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TRAILER
ANALYSIS

GENRE - AMERICAN CRIME
This trailer begins in silence with a black screen, a title then fades from black saying ‘EVERY
“DOG” HAS ITS DAY’, the di...
The next shot is a tracking long-shot of the group walking down a road, (which
is edited into slow motion, a typical edit ...
The music then cuts back in, and the camera cuts to a few different
shots of the characters laughing at a table, this is c...
The camera then cuts to a close-up of a character punching the other in
the face, as his fist hits the other’s face the mu...
The last important shots of the trailer show a close up of each of the
‘Reservoir Dogs’ faces to identify them whilst a no...
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Reservoir dogs trailer analysis

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Reservoir dogs trailer analysis

  1. 1. TRAILER ANALYSIS GENRE - AMERICAN CRIME
  2. 2. This trailer begins in silence with a black screen, a title then fades from black saying ‘EVERY “DOG” HAS ITS DAY’, the dictionary definition of this is: ‘something that you say which means that everyone is successful during some period in their life’ meaning what the characters are about to do could make them very successful, or it could be saying that this may not be their day, that they aren’t going to succeed. Tarantino has used this well-known saying to relate to the film title ‘Reservoir Dogs’, here we can see that he is comparing them to dogs. The informal dictionary definition of ‘dog’ is ‘A person regarded as contemptible’, this means that he doesn’t have a high opinion of these characters, the fact that he is comparing them to an animal shows that they aren’t well behaved and don’t play by the rules. We are then shown the producer’s logo (MIRAMAX) who supports independent and foreign film. Whilst this is on screen, we here non-diegetic sound of a few people shouting, we hear the words ‘FREEZE, put the gun down!’ which signifies that this film fits into the crime genre, this is because a typical prop (gun) has been mentioned in a line that you here commonly in American crime films/programmes. We then hear a non-diegetic song begin to play, which is called ‘Stuck in the middle with you’ by ‘Stealers wheel’, this is a very iconic song due to a scene in Reservoir Dogs itself where Mr Blonde tortures someone, a juxtapose is created through the music because a happy/calm pop song is played over the screaming and torturing of an innocent person, this was used to make the viewers feel uncomfortable. Once this song starts to play, the footage cuts in, where all the characters are in what looks like a briefing room, we see a mid-shot of an older man who looks like the boss due to his costume (smart-suit) compared to the other’s (casual clothing). He gives names to the characters e.g. ‘Mr White, Mr Blonde and Mr Pink.’ As each name is said we see a close-up of each character (while the camera is tracking). The names tell us that the characters must be up to no good because they are using fake names to call themselves by.
  3. 3. The next shot is a tracking long-shot of the group walking down a road, (which is edited into slow motion, a typical edit in the crime genre) I think the purpose of this is to show the costumes that the characters are wearing, black and white suits. This is a big contrast to what they were wearing before, it shows that they have importance to the narrative and also are about to do something important. This signifies that we are watching a different scene. We then see another long-shot of the group walking in slow motion from behind. Immediately after, a close up is shown of a hand holding a stubby revolver with its chamber hanging out, as the chamber is flicked back in to place, the music stops and there is no sound. I think this is a really good effect that I may use as inspiration when editing my crime trailer. The next shot is a POV from two of the main character/anti-hero’s view looking at the bank, it then cuts to an over the shoulder shot whilst they are conversing, the transition between these two shots looks really good, it would also work in a conversation from face to face. When the two characters are talking, one of them mentions that if the manager doesn’t give the diamonds over, then he should ‘cut off one of his fingers, the little one’.
  4. 4. The music then cuts back in, and the camera cuts to a few different shots of the characters laughing at a table, this is conveyed in a sinister way because of what they were talking about in the previous scene. I think Tarantino put this scene after the other on purpose to show that the criminals have no conscience and no guilt for what they do, which is also why the film refers to them as dogs. The music emphasises this because it is very content and comical which is the opposite to what is going on. This is a medium low-angle shot of 3 of the characters, it has been shot from this angle to show that they are dominant and are in control at this point of the trailer, which means they are still in the first act of equilibrium. The music then cuts out again as a fist smashes through a window, this is a close up shot from behind the glass so that the viewer feels as if the hand is smashing through their TV/cinema screen. This is also a representation that the equilibrium has now been disrupted. A few shots later we see a long-shot of one of the characters (Mr Pink) tug a woman out of her own car, throw her onto the floor and then opens fire onto a group of policeman, this tells us he has just committed a crime and isn't in control anymore and is also in the middle of act 2.
  5. 5. The camera then cuts to a close-up of a character punching the other in the face, as his fist hits the other’s face the music cuts out once again. Every time the music cuts out during the trailer, it’s to allow important dialogue to be heard. This is an interesting and effective technique. When the music cuts back in, we see a shot of a hostage tied up to a chair, it then cuts to a close up of a razor in a characters hand, from this we are being told that their will be strong violence in the film. Shortly after, we see a sequence of different shots of the characters making explosion and gun sounds vocally e.g. “BAM”, this adds a comicality to the trailer and shows that they don’t take what they do very seriously. At the end of this sequence, whilst a character is shooting his pistol, we hear non-diegetic sound of a character mimicking the gun in synchronisation, this signifies the genre of the film again. I think this is a very postmodern effect that Tarantino has done, he has challenged an action packed, violent, thrilling trailer with comicality to end it.
  6. 6. The last important shots of the trailer show a close up of each of the ‘Reservoir Dogs’ faces to identify them whilst a non-diegetic voice over tells us the actor’s names. This is a typical postmodern technique to do that I could possibly use in mine, but it could make it quite tacky and unprofessional if it didn’t pull off well. Lastly the title ‘RESERVOIR DOGS’ zooms in from black, the harsh red represents that there is a lot of blood in the film, representing violence which is a typical convention in the crime genre. Throughout, the trailer shows a few titles which give the viewers a quick summary that describes the film in an edgy way, even though the trailer explained the story well this makes sure that people understand what the film is about, I could possibly involve this in my trailer if it doesn’t come across clear enough. This trailer shows some of act 1 but mostly act 2 but they have not shown the 3rd act this is a typical thing to do for a trailer otherwise they would give away the whole plot and the audience would not need to see the film, in my trailer I will show the acts in a similar way because it keeps the final outcome hidden. For the camerawork in this film there was a lot of mid-shots and close-ups to show expressions on characters faces and to help us understand dialogue, a few tracking shots were also used to capture all the characters in the clips. The editing was pretty simple, to edit each shot together they used clean cuts and a couple of fades were used to present text from black, slow motion was used at one point, which was is a good feature for the crime genre. All of the main characters in this film are anti heroes because we are rooting for them to be successful but they are committing crimes and taking actions that the antagonist would usually do. For the Mise en Scene there was a lot of stylish/iconic costume/props which signified the era, most of the trailer was shot inside a warehouse which showed that they were lying low/hiding from the cops. Finally for the sound, a juxtaposed soundtrack was played throughout the trailer, but every now and the was cut as an important action was made or important dialogue was spoke, most of the sounds on top of this were nondiegetic except from the dialogue.

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