Based on Ian McEwan's novel and written for the screen by talented playwright Joe Penhall, Enduring Love was filmed by Cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos, and masterfully directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Changing Lanes). The film was produced by Kevin Loader. Digital effects were also created by Framestore CFC.
The film opens as Joe (Daniel Craig) and Claire (Samantha Morton) are enjoying a picnic in a field – an idyllic English pastoral setting of gently rolling hills and glorious sunshine. Almost immediately Joe finds himself involved in a desperate situation involving an out of control hot-air balloon. During the ensuing tragedy Joe encounters Jed (Rhys Ifans), a troubled young man whose interest in staying in touch with Joe moves swiftly from the slightly unnerving to something far darker. Low-key in its approach to its themes, Enduring Love is utterly compelling and distinctly disturbing.
This is not an effects movie – quite the contrary - but the key opening sequence of the balloon accident required some digital elements to help fully convey the drama and desperation of the situation.
VFX Supervisor Tim Webber attended the shoot, and the Framestore CFC team were anticipating some major VFX work on the sequence. In the event, the shoot conditions could not have been more favourable, and many of the necessary shots were captured in camera.
Sirio Quintavalle's Inferno work helped tidy up the balloon sequence, removing the rig elements, tyre tracks and so forth. In addition, he created a few balloon extensions in 2D, using a cheated perspective – a considerable production cost saving over the 3D alternative. The very first shot of the balloon sweeping past the picnickers was also digitally tweaked for added dramatic effect, with the balloon being sped up slightly, while Craig and Morton's movements were kept at a natural rate.
Later in the film, supplemental rain elements were added to some shots, as well as a tricky clothing continuity fix. One final, unplanned job that Quintavalle was able to perform was the removal of a pair of amorous sheep from the background of an otherwise solemn scene.
The production's choice of a digital mastergrade was also influenced by the opening (and closing) sequences. Colourist Adam Glasman helped fine-tune the lush green fields in which the picnic takes place, as well as creating a more deep and vivid scarlet for the balloon. Over a month Glasman worked closely with Cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos to ensure that Enduring Love's finely judged modulations in colour were fully achieved.
The film's look becomes increasingly saturated and darker as the film progresses, reflecting the peril that threatens to engulf the protagonists.
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