On Friday’s lesson, we continued to do more research on thriller-based films, we watched and analysed the opening sequences of 4 different thrillers – all categorized into different sub-genres. Doing this helped create a clearer understanding to how suspense can be created using the 4 technical elements of film.
The first opening sequence we watched was ‘Momento,’ which is a psychological thriller, as a class we discussed why we labelled the film as psychological, and all agreed to it has we believed the slow pace and shots of each prop individually created questions so early in the film. The use of close up shots on each prop, like the glasses and the bullet made it clear that they had a significant use in the scene, the questions we ask, is why they are there?
The opening is introduced firstly with music, sound is the first thing our brains detect and so we concentrate on how the sound can give away what type of film is being watched (if the audience didn’t know the genre for Momento). The slow, quiet entrance of violin strings gradually increases in volume, which also brings along the increase in tension, the consistent sound of string instruments like the violin, bass and cello keeps the tension flowing – just like the strings themselves. Just as we’ve realised that the scene is actually playing backgrounds (I realised when the photograph was being but back into the Polaroid), the strings quieten down and faded into a deep and mute gloomy sound (this happening just as the camera flashes) whilst this sound is being played, the objects slowly reveal some answers (the blood was a give away that someone was dead). The mute music was broken by the sound of the gunshot and scream – this representing the sudden end of suspense.
The titles are slightly spaced out (the gaps can represent the slow pace of the film, but that’s just me over analysing now!) The titles are static, but also transition, fade out, is added.
HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT
‘He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not’ is a whole different concept to ‘Momento,’ judging by the title and the involvement of ‘Love’ in it, the sub-genre is most likely to be a murderous passion. The opening begins with slow camera shots of roses, in different shades of pink/red, this also gives away the ‘Romance’ label to the film as pink/red roses symbolise love. (As a further independent analysis) the sub-genre, murderous passion can be represented by the thorns on the roses, as the flower is beautiful but the thorn is ‘deadly’ (in a way, being pricked!). This gives away a hint that something is not right with the woman in the film – she can be juxtaposed as the rose.
The music is very upbeat, it has a summery feel to it and goes well with the mise en scene – the flower shop and brightly lit setting. In my opinion, I feel this creates suspense, as obviously something is not right with all the positivity, which again creates questions like, is she up to something bad?
The titles are quite ‘groovy’ looking (such an ancient word); they transition across the screen, from one side to another. This gives a playful and quirky feeling, the feeling of spring/summer.
‘Déjà Vu’ was hard to sub-genre(ise) at first, the music and what was going on made it confusing and hard to tell…until the very end we knew it was an action thriller. The film opens with a slow motion shot of a busy crowd (as audiences), the atmosphere seems live although the slow motion in dialogue (the cheering and laughing) makes the audience (us) feel a bit uneasy instead. Shots included longs shots and longer shots but zoomed in so it looks like a close up (you could tell its zoomed though…well, I can tell anyway). The music adds to the feeling of uneasiness – contemporary music, the use of the piano makes it dramatic however whilst the piano is playing you can just about hear some sci-fi music (like a UFO is about to land on earth) this merging together with the piano is quite disturbing, tension begins to build. Only a few seconds in and a beat is added to the contemporary sci-fi music to bring it to an upbeat level (however not as upbeat to bop our heads and booggy to). For some reason when the beat came in I felt that something dodgy was about to happen, it was mysterious. The drums could symbolise the heart beating, increasing the tension more. The opening of the film has a variety of settings, a lot is happening in this clip although it is slowed down, it is strange that sad music is being played when the people are happy. This binary opposites - of sad and happy creates suspicion, we think something is not right, at this point there is a lot of tension as we want to know if something bad is going to happen (especially as it would be happening soo early in the film).
The titles are quite jittery in a type-writing font (courier), they transition from either side of the screen in a swooping effect.
ENEMY OF THE STATE
There is definitely A LOT more going on in ‘Enemy of the State’ the opening is very fast pace its almost hard to keep up with it. I would sub-genre this film to be political due to the mise en scene of police cars, cctv cameras and fires around the suburbs. (I honestly cant keep up with this opening! :S erm…) The film opens with bird’s eye view shot of the roads (mainly) and buildings. Some shots include panning (and swirling around – Eastenders style). The music is quite upbeat in the beginning to fit into the car chasing and crime, (again it is not upbeat enough to be boogying down to). Half way the music dramatically changes to string instruments then suddenly changes back to drums…then changes back to strings…then both. This could be purposely done (to annoy us) to get the audience understanding that many things are happening at the same time. The dramatic string instruments are to create sympathy (sort of) and the drum/beats to show the side of the criminals (the beat fits in with the running). The title is greek inspired, the transition flash in is used and the titles remain static on the screen until it flashes out again.