The thriller genre is immediately established in the title of my thriller film “Thief”. It connotes crime, aggression and gives an idea of what the film will be about. Thief As well as this, it is a snappy title; the ambiguity leaves much room for a twisting storyline.
My thriller “Thief” was inspired by a number of media texts for different aspects of the film. The location for my thriller, the darker streets of the city centre, has inspirations from the deserted war-torn streets of Vienna in “The Third Man”. The city in “The Third Man” is presented as a broken shell, shaken and shadowed by the war, effectively creating a dystopian location.
This shot from “The Third Man” shows the narrow, nightmarish cobbled streets of Vienna. The chiaroscuro lighting adds to the sense of illusion and reinforces the genre. It creates a labyrinth-like place, which positions the characters and audience in a location that is confusing and makes it seem like a nightmare, threatening and confusing.
I have used this idea to present Norwich as a dystopia, rather losing the war against crime than a world war, shown by the destruction that crime has caused upon society. An example of this reference would be the cobbled streets seen when the characters are by the ATM machine.
I have also taken inspirations from the chase scene in “The Third Man” where Harry Lime is hunted by the police. The location, sewage tunnels underground, is a very generic location, taking the generic convention of claustrophobic spaces to the extreme.
I developed the convention of threatening enclosed locations by using the modern underpass location in Norwich. I decided to use this in my thriller, when the first girl Eve White is mugged by Will Block, due to the claustrophobic sensation it creates, which adds to the thriller genre and overall tension of the scene. The area is also dark, damp and smelly, in addition the graffiti suggests antisocial behaviour, thus this location was a great place to use.
Inspirations for the location were also drawn from the representation of Stockholm in “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”. In this film, the city in much more modern and up-to-date, and so development of this mise en scene was not needed as much. I used the conventions provided in “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” to create a city where LisbethSalander’s kind emerge from any dark corner, therefore it was important in order to transform Norwich into a frightening place to live. Stockholm is also presented as a run-down, neglected and contempory city.
These shots from “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” just before Salander is attacked by a gang of youths, are the images of Stockholm that inspired me. They show the loneliness and isolation that I wanted to achieve in my thriller. The tunnel she walks through is cold in colour and emotion. It has ambient lighting. The walls and floors are made of stone and tile. These aspects add to the coldness of the mise en scene, as well as the claustrophobia. The fact that aggressive crime occurs in this location relates greatly to the ideas of my thriller: the crime happens in a tunnel and female character is the victim.
These are photos of the Norwich locations used in my thriller. I used the underpass as it has similar aspects from that of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”. The walls are stone, wet and grey, giving the mise en scene a cold feeling. The walls are close together, creating a claustrophobic space. The lighting is ambient, and the graffiti makes the area seem run-down and neglected. The streets have the same colours and aspects as the underpass. The stone walls and cobbled streets give a hard, cold feeling, supported by the grey and black colour scheme. The buildings are tall and close together, leaving narrow roads.
Inspiration for the femme fatale character in my thriller, Scarlett Fraser, derived from LisbethSalander from “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” in way of her costume and personality. By using this style of costume, a rebellious tom-boy personality was created. I did this to challenge the traditional femme fatale (a dangerous, devious feminine character) with a strong, intimidating and rather more masculine character. The costume suggests comfort rather than fashion trend and desirability.
I used the style of LisbethSalander to create a costume for my character, Scarlett Fraser. The costume (black leather jacket, hooded jumper, dark nail varnish, jeans and boots) is a close match to that worn by LisbethSalander, though Scarlett is less outrageous and more conservatively dressed.
The character Will Block in my thriller was determined somewhat by the current economic climate concerning youth unemployment. The rising unemployment levels in the UK means that teenagers, like Will Block, cannot find a job and thus cannot afford to buy things that they want and need, and thus turn to crime. “One in five 16- to 24-year-olds, 965,000 of them, are out of work. That matters because of each individual story of lost chances, frustration and failing to make ends meet” Will Block is an example of this crisis, and has therefore turned to crime in his frustration. This is shown in my thriller opening by the way Will looks into his empty wallet, and the way he responds by mugging Eve White. The youthful audience can relate to Will Block, because the problem of unemployment is widespread. It can also relate to older audiences as unemployment is affecting the whole of the population. Article on teenage unemployment: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/feb/27/youth-unemployment-education-future
The representation of the hoodiecreates a stereotype: it is seen as intimidating, and a sign that that person is up to no good. Hoodies are often worn by shoplifters as they can easily conceal items in them, as well as hiding their faces from CCTV and witnesses. I chose to use this stereotype of teenagers to create my character Will Block, to suggest a criminal personality within him. His actions reinforce this stereotype. Youth crime is a familiar story in the UK, especially in the rural city areas. Stories of teenagers attacking people are constant, and so almost everyone can relate my thriller storyline to one they’ve seen or read about in the news. “In May 2005, Bluewater shopping centre in Kent caused outrage by launching a code of conduct which bans its shoppers from sporting hoodies or baseball caps. John Prescott welcomed the move, stating that he had felt threatened by the presence of hooded teenagers. Prime Minister Tony Blair openly supported this stance and vowed to clamp down on the anti-social behaviour with which hoodie wearers are sometimes associated.” Source: Wikipedia “Hoodie”
Conclusion Overall, I developed the generic convention of claustrophobic spaces, dystopias, and the hoodie symbolising anti-social behaviour.