Cape Fear 1991 Martin Scorsese Starring: Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte & Jessica Lange
Frame 1 The movie opens with a Universal ident. However, the image is subverted and presented in a gloomy blue colour. The image also appears as if underwater. This links to a prominent location in the movie. The sound of falling rain in the background adds to the gloomy atmosphere of the initial shot
Frame 2 Although this shot is taken from the title sequence it still helps to develop the atmosphere of dread in the opening sequence. The reflection of a shadowy and menacing figure is presented atop a backdrop of calm, lightly rippling water. This juxtaposition of the calm with the violent lies at the core of the movie.
Frame 3 The camera slowly zooms out, stopping at a mid-shot of a girl in her late teens/early twenties. She is the archetypal victim of the genre. The girl is dressed in white carrying connotations of innocence and purity. The dialogue speaks of the enjoyment the young girl has experienced in a “magical” place, the inaptly named “Cape Fear” This scene creates uncertainty in the viewer as its overwhelmingly positive tone is a marked contrast to what is to come.
Frame 4 The movie opens with an establishing shot showing Cady’s prison cell. Cady’s wall is covered in pictures of historical figures, martyrs and super heroes. The choice of images suggests he respects absolute power & aggression and feels that he has been mistreated. The camera gradually zooms out to reveal the scope of his obsession. The clip features bombastic, gloomy orchestral Music creating a sense of foreboding/ anticipation of bad things to come
Frame 5 Focus on the convict working out. The movie shows the audience that this man is a powerful person who they should be afraid of due to him working out Scales on back imply that he feels that he needs to deal out what is right and what is wrong, he is interested in truth and justice. The audience do not know who this person is creating tension and fear from them. The audience feel edgy as it is not showing the convict’s face. In the foreground of the shot is the bars which give a sense of safety to the audience but may also give them a nervy feeling because he is behind the bars.
Frame 6 Convict is being let out of the prison creating the fear in the audience and the mystery into what they think he is going to do now that he is free. The face of the convict is now revealed. This relieves some of the fear from the audience as they now know what he looks like reducing the mystery that is shrouded around him. In the background of the cell there is old books which is revealed as being law books. This shows to the audience that he is a knowledgeable person and has been working towards something by reading these law books. In this shot the guards are quite polite to the convict and reveal his name suggesting to the audience that he is well known in the prison maybe implying that he has been there a long time. Also when he is walking past the other cells they are quiet suggesting that they fear this man.
Frame 7 This shot shows the man leaving the prison with no one waiting for him as the guard asks him if anyone will be waiting for him in which he reply’s no. This suggests that he is not close to anyone which makes the audience create an image of him as a loner and a outcast. A shot of the prison and the guards shows the convict’s freedom. This creates mystery in the audience as to what he is going to do. The long shot is used to show that now he can do what he wants which creates fear and tension in the audience as they wonder what he is going to do. The dark and cloudy sky suggests that something dark is about to occur, giving the audience the time to prepare for this dark moment. The convict walks straight off straight away showing the audience that he is keen to get on with his freedom and suggests that he has some business to attend to.
Frame 8 The clouds have gotten bigger and darker since the last shot which links in with the convict steely eyed face which suggests that he is out to do something dark and the audience should be afraid. The convict marches straight up to the camera frightening the audience and creating fear for them. It also intimidates the audience as he means business. The expression on the character’s face is a small smirk suggesting to the audience that he is not a usual person and that he is out to do what he needs to do. The extreme close up on the convict’s face is used to intimidate the audience and create fear among the audience.
Frame 9 Shot of a lavish house giving the audience the thought that this is the convict’s home or that the convict is going to this house to deal with his business. The shot is from around the bushes suggesting to the audience that the shot is from the convict’s point of view suggesting that he is watching this house. House is a contrast to the convict as the house is bright and colorful where as the convict is more gray and dull. The sky is also bright and colorful suggesting that this is not the convict’s house.