Sunday, 8 January 2012

Film Deconstruction: Cape Fear

After deciding to base our film opening idea on psychological thrillers, I thought that if I deconstructed a relatively old film opening then I could see how some of the clichés used began and came about in the beginning. 

Directed by Martin Scorsese, you know that it's going to be a very good film, as he is known for his modern crime and violent films which gain great success and is very well praised for being 'one of the most significant and influential American film makers of all time'.

Having never watched this film, I thought it would be good to do to see how the first two minutes would grab my attention and make me want to watch more and leave me thinking as to how the story would unfold in front me, and for me to wonder what would happen later on.

The establishing shot of the film is what seems to be a lake, with the rippling water flowing along across the scene, it seems to be early morning, or late evening; it has the titles appearing across during the first minutes. The music playing is instrumented by violins and is quite calm but stereotypical of a thriller, making you think something bad will happen soon; when the film reaches thirty eight seconds the music changes, in the same style and piece to a scarier tune, with pace picking up and tension building, on the screen appears a reflection of a very large bird, bird of prey perhaps, the bird looks almost evil and capable of hurting you as it's strong wings fly through the sky. The image of the bird is very brief, and is on screen for a few seconds. 

When the clip reaches one minute the mise-en-scene of the lake fades away to a black version of the lake, still flowing and the music continues to rise to a crescendo and the on the screen a single eye shows up, possibly a male, as regard to no make up. You see the eye move into different places within the sky, with the eye itself looking around. The eye closes and disappears and the lake continues to flow across the scene with the continuation of the titles. During the next twenty seconds, various images of parts of the body, including teeth, fade in and out. Next appears the whole face of a man with a beard, portraying fear into the audience, only briefly and then fades back out. The water keeps changing shape and the focust in the water, as if the moon is shining is emphasized when the different images of the face fade out, it seems as if now the time of day has changed to night. Then again, another whole face appears, perhaps a different one as it is still slightly blurred, covering the identity which could play a significant part in the rest of the film; it then fades back into the lake.

This opening made me think about the type of music we could use to create the type of suspension we need, interesting ways that we could show the titles, and interesting use of fades with different images relevant to the rest of our film.

The film, Cape Fear received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor (Robert DeNiro) and Best Supporting Actress (Juliette Lewis), and was nominated for The Golden Bear, and nominated in 100 movie quotes, 'Come out, come out, wherever you are'. The Simpsons also used the film as a parody in an episode as 'Cape Feare'.

I used the YouTube Clip of Cape Fear - Part One.

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