Kayleigh Stevens Analysing the opening of a thriller: Taken

Location/Time Period: America – est 1995 and 2007. The beginning of the film is a dream from the main character. It’s a memory of a girls 5th birthday party. The effect on the camera shows that this is some time ago. The birthday is in a sunny garden, this helps build the theme of happiness and freedom. The location then changes to the man who’s dreaming; alone in a dark apartment. This instantly contrasts to the mood created in the previous scene. The next location is a small electronics store, followed by the return to the apartment. The type of equipment sold helps to define the time period by how advanced they are; the karaoke machine tells us that the film isn’t quite set in any time after 2010. These scenes are set up to build the sub story and develop our initial characters personality. Sound: The warm sounds and giggling accompanied by the piano build up an innocent effect in the dream memory. The sound is almost sucked away when the candles are blown out, followed by the sound being completely removed when the time period changes. This represents the removal of innocence (the sound). The conversation in the electronics store, builds up our impression of the character; he is friendly, funny, and very thorough – he knows everything down to the last detail. We learn that the character has visited the store on numerous occasions; he has built a friendship with the owner. Camera Work: The camerawork in the dream: Handheld – this makes the shot look real, in the sense that it doesn’t look like it has been filmed by a camera crew but instead actually by a dad making a home birthday movie. This is by the unstable shots, and constant moving of the cameras position. Close up – this shot emphasises the excitement and joy in the little girls face whilst she opens her presents, it also shows the closeness she has with her mother. She is genuine and grateful. Cut away – to the birthday cake is for the audience to establish the girls age at the time, to make the change of time and circumstances clear. The camerawork in the scene: Long shot – this shot helps to build the lonely feeling around the character, he is the only person in the shot sitting in the dark. Medium shot – the photo frame of the girl next to the titles ‘Taken’. This shot instantly gives the audience some idea into the story’s plan. Shot/reverse shot / over the shoulder – allows us to see reactions during conversations. Mise-en-Scene: -Lighting: Bright lighting when looking in the dream, although grainy due to the type of camera/effect used. This connotes happiness and joy. Then we change to the apartment where it is dark. This change of light represents the difference of the emotion in the two scenes. A small lamp is turned on; this is to tell the audience ‘look at this photo on the desk’ it is clearly important to the story.

Kayleigh Stevens -Props: Birthday hat and birthday cake along with a present tell us it is a birthday. The horse gift tells us that horses are something the little girl is interested in. The crown on the little girls head, makes it clear that it’s her special day, she is a princess for the day. The small boxes of Chinese food on the man’s table tell us he is eating alone; his family are not with him anymore. The karaoke hand guide that the man picks up leads us into the second scene in the electronics store. The photo frame of a young girl makes us wonder who she is to him, why is she special, why does her picture come up next to the title of ‘Taken’. All of these props help in building a character we haven’t yet as an audience met. -Blocking: The mother and daughter are in the scene whilst dad supposedly films. Mum and daughter have a close relationship; dad likes to see them happy. In the electronics store the owner comes out from behind the counter and stands with the main character, this shows us the owner is comfortable with him and that he trusts him. Editing: The fast paced movement and cutting of shots, of the number 5 candle, represents how quickly time passes by. It’s made to look as If her age is being snatched away before it has even started. The rest of the editing in the first two minutes is slow and basic, allowing us to analyse the character and his surroundings.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful