By Ellie Wright. Conventions Of Thrillers.
Narrative Conventions. • The term thriller refers to a movie that has tension and excitement normally in a thriller narrative there are 5 stages… -A state of equilibrium at the outset. -A disruption of the equilibrium for example a murder or kidnapping like in the movie Taken. -Recognition of disruption. -attempt to repair it. -Equilibrium is back to normal again. • This theory was made by TzventanTodorovs this creates a complex plot and this makes suspense for the audience . • The narrative of a thriller will also have twists and turns within it to make it more exciting for example in se7en there is a twist at the end where Brad Pitt, one of the detectives realizes he is the last deadly sin which is roth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xG5hSOMGn0 • Thrillers also have restricted narration this is where questions will be left unanswered till the end of the film. This is normally set off by a crime committed at the beginning of the film for example Brick, right at the start of the film it’s a shot of the main character next to a dead body.
Characters • The whole narrative of a thriller is usually developed by the characters in the film. • Normally in a thriller you have the protagonist or as some times called the hero. This is often some one who is an everyday person but they will have a flaw which they will need to over come in the film. For example in collateral the protagonist is just a normal taxi driver that has a flaw that he is a dreamer, he thinks he is above being a taxi driver. • This flaw is often exploited by the antagonist or the ‘villain’ in thrillers this is often a convict, criminal, assassin, serial killer ect. For example in Se7en the antagonist is a serial killer and he exploits the protagonist by attacking his family. • Also the antagonist is often very mysterious and his or hers identity is hidden from the audience and might not be revealed till half way threw or not till the end. • Overall thrillers have extraordinary things that happen to ordinary people this makes the audience feel like it could actually happen to them and makes them relate to the character that is the protagonist. Protagonists (Detectives) Antagonist (Convict/serial killer)
Mise-en-scene • Mise-en-scene is all about the generic usual conventions that appear before the camera. • Props- props are very important they contribute to the narrative, indicate genre and gives us information about characters. In thrillers props are mainly important to characters and giving the audience information about them. For example in Collateral the main character wears sunglasses in the opening scene and this is important because it hides his identity and in the whole film he tries to do this. • Setting- the setting typical for a thriller is normally an very day place like a city or a school, this gives the audience a feeling that because its in an ordinary place it could happen to them. This is what settings should do; create an emotional or psychological effect on the audience. For example in Se7en it is set in a city and a serial killer is going around the city killing people also in Brick that is set in a high school at the beginning. • Costumes\make-up- this can tell us a lot about a character, it can tell us about their social status, the historical context and what situation the character is in. In a thriller costumes are normally quite dark, this is so they don’t stand out as much and to keep them mysterious to the audience and can reflect the dark depressing tone of the film. For example in Batman the Joker wears a suit in dark colors but they dark purple and dark green ect. I think this is to show that yes he is a antagonist but his dark but weird color suit represents him how he is unpredictable and had mood swings. Sunglasses hiding his identity
Mise-en-scene • Figure expression/facial expression- with out this you would have no idea about the relationships between characters and about characters personality. Facial expressions show emotions and states of mind of characters. Clarice Starling from silence of the lambs- Facial expression example: • Also with eye contact, this can can show characters personality, if they are confident they will have eye contact with other characters and that typical of antagonists in thrillers because they have to be confident to pull of the crimes they commit and to exploit the protagonists flaws . For example in se7en the character John Doe acts very calm and confident. Also with posture, if a character stands up straight and has good posture it shows confidence too and indicates mood, status, age and gender. And with out facial expressions and figure expression you would not see the emotions that the actors want to portray and in thrillers normally its anger, hate, love, sadness, excitement, intensity ect. Eyes wide maybe showing fear Or anxiety. Mouth slightly open maybe showing that she is shocked. Eye brows raised and pushed together maybe showing confusion.
Editing • Editing is the placing of separate shots together and this is very important in thrillers. • Continuity editing is editing that is unobtrusive, you can barley notice it as a viewer and most thrillers will have this because the audience needs to become absorbed in the action. For example in the movie V for Vendetta they use many sequences to make the editing smooth. They use match on action, the 180 degree rule and many more, the whole movie is edited very well so it goes unnoticed. • Match on action is used a lot in thrillers as there is always a lot of action in thrillers. This is when it shows the same action from different angles. For example in Bat man the Dark Knight there is a scene where Bat man shoots a rocket into a wall and they show the explosion in many different angles this makes the action more intense. • One of the main things in films that is used is the 180 degree rule. This is where the camera stays on one side, it cant go over one point (the invisible line) so it stays on one side either the left or right. For example in the thriller Sexy Beast it is used in a conversation between two characters this is done so you can see how the character reacts to what the other is saying this is key to character leads in thrillers where you focus on the dialogue. • There is also a sequence called eyeline match. This is where the character reacts to something an the next shot shows what the character saw. This is used to explain to viewers what the actor is reacting to and important to give the audience a scene of the characters thoughts and emotions. 180 degree rule
Sound • With out sound thrillers would be much different, they would not have nearly the same effect on the audience. Sound is split into two types of sound diegetic and non-diegetic sound. • Diegetic sound is naturally occurring with in the scene this is used in thrillers a lot with background noises for example in Brick the opening scene of when one of the main characters is in his high school and the sounds are school bells, people talking and lockers shutting and opening. So this is diegetic sound because it is natural to the environment its set in. also the bell is a main sound also a ‘sound Bridge’ in this because it does from a very quiet scene with calm music and there is not much sound, to this loud bell ringing and this makes the audience react and realizes it’s a new scene and a new setting and makes the wake up abit more to what's happening on the screen. • Non-deigetic sound is sound that has been artificially put in this is used a lot in thrillers for action scenes like chase scenes ect. For example in Bourn Identity the chase scene in Paris has a soundtrack to it . This makes the chase more interesting for the viewer and the music is quite low and have a strong beat to it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ETruidd5lQ • Non-diegetic sound can be pleonastic sound this is sound that contributes to the action that is taking place on screen and reinforces it. • In thrillers all these sound techniques are used often. They also edit things like pitch, volume, pace and tone to make the action that is happening on screen more interesting and to fit in with what is happening on screen. • Silence can often be just as powerful as any music or sounds as it creates tension and different moods which is important to thrillers. For example in Space Odyssey when there is a scene where the main character shows the computer his drawings there is no sound so you can focus on the computers creepy monotone voice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r13I-TuDcWI&feature=relmfu
Target audience • Audiences when watching thrillers want to be thrilled, they want it to have tension and twists and turns within the plot to create this thrill for them. • The normal target audience is teenagers to middle aged people, so it has quite a wide age range of people that would come and watch a thriller. So roughly it is about 12 to 40 year olds. • The target gender is normally both, women come to get thrills from the movie and some times to watch the main male character, because they are strong and the protagonist normally has a flaw that women would find attractive. Men would come to watch a thriller because of the action within it, and the twist and turns. Also if there is a main woman that they find attractive they might come to watch them. • The social class targeted is quite a wide social class as normally everyone likes a thriller, but maybe in films with hard plots to follow with twists within it might be aimed at a higher class of people.
Certification • Thrillers are often 12-15’s but some times can be an 18 as well. As often they have crime, violence, drugs and sexual content. This is because the narrative of a thriller includes all these things to make it exciting for the audience.
Silence of the lambs • This movie has a rating of 18 this is because it contains the following; • Nudity- Nudity may be allowed in a sexual context but without strong detail. There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educational context. In Silence of the lambs there a man's buttocks partially visible and is briefly shown masturbating on a bed. He then throws his semen at a woman. Also when a man in drag dances naked in front of a mirror with his genitals tucked between his legs and you can see his private area. • Sexual content-Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail. There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour, but the strongest references are unlikely to be acceptable unless justified by context. Works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation are unlikely to be acceptable. In silence of the lambs, Hannibal often sexually taunts people to psychologically disturb them. He makes offending comments about a woman's nipples, he suggests that a woman was sexually abused by a man when she was young and he asks a woman if her boss had ever thought about fucking her, etc. • Violence-Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable. There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification. In silence of the lambs, Hannibal escapes from his cuffs and kills two of the wardens. He bites one in the face and he is seen with a chunk of flesh in his mouth and blood dribbling down his chin. The man is then seen with a large gory wound in his mouth. Hannibal then sprays a full can of mace in his face. Also when the other warden is beaten to death with a night stick. This is off-screen, but blood is seen splattering on Hannibal's body. Then the aftermath is shown, which shows the guard covered in blood and blood all over Hannibal and his cell. • Language-There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’). The strongest terms (for example, ‘cunt’) may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable. In silence of the lambs there is 23 uses of ''Fuck'', 2 uses of ''Cunt'', several uses of Shit, Hell, Goddamn, and other mild language.
Shutter Island • This movie has a rating of 15 because of the following; • Sexual content and nudity-Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail. There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour, but the strongest references are unlikely to be acceptable unless justified by context. Works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation are unlikely to be acceptable, Nudity may be allowed in a sexual context but without strong detail. There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educational context. In shutter Island there is a painting of a naked adolescent girl is shown for about two seconds. Her breasts are fully exposed with both nipples shown clearly, but her privet region is blocked by her leg. There is a close-up shot of her upper torso. There is also a man in a shower type of room is fully nude and his genitals are barely visible; he stands in a room with other men, who are also in various states of undress. The scene is dark and unclear, so any nudity may go easily unnoticed. The scene only lasts a few seconds. Men are also seen shirtless various times. • Violence-Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable. There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification. In shutter Island Many dead bodies are shown, in various states of decay, are see piled inside or beside train cars multiple times. In a scene that is seen multiple times, a man whose face is covered in blood and it seems that a portion of his jaw has been violently ripped away, is seen lying on the floor in a growing puddle of blood; he reaches for a pistol while another man, who stands over him, kicks the pistol out of the way and watches him die. Also there is A dead or dying young girl is seen multiple times, as a corpse as well as reanimated as a hallucination; the image of the deceased young girl is also seen in a group of photographs, along with photographs of two dead boys. • Language-There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’). The strongest terms (for example, ‘cunt’) may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable. In shutter island there is About 14 F-words 1 racial slur and 10 religious profanities.