Sunday, 9 January 2011

How is suspense created in Collateral

Example 1. Opening Scene

A great suspenseful scene in right at the beginning of the film during the bag swap. Having everyone apart from the two main characters blurred is the directs way of informing the audience that its those two particular individuals that they have to focus their attention on, also the slow motion up until the 0:24th second, builds up the tension even further because we know something will happen any minute to disturb the calmness of the scene. Similarly, the two man’s footsteps are non diegeticly made to stand out from all other sounds in order to build up the tension even further. And it does, straight after the close up of Tom Cruise, which in itself builds tension because of the sunglasses prop which in a way hides a part of his identity, making him a peculiar character, straight after that close up comes the collision between the two man, which almost brings the audience’s attention back to the film as everything begins going at normal speed and the busy environment is out of the shot, we know its that particular moment that the director tried to build up. After the bags are exchanged, the diegetic sound goes to non diegetic as up beat music is played and we now know that the key moment as happened and the film can now develop from there.

Example 2.  When Vince and Max visit the first individual and he falls onto Max’s car
From the moment Max parks the car in the ally way we have a series of Cross Cutting from the taxi to Vince as he walks down the corridor looking for the right flat.  The use of cross cutting is a great technique to build up tension because we have the calm atmosphere in the car as Max does every day things like eat a sandwich while he waits and listen to calming piano music, in contrast to Vince who is walking down the corridor with echoing of loud television from the different apartments playing. And once more just before the climax of the scene we have a close up of Vince’s face, and the next shot follows with a bird view of the car as it gets closer and closer to it combined with the calming music from within the car, until the audience is shocked as the body crashes in the car and once again everyone’s shocked back into what is actually going on in this scene and the seriousness of it.

Example 3. Near the end of the film around 1hour and 30 minutes in, When Vince finds himself in Annie’s work building and he brakes down the door only to find out he’s got the wrong room as she’s on another floor

Here the tension is build through the cross cutting between Max and Annie as he explains to her that Vince is in the building on his way to kill her. The fact that at the same time we see Vince making his way in the building heading toward a door, and we know Annie is also in the building however the director purposely doesn’t share the information of which room she’s in, we as the audience expect her to be in the room that Vince is heading towards. The use of eerie music getting louder and louder as Vince gets closer to the room, with the camera following him from behind allowing ony the gun to be seen, build up tension as the audience are now aware he is about to find her and kill her. The music becomes louder and louder to a point when he breaks in but before that we have a quick cross cut to Annie fooling the audience that she’s in the room he’s about to go in, only to realise she’s not there as he breaks in, and at that moment the music stops and the audience no know that she’s actually in another room.

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