Monday, 9 January 2012

Jackie Brown - The Shooting of Melanie - Analysis

At the start of this clip we see the two characters getting out of the van in very stereotypical ways. The man forces his way out, while the woman gently opens the door. This immediately portrays the two characters as individuals and gender stereotypes. Also the van, a Volkswagen camper van, is an icon of it's time period. It is an icon of the 1960's and is a symbol of the "hippie". This, in turn, makes it a symbol of peace, and love. This is very ironic as the people inside the camper van are not peaceful in any way - as we find out in this scene with the sudden death of Melanie.

 The costumes that the characters wear also tell you a lot about them. They are wearing quite dirty, old-looking clothes, which tells us that they have not got a lot of money. This foreshadows the events of the sequence, as the pair steal clothes from the shop. This is further emphasized by the quick shot of Jackie Brown, when we see her in a clean, new-looking suit that makes her look of a high status (as in the opening scene). This creates a clear difference between the people. This happens again when Louis looks over the shop and sees another man dressed in a smart suit.

The shooting of Melanie is shocking and surprising. Usually, deaths (especially in thrillers) happen at night, or in dark and/or secluded, secretive places. The shooting of Melanie in broad daylight breaks this tradition and catches you unaware. This makes the film absorb you as you have no idea what could happen next. It also tells us about Louis' character, as he is quickly provoked into irrational behaviour. This tells us that he is unstable and easily provoked, as well as aggressive. In addition, he calmly walks away from Melanie after he has shot her, making an ironic joke. This tells the audience that he has no problem with committing a murder or a crime - this is emphasized by the stolen clothes he is holding as he walks away.

At the end of the sequence, he drives away in the symbol of "peace and love" (as aforementioned) that is the Volkswagen camper van. This, combined with the ironically happy, upbeat music, creates an ironic end to a shocking, surprising, and humorously ironic scene. 

1 comment:

  1. There is a continuing improvement in your interpretation of film language.
    You say..... Usually, deaths (especially in thrillers) happen at night, or in dark and/or secluded, secretive places......

    Keep away from these generalisations, instead illustrate your point with reference to thriller films where the murder takes place at night or in a dark place!! Do watch this Will.