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Thriller Genre
Forms & Conventions
Finley Sinclair
Leon (1994)
Léon: The Professional
Léon: The Professional is a 1994 1994 English-language French thriller
film written and directed by Luc Besson. It stars Jean Reno and Gary Oldman.
Leon consists of stereotypical characters such as Leon being a typical
protagonist being male and protecting the damsel in distress which is Natalie
Portman; also corrupt police, gangsters and an innocent victims being pulled
into crisis. This also entails of themes such as revenge for Mathilda’s family,
crime and murder with Stan and love and trust between Mathilda and Leon.
Furthermore, the iconography is typical in the thriller genre as it contains
distinct props and settings such as guns and weapons, an urban world containing
hotels and bars in the city and cars. Lastly, the audio visual style of the film is
typical as they use common shots and editing such as establishing shots, close
ups, medium shots, fast paced editing.
Characters in Leon
Gangsters: We see gangsters in this film at the opening scene where we see a large
group of men prepared to use weapons; also the character Stan has gangster traits as
he is corrupt DEA agent who leads criminals to store drugs for him. He is also the
man that gunned down Mathilda’s family.
Hit-men: This can be seen as Leon is a hit-man in the movie and is hired to place a
hit on corrupt mobs.
Innocent Victims: We see this in the film where Mathilda’s family are gunned down
by Stan leading Mathilda to her neighbour who is the professional hitman Leon and
ends up being pulled into trouble.
Corrupt Police: We see this as the corrupt DEA agent takes confiscated drugs and it
was corrupt agents who killed Mathilda’s family.
Stereotypical Female: Mathilda was a very stereotypical female as she often did
housework for Leon and was also in love with the male protagonist Leon. She also
posed as a damsel in distress as Leon saved her when her family was killed by
corrupt agents.
Stereotypical Male: Leon is a stereotypical male as he is physically and mentally
strong and a protector as he protects Mathilda.
Themes in Leon
Revenge: This is an important theme as we see this throughout as Mathilda seeks revenge on
the corrupt agents that killed her family, as she pays her neighbour who saved her, Leon, to take
vengeance and kill them
Corruption: We see this where the corrupt police/agents go against the law and kill Mathilda's
family, which poses as a key theme as this is the reason her and Leon were brought together.
Love: We see this between Leon and Mathilda as she begins to develop feelings for the hitman
who continues to protect her and also teach her how to protect herself.
Murder: This is a very important and reoccurring theme in the film as Leon repeatedly has to
overcome many obstacles by killing FBI agents and criminals.
Crime: We repeatedly see crime in this film through police corruption, shootouts, drug dealing
and murders.
Drugs: We see this in the film many times as Stan is a corrupt DEA agent that stores confiscated
drugs. Also, as there was uproar about drug money going missing.
Narrative
In the movie we see the idea of good vs evil as we see Leon vs
Stan; this is as we see the good, Leon, continually protecting
Mathilda by killing Stan's gang and protect her from the bad.
Also, we see many shootouts car chases in this film which are
typical to the crime thriller genre as they create a sense of
suspense where you never know what will happen as it gets you
on the edge of your seat hoping that the main characters, Leon
and Mathilda, come out on top. Furthermore, the concept of
innocent characters being caught up in a situation beyond their
control is explored where Mathilda is wanted by Stan's gang who
killed her family even though she had no real connection with the
loss of the drug supply or Stan in the first place.
Iconography
The movie is based in a a rural and urban location, being New
York City which is very popular and a huge tourist attraction.
This area was used to create a normal everyday sense to the quite
abnormal lives of all of the characters as some areas in the film
may in some way relate to the spectator. However it can create a
sense of fear as it highlights that wherever you are you may not
always be safe as there is things going on that you do not
see. Also, various weapons are used in the movie by the gangs,
Leon, Mathilda and criminals; this is a key asset to the film and
typical with crime. These are used to create power divides
between the characters where some have more control over
others and also to connote the violence that will commence
throughout the film.
Audio Visual Style
In the opening scene we see very strong visuals as the scene
is all using close ups with incidental non-diegetic music to
create a sense of tension immediately at the beginning to
catch the spectator off guard and intrigue them straight
away. Close ups were used to show various expressions of
the characters to certain events such as in the opening
scene. However, these could also be used to make the
viewer uncomfortable as they are immediately brought up
close to these characters that they do not properly know
yet.
Get Carter (1971)
Get Carter
Get Carter is a 1971 British crime film directed by Mike Hodges and starring
Michael Caine; The screenplay was adapted by Hodges from Ted Lewis's 1969
novel Jack's Return Home. The story shadows a London gangster, Jack Carter,
who travels back to his hometown of Newcastle to reveal the truth behind the
events surrounding his brother Frank's supposedly-accidental death. This film
proves stereotypical elements of a thriller film such as a male protagonist, being
Carter, as he's on a mission to uncover details and will eliminate anything that
gets in his way. There are also non stereotypical features as Carter does not
follow the usual gangsters code of conduct as he goes against the rules of his
profession; for example sleeping with the boss’ wife.
Characters in Get Carter:
Gangsters: We see these in the opening scene of the film where Carter is sitting with his boss’ the
Fletchers flicking through porn films and grooming women, while they sit in a room full of expensive
furniture in suits. This is stereotypical of gangsters as they're usually represented as well dressed and
respectable people that really are everyday human beings. They're also typical as they treat women as
objects and do what they want to them, which we also see in the opening scene. Carter is a typical
gangster as well as it is proved that he is ruthless in his profession as he kills anything that gets in his
way and has people working for him.
Innocent Victim: We see this as many people such as Margret and Doreen etc. all get caught up in
problems they should not be in and end up suffering for them. Worst of all is Doreen as she is set up by
the gangsters and Margaret and put in a pornography film; used to blackmail Carter.
Stereotypical Male: We see stereotypical crime thriller males such as Carter as he is middle aged,
good looking and a ruthless gangster who enjoys being in power and control over the women and men
in this film. We also see the stereotype of being protective over the female damsel in distress which
appears to be Doreen as he seems extremely shielding throughout the movie, for example when he
finds out that Glenda was involved in bringing Doreen into a porn film; in which Carter puts Glenda in
the trunk of a car which she later dies in. Further exploring his ruthless nature.
Stereotypical Female: We see females stereotypical to the thriller genre as they're often shown as sex
symbols and objectified by the men in the movie, as well as being seen as vulnerable and powerless,
mostly dominated by Carter as it seems that he enjoys being dominant over the women.
Revenge: We see Carter trying to get revenge on everyone that had something to do with
Frank’s death; which we see in the end being successful as he finally kills Eric, by killing
Eric the way Eric killed Frank.
Murder: We see this throughout the entire movie, while watching Carter on his venture
to get revenge on whoever killed his brother. Also, after he finds out about his
daughter/niece being in a porn movie; we see Carter cry and kill Glenda and Margaret.
Crime: We see crime throughout the film, from the beginning to the end where we see
the Fletchers that supposedly run London, where they show that they have a collection of
pornography that they view from their projector used to blackmail innocent people. We
further see the use of blackmail from Kinnear, as he hosts a party in his mansion where
every room is being filmed so that they can be used to blackmail the victims that dare to
have sex in the house. Drugs are also seized by the police when they arrive at Kinnear’s
mansion. We also see murder and use of weapons throughout the movie, proving the
criminal acts.
Corruption: We see possible corruption in this movie as at the start we see Franks
friends in a blue land rover, and when Kinnear is arrested we see the police in a blue land
rover.
Themes in Get Carter
Narrative:
In this movie we see many different forms of narrative; the first would be
the rise and fall structure. This is where we see a series of related events
that occur leading up to the key moments in the plot, which would be where
the main conflict between the antagonist and protagonist would take place,
in Carter’s situation, the fall. This is an important factor in Macbeth and Get
Carter as it reflects the idea of crime, which leads to certain consequence.
Next, we see elements of a detective genre; this is seen throughout the
entire film as Carter is trying to uncover traces of information towards how
his brother Frank died. While also incorporating the gangster touch to it as
once he gets what he is looking for he will shoot the messenger. Thirdly, we
see film noir elements, which is a style of filming that was often shot in
black and white meaning dark film. We see this in the scene where Carter
takes Margaret to the forest to kill her, this scene is very dark and features
the dead silence of the forest to create an eerie atmosphere. We also see
serial killer elements in this film throughout as Carter kills countless
characters on his way to get answers and relieve his own pain to gain
revenge of his brother’s death.
This movie is based in rural Newcastle, where we see massive mansions
as well as dull and run down flats which makes you question the health
and standard of living for these people. This area may have been used to
create a home feeling for some spectators, as they may have lived near
to where this was filmed which may bring memories back to them
connoting a feeling of comfort; however, this may also create a feeling
of fear as it may spark a thought that events like this could happen
anywhere, even in little unknown places shown in this film. Creating the
theme that not everything is what it seems. The props used in this film
were used throughout, such as guns used by Carter to kill anyone he
finds reason to and American cars used by the rich people who were at
Kinnear’s party in his mansion, to further prove their wealth.
Iconography
Audio Visual Style
In this movie we see very strong audio, dependant to the situation; such
as at the beginning the soundtrack is very fast and promising leading up
to Carter’s arrival to Newcastle by train. In contrast, at the end where
Carter is shot by “J” the same music from the beginning of the
soundtrack is played however slower and calmer, potentially used to
show that his fight for revenge is over after he killed Eric, so the music
could be used to show his newly found peace now he has revenge. Also,
a good use of audio style in the movie would be where Carter arrives to
Newcastle, where the music becomes slower and slower as the train
begins to come closer and closer to stopping at the station. An effective
use of visual style would be as Wolfgang Suschitzky used a telescope
lens behind bushes and building to make it appear as if someone was
always being watched to create a sense of mystery of who is watching
and why is someone being watched.

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Thriller genre Forms and Conventions

  • 1. Thriller Genre Forms & Conventions Finley Sinclair
  • 3. Léon: The Professional Léon: The Professional is a 1994 1994 English-language French thriller film written and directed by Luc Besson. It stars Jean Reno and Gary Oldman. Leon consists of stereotypical characters such as Leon being a typical protagonist being male and protecting the damsel in distress which is Natalie Portman; also corrupt police, gangsters and an innocent victims being pulled into crisis. This also entails of themes such as revenge for Mathilda’s family, crime and murder with Stan and love and trust between Mathilda and Leon. Furthermore, the iconography is typical in the thriller genre as it contains distinct props and settings such as guns and weapons, an urban world containing hotels and bars in the city and cars. Lastly, the audio visual style of the film is typical as they use common shots and editing such as establishing shots, close ups, medium shots, fast paced editing.
  • 4. Characters in Leon Gangsters: We see gangsters in this film at the opening scene where we see a large group of men prepared to use weapons; also the character Stan has gangster traits as he is corrupt DEA agent who leads criminals to store drugs for him. He is also the man that gunned down Mathilda’s family. Hit-men: This can be seen as Leon is a hit-man in the movie and is hired to place a hit on corrupt mobs. Innocent Victims: We see this in the film where Mathilda’s family are gunned down by Stan leading Mathilda to her neighbour who is the professional hitman Leon and ends up being pulled into trouble. Corrupt Police: We see this as the corrupt DEA agent takes confiscated drugs and it was corrupt agents who killed Mathilda’s family. Stereotypical Female: Mathilda was a very stereotypical female as she often did housework for Leon and was also in love with the male protagonist Leon. She also posed as a damsel in distress as Leon saved her when her family was killed by corrupt agents. Stereotypical Male: Leon is a stereotypical male as he is physically and mentally strong and a protector as he protects Mathilda.
  • 5. Themes in Leon Revenge: This is an important theme as we see this throughout as Mathilda seeks revenge on the corrupt agents that killed her family, as she pays her neighbour who saved her, Leon, to take vengeance and kill them Corruption: We see this where the corrupt police/agents go against the law and kill Mathilda's family, which poses as a key theme as this is the reason her and Leon were brought together. Love: We see this between Leon and Mathilda as she begins to develop feelings for the hitman who continues to protect her and also teach her how to protect herself. Murder: This is a very important and reoccurring theme in the film as Leon repeatedly has to overcome many obstacles by killing FBI agents and criminals. Crime: We repeatedly see crime in this film through police corruption, shootouts, drug dealing and murders. Drugs: We see this in the film many times as Stan is a corrupt DEA agent that stores confiscated drugs. Also, as there was uproar about drug money going missing.
  • 6. Narrative In the movie we see the idea of good vs evil as we see Leon vs Stan; this is as we see the good, Leon, continually protecting Mathilda by killing Stan's gang and protect her from the bad. Also, we see many shootouts car chases in this film which are typical to the crime thriller genre as they create a sense of suspense where you never know what will happen as it gets you on the edge of your seat hoping that the main characters, Leon and Mathilda, come out on top. Furthermore, the concept of innocent characters being caught up in a situation beyond their control is explored where Mathilda is wanted by Stan's gang who killed her family even though she had no real connection with the loss of the drug supply or Stan in the first place.
  • 7. Iconography The movie is based in a a rural and urban location, being New York City which is very popular and a huge tourist attraction. This area was used to create a normal everyday sense to the quite abnormal lives of all of the characters as some areas in the film may in some way relate to the spectator. However it can create a sense of fear as it highlights that wherever you are you may not always be safe as there is things going on that you do not see. Also, various weapons are used in the movie by the gangs, Leon, Mathilda and criminals; this is a key asset to the film and typical with crime. These are used to create power divides between the characters where some have more control over others and also to connote the violence that will commence throughout the film.
  • 8. Audio Visual Style In the opening scene we see very strong visuals as the scene is all using close ups with incidental non-diegetic music to create a sense of tension immediately at the beginning to catch the spectator off guard and intrigue them straight away. Close ups were used to show various expressions of the characters to certain events such as in the opening scene. However, these could also be used to make the viewer uncomfortable as they are immediately brought up close to these characters that they do not properly know yet.
  • 10. Get Carter Get Carter is a 1971 British crime film directed by Mike Hodges and starring Michael Caine; The screenplay was adapted by Hodges from Ted Lewis's 1969 novel Jack's Return Home. The story shadows a London gangster, Jack Carter, who travels back to his hometown of Newcastle to reveal the truth behind the events surrounding his brother Frank's supposedly-accidental death. This film proves stereotypical elements of a thriller film such as a male protagonist, being Carter, as he's on a mission to uncover details and will eliminate anything that gets in his way. There are also non stereotypical features as Carter does not follow the usual gangsters code of conduct as he goes against the rules of his profession; for example sleeping with the boss’ wife.
  • 11. Characters in Get Carter: Gangsters: We see these in the opening scene of the film where Carter is sitting with his boss’ the Fletchers flicking through porn films and grooming women, while they sit in a room full of expensive furniture in suits. This is stereotypical of gangsters as they're usually represented as well dressed and respectable people that really are everyday human beings. They're also typical as they treat women as objects and do what they want to them, which we also see in the opening scene. Carter is a typical gangster as well as it is proved that he is ruthless in his profession as he kills anything that gets in his way and has people working for him. Innocent Victim: We see this as many people such as Margret and Doreen etc. all get caught up in problems they should not be in and end up suffering for them. Worst of all is Doreen as she is set up by the gangsters and Margaret and put in a pornography film; used to blackmail Carter. Stereotypical Male: We see stereotypical crime thriller males such as Carter as he is middle aged, good looking and a ruthless gangster who enjoys being in power and control over the women and men in this film. We also see the stereotype of being protective over the female damsel in distress which appears to be Doreen as he seems extremely shielding throughout the movie, for example when he finds out that Glenda was involved in bringing Doreen into a porn film; in which Carter puts Glenda in the trunk of a car which she later dies in. Further exploring his ruthless nature. Stereotypical Female: We see females stereotypical to the thriller genre as they're often shown as sex symbols and objectified by the men in the movie, as well as being seen as vulnerable and powerless, mostly dominated by Carter as it seems that he enjoys being dominant over the women.
  • 12. Revenge: We see Carter trying to get revenge on everyone that had something to do with Frank’s death; which we see in the end being successful as he finally kills Eric, by killing Eric the way Eric killed Frank. Murder: We see this throughout the entire movie, while watching Carter on his venture to get revenge on whoever killed his brother. Also, after he finds out about his daughter/niece being in a porn movie; we see Carter cry and kill Glenda and Margaret. Crime: We see crime throughout the film, from the beginning to the end where we see the Fletchers that supposedly run London, where they show that they have a collection of pornography that they view from their projector used to blackmail innocent people. We further see the use of blackmail from Kinnear, as he hosts a party in his mansion where every room is being filmed so that they can be used to blackmail the victims that dare to have sex in the house. Drugs are also seized by the police when they arrive at Kinnear’s mansion. We also see murder and use of weapons throughout the movie, proving the criminal acts. Corruption: We see possible corruption in this movie as at the start we see Franks friends in a blue land rover, and when Kinnear is arrested we see the police in a blue land rover. Themes in Get Carter
  • 13. Narrative: In this movie we see many different forms of narrative; the first would be the rise and fall structure. This is where we see a series of related events that occur leading up to the key moments in the plot, which would be where the main conflict between the antagonist and protagonist would take place, in Carter’s situation, the fall. This is an important factor in Macbeth and Get Carter as it reflects the idea of crime, which leads to certain consequence. Next, we see elements of a detective genre; this is seen throughout the entire film as Carter is trying to uncover traces of information towards how his brother Frank died. While also incorporating the gangster touch to it as once he gets what he is looking for he will shoot the messenger. Thirdly, we see film noir elements, which is a style of filming that was often shot in black and white meaning dark film. We see this in the scene where Carter takes Margaret to the forest to kill her, this scene is very dark and features the dead silence of the forest to create an eerie atmosphere. We also see serial killer elements in this film throughout as Carter kills countless characters on his way to get answers and relieve his own pain to gain revenge of his brother’s death.
  • 14. This movie is based in rural Newcastle, where we see massive mansions as well as dull and run down flats which makes you question the health and standard of living for these people. This area may have been used to create a home feeling for some spectators, as they may have lived near to where this was filmed which may bring memories back to them connoting a feeling of comfort; however, this may also create a feeling of fear as it may spark a thought that events like this could happen anywhere, even in little unknown places shown in this film. Creating the theme that not everything is what it seems. The props used in this film were used throughout, such as guns used by Carter to kill anyone he finds reason to and American cars used by the rich people who were at Kinnear’s party in his mansion, to further prove their wealth. Iconography
  • 15. Audio Visual Style In this movie we see very strong audio, dependant to the situation; such as at the beginning the soundtrack is very fast and promising leading up to Carter’s arrival to Newcastle by train. In contrast, at the end where Carter is shot by “J” the same music from the beginning of the soundtrack is played however slower and calmer, potentially used to show that his fight for revenge is over after he killed Eric, so the music could be used to show his newly found peace now he has revenge. Also, a good use of audio style in the movie would be where Carter arrives to Newcastle, where the music becomes slower and slower as the train begins to come closer and closer to stopping at the station. An effective use of visual style would be as Wolfgang Suschitzky used a telescope lens behind bushes and building to make it appear as if someone was always being watched to create a sense of mystery of who is watching and why is someone being watched.