Look. Listen. Analyze.

John Forest's CPSC 106 Website

Look. Listen. Analyze.

Movie Scene Review

For this assignment, I wanted to take a look at a scene from The Dark Knight. This is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I am excited to get started:

Courtesy of MrFreezy on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E679XJellLs.

Camera Work:

The camera angles and techniques used in this opening scene are extremely effective in setting up a character: The Joker. The way that the camera moves throughout the beginning brings multiple different parts of the scenes together. For example, the city view of the rooftops and the “clowns” getting to a van in a similar setting show what is about to happen.

The Camera also doesn’t focus on one person for too long, I believe that this decision is to remove the individualization of each of the bank robbers. The objective is to make you think of this as a group effort, and conceal that (spoiler alert) the joker is involved in the heist himself.

The angle also changes dramatically right before someone is about to be killed. The entire scene is so fast paced that you hardly have time to think before the next thing happens. At the end of the bank robbery scene, the camera finally gets a glimpse at the Joker himself. The camera provides an intense closeup of the joker, complete with scars and makeup. To build even more suspense, the scene ends with a close up of the bank manager. The audience expects him to explode, but he does not. The close up builds false suspense…amazing!

Audio Track:

The music in the scene continues to build as more and more of the bank robbers are killed by each other. The music builds and rises with every death (except for the final clown), but continues to rise until one crucial point, the unveiling of the Joker. Once this happens, all of the pent up anticipation ends as we are introduced to one of the most famous super villains in cinematic history (at least in the DC universe).

The music and background noise serves as a dual purpose, it also conceals the voices of the criminals (or lack there of). As we come closer and closer, something becomes more and more ominous about the scene, indicating that we (the audience) is about to learn something new about these otherwise boring and simple characters.

The final reveal of the Joker brings along with it a scary sound. This indicates to anyone who doesn’t know the Joker that he is an antagonist, or at least someone who is not perceived as objectively good.

Final Conclusion:

After analyzing this scene, and taking a look at the two different aspects of it, audio and visual, I noticed so much more than when I last viewed this movie over a year ago. So much work and thought goes into these scenes that some people have no understanding of. Most people just see a scene as being done well and edited effectively, but we can see that many of these actions by the director and producers are explicit in their meaning. I believe that I have a better understanding of the scene because of the time taken to just watch, just listen, and finally put the two together.

The director of the Dark Knight did an excellent job of setting up an infamous super villain. I have learned that there are few mistakes in cinematic production, instead purposeful and feeling-filled intentionality.


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