Friday, 29 January 2010

Close Analysis of Film Opening- The Dark Knight;

The Dark Knight
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Written by: Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan
Staring: Christan Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Certification: 15
  • The dark, blue/black clouds correlate with the title of the film, "The Dark Knight" to suggest that the title is shown at night time due to the darkness effect. The clouds zoom to form the Batman logo and this then becomes clear why they decided to film the title sequence in the darkness of time. Also, Batman has always appeared to be a sinister character in The Dark Knights given plot therefore the choice of colors connote this.
  • The cut zoom into the city defines the location of the film and also suggest the Gotham city is full of crime due to the given name which is similar to Gothic. In result this implies the perfect setting for the enigma to begin.
  • The zoom into the mirrored building shows no reflection which implies there could be no hope for the city.
  • The first showing of violence is the windows exploding. The broken glass is small but lethal and could be used as weapons which could show the film is bound to break laws and be full of action scenes.
  • The shot then cuts to medium close ups of characters in masks. The childish form of identity is ironic because they are shown to be holding guns. Children are usually seen as sweet and innocent but The Dark Knight destroys this stereotype and takes a new role to make audience believe that anyone can be evil. The masks are different clown faces.
  • In the banks building, the shot cuts to a high-angled shot of two clown characters dealing with weaponry. These characters are hiding behind childish masks to suggest they wont do no harm but there given guns makes the audience feel uneasy and prepares them for any violent scenes ahead.
  • The scene juxtaposes with a cut to the lower ground outside where one character is filmed from behind holding his mask in his left hand and reveals his identity with no hesitation. The broad shoulder tell us that the character is male and his greasy, slick hair and big bag stereotype him as a typical bank robber. The shot is then zoomed in to gather extra detail of the character.
  • The zoom focuses on the mask of the single character which shows he isnt wearing it due to the significance that his identity doesnt involve a mask and maybe his indentity will be revealed further into the plot.
  • The pace of the opening building up quickly once the villians car turns up and the non-diegetic music starts with an upbeat, heavy tone. The single character puts his mask on, gets in the door and the robbery begins. We know this because the constant reminders of masks, slammed doors and quick pace of shots.
  • The medium shot cuts to juxapose the the two clown characters and car in different places. This highlights the planning of the robbery and that it was well planned in order to be successful. A tracking shot follows the two clowns down the zip wire then intakes a high angled shot of the busy city which makes the scene more intense because of the close call situation the villains have put themselves in.
  • The shot then cuts to the clowns within the car and a medium close up of the clowns conversation puts the other clown out of focus's either to suggest he isn't important or throwing the audience off so he can reappear as a significant character.
  • The robbers are ALL wearing clown masks however they all have different emotions on them and create an individual effect which suggests "every man for themselves". This saying unravels after the shot cuts to upon the rooftop where talk of the Joker causes one clown to shoot the other in order to make more money in the pot. The roof is the high point avaliable on location and the sorting through weapon gives that extra boost of power to the villains.
  • The sound bridge is continued as the scene continues with its montage of shots to the lower ground. The music has a fast pace beat which forces the robbery to its peak and makes the audience be on the edge of their seats as they continue to attempt to unravel the indentities of the clowns.
  • The shot then cuts to pans from outside the bank and inside to follow the characters every movement and grasp the other characters reactions to the situation they were unaware of. Inside the bank is the first time we get a point of view shot from a banker to show the victims side of the story. This helps viewer understand the feelings and actions from people other than the villians.
  • The zoom out, tracking shot of the mayhem within the building builds pace into the scene and continues to help the scene peak to its enigma. The diegetic sounds of screams from the innocent characters puts pressure onto the villians showing their plan is working but they may be caught due to the attention risen by the screams.
  • The montage of shots makes sequence faster and parallels actions within the film.
  • Innocent characters hidden under the tables makes the audience see they are insecure and feel terroised. These actions make the audience see both sides of the story and develops emotions to feel sorry for the innocent.
  • A long shot of the bank shows one clown aggressively pulling a banker over the counter. This clown is showing authority and showing aggravation to scare the victims who surround him.
  • However, the victims in this scene fight back such as an over shoulder shot of a blonde, female banker shouting "NO" to one of the clown to take a brave stand against giving them their desire (money). These actions make the shot more intense because its unable to determine how the clowns may react to this act of rebellion.
  • The shot cuts to the roof where the clowns are shown to be clever by hacking the electricity in order to make the banks vaults easier to rob. This is clever and classic action of robbers and is also a sign of determination to shown that no matter what education you have you still can fall into the wrong hands of the law.
  • At the same moment where the two robbers were cutting the electricity, the over the shoulder shot shows a clown drawing a gun to the electrician robbers head but still continuing normal conversation whilst the electrician robber is unaware he is about to be killed. This action shows theres nothing normal in illegal activity and friend is a word that doesn't exist in criminal activity.
  • The music by now is much heavier as the pressure and tension rises as the bank robbery gets deeper and more intense. The plot thickens and one brave banker prepare his gun to fight back which shows pride and concludes the scene into a war between victims and villains rather than a crime itself.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Close Analysis of Film Openings- Fight Club;

Fight Club (1995)

Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Chuck Palahniuk, Jim Uhls
Staring: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Certification: 18

  • At the beginning the audience can't make out what the image is portraying. However it is shown that the shot is overly detailed as if it has a microscope effect as the tracking shot zooms out of the body.
  • The shot which zooms out of the body represents the blood pumping throughout the body possibly to do with adrenaline which reflects the given title of the film "Fight Club" where blood is expected.
  • The title was of bold, white font which exploded in sequence to the non-diegetic music and with each explosion it acted as catalyst for chemical reactions within the body similar to scientific experiments.
  • The static noise of the electricity in the body begins the non diegetic drum and bass music which connotes the title of the film "Fight Club" because of the beats of punches and fouls. The music almost has a mystery, spy effect which could suggest that the thrill in this film has to do with something criminal/illegal.
  • The flash effect on the titles awakens your ideas of the film and draws your attention to impress your views on the film right from the beginning.
  • The time spent whizzing through the body continues to make the audience curious of who's system does this body belong to and creates an element of mystery through a black-hole effect.
  • Eventually, the shot zooms right out and we then encounter beads of sweat on an extreme close up of a mans face which focuses on his glaring eyes which we then assume he is in danger.
  • The shot tracks his face from eyes downwards to his nose where deliberate detail is shown through his flaring nostrils and nose hair which suggest he is heavy breathing due to the stress. This also connotes his beads of sweat which appeared earlier on his forehead.
  • The zoom out, tracking shot peaks when it reveals the man has been held hostage with a gun in his mouth. This is the first shot of violence in the film and the non-diegetic music is then halted as the villain speaks however his identity is not revealed to build the tension.
  • The point of view shot from the villains position focuses on the distressed male character who's body language (sweat, anxious eyes) clearly shows hes under pressure and faced with an ultimatum.
  • The narrator takes control the diegetic music which can only be heard by the film audience. This is dramatic irony and lets the audience know more than the characters do about the plot. It also helps the audience understand the enigma of the film. Quotes such as "People always ask me if I know Tyler Durden" imply this is dramatic irony.
  • Theres a contrast between dramatic irony and the script when a timescale is kept by Tyler Durden constantly being efficient with time quoting "three minutes" and " two and a half minutes". Time is also a major part of the title sequence as the fast-paced music and quick montage of shots parallels how limited time is to the plot.
  • The shot then cuts to a medium close up of the gun in the narrators mouth which suggests the scene will soon progress into violence. The narrator remains calm which is ironic considering he is being faced with death.
  • The shot then cuts from medium close up to an over the shoulder shot where Tyler Durden is still not visible with the gun. However Tyler controls the narrative by overtaking the overvoice of the narrator. This shows that Tyler and the narrator equally share the changing of the plot.
  • Tyler is then out of focus while the audience remain to look and listen to the narrator as he continues the story.
  • Tyler is dressed in a strict, army style wearing khaki combat trousers, tank top and short hair style to show his efficiency on his particular mission to recreate history. His muscles are exaggerated to show his masculine strenghth which also connote with the use of the gun as his form of masculine backup.
  • The narrator gasps for air as the gun is pulled out of his mouth by Tyler which connotes that he is taking each breath as a reward for living and surviving Tylers psychotic ways.
  • An extreme close up of the narrators face turning as he becomes more intriguied by Tylers talks shows a change in interest.
  • The cut to the long shot of the city out of the window makes the audience aware of the location, timing and that Tylers plan centers a busy area. The reflection of Tyler and the narrator in the window implies they are ghosts in the eyes of the citizens as they will die for what they believe in.
  • The narrator is tied to a black chair and is hopeless in changing the enigma because he is laid back and watching Tyler as he unravels his plans. The narrator has been stripped to his boxers and top to suggest he is equal to every other man which in Fight Club the males were stripped so they had no background and the only reason they were there was to fight.
  • The pace is then built with the fast track/zoom down the building to define the location and hunt the bomb similar to what the police would do. The shot goes deep down into the underground where there are apparent illegal happenings such as Fight Club and the bombs. Until the search of bombs reaches its location and the bleeps highlight it is active and the scene is almost finished. The speed of the shot sequence connotes the little time left for the bomb to blow up.
  • Tyler quotes the time constantly to show this is the essence and motif of the title sequence. It shows that there isnt enough time to mess around and that his revolution is serious.
  • The extreme long shot of the room, characters and city gives the audience a feel of the atmosphere and the shots surroundings.
  • The shot of the narrator is cut and zooms into a medium shot then extreme close up to suggest he is worried of the outcome.
  • The narrators voice is dominated by the ticking of the bomb.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Close Analysis of Film Openings- Se7en;

Se7en (1995)
Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker
Staring: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow
Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
  • The establishing long shot shows Morgan Freeman reading in bed. The ambient lighting is artificial and has reference to the quiet surroundings of his bedroom. However, the low ambient sound of the city brings the scene to life.
  • The character in this scene has a room full of books to show that he is intellectual which is a typical cop stereotype.
  • The sound of the city is then faded out by the characters switch of diegetic sound when he hits the metronome and then this becomes the focus of the opening.
  • The editing cuts and then zooms onto the character face on and cuts back to the metronome changing focus continuously but zooming into the main character after each cut away shot.
  • There is always an extreme close up of the character and the shot of the character eventually zooms into a medium close up shot.
  • The scene then cuts but the metronome sound is echoed and exaggerated into a montage shot where the crime is planned thoroughly in detail with books of notes, photographs and diagrams and gradually as time goes the sequence reveals a series of enigmas.
  • The opening prepares us for a creepy plot with the echoing music and sequence of shots of the seven deadly sins gives the audience an element of unpleasantness.
  • The cuts to the black chalkboards where the people involved with the films names appear are written almost child-like with white chalk which connotes how chalk can be erased parallel to mysterious deaths.
  • The distribution company "New Line Cinema" appears in a ghostly shadow which flips between the montage shots and title information.
  • The extreme close up of flashing, unsettling images of razor blades which we are unable to make out at first but as the scene continues the psychotic theme continues as the photo of a child and pregnancy book is marked out.
  • The scratched writing adds quality to build up the tension of the title sequence to add to the plot with the music which peaks with shrieks.
  • The montage shot has monochrome colouring apart from the red which represents blood. The colours have the feeling of a photographers dark room due to photos being used in the sequence frequently. The photos release the feeling of secrecy and strange happenings.
  • The book is sewn together just like bodies and so this is seen as psychopathic. The book has instructions and is organised to imply his crimes are carefully and that is the reason the serial killer hasn't been caught.
  • After the montage, the sequence cuts to the city where the music has stopped and the diegetic sound of sirens suggest the story has begun. The title "Monday" appears in the same text as "New Line Cinema" to establish time and impose that time is important.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Close Analysis of Film Openings- Falling Down;

Falling Down (1993)
Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Written by: Ebbe Roe Smith
Staring: Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall
Genre: Crime, Drama Thriller

  • Falling Downs opening sequence was taken in a single take.
  • The following shots were used to show the location and characters. The extreme close up of Michael Douglas' character is the first photographic shot the opening which zoom and pans to show his facial features.
  • The first shot shows an extreme close up of Michael Douglas' mouth and compliments with the first ambient sounds of his heavy breathing to show he is stressed right at the beginning of the sequence. However, as the zoom/crane shot begins to drift the sound fades into the atmosphere from outside the car.
  • The camera then forms a crane shot which zooms out to the location and focuses on some of the other characters lives.
  • The mist coming from another car shows an eerie atmosphere setting the scene what may happen.
  • The focus on characters such as the girl shows how they respond to the situation of the location.
  • The girl clings onto the doll and shows she is scared by the situation or could be patient in waiting for what is going to happen next.
  • The crane shot continues onto other characters and the diegetic sound of the children screaming of the bus bring the setting alive and typically shows how children react when they are bored and stuck somewhere they don't want to be.
  • The American flag on the bus not only shows the location of the film but the pride they have in their country. It is also typical in American for bad events to occur. The number plates are also distinctive to where to location is as different American states have separate designs for their number plates.
  • Personal lives are still continues throughout the single take and focuses on a shot-reverse-shot of two men arguing over work through the phone but empathising his voice by shouting which dominates the sound.
  • Michael Douglas' character at the beginning seems content but actually appears stressed with his firm jaw, heavy breathing and strong control over the steering wheel. You can also tell he has a strong effort to stay calm in his situation. Stress takes a majority of the scene up even when focusing on other characters. The screaming children on the bus and the two men arguing in the car are highlighting sensors which stress people out. Even the quiet child in the car shows stress by clinging on to a childhood toy and being quiet holding all her emotions in.
  • High pitch noises follow car into the exhaust sound and the foreboding music determine build tension suggesting what is going to happen within the plot by using other factors to trigger the audiences minds. The sound is complex by changing from diegetic to non-diegetic which keeps the plot undetermined.
  • The low angle shot of the children could show that children are one of the biggest factors causing Michael Douglas' character to be stressed.
  • The sequence circles from the main character to the overall setting and then back to the main character. On a simplistic level the title sequence shows the characters are stuck in a traffic jam and therefore stuck in his personal life. On a more complex level, the circle also represents the vicious circle in life we all find once in a while but for the main character this seems never-ending and therefore he has become highly stressed and is ready to react.
  • Hearing over characters problems whilst the crane shot is taking place shows how people are open about their problems which contrasts to the main character who remains silent. Once the crane shot goes back to the main character the sound is then muted to match his current

Close Analysis of Film Openings- The Interpreter;

The Interpreter (2005)
Directed by: Sydney Pollack
Written by: Martin Sellman, Brian Ward
Staring:Sean Penn, Nicole Kidman
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Certification: 12

  • The fading, stone coloured font at the beginning of the sequence and gives the film a unusual atmosphere.
  • The ambient sound of the wind whistling in the background shows that the setting is in an open space which suggest the film hasn't a set course yet.
  • The echoing sounds of the camera gives the shots a short and quick sequence which shows the plot is getting more intense and is changing.
  • The flicker of water in the neglected building is the only source of lighting in the shot of the two men giving the setting an uncommon feeling making the audience draw into the scene.
  • The use of lighting in the dark enclosed space builds tension towards the scene but is ironic to the location because its set in Africa, a bright colourful country.
  • The shots in the opening sequence follow: long shot to set the scene, dissolve into next shot then a cut to the establishing shot to show setting.
  • The tracking shot of the Land Rover shows that it has some importance within the film and could be the result of a change in the story.
  • The choice of tribal music parallels with the landscape of the film. Its almost as if the tribe are part of the ambient sound.
  • The cut away shot to the notebook which highlights who has been shot has some importance because its focus' on those characters who later get shot themselves.
  • The shot-reverse-shot shows conversation between the characters and their point of view.
  • The music then changes to an eerie atmosphere suggesting the sequence is coming to its climax but the story still has an enigma effect and remains mysterious until the characters are shot.
  • The characters who are shot are shown to have less or no significance because they are killed at the beginning of the film. They may act as a catalyst to the plot of the film. However, the one other character (left behind in the car) is significant because he carries evidence of the happenings therefore he will become vital to the film.
  • The light to dark to light changes in light show that the plot has changes dramatically and then meets its climax where the two characters are then killed. The dark shadow behind them shows there is no going back into the past and they have met their ending.
  • The landscape of a bewildered Africa fades into the busy city of New York which contrasts between the pair to show different sides of countries. But, even still the actions in Africa match the stereotyped city of New York which brings both countries into the same level of equality.

AS Coursework Brief;

We have been given the task to create a short film opening from a genre of our groups choice. The maximum time of the film opening should be two minutes and we are allowed to work in groups with up to four people (excluding cast from film). The genre of our choice is horror/thriller because we agree that it has a lot of potential. The whole coursework is worth 60 marks.
  • 20 marks rewarded for research/planning
  • 20 marks rewarded for the final piece
  • 20 marks rewarded for evaluation (which will be done by podcast)
Within the work we must consider health and safety, film conventions/stereotypes, production rules and pull together a piece which reflects the genre given.