Scene Analysis

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So I’ve taken a class on movie analysis (Intro to Film Studies), so I’ve done this before.  I ended up choosing the scene in The Dark Knight where Batman interrogates the Joker.  I was torn between that and the opening scene of The Newsroom and ended up choosing The Dark Night because there was more to talk about.

So first, the lighting is very dark to hide Batman in the background, and there is a close up shot of the Joker in the chair.  The lights increase, revealing Batman as he slams the Joker’s head into the ground.  Then it shoots up to an over the shoulder shot of Batman, so a viewer can confirm that it was indeed, Batman.  Then it goes back to the close up of Joker and his reaction to the violence.  It cuts to a medium zoom shot where Batman slams his fist on the table.  Then there is an extreme closeup on Joker’s hand being slammed by Batman, and then again to a close up of Joker and his reaction.  This is all done to confirm the viewer’s thoughts and fill more of an imaginative void.  Then it goes again to the over the shoulder cut, over Joker;s shoulder, to show the conversations between the two characters.  Suddenly, we are reminded that the police are watching the interrogation, reminding viewers of the trust and faith they put into Batman.  Then there is a series of over the shoulder shots between Batman and Joker, constantly switching shoulders so the character appears on both sides.  This kind of ruins the theory that the view or side of the screen that some guy is talking about here.  This really just keeps the shot continuous, because you can see both characters and their responses continuously.  If you changed to only one of the views of the characters, the viewer would not get as much out of the scene and it also keeps that the two characters keep eye contact through the speech.  Then, once the action resumes, it cuts to a medium shot of Batman ripping Joker out of his chair, but again there’s a cutting back and forth over each shoulder.  Then the shot cuts through the window to relate the audience of police officers back to viewers, so that it can cut to them and their reactions (this is all edited very well).  Again, Batman has Joker pinned to the wall and the two have another series of over the shoulder shots to show the conversation and reactions.  Then there is a closeup shot of the two talking, the Joker still being pinned to the wall.  The camera slowly pans around not quite to the over the shoulder, but near enough to show the facial expressions that the Joker is making in the conversation.  Here, the bad guy in the shot is on the left, and the good guy is on the right, and since Batman is about to try and save his girlfriend, he is the good guy.  Then there’s another over the shoulder focusing on the Joker and the camera switches to a shaky handheld camera shot to show the violence.  Then the camera switches to look at the door at a far range shot as Batman picks up the chair to jam the door.  Then it cuts to a POV view of the camera, seeming as if we were looking from the eyes of the police officers.  There are a series of these shots and then it cuts to Batman looking down at the Joker and the Joker looking up at Batman.  This makes Batman seem menacing and intimidating.  Oddly enough, this also makes the Joker’s face light up as if he were some kind of angelic being.  Then there is a final over the shoulder shot that looks over Batman’s shoulder and onto Joker’s face so we can see his insane expressions.

Obviously the rate of speech of the clip is slowed down during the dramatic scenes to draw more attention to the emotions of the scene.  The sound effects all happen when the Joker is being slammed against something or when the lights are turned on, you can hear the humming of the lights.  Not much music is being played throughout the scene because it draws more attention to the speaking.  It’s so quiet you can hear the two breathing and the most constant background noise is the lights humming.  When the camera cuts out into the police officer’s view, we hear the sound of the two characters coming through the speaker that is in the interrogation room.

The only thing I noticed separately between the two viewings was the humming of the lights and the breathing.  Didn’t miss anything else.

I used several different videos in reference to my analysis.  Here are a few of them.

Things I learned about The Dark Knight: the production company put up propaganda about a fake movie to hide the real filming of the movie, Heath Ledger hid away in a motel for 6 months to develop the Joker’s character, Sir Michael Caine forgot his lines when first meeting Ledger (in the penthouse scene) and they included his awestruck moment in the final film, and that the film set a weekend IMAX box office record, among other things.

I think that the Batman series are thrillers technically.  They draw on action and suspense to give you the most intense emotions that they can.  It could also be classified as a film-noir because of the intense use of shadow and all the rain and almost the whole movie is shot at night and there really isn’t any direct sun (one scene is during the day I think but it’s cloudy out).  Then there is also the sci-fi aspect of it with the technology like the Batmobile and grappling hooks and all that jazz.  Or you could say it is a romance because of the love triangle between Batman, Two-Face, Rachael.  It draws on lots of different genres, much like a Tarantino movie.

These are examples of Batman being a film noir.  The daylight in the beginning is cloudy, blocking the sun.  Pay attention to the shadows covering the faces of everyone, and also to the light/dark contrasts in the final clip.

An example of a similar film noir movie is really tough to find, because they’re mostly black and white movies.  A good example would be Double Indemnity, but that’s really old.  Pay attention to the shadows and how things appear.



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