-gravity.
  • Kane and Lynch - in addition to applying the red hue to the screen - tilts the camera a bit to indicate low health.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum used this as one of many visual cues indicating that Batman is under the effects of Scarecrow's fear gas.
  • The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess has several of these, with one of the more prominent examples being when Ganondorf dies while standing with the Master Sword lodged in his chest.
  • Command and Conquer 3 has this in spades. Every single FMV in the Nod-side storyline is filmed in long shots of slightly acute angles.
  • Final Fantasy XIII does this several times. Often from behind Vanille.
  • Part of Silent Hill's Signature Style to illustrate how out-of-it the protagonists are.
  • Present a few times throughout the Parasite Eve series.
  • Used in Metroid: Other M, occasionally.


Web Animation

  • In the Feast Master chapter of Banana-nana-Ninja! Dutch Angles are used to illustrate Baninja's horror at having to kill and cook Mudkips.


Web Originals

  • Starting with Act II, some of the shots for Billy and his villainous alter ego in Doctor Horribles Sing Along Blog began coming from odd angles, or were lit darkly, or shot as if Dr. Horrible were pressed into a corner. The closer the show got to its climax, and the more Billy progressed on his path to darkness, the more bizarre the camera shots became.
  • What with The Nostalgia Critic's mockery of Battlefield Earth for overusing this, you might wonder if the liberal use of it in Kickassia was a deliberate reference. Still, this can excuse itself with Parody and What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome? (even though it is awesome).


Webcomics

  • This Exiern strip, when the evil sorcerer Faden (temporarily?) regains his powers during an eclipse of the moon and breaks free. Actually, the tilting starts with the last panel of the page before that, when the heroine notices something is wrong with the light.
  • Used in Fleep to symbolize Jimmy's shock after the news that his wife is dead.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, when Antimony uses the Blinker Stone to see distant things, her Blinker-vision combines odd angles and Fish Eye Lens perspective.
  • Used in El Goonish Shive to reflect both the eeriness of Abe getting to Ellen, and his own disorientation due to the sleep grenade here and later used to convey a ominous mysteriousness here.
  • Wapsi Square uses this sometimes, such as the first panel here. This is most likely due to the author's background in photography.


Western Animation

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