Looking, Listening, and Analyzing The Joker Pencil Scene

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I decided to go with the Joker pencil scene from The Dark Knight because it was always one that I enjoyed. I’m not surprised that both the camera and audio work are so well done. The camera constantly cuts back and forth when Joker and the mobsters are talking. The camera also follows him as he enters the room and pans a bit to see reaction of everyone at the table. I saw the camera zoom in on the Joker when he began talk about something and it also zoomed on the faces of the mobsters as their emotions began to change. The final piece of camerawork that I noticed was the From Below shot. Near the end of the scene, the camera was angle at one of the mobsters after he stood up form being angry. It made him seem even more menacing than Joker.

For the audio, everything was quiet when Joker began to laugh and walk into the room. The dialogue seemed to move fast through out the whole scene. The slamming of a mobster against the table and the door slamming as Joker left were the loudest sounds out of the whole scene. After the loud sound of the body hitting the table, the music began to pick up in speed and it became louder as the conversation became more serious. The last thing I noticed about the audio was that there was a slight echo from the Joker’s voice and no one else’s.

When you combine both the camerawork and audio together, you get one of the most memorable scenes from the movie. Combining the audio of the body hitting the table and the actually visuals of the mobster having a pencil inserted into his head is pretty brutal. I now notice that the music is really intense at the parts when the camera is zooming on the mobsters’ faces. Although, it seems to quiet down when they start laughing at the Joker and he loses his composure a bit, but it immediately picks back up when Joker reveals the grenades.

This scene seems so simple, but when you break down the audio and camerawork then put them back together, you see how perfect it is. It makes me wonder about the thought process and how long it took the editors to mold the scene together in the way they did.

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