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