Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Evaluation of my Thriller: Question 1 - In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

The film our group constructed was inspired by several thriller films, as well as our desire to develop the thriller genre. The use of shadows and lighting to show Jonathan being watched is similar to "The Third Man". In "The Third Man", shadows are used for effect in the sewers to give a sense of danger lurking around the corner, just like in out thriller, where Jonathon is being watched from all angles. Also, there is more intertextuality with "The Third Man". When Harry Lime reveals himself, a shaft of light is used to make him appear and disappear. In our thriller, light is also used to reveal and hide the enigmatic, mysterious figure(s). Furthermore, the costume for these character(s) is very similar to the iconic costume from "The Third Man" – a trilby hat and dark clothing is used.

Harry Lime is revealed using lighting

Our thriller also shares many aspects with "Animal Kingdom". The main character is a teenager who our primary audience, 16-25 year old males, can easily relate to – this makes the character of Jonathon similar to that of “J” from "Animal Kingdom". Also, some of our locations are similar to "Animal Kingdom"’s generic thriller locations. Our thriller primarily takes part in a dark, mysterious house at night – you see little of this house, which makes it sinister and enigmatic. This is like the house of the main family of criminals in "Animal Kingdom" – you see few rooms and the family, combined with this mystery, compose an unsettling environment. Both of these locations are similar and are generic thriller locations – there are narrow areas, mysterious corners and doorways, and dark environments. The second location of our thriller, the estate street, is also used in "Animal Kingdom" in the exceptional scene where the police car is found with its doors open in the middle of a road. Both of the scenes take part at night, with cars and a genuine sense of being watched. 
"Animal Kingdom"

In our thriller, a high angle over the shoulder shot of Jonathon being watched by one of the enigmatic figures is used. This gives Jonathon Cody a sense of being watched, and makes him appear vulnerable and helpless. The following low angle shot of the enigmatic figure then makes him look like the powerful, dominant figure.
Similar shots are also used in the shot from "Animal Kingdom". There is a low angle shot of the other police car coming to investigate, which is taken from below the car, as if someone is hiding there. This makes you think that the police are being watched by people of a darker nature, like in our thriller. The use of a street in our thriller is another generic thriller location. At night, the road seems to be taking you where it chooses, and it can connote a sense of entrapment. Also, the fact that roads are open spaces where you can be easily seen provides a sense of being vulnerable – especially as danger is consistently present on the roads.

Police car scene from "Animal Kingdom"
As aforementioned, the characters in our thriller can all be related to characters in "Animal Kingdom". Jonathon could be related to “J” Cody, Eve (the mother who is discovered shot) to Janine “Smurf” Cody, and the enigmatic figures to darker figures from the film, such as Andrew “Pope” Cody.

Jonathon Cody from our thriller, "From the Dark" 
"J" from "Animal Kingdom"

Finally, the soundtrack plays an important role in our thriller. It assists the sense of being tracked and watched, and raises the suspense with each major event of our thriller. It plays a vital role in making our thriller work how it is meant to. It has intertextuality with music used in other thrillers, such as "Psycho". In "Psycho", the music is used to raise the tension prior to and at the same time as major events of the film, such as when Marion Crane is murdered in the infamous shower scene. In our thriller, the music is used to raise the tension as it makes the audience feel as though both they and the main character, Jonathon, are being followed. However, in our thriller, sound is also used for creating an unsettling atmosphere while also building tension. This atmosphere is what gives the main sense of being observed by someone else. This develops the use of sound in thrillers we are using the sound to both create the atmosphere and develop it.

Eve from our thriller, "From the Dark" (above) and
 Eve from "Once Upon a Time in America" (below)
As aforementioned, our thriller's characters are linked to "Animal Kingdom", which is due to our research of the film. The characters names are also inspired by the relavant characters. The name Eve Cody is a direct reference to Eve from "Once Upon a Time in America", who is shot in the opening scene. Relating her to our character immediately suggests that she may be killed, like Eve from "Once Upon a Time in America". This is an iornic reference to the character of Eve from this film.

1 comment:

  1. A promising first draft. Areas to strengthen:

    Mother's name Eve is an ironic reference to Eve in Once Upon a time in America suggesting a doomed character because Eve is shot in the opening sequence of Leone's iconic noir thriller, thus Eve Cody in your film indicates her fate.

    Remember also that Josh's girlfriend in Animal Kingdom is murdered by Josh's psychotic Uncle Pope at night where she is easy prey for the Cody brothers.

    Other dark locations which indicate menace and nightmare. Thelma and Louise - when Louise shoots the rapist Harlem in deserted carpark; Jackie Brown when Ordell tricks Beaumont into the boog of his car and guns him down in the car boot in a deserted waste ground; if you google YouTube and search "The Singing Detective Episode 1 Part 1" this 1985 TV drama begins with a pastiche of a noir thriller which the main character is re-writing in his head as he lies in hospital. Here the generic convention of shadows, chiaroscuro lighting and empty streets connote the separation between illusion and reality.
    More screen shots, film clips (screen shots/clips from your production)would strengthen.

    At present a sound Level 3 - try to revise and raise to Level 5.