FC: Analysis of film openings
1: Enemy of the state
2: The film opens with white writing on a black screen which contrasts with each other. This suggests that there may be a conflict or disagreement later on in the film. The words are written in Greek style writing. This has connotations with American sororities, representing unbreakable friendships, solidarity, trust and respect suggesting these themes will be incorporated into the film. There is a fade into a park which is an unexpected location as it is an unusual place to film a political thriller in. Some words appear on top of the image of the park, accompanied by a high pitched sound as if they are being typed onto the screen, giving the idea of someone logging or spying on a computer. The writing shows us that it is 6:45am, representing a new day and a new beginning which is ironic as soon someone will die. It’s also very early for most people, but as there are two cars in the shot and a man on the bench it makes the audience think that there is some kind of gathering or meeting planned which could make them suspicious as the gathering had been scheduled while no one else was around. In the background there is a man on a bench who seems irrelevant. There is also two cars one facing the other at a 90 degree angle, again suggesting conflict. The shot is a long shot from a low angle, this makes it appear as though the audience are spying on the cars. As one of the cars drives past he reveals a man stood behind it, indicating he was hiding or waiting for the man in the car. There is a cut to a mid-shot of the man on the bench. In the background is the river. Water represents purity which is ironic as they kill the man in it later. The Man is in the side of the shot with his newspaper in the centre of the frame. This hints at controversy and politics, suggesting a theme of the film. The man is also looking over, past the camera to the car that just arrived. This shows that he too was waiting for it. There is a cut to another man who is trying to warm his hands up. The way he turns allows the audience to see that he is wearing an earphone, bringing in the theme of spying once again and indicating he is working for someone and following their instructions. The way he rubs his hands together in this shot is similar to the way villains sometimes rub their hands together as they formulate a plot, suggesting to the audience he may be a bad character. The background in this shot is a lot more blurry than in the previous shot of the man on the bench. This indicates the audience have more of a connection with the man on the bench than the man with the earpiece, again hinting he is a bad character.
4: There is a cut to a long shot of the old man and the dog getting out of the car. The long shot is used to give off the sense the audience are not taking sides and are stepping back to watch the action unfold. Then there is a cut to a mid-shot of the man, however it is just of his legs as we are tracking the dog. The jump to a mid-shot suggests that the audience are moving towards him, suggesting they like him, can trust him and are on his side. The dog is golden retriever, which shows us the old man is caring and possibly family orientated. Indicating to the audience he is a good character and that they should like him. The colour of the dog is also significant as it is a very bright colour giving good connotations and representing hope. The old man himself is dressed in light colours and the colours also blend in with the background suggesting he is at one with nature. both of these things suggest that he is a good character. His clothing is casual. This suggests to the audience that he wasn’t expecting to meet people at the park which worries them as they feel that he may be being trapped or tricked by the other men. The fact that he is older than the other men we have seen also worries the audience as old people are generally portrayed as vulnerable, making them fearful for his wellbeing. The old man throws the ball and we follow its trajectory to the man in the car. This indicates that the man in the car is going to disrupt or come between the man and his dog as he is doing so in the shot. The man is merely a silhouette at this point which presents him as a suspicious and bad character, instantly making the audience dislike him. There is a cut to a close up of the man in the cars face as the car window descends until it only covers his mouth. The man is wearing glasses, suggesting to the audience he is intelligent. He is also dressed very smartly, indicating he is at the park for a business matter. The window acts as a barrier, distancing him from the audience, indicating he is not to be trusted. The way the window stops before it uncovers his mouth suggests to us that he is feeding the man on the phone lies or that what he is saying is bad. He is holding black gloves which give the audience an instant connection between him and the man with the earpiece as he too was wearing black gloves. The man waves, which suggests a connection between him and the old man, suggesting a possible friendship. There is a cut back to the old man, telling the audience we are more interested in his reaction than the man in the glasses. The old man sighs and looks annoyed that the man in the glasses is there, telling the audience he obviously didn’t want to see him, making them wonder why not.
6: The man with the dog then walks up to the man in glasses and has a conversation with him. As they talk there is a series of shots. Most of these shots are of the old man, suggesting his dominance over the man in glasses. Every time there is a shot of the old man it is a close up, however when there is a shot of the man in glasses it is a mid-shot of the both of them. The difference in the distance of the shots indicates that the audience are a lot more trusting of the old man. The difference in the close up and the two show demonstrates the old man’s importance and shows that the audience should value him more. It could be interpreted to show that the audience trust the old man less as we are always watching him. In each close up of the old man we have a tiny bit of the man in glasses shoulder blocking a bit of the shot. This is significant as it is invading the shot in the same way the man in glasses is invading the old man’s privacy and time. The man in the glasses asks the old man for five minutes of his time. As he does so he holds up his hand, showing us he had a ring on his wedding finger. This suggests that he is loyal and shows the audience a softer side to him and the way he holds his hand up is as if he is making an oath. Both of these things make the audience re-think their initial ideas about the man and suggest they can trust him. There’s a cut to a long shot of the man in the glasses and the old man talking in front of the river. The man in the glasses has his back to the river representing him turning his back on the good. The long shot accentuates the distance between the old man and the car and the audience notice that if he was in danger it would be difficult for him to make a fast escape. There’s a cut to the camera tracking the two men as they walk and talk. The man in the glasses is presented as dominant as he is always ahead of the old man and the camera is tracking him. The way the camera tracks makes it appear as though the audience are walking alongside him, suggesting they can trust him and are his friend. There’s a cut away to a shot of the man playing with his dog. This reminds us the reason why he was here in the first place and demonstrates that the old man is trying to get on with his life but the man in the glasses is disrupting his routine and getting in the way. The way the old man raises his voice shows that he is fed up. Whereas the way the man in glasses keeps his tone calm suggests that he has a back up plan if the old man doesn’t agree with him. When the old man talks about the other mans plan endangering lives the man in the glasses is dismissive. This shows his lack of concern for life and subtly foreshadows the old mans death that we see later on. The old man stands up and there is a close up of the man in the glasses grabbing his arm. The music changes and we have a bass vibrating sound. This mimics the man in the glasses panic as he is desperate for the old man to agree to his plan so that he doesn’t have to kill him. It also presents the man in the glasses as a violent character which the audience may take a disliking to. The man in the glasses says to the old man ‘im begging you’. This is the first emotional thing we have seen the man in the glasses do and shows that he does feel strongly about having to kill the old man. He is begging the old man to trust him, giving him one last chance before he has to have him killed, demonstrating that he really doesn’t want to have to kill him, making him more appealing as a character but also showing him as a weak character as he has to follow someone else’s instructions.
8: The camera cuts to the old man and circles around him. As it does so there is a high pitched chime. This represents the moment the old man realises something isn’t quite right. This is followed by a low drum sound. This signifies the old mans heart beat as his adrenaline increases in his desperation to escape. This is followed by sad music. This signifies that the man in the glasses is sad that he has to kill the old man, showing a kinder side to him, making him more appealing to the audience. The camera looks to the man in the glasses as if it is looking for permission. There is then a cut to the man with the earpiece and he smiles. This represents him as heartless as he is smiling about causing someone pain. All the men the draw into the old man, presenting him as a target, making the audience feel uncomfortable and claustrophobic. There is then lots of quick cuts as the man with the earpiece stabs the old man with the needle. The quick cuts are used to speed up the pace of the film mimicking the old mans panic. There is a cut to a close up of the man in the glasses as he is turned away from the camera, showing him as cowardly as he can’t watch and in denial. There’s then a cut to the man on the bench as he looks down showing his remorse and that he is ashamed to be part of the plan. There’s a close up as the old man is shoved down into the back of the car so it appears the audience are right in front of him showing the audience feel a connection to him and feel sad for him. There is then a series of shots as the man in the earpiece takes of the hand break and spills the pills everywhere. These seem like point of view shots from the dead man suggesting he is still alive, making it seem even more horrific. As the car rolls down the hill the camera tracks it, making it appear as though the audience are spying. The dog barks which is a symbol of grabbing attention. The dog the sits down and is alone as his family is destroyed. This ending of the scene shows that we are more focused on the action of the film rather than the violence and ultimately suggests we were on the old mans side.