Genre, titles and logos
The film opens with ‘Touchstone’ picture logo, so that straight away we know what company
produced the film. The titles are shown separately which could be criticised as they are
shown at the beginning and after a short bit of footage. They are both on plain backgrounds,
however this works to an advantage as in the scene the titles do not take any attention off
the characters and what’s happening. This works to an advantage as a lot of focus is needed
from the viewers to focus on the enigma. Titles are shown after the ‘Touchstone’ logo. We
see names of producers and directors, however the actual film title is not shown until the
middle of the opening after a small piece of footage has been seen. This plays with the
audiences mind as the first shots do not match or represent the genre.
The genre of the film is action/thriller. We establish this straight away when the camera
turns to the gunman. Also the change in music helps us to recognise this, going from joyful
but mysterious to scary, deep music. Despite this when the film first starts we do not straight
away know or think the film genre is action/thriller. We are first tricked to think that it is a
family film, a dramatic film. Set in a fun and friendly area surrounded by other people we do
not expect it to be an action/thriller film.
The main characters are established at the beginning when one of the two is on the Carrousel with who
we assume to be his son. The opening also features the gunman (the other main character). It is obvious
to us that these two are going to remain important characters as they have the most screen time in the
opening and take the main focus throughout the opening. No one else is featured in the opening except
a few background actors.
Mise en scene:
Costume: Both characters are wearing black. This at first makes us wonder who is the bad guy and who is
good. When we do finally see who the bad guy is we see how the black clothing represents his
personality and dark side. The black that John Travolta is wearing could potentially represent the death
of his son the scene. All together the black represents the mood and what happens within the scene.
Lighting: The lighting throughout the scene is grey. This presents and mimics the mood and the death of
the child. It also could represent the thoughts of the characters, for example revenge and conflict...etc.
The dull grey lighting goes well with the scene and helps viewers on some level understand what's
Actors: There are two main actors who we assume are enemies. We are not quite sure of there
authorities or status as there is no speaking.
Make-up: The make-up of the two main male characters is natural as it seems to be a normal day at first.
Special effects make-up is used when the gunman pulls the trigger. A lot of blood is used on John Travolta
and his son.
Props: The use of the gun as a props helps to recognise the genre of the film as a weapon is normally
included in most action films. With out the weapon there would be no clues to the genre until the main
Setting: The carrousel which is shown in the first opening moments of the film instantly tells us where
they are, a fairground. We are only shown the basic surroundings of the carrousel and not many other
features of the setting. This puts main focus on the area of action. There are no distractions.
The entire opening scene is making the audience question what is going on. It remains a
mystery why the gunman is shooting at the other man. This is effective as it leaves the
audience wanting to know more. The fact that both men are dressed in black at first makes us
wonder who is the bad guy.
The lack of speech in the scene raises questions such as: what the gunman's motive is? Why
he is shooting him? What has happened before this? The music adds to this as its mysterious
and creepy. When watching you are not sure what to think.
The surroundings of the carrousel aren't obvious as they aren't shown. The fact that the
gunman has chosen to shoot the man in front of his son and in such a public place makes us
wonder what he has done to deserve it. We first don’t see the body on the ground we just see
blood on the horse where the little boy was sitting with his father. This raises the question as
to who has been shot and who is hurt.
Lastly the very beginning of the opening is a shot of the carrousel. The horses are shown going
round and round. It then jumps and the horses going round become blurry. Could this
represent a cycle of the two main characters? Could this represent conflict or confusion?
The theme starts with a joyful, calm atmosphere but is soon disturbed. The theme of the
film is immediately questions when the gunman shoots who we believe is one on the man
characters and his son. A mysterious and dangerous atmosphere is established from this
point onwards. The theme of revenge is shown when the gunman shoots. His facial
expressions seem evil and like he hates the other character. For example there is a close up
shot of the characters eye, the emotion is clear. The fact that the two men are dressed in
black also suggests revenge. There is also a small theme of guilt. When we see the gunman
learn that he has his son with him there is a close up that shows him hesitate. However the
theme of revenge is stronger as he does it anyway.