I read this interview with Steve McQueen recently, and was very interested to see what his background in the visual brought to his film-making. Decca Aitkenhead says:
despite having made three films about human survival in states of extremity, none has even begun to unravel why people behave as they do. His protagonists’ pain is always privately contained, never shared with an intimate or explored through dialogue, so we scarcely know them any better by the final scene. Instead, his films just show what people do – in unflinching detail. […] we never see inside their minds. For McQueen, the visual artist, showing what they look like is what matters.
She does also suggest that this method has to do with his privateness as a person, which I couldn’t comment on, but McQueen himself added:
I was just interested in telling the truth by visualising it.