Idea of a Thriller• The main idea of a Thriller is to make sure you create both feelings of excitement and tension for the audience.• By having these two feelings as the main elements of a Thriller it makes the audience intrigued in the storyline.• This approach also makes it much more easier for the audience to identify when they are watching this genre of film.• However, this genre also splits into many other subgenres from crime and psychological to paranoia and conspiracy.• For this presentation we have decided to focus on the Crime Thriller and speak about the general codes and conventions.
Mise-en-scene• Low key lighting is essential within all Thriller movies especially in Crime films as they are used to produce shadows which connote the inner darkness within characters whilst also adding to the tension of the scene.• The shadows can also be accompanied by scenes of black and white which help to emphasise the impact of the shadows as well as adding to a rather eerie and sinister look to create tension.• The general colour scheme within this subgenre is also rather dull which connotes that there is no happiness but perhaps constant upset.• As crime thrillers quite often involve police men or someone who may have some authority the costumes of the characters are usually smart and quite formal to show their dominance on the screen.• Common iconography within this genre can include; weapons as they are commonly associated with danger and violence, and sometimes fingerprints which may assist the protagonist.
Camera Techniques• Tracking shots are important as they allow the audience to trail the characters through certain scenes and settings which makes the narrative easier to follow, which is needed for thrillers as the plots are usually twisted.• Extreme close ups and close ups are crucial for this genre as it gives great detail about the characters emotions and feelings and makes the audience feel more attached to the character as we are closer to them.• The point of view shots continue to grab the audiences attention towards the plot as it makes the scene more realistic as we feel as though we are there in the scene.• Establishing shots are also common within crime thrillers as they are often set in the city, so the shot enables us to figure out the setting and may also connote the sheer challenge as it seems like it’s the protagonist vs. the world.• Low angle or canted shots may show a certain characters personality as the canted shot of the antagonist may show their twisted personality whilst the low angle of the protagonist may show off his weakness at that moment
Editing• As this subgenre is focused on crime, fast paced editing and straight cuts are essential in keeping the scenes looking natural and realistic, whilst keeping the audience intrigued during the more intense ‘thrilling’ parts of the films.• Parallel editing is also key as it allows the audience to follow two separate narratives, often the protagonists and antagonists, and this shows that things are happening at the same time but in different places so they must eventually come together due to their actions.• Jump cuts are also common as this helps to get from one location/object to another, but much more quickly which adds to the tension and thrill aspect of the scenes.• Slow motion or flash backs can also be used within the subgenre as it entices the audience as actions are performed slowly, prolonging the narrative, or the story returns to previous scenes making the tension and anticipation rise.
Stock Characters• Due to the nature of this subgenre following crime, it is very common to include characters that have previous knowledge to danger and violence such as police men or detectives, an example would be Brad Pitts character in the crime thriller ‘Seven’.• However there are occasions where ordinary people are the protagonists as they may be unaccustomed to danger but are unwillingly forced into this new life for reasons such as family protection or revenge.• The antagonists are commonly criminals or escaped cons who may want to seek revenge, or stalkers and psychopaths who intend to do harm to others.• Usually both protagonists and antagonists are dominantly males, however it is possible to occasionally get a female star role in this subgenre
Stock Settings• Crime thriller can take place in a wide variety of places, however there are certain links between some settings, for example…• Places such as warehouses and abandoned streets are typical if the antagonist is rather mysterious as it keeps the tension building for the audience as they do not reveal much.• Homely settings, such as the protagonists house, can also be ideal for this subgenre as it is the place where the protagonist can feel safe away from the outside world, yet it may not always be as safe as they believe.• Wealthy areas, such as banks, as well as police stations are also targets for the antagonists as the subgenre focuses on the crime aspect so the idea of taking from authority is key!!• Well populated areas, such as Train stations, Parks and City centres, can all be settings as well for crime as there can be mass murder by the antagonist in which the protagonist must stop.
Common Themes• A theme that is constant throughout all aspects of this subgenre is the narrative focus around crime, which includes the idea of ransoms, kidnapping, violence and heists.• The idea of a time limit adds much more tension for the audience and increases the ‘thrill’ aspect as the protagonist must usually race against the clock to solve the crime before something terrible happens.• The villainous characters within these films are also rather mysterious to some extent as this is what helps to enhance the tension as it creates an enigma for the audience as they want the antagonist to be revealed. However this does not mean that the protagonist is fully open about themselves.• Another theme which is commonly used is the idea of the protagonist or the antagonist having a flashback which may reveal previous details of their past and could indicate how the situation began which is useful in a crime thriller.• The most generic theme is that nearly all of these films having a twist in the narrative towards the end which is the most significant feature of a crime thriller film as it confuses the audience yet makes them enjoy it more as it gets them more intrigued into knowing why and how