One of the most startling cinematic experiences in recent memory was watching In The Heights a few weeks back. Was it because the film was somehow terrible? Oh no! Quite the contrary, Jon Chu’s latest project is without question his finest to date and in my estimation, is the perfect example of a film Academy members gravitate towards when filling out their ballots. The ensemble is terrific, the musical numbers are out of sight, the message is extremely relevant in today’s environment, but what elevates this film above others is its visuals and we have cinematographer Alice Brooks to thanks for this.
Brooks’s work has most recently been seen in Apple TV+’s Home Before Dark and Jem and the Holograms but it’s her brilliant work on this project which will thrust her into the spotlight. Jon Chu even alluded to this on Twitter earlier this week. It’s hard to imagine her work in the film not being recognized during the whirlwind that is award season later this year. We were lucky enough to sit down with Alice to discuss her work in the film and discuss some of the more difficult aspects of the shoot. We touched on everything from train tunnels, 100-degree weather, and what she did to make the film feel personal. If anything, my appreciation for the film swelled after hearing about all of these obstacles they faced.