Goodfellas opening scene analysis
The film opens with a low angle/ eye-
level shot of a cars tail lights which connotes th...
Goodfellas opening scene analysis
This is the first time we see
characters in any shot. Two of the characters are asleep w...
Goodfellas opening scene analysis
The shot very slowly zooms in on the car.
The director has chosen this technique to buil...
Goodfellas opening scene analysis
There is a subtle match on action cut after the
camera gradually zooms in to connote a c...
Goodfellas opening scene analysis
In this shot the man has been left for a bloody mess after being murdered. His head is
f...
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Goodfellas opening scene finished

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Goodfellas opening scene finished

  1. 1. Goodfellas opening scene analysis The film opens with a low angle/ eye- level shot of a cars tail lights which connotes that the audience will be taking a journey with the gangster protagonists and seeing their world via a versisimilitude. An example of a tracking shot is used as the camera speeds up and passes the car again connoting that the audience will be watching a realistic portrayal of the gangster genre. A tracking shot is a type of shot often used by Scorsese and in this instance is used to establish the scene; we know that the focus is on a car and our attention should probably be on those in the car; it also gives the sense of movement and therefore excitement.The focus is on the car; with the brightness of the shot very low as we can only just about make out the road markings. The mise-en-scene of the car is the red tail lights that particulally stand out and this connotes a sense of threat. The scene is also particually low lit to reiterate the mystery of the car; this is an enigma code as the character is gradually revealed what the car is doing throughout the scene however first it is completely ambiguous. The car is very glamorous which is a convention of the gangster genre, a gangsters money is illegal and therefore unable to be saved in banks or invested in legal ways so one of the few ways for a gangster to show off his wealth is through material. This is a technique We hear sound effects of the car engine roaring which again connotes a threatening atmosphere of power which is often associated with the gangster genre. The camera pans past the car; the shot is cut so that the diegetic sound effects of the car fade down as the camera moves further past the car; this is a convention of opening sequences to show a change in narrative perspective. The shot also becomes brighter to connote that in the light there is less danger as we are about to join the gangsters in the car; this connotes that they are powerful and do not need to stay in the shadows
  2. 2. Goodfellas opening scene analysis This is the first time we see characters in any shot. Two of the characters are asleep which connotes that they have been driving for a long time or up all night doing work it also represents their power that they can relax; the only awoken character looks transfixed on the road. The scene is strangely tranquil for the moment.. The shot is lowly lit which may connote that the men are hiding something. The mise en scene of the characters are that they are wearing smart suits; a convention of the gangster genre costumes as it is a material way in which to show their wealth. The camera angle is low which connotes the characters' power. The shot is a mid-shot as it shows all three characters in the car and also establishes three of the main protagonists, it would not make sense to start with a close up as the audience is too unfamilliar with the characters, they need to be introduced first before emotional expressions can be explicitly used. The shot is also deep focus as no character appears blurry. The sound in this scene is diegetic as it is only spoken by characters in the shot; a sort of enigma code as the audience has no idea of who these people are and therefore the speech will mean nothing initially but will later. The tranquility is disturbed when we hear a banging presumably from the boot, Liotta’s character says “the f*** is that?” the first dialogue within the film. The f-word is a convention of gangster movies to represent that most gangsters are uneducated and writers often feel that the extended use of swear words will reflect their poor vocabulary. The sudden cut is accompanied by a sound effect of the door closing; again we see the motif of the tail light. The red connotes something evil will take place.
  3. 3. Goodfellas opening scene analysis The shot very slowly zooms in on the car. The director has chosen this technique to build suspense for the audience as part of the hypodermic needle theory. The shot is from a high angle and is almost from the character’s point-of-view. The shot is also canted to represent a sense of distortion. The sound effect of the banging grows louder as the shot zooms further again building suspense and an enigma code of what the banging is; the audience can guess it is a hostage in the boot but it is not yet revealed to the audience. A low angle shot of the main three protagonists. This is a low-angle shot to connote that the trio have power over the man in the trunk of the vehcile. The composition of this shot is interesting as it has a character in each third of the shot. The character on the left looks to be the nervous of the three; generally in gangster films this indicates a false- hero through shifty movements and nervousness makes him seem in genral, untrustworthy. The characters are lit in red which connotes that they are bad and evil people. De Niro and Pesci’s character’s either have a weapon or are ready to brandish one; this is important because weapons are a convention of the genre. Sound effects of crickets are dubbed on to the scene because crickets are a convention of night-time scene in Hollywood movies. Each character is wearing a dark coloured suit to be in line with Levi-Strauss binary oppositions; the police as seen later in the film wear light blue shirts to indicate their purity. De Niro gives a nod and the camera pans right towards Ray Liotta’s character; the mise-en-scene of the characters facial expressions is worry; they look anxious to open the boot. The characters are lit with the red tail lights; connoting evil. The camera pan connotes the confusion of the scene; each of the characters thought that the man in the boot was dead but he is not thus the camera moves around to connote the confusion of the situation.
  4. 4. Goodfellas opening scene analysis There is a subtle match on action cut after the camera gradually zooms in to connote a crescendo of the suspense towards the enigma of the boot. The colour red indicates the murder of the innocent; it is against a contrasting white blanket to make the shot look more dramatic and shocking to the audience as part of the hypodermic needle theory The camera pans across and tracks this character as he runs over to stab the an. This connotes the mans power to take a life and shows his importance because he remains framed in the center of the shot as the camera pans across. He is still lit with red lights on the set to again reinforce his evil.
  5. 5. Goodfellas opening scene analysis In this shot the man has been left for a bloody mess after being murdered. His head is framed to the left of the shot to represent his lack of power as a dead man; instead his bullet wounds are centered to represent the gangsters’ control over him. There is a red filter added to the shot as part of editing; showing the effects of colours added to a film and connoting evil and blood. Incidental non-diegetic music begins to play as part of rhythmical editing when Henry Hill closes the boot; the music is a traditional Italian song which indicates the protagonist’s social standing as an Italian immigrant gangster and creates a verisimilitude by adding context to his story. As Henry Hill walks over to the boot his voiceover begins; this is a somewhat dated non-diegetic editing technique which was used in the times of film noir. It offers hypodermic needle audience theory as it tells the audience exactly what the protagonist is thinking.

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