A 2012 action thriller film starringDenzel Washington & Ryan Reynolds.Directed by Daniel Espinosa andproduced by Scott Stuber. The Cast:Denzel Washington as Tobin Frost Ryan Reynolds as Matt WestonVera Farmiga as Catherine Linklater Brendan Gleeson as David Barlow Sam Shepard as Harlan Whitford Nora Arnezeder as Ana Moreau
A film’s narrative is the storytelling based a chain of fictional or non-fictional events. It can sometimes be told by a character within a larger narrative. In this case, the narrative follows Tobin Frost (Washington) an ex CIA operative turned criminal who comes back onto the radar after 10 years on the run. When the South African safe house he is incarcerated in gets attacked by mercenaries, a rookie agent (Reynolds) escapes with him. Together, the two of them must stay alive long enough to uncover who is hunting them.Additionally, narrative can be told in 2 ways: Linear and fractured.Linear: starts from point A (normally with some issue that requires resolve) ending at point B (when the issue is resolved).Fractured: when the story jumps back and forth in time. This tends to force the audience into piecing things together themselves. Safe House employs a linear narrative. We are able to tell this because the story line is such and such.Narrative can be displayed through the various uses of cinematography, mise-en scene, sound and editing.
Close up shots are used to show detail and emphasis on a character’s facial expressions. The viewer becomes drawn into the Helps. to establish character’s personal space and is the position of each able to empathise with them as the character and characters take up majority of the alternate between frame. points of view, during a conversation. TheirExamples in the sequence: expressions areMatt and Ana kiss in the shower (pic 4). cheerful and interested.Introduction of Ana to the audience, whom is lying in bed when first seen (pic 3). Used to introduce theUsed in conjunction with over the audience to Ana, her shoulder shots during expression is calm and blank. conversation, used to show Ana’s reaction to what Matt has to say and vice versa (pics 1 & 2). Shot of a intimate distance shows audience they are in some sort of loving/sexual relationship. Their expressions are lustful and you can see the attraction.
2 types of Establishing shotsare used within the sequence. Anextreme wide shot in which thecharacter is not even visible. Theaim of this shot is to show the Shots of the maincharacter’s surroundings and setting, Southwhere the action would be taking Africa. Where the main characterplace. begins in the film.Secondly, a very wide shot in Could connote thatwhich a character is only just the character isvisible. The emphasis is on them eager to get awayin their environment. from home.Examples within the sequence:Shots of South Africa (pics 1 and2).Shot of David on the phone to Shot shows us thatMatt in USA (pic 3). the film does not just take place in one country, but two. Adds complexity to the narrative.
Mid shots can be used to show the Shows Matt boxing, subject in a bit more detail but could portray him as an still allowing room for gestures, angry/frustrated/ temperamental character. movement and body language Could also be interpreted to be seen. It is a quite as him just trying to stay comfortable shot and is also fit or trying to get his quite neutral as it doesn’t focus ‘anger’ out. on the character’s emotions a lot. Mid shots allow the audience Diegetic sound of to interact with the character dialogue. The dialogue is more by being able to see their uninterested, character facial expressions and gestures seems as if he wants to get it over and done with. – as though in conversation with Does a night job, may them. feel as if he lacks fulfilment.Examples in the sequence:First shot when Matt is boxing (pic 1). Could be opposite to picWhen Matt is on the phone at work 1, as it shows Matt (pic 2) trying to contain hisWhilst in a phone call with David (pic temper but later letting it 3). out by kicking an object.
Character placement within the frame plays a part in character representation because it can be representative of their status and relationships. David is at the top/centre of theThe area near the top of the frame can frame. He is Matt’s imply power, dominance, and superior, his status superiority. The centre focuses shown through his audience attention. However, placement within areas near the bottom of the the frame. frame can suggest the opposite – such as powerlessness, vulnerability and inferiority. The left and right edges of the frame All attention is on the connote insignificance (within that characters intimate moment) because they’re furthest moment as they are removed from the centre. They placed in the centre of the frame. also connote types of relationship, e.g. If one character is on a higher level than another, it suggests one is more powerful than the other. Character placement here shows they are equal andExamples within the sequence: there is no dominanceDavid on the phone to Matt pics 1 & 2). within the relationship as they are both on the sameAna and Matt kissing (pic 3). level.
Camera angles can also contribute to the tone and atmosphere. They Natural lighting and a can be used to convey a variation low angle shot suggest of emotions and situations. purity, vulnerability and nakedness.High angle shots suggest subservience or powerlessness. This can connote a weak and vulnerable character. Whereas, low angle shots Eyeline with Ryan suggest power and domination, whilst his head is they can connote a strong and down. Makes the authoritative character. audience feel as if they are closer to him. Examples within the sequence:Shot of Ana in bed (pic 1).Shot of Matt with his head down (pic 2)
Mise en-scene is simply the arrangement Matt is the largest object inof scenery and properties to represent the the shot, however the colourplace where a play or movie is enacted. of his costume blends in with the colour of the background. Also, there is no specialThe properties analysed within the lighting highlighting him. Hissequence are: monitoring of CCTV hereDominant contrast and staging positions shows he is probably acan all affect audience perception of the security guard, even thoughcharacter. he may not want to be.The dominant contrast can be created Reinforces idea that he is doingthrough object size/colour/focus/lighting a job he may not want to do.etc. In this case, focus will be on costume Drab clothing, unexcited facial expressions. Low-key lightingcolour. suggests this is a night job, also adds to lack of excitement.The staging position of a character canconvey different feelings and emotions.Yet, if a character had their back to the The audience are left tocamera – their feelings become wonder what Matt is feelingmysterious to the audience. internally as they are unable to see his facial expressions. The light also reinforces theExamples within the sequence: mystery within the shot.Mark looking at the CCTV screens (pic 1)Mark on the phone (pics 2 and 3)
Mise-en-scene can also inform the Casual clothing – hoody,audience on where and where the story is jeans, shoes. Shows thattaking place. This can be done through the character isn’tprops, costume etc. In some cases they necessarily wealthy, and ifadd a verisimilitude and authenticity to the so – he pays littlescene. attention to his appearance.Costume can suggest the time period thefilm is set in without the use of titles. Theycan also connote a character’s social The props here show the 2background and culture. The frequency at characters are living in anwhich they are changed could indicate how apartment. Also, neutralthey feel, their wealth and also their status. colours show that it is shared (not tooProps can show where the story is set and feminine/masculine) .make it easier for the audience to immersethemselves in the action. The use of propshelp fuel the narrative and keep it going. By Matt’s use of the phoneLastly, they can also help establish what the audience meet anothertype of personality and style the character character, helping to buildhas. up the narrative bit by bit.The yellow and blue hue of Mark’s homeand workplace contrast. His home, with thelighter tone is where we see him to behappier and intimate with his partner,whereas his workplace with a darker toneis where we see him to be detached anddisinterested.
Mise-en-scene can contribute to the tone and atmosphere of a scene through lighting Low key/side lighting and camera angles etc. highlights only some of the character’s features. Could suggest two sidesLighting can be used to highlight a to him. character/element within a scene. It can also be used to foreshadow what is to come. Additionally, it could be used to Back lighting makes the shot set the mood of the scene. For example, eerie/mysterious and makes low key lighting can create a the character look unusual. Could suggest negative mysterious, tense setting. Whereas, feelings. Also used to keep high key lighting can be used to create a the audience guessing who more positive and happier atmosphere. is in the shot. Lastly, light helps to depict characters. E.g, a villain’s (antagonist) environment tends to be dark and use low-key lighting. They can also be backlit or Lighting allows us to silhouetted, this serves as a connotation see character’s face for their intentions. However, the clearly, creates a sense protagonist’s environment utilises of exposure and brighter lighting, reinforcing the fact that nakedness. they are ‘goodies’.Examples within the sequence:Matt at boxing (pic 1).Matt getting into his workplace? (pic 2)Matt in the shower (pic 3)
Sound can be used to set the tone within a scene. It can be diegetic (within the scene, characters and audience can hear it), or non-diegetic (characters cannot hear it but the audience can). Sound adds verisimilitude to any scene and if recognisable by the audience, can make them feel as if they are part of the scene.Reoccurring sound motifs can be used to add emotion and rhythm to a scene or to depict a character. They normally go unnoticed but definitely makes a difference. Firstly, sounds can foreshadow a change in the mood/tone of the scene. For example, a high toned shrill may be used to signify an upcoming disaster. Or, can be associated with a certain character – so everytime he/she appears, the same sound is played. This allows the audience to make links and also reminds them of certain ideas, themes etc.Within the opening sequence, there is no sound that is synonymous with the conventions of a thriller. However, generally speaking – thrillers tend to have soft sounds, not too high, however when danger is imminent – the pitch dramatically changes, similar to a shrill.
Editing refers to arranging, adding to, revising and removing of raw footage to combine them into one sequence and create a finished film.Transitions can be used to link scenes together. But inmost films and TV dramas, continuity editing is employedinstead to create verisimilitude and realism.There are different types of transitions, which all havedifferent effects on the audience. Low-key lighting, dullJumpcuts are commonplace in thrillers. They are usually mise-en-used because multiple things are happening at once. By scene. Mattcutting to and fro, the audience is forced to make wears darkassumptions about what is happening within the other colours.scene(s). Jumpcuts can also be used to build up suspenseand tension whilst the audience anticipate the climax. Cutaways are also used during the editing stage. Theseshots are designed to cut away from the principal actionand direct the audience’s attention away from it.Meanwhile, crosscutting is used to direct audienceattention to parallel action, sometimes going on at thesame time – possibly in a different place.Together, they move the drama forward, reveal emotions,develop narrative and character and also provide rhythm High-and pace to the scene. key/naturalistic lighting, beautifulWithin the sequence, crosscutting is used from Matt mise-en-scene.entering work (pics 1 and 2) and to him at a seaside Matt wearsrestaurant with (what we think is) his girlfriend (pics 3 and brighter colours.4). It could be said that the crosscutting is used as a meansto show he’s reminiscing on the past he had with hispartner, which is why the lighting and mise-en-scene isbrighter – but is then brought back to his miserable present,this being the reason for the darker lighting and mise-en-scene.
Titles are used in film to credit all companies involved with the making/production of the film.They are also used to introduce characters to the audience as well as letting them know who the directors/producers/writers etc are.Titles generally have non-diegetic sound playing over them.Within thriller movies, the titles are usually begun over a black screen and can continue over action shots.The titles within the sequence employ ___ font and have a neutral yellow colour, which does not foreshadow anything about the plot.A few titles within the sequence are as follows:Universal Pictures presents,In association with Relativity Media,SAFEHOUSE
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