Don't Say a Word- Analysing Film Openings


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An analysis of the opening of the film 'Don't Say a Word'. My case study in preparation for the filming of my opening to a thriller.

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Don't Say a Word- Analysing Film Openings

  1. 1. Don’t Say A Word Analysing a Film Opening
  2. 2. Background Information <ul><li>Title: Don’t Say a Word </li></ul><ul><li>Director: Gary Fleder </li></ul><ul><li>Year of Release: 2001 </li></ul><ul><li>Genre: Thriller, Crime </li></ul><ul><li>Plot Summary: After the abduction of the daughter of a psychiatrist the terms imposed on the anxious father is that he use his profession to uncover a six digit number from a teenage-mental-patient. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Opening Content <ul><li>The content of the opening two minutes of ‘Don’t Say A Word’ runs as follows: </li></ul><ul><li>White titles flash up on a black background </li></ul><ul><li>Arial shots of a cityscape </li></ul><ul><li>The time and place are shown in caption format </li></ul><ul><li>A man in a car adjusts his watch and smokes a cigarette </li></ul><ul><li>Two other men in the car converse casually </li></ul><ul><li>The men quietly prepare for a bank robbery </li></ul><ul><li>They watch a van pull up in front of the bank </li></ul>
  4. 4. Genre <ul><li>The genre is thriller although this is not immediately obvious in the opening, what is more obvious is that it’s a crime film. </li></ul><ul><li>The general colour of the film opening is darkish shading into blue, a colour often associated with thrillers of this nature. </li></ul><ul><li>The music creates a sense of suspense regularly associated with thrillers. </li></ul><ul><li>The mise-en-scene is key to telling us this is a crime film. The actors interact with equipment associated with bank robberies. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Genre <ul><li>Here is an example of a shot standard for thrillers. It portrays a shady character, dimly lit and distorted in the mirror with the standard blue tint to it I mentioned earlier. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Narrative <ul><li>Introduction of Characters: in this case we are only presented with one major character, the villain and he is presented very subtly through simple actions such as casually lighting a cigarette. </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue: In this case actions speak for the characters, the only dialogue we hear is the nervous murmurs in the back of the car. </li></ul><ul><li>Captions: One of the opening shots contains a caption setting the scene with a place and time. This is particularly relevant since the opening is set before the main story of the film. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Narrative <ul><li>Here the date and place is presented with simple caption over a shot of a moving train as one of the simplest ways of setting a scene. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Target Audience <ul><li>The target audience is an adult one probably more male orientated than women. </li></ul><ul><li>Age and Gender of Characters: The focus of this scene is a middle aged man, this is the sort of person the film aims to relate to as the other central character later introduced is also around this age and a man </li></ul><ul><li>The actor playing the primary role here is Sean Bean perhaps who tends to appear in a variety of films but usually more serious films aimed at adults. </li></ul>