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What is a thriller

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  • 1. YEAR 12 UNIT G321 ASSESSMENT 1 – INDIVIDUAL TASK ‘WHAT IS A THRILLER ?
  • 2. My Mind-map: Before I did any research on what a thriller actually is, I created a mind-map of what I personally think a thriller is. In the mind-map you can see that I have broken down; what a thriller is, into different sections. I have explained the contents of a thriller as well as the, costumes, settings the sound and the effects used in them. I have listed a few movies that I also think come under the title of a 'Thriller'.
  • 3. What is a thriller? Definition of a thriller: Its usually a novel, play, or movie with an exciting plot, typically involving crime or espionage. It involves a person, thing, that experiences thrills. A Thriller is a broad genre of literature, film, and television programming that uses suspense, tension and excitement as its main elements. Thrillers heavily stimulate the viewer's moods, giving them a high level of anticipation, ultra-heightened expectation, uncertainty, surprise, anxiety and/or terror. Films of this genre tend to make the audience free an adrenaline-rush, gritty, rousing and contains a lot of fast-paced scenes. A thriller provides the sudden rush of emotions, excitement, and exhilaration that drive the narrative. Sometimes at a constant, breakneck pace thrills. It keeps the audience on the "edge of their seats", same as to a sensation of hanging from a cliff, as the plot builds towards a climax. Literary devices such as plot twists and cliffhangers are used extensively. A thriller is usually a villain-driven plot, whereby he or she presents obstacles that the protagonist must overcome. A common theme in thrillers involves an innocent victim/victims dealing with a tremendous issue.
  • 4. Different types of thrillers: Common sub-genres of thrillers are: * Psychological thrillers * Crime thrillers * Erotic thrillers * Mystery thrillers * Spy genre The horror and action genres often overlap with the thriller genre. Thrillers tend to be psychological, threatening, mysterious and at times involve larger-scale villainy such as espionage, terrorism and conspiracy.
  • 5. IN DEPTH ANALYSIS OF THRILLER TYPES: Psychological thrillers; incorporates elements from the mystery and drama genre, along with the typical traits of the thriller genre. In addition to drama and mystery, many psychological thrillers contain elements of, and often overlap with, the horror genre, particularly psychological horror. E.G; Christopher Nolan's movies; Batman Begins, Dark Knight, The Dark Night Rises, The Prestige, Inception.
  • 6. CRIME THRILLERS: Crime thrillers: Crime films are films which focus on the lives of criminals. The stylistic approach to a crime film varies from realistic portrayals of real-life criminal figures, to the far-fetched evil doings of imaginary arch-villains. Criminal acts are almost always glorified in these movies. E.G; Films dealing with African-American urban issues and culture. They do not always revolve around crime, but often criminal activity features heavily in the storyline. For example; Menace II Society and Boyz n the Hood.
  • 7. EROTIC THRILLERS: Erotic thrillers: Sex in film refers to the presentation in motion pictures of sexuality or eroticism and sex acts, including love scenes. E.G; The Housemaid (2010), Passion (2012), Jism 2 (2012), Enemy (2013).
  • 8. MYSTERY THRILLERS: Mystery thrillers: It focuses on the efforts of the detective, private investigator or amateur sleuth to solve the mysterious circumstances of a crime by means of clues, investigation, and clever deduction. The plot often centres on the deductive ability, prowess, confidence, or diligence of the detective as they attempt to unravel the crime or situation by piecing together clues and circumstances, seeking evidence, interrogating witnesses, and tracking down a criminal. E.G; A Soldier's Story (1984), Few Good Men (1992), Courage Under Fire (1996), Basic (2003).
  • 9. SPY GENRE: Spy genre: which deals with fictional espionage; inspired by rivalries and intrigues between the major powers, and the establishment of modern intelligence agencies. It was given new impetus by the development of fascism and communism in the lead-up to World War 2, continued to develop during the Cold War, and received a fresh impetus from the emergence of rogue states, international criminal networks, Muslim fundamentalism, radicalism, maritime piracy and technological espionage as potent threats to Western societies. Sub genres; Spy-fi, spy comedy and spy horror. E.G; The Bourne Identity (2002), Mission: Impossible (1996); Munich (2005), The Constant Gardener (2005), Casino Royale (2006).
  • 10. ALFRED HITCHCOCK: A successful example of a director and film producer who created many thrillers at his time is Alfred Hitchcock. Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock,was born in 13 August 1899 and died on the 29 April 1980) he was an English film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, renowned as England's best director, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood in 1933 and became a U.S. citizen in 1955. Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades. Some examples of his work; Rear Window (1954), Psycho (1960), Vertigo (1958), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Rebecca (1940)
  • 11. The main themes dealt with in thrillers? Common methods and themes in crime thrillers are mainly ransoms, captivities, heists, revenge, kidnappings. More common in mystery thrillers are investigations and the whodunit (a story or play about a murder in which the identity of the murderer is not revealed until the end) technique. Common elements in psychological thrillers are mind games, psychological themes, stalking, confinement/death-traps, horror-of-personality, and obsession. Elements such as fringe theories, false accusations and paranoia are common in paranoid thrillers. Threats to entire countries, spies, espionage, conspiracies, assassins and electronic surveillance are common in spy thrillers. The primary elements of the thriller genre: * The protagonist(s) faces death, either his and/or her or somebody else's. * The force(s) of the antagonist's must initially be cleverer and/or stronger than the protagonist's. * The main storyline for the protagonist is either a quest or a character that cannot be put down. * The main plot line focuses on a mystery that must be solved. * The film's narrative construction is dominated by the protagonist's point of view. * All action and characters must be credibly realistic or natural in their representation on screen. The two major themes that underpin the thriller genre are the desire for justice and the morality of individuals. The protagonist(s) and antagonist(s) may battle, themselves and each other, not just on a physical level, but on a mental one as well. Either by accident or their own curiousness, each character is dragged into a dangerous conflict or situation that they are not prepared to resolve.
  • 12. Key characters found in a thriller: Characters include criminals, stalkers, assassins, innocent victims (often on the run), menaced women, characters with deep dark pasts, psychotic individuals, spree killers, socio-paths, agents, terrorists, cops and escaped cons, private eyes, people involved in twisted relationships, world-weary men and women, psycho-fiends, and more. The themes frequently include terrorism, political conspiracy, pursuit, or romantic triangles leading to murder. A common occurrence in thrillers is characters being taken as hostages and with a ransom in need. The protagonists are frequently ordinary citizens unaccustomed to danger, although commonly in crime thrillers, they may also be "hard men" accustomed to danger such as police officers and detectives. While protagonists of thrillers have traditionally been men, women lead characters are increasingly common. In psychological thrillers, the protagonists are reliant on their mental resources, whether it be by battling wits with the antagonist or by battling for equilibrium in the character's own mind. The suspense often comes from two or more characters preying upon one another's minds, either by playing deceptive games with the other or by merely trying to demolish the other's mental state.
  • 13. Codes and conventions of thrillers: As with any genre, a thriller has specific codes and conventions; films within this genre conform to their own specific ones. While not every convention applies to every film; every films must contain elements of these to be classified as a “thriller”. One example being the Plot and structure; One of the key features contained in nearly all thriller films is the establishment of an enigma (a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand or a riddle or paradox) this is a major aspect of the plot, and is something which the audience cannot understand and which will be explored throughout the plot of the film. An enigma can be established by an object, dialogue or a particular scene within the opening sequence. Also, As with any genre, certain technical methods must be used to support the appropriate atmosphere. These can be divided into seven areas which give the movie its effects; 1) Lighting- Dependent on the nature of the thriller film the type of lighting may vary: the most commonly used type of lighting is naturalistic to create the realism necessary for the audience to be fully engaged in the plot of the film. However, this also is dependent on the scenario. 2) Costume- The use of costume in the thriller genre may not be immediately obvious, but on closer inspection it can be said that there is a certain logic behind the use of clothing. 3) Location- In the case of location it is difficult to identify a common ground as this is obviously going to differ with each film, but the basic rule of location is that it must have some relation or bearing on the plot; in other words there cannot be a location that is totally irrelevant and contributes nothing the the film. 4) Camera work: Establishing shots; in terms of camera work the establishing shot is integral: not only does it give the audience an idea of the setting of the film, but it can be used to establish the tone of the entire film. E.G Close ups, long shots, extreme close ups, worms eye view etc. 5) Sound and Music: Effect of a soundtrack, (sound effects and themes), all need to follow the rules of being creepy and building up suspense; usually there is no narration used. 6) Editing: Transitions within the thriller genre may vary dependent on the style of the film, or the intended effect: for example the clean cut transition is favoured for its realism and enhancement of continuity, filters ,freeze frame and slow motion. 7) Iconography: Knives (blood, death, pain), shadows (unknown and mysterious), confined spaces (trapped and struggle to break free), woods (lost and vulnerability), running water (symbol of death as it suggests draining of life), street lamps (creates fear what is lying in the darkness, it relates to shadows), fences and windows (isolation and imprisonment).
  • 14. Key director's of the thriller genre, including examples of his/her films: Physiological Thriller Director: Christopher Nolan. Christopher Nolan was born on July 30, 1970 in London, England. Over the course of a decade plus of film-making, Nolan has gone from low-budget independent films to working on some of the biggest blockbusters ever. His films often have obsessive protagonists with a troubled past, who are obsessed to gain justice by any means in life (e.g. Leonard in Memento (2000), Al Pacino's character in Insomnia (2002), Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins (2005). Also the protagonist of Following (1998) and Hugh Jackman in The Prestige (2006) were obsessive). Movie: Inception (2010); Movie Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hP9D6kZseM Analysis: Just through the trailer you can see the aim of the movie is to portray a contemporary science fiction action thriller set within the architecture of the mind. There are a lot of close up shots used, which build up the tension and suspense. To almost make the audience think the world is almost coming to an end. This is known as a 'hook'; metaphorically tries to hook you into almost feeling you are part of the movie. If you watch carefully you also realise a lot of blackout shots are used. This is also known as a cliff hanger; so not everything is given away in the trailer.
  • 15. Crime Thriller Director: Quentin Tarantino. Quentine Tarantino was born 27 March 1963 in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. His films mainly feature criminals and characters committing horrible crimes involving murder and drugs. The only crime Tarantino has committed was shoplifting from a book store when he was a teenager which slightly inspired his imagination. Examples of his work: Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2, GrindhouseSegment: Death Proof and Inglourious Basterds. Movie: Kill Bill Vol.1 (2003); Movie Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ot6C1ZKyiME Analysis: Kill Bill is a two-part action thriller film released in 2003 and 2004 by writer-director Quentin Tarantino, and starring Uma Thurman as The Bride. Originally conceived as one film, it was released in two "volumes" (in late 2003 and early 2004) due to its running time of approximately four hours and presented in a nonlinear narrative style, as is common among Tarantino's films. The film is an epic-length revenge drama, with homages to earlier film genres, such as Hong Kong martial arts films, Japanese chanbara films, exploitation films and Italian spaghetti westerns; an extensive use of popular music and pop culture references; and aestheticization of violence. Filming took place in California, Texas, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Mexico. There are a lot of extreme close ups used in order to give off an action packed feeling. The trailer used low angels and high angels to show the audience ever posture made, this gives of a criminal atmosphere. The trailers shows every actor used in the film through a mid-shot. A lot of special effects are used to make the trailer dramatic and eye-catching. Iconography is very important in this particular movie due to the amount of weapons used.
  • 16. Erotic Thriller Director: Paul Verhoeven. Paul Verhoeven was born on the 18 July 1938, in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands. His movies give off a fear about sex in motion pictures, as if sex would undermine morality. Examples of his work: Soldier of Orange (1977) and De vierde man (1983), Flesh & Blood (1985). Movie: Basic Instinct (1992); Movie Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLGx5YT6sOg Analysis: From the trailer you can tell the movie is going to be about a police detective who is in charge of the investigation of a brutal murder, in which a beautiful and seductive woman could be involved in. There are a lot of slow motion effects used as well as repetitive screening. This adds a horrific yet seductive mood to it. The movie is half spy half erotic which is also an element thriller movies use; they merge many types together to form one film. The music used is calm yet slowly builds up as the scenes get more action packed. The trailer ends leaving the audience on a cliff hanger of 'what could happen next'.
  • 17. Mystery Thriller Director: Jonathan Demme. Jonathan Demme was born on the 22 February 1944, in Baldwin, Long Island, New York, USA. He tends to involve a few comical scenes but is best known to add twists and mystery to his movies. Examples of his work: The Manchurian Candidate (2004). The Truth About Charlie (2002),Silence of the Lambs (1991) Movie:, Silence of the Lambs (1991). Movie Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQKs169Sl0I Analysis: Young FBI agent Clarice Starling is assigned to help find a missing woman to save her from a psychopathic serial killer who skins his victims. Clarice attempts to gain a better insight into the twisted mind of the killer by talking to another psychopath Hannibal Lecter, who used to be a respected psychiatrist. FBI agent Jack Crawford believes that Lecter who is also a very powerful and clever mind manipulator have the answers to their questions to help locate the killer. Clarice must first try and gain Lecter's confidence before he is to give away any information. A lot of slow music and extreme shots are used to build up the tension of the scene, the music is slow yet keeps the audience curious. Some of the camera movements follow the character's every move to give off a feeling of being involved.
  • 18. Spy Genre Director: Doug Liman. Doug Liman was born on the (born July 24, 1965) is an American film director and producer. His movies involve supernatural humans and is best known for his action packed movies such as; Swingers (1996), The Bourne Identity (2002), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Jumper (2008), and Fair Game (2010). Movie: Jumper (2008); Movie Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5ZNG3Oveh4 Analysis: The trailer is about a teenager with teleportation abilities who suddenly finds himself in the middle of an ancient war between those like him and their sworn annihilators. Many pan shots are taken considering he is teleporting so his movements are followed to make the audience feel like we are following him. Long shots and extreme long shots are used to show the surroundings of where he has teleported to; E.G; Egypt. This adds a sense of excitement.