/Film’s Valerie Ettenhofer recently interviewed Bolter about the making of “The Last of Us,” and the series cinematographer revealed intriguing insights about bringing the unique world of the games to life. When asked about the haunting window shot at the end of episode 3, Bolter explained that it was a deliberate callback to the title screen of the original “Last of Us” video game, which featured a window shot players know and love. Apart from being a homage to the show’s roots, the shot also ties in neatly with Bill and Frank’s story, adding emotional closure to the especially heart-rending episode. Bolter remarked:
“…I wanted to somehow honor the famous shot of the window from ‘The Last of Us’ title screen. And I saw an opportunity to do an interesting crane shot that was about Joel and Ellie driving off into the next episode. And then a little reminder of where we had come from. We just wanted the echo of Bill and Frank to sort of linger when it cuts to black. And I think that was a nice way to do it.”
Indeed, Bolter’s decision to present this seemingly-simple crane shot adds significant weight to Bill and Frank’s deaths by the time the episode ends, leaving viewers even more devastated. Moreover, the show has been sincere in terms of its deep respect for the games, reflected in the painstaking recreation of the fungi-engulfed world and the attention to detail directed toward mirrored in-game moments. This final shot maintains this sentiment and slowly shifts our attention back to the two souls who loved and lived intensely after finding each other, creating their own safe space in the heart of hell. If that’s not heartbreakingly beautiful, I don’t know what is.