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The scene opens with an establishing shot of a small gas station in the middle of nowhere. A familiar car is getting gas, one that the audience knows to be stolen after the owner was murdered by a man dressed in black. This man in black is known as Anton Chigurh, although his name has not been made known to the audience as of now. All we know is that the few scenes that we have seen of him involved the strangulation of a police officer and the execution of a stranger using a captive bolt/cattle gun. We the audience know that he’s dangerous and ready to kill at a moment’s notice.
We then cut to look inside the gas station store. On one end is the cashier and owner of the place, on the other is Anton. Neither paying attention to each other, with their gazes, focused on other things. Our cashier starts with simple small talk, asking Anton “Do yall get rain up there in Dallas?” The second the cashier asks this question, the mood shifts dramatically. Anton is now focused and alert, maintaining strong eye contact with the cashier. This question clearly has ticked Anton off. He did murder two individuals in previous scenes, the cashier knowing where Anton has been is an indication to Anton that the cashier may know more about his evil acts. The cashier’s attention is now directed at Anton, his face seeming worried and concerned. Take a look at this freeze frame here. It’s an over-the-shoulder shot, giving us an intimate view of these two characters’ conversations. We can see a lot of how each character acts and responds to each other from this angle. Focusing back on the cashier, the window behind him shines a bright yellow glow outside, giving him a warm and innocent aura around him. The lighting on the cashier’s face also paints over any semblance of shadows or darkness on the cashier’s face. The impression the audience gets is that this is the most kind-hearted old man who has just come to face the most dangerous man in this film.
We have a continuous back and forth between the two as the cashier tries to defuse the situation while Anton continues to confront the cashier. Anton continues to maintain strong eye contact with the cashier, with his gaze comparable to a death stare. The cashier on the other hand moves his gaze down repeatedly showing a sign of submission. “Is there something wrong? With anything?” We see Anton give a slight grin as if amused by the question. It’s here where the dangerous man in black decides to toy with the cashier, no longer seeing him as a threat but just a clueless and helpless old man. This is further emphasized in the next few shots. I’m sure you can see the problem there with that statement. Anton also picks up on this. Then we are given a closer shot of Anton as he sighs at how clueless this man is, followed by a close-up shot of the cashier and his confused and worried expression if it weren’t clear enough. Anton then asks a threatening question about when the man sleeps, to which the man answers honestly. We the audience right about now would be jumping and screaming for the man to shut up and stop revealing so much information to this killer, thinking that Anton is going to come back and kill this old man. The camera comes closer to the cashier as he continues to try and defuse the situation by cracking a joking remark and giving a heartwarming and charismatic smile. Anton is clearly not moved by this, as his cold menacing stare continues being held directly at the old man.
The shot of the crushed peanuts bag gives the sense of dread and impending doom, the way the bag crinkles is something I compare to a man struggling to keep themselves alive. If you have been paying attention, Anton was continuously eating peanuts from the bag. If we were to take is as the bag as a representation of the cashier, then it can be interpreted as Anton constantly eating away at the cashier until there is nothing left of him which he will then crush with his hands, leaving both the bag and the cashier gasping for life. It’s a subtle threat and one the cashier notices.
A coin toss is now deciding the fate of this cashier, as we the audience with prior knowledge of how violent Anton can be, as well as his implications of asking the cashier how much has he lost to a coin toss, tells us that this is life or death. This is further emphasized as the coin lats right next to the crumbled bag of peanuts. Accompanying the following shots is a quiet ambiance. This is the only time across the entire scene where music is used. This is to further the tension of this coin toss. It grows in intensity as we get closer to the reveal of the cashier’s fate.
This is also the one moment where Anton diverts his gaze from the cashier. His focus is taken away from the cashier and instead directed at the fate of the cashier, life or death.
As the conversation continues between them, the camera slowly pans closer to each character. The situation is getting more intense by the second and the audience is being pulled closer to that intensity and is going to be a part of whatever’s gonna happen next.
Only two words are said allowing the audience free from the tension and clutches of the scene, “Well done.” The music stops, and the cashier gives a sigh of relief as if he has been holding in his breath just like the audience. Anton continues to play with the cashier as he remarks about mixing the quarter with others in the cashier’s pocket. He leaves after giving an offputting but friendlier look. He is still a dangerous man and murderous psychopath, but here, fate has allowed Anton to show the mercy he rarely gives. The cashier stands none the wise to how lucky he is to encounter the most dangerous man in Texas and make it out alive through the toss of a coin.
REVIEW 1: REVIEW 2: The Rolling Stones says this about the coin toss. “And he has this little game he plays. Staring at the human species like a visitor from another planet, Chigurh flips a coin. Your choice of heads or tails might just save your life. Only don’t piss him off.”As Anton realises that the Cashier guessed the side correctly he has this face of disappointment, that he cant kill the cashier infront of him. It’s very subtle but plays to the psychopathic nature of Anton’s mind. With his Sinister games he plays with people he’s hoping to kill. Watching every movement with those cold, Unrelenting Eyes ready to pounce on the cashier.
Jannah: The introduction of this scene starts with the camera facing towards the back of Cleo in the car approaching a walking crowd. You’re not aware of what exactly is going on at first. You’re able to see beyond Cleo and the driver and realize that there’s a peaceful protest going on. The camera then cuts and shows Cleo She says “look there leaving.” and Teresa says while reading her newspaper, I hope they don’t get beat again. This goes to show Cleo’s urgent needs for her baby and explains why it wasn’t much of a reaction in the beginning for none of them. It appears that this has already happened before.
Valeria: The camera is now at eye level as Cleo and Teresa get out of the car. On the right we can see people painting a sign, indicating that they’re getting ready to join the protest. The chanting is still going on in the background. This scene transitions to Multiple guards on duty and stations in their trucks. The director purposefully used this scene to show the guards but to also show Cleo calmly walking towards the store. Dolly Tracking is used to capture Cleo and Teresa in between the Military vehicles. While they’re walking you can hear protestors singing the Mexican national anthem. Most of the guards are seen on duty standing lazily and smoking cigarettes.
Jannah: The camera focuses on a building with letters in the window from a low far shot. In front of the building, You can see guards standing readily by the protesters. The scene then cuts to the camera looking from one of the particular windows. It takes the viewer from such a busy scene to the viewer trying to look through the window. The black and white setting makes the scene seem serene, making the viewers not aware of what the protesters are feeling.
Valeria: Then a new image wipes off the precious image, now focusing on some clocks inside a display case and we can see their reflections on the glass as they move.
Jannah: Dolly tracking is used as they are walking towards the crib, the camera starts to pan, the lady is walking away and the people are seen peacefully shopping. Cleo and Teresa’s conversation fades away and is replaced by gunshots and yelling that’s coming from outside.
Valeria: A random man enters the store and runs to the window to see what’s happening and everyone at the store follows him, everyone looks confused. The camera slowly pans to show us what they’re looking at, people running and chaos happening everywhere.
Jannah: We then see how Teresa and Cleo are looking through the window in shock and their expression changes when they hear two strangers asking for help. You notice Teresa immediately protecting Cleo by moving her behind her. The frame changes to the camera focusing on the two people screaming for help. We can see the characters in the background hugging and whispering amongst each other since they don’t know what’s happening.
Valeria: We don’t know what this couple did or why the armed people are looking for them but you can feel the tension and fear through the screen. While the camera was focused on the armed people the couple tried to hide in a closet but the bad guys found them. As the bad guys open the door, a gun appears in front of the camera covering part of the frame, but it still lets you see what’s happening behind, as the camera zooms out we see who was holding the gun, Fermin.
Jannah: The shot cuts to Teresa and Cleo, Teresa is praying because she doesn’t know who the man is while Cleo is just standing there speechless watching the father of her baby have the audacity to point a gun at them, you can see how Teresa tries to “protect” Cleo’s baby by putting her hand in front of her stomach, as Fermin flees the scene people run around the store in terror making the viewer feel overwhelmed by everything that just happened.
Valeria: And if that wasn’t enough drama for you Cleo’s water breaks, making everything more scary. I think it’s kind of beautiful how the next scene captures life and death. As Cleo and Teresa are walking out of the store, we can see a woman asking for help while she holds a man in her arms, who’s most likely dead. Cleo is about to bring a human being into the world and a man’s life just ended. This represents the circle of life and how unpredictable life really is.
Jannah: What some people don’t know about this scene is that all the violence and murders that are happening in the movie, actually happened in real life. El halconazo “the hawk strike” was a massacre of students that happened on June 10th, 1971. More than 120 students died in this peaceful protest due to the country’s Governmental negligence.
Damilola: Arrival is a sci-fi thriller movie that was released on November 11, 2016. It stars Amy Adams as Louise Banks who is leading “an elite team of investigators when gigantic spaceships touch down in 12 locations around the world. As nations teeter on the verge of global war, Banks and her crew must race against time to find a way to communicate with the extraterrestrial visitors.”
Damilola: Arrival is a fantastic film with beautiful cinematography and great acting, especially from Amy Adams. The direction by Denis Villeneuve is amazing in the way he’s able to convey the themes and meaning of the story and bring a unique perspective to the “alien invasion” sci-fi genre. Many critics agree too. Brian Tallerico wrote a review for rogerebert.com and said “- this is ambitious, accomplished filmmaking that deserves an audience. It’s a film that forces viewers to reconsider that which makes us truly human and the impact of grief on that timeline of existence. At its best, and largely through Adams’ performance, the film proposes that we’ve all had those days in which communication breaks down and fear over the unknown sets in. And it is the best of us who persevere, get up from being knocked down, and repair that which is broken.”
Shaharaim: Alissa Wilkinson wrote a review for Vox and said: “This is the basic insight of Arrival: That if we were to encounter a culture so radically different from our own that simple matters we take for granted as part of the world as it is were radically shifted, we could not simply gather data, sort out grammar, and make conclusions. We’d have to either absorb a different way of seeing, despite our fear, or risk everything.”
Damilola: There are so many scenes for us to show why this movie is great, but one significant scene we chose was this…
Shaharaim: From the beginning, it starts with this bass-heavy music score, which builds up a lot of tension and awe. Since this is the ‘first contact’ scene, the hype and anxiousness building up are done perfectly. The way that the spaceship’s mechanics are introduced feels natural to the story. Before they enter, you can hear people in the background talk about gravity changing in the rooms, and when you finally get a look at the ship and the gravity is actually changing, it adds a little more mystery to what these aliens are.
Damilola: As they walk through, we get close-up shots and eye-level shots of the characters to see their reactions and the fear and mix of emotions going through them. This helps the audience relate to the characters and have empathy for their situation. The editing and camera movements of the scene are slow to build tension. We feel unsure of what can happen at any moment just like the characters. The sound design is very simple and the music never feels overbearing. It doesn’t feel forced in, it just adds to the uneasy feeling. The scene uses very low lighting as there are a lot of shadows and dark areas with few sources of light until they reach their destination within the ship. Everything feels claustrophobic due to this and they use medium shots that feel like they don’t show everything.
Shaharaim: The optical illusions done in this movie are fascinating as well. When they start to enter the actual main entrance of the ship, you can see a bright white light. At first, it looks like the end of the long corridor, but as they go up higher, and the gravity is reversed, they soon find out that it is in fact the window separating the aliens from the humans. The white window pairs extremely nicely with the ultra-matte black of the room, as it provides the perfect contrast between the known and unknown.
Damilola: Very simple, effective, but breathtaking cinematography. The use of establishing and long shots in this film always feel very purposeful as they show us the scale of the situation and how small humans look compared to bigger things. Now that they are deep inside the ship, it’s time for them to communicate with the aliens. This is one of the most important parts of the film because it not only gets the plot going, but it also adds to the theme of communication and language that this film conveys. This is the scene where Amy Adams’s character tries to communicate with the alien. We aren’t shown anything. We don’t see how the alien looks since it appears to be behind a barrier filled with smoke. This again adds a suspenseful tone. We don’t know what can happen at any moment. The music starts getting louder and more intense. We hear very strange, unfamiliar sounds coming from the alien. Cuts to the human faces again to show their reactions. Then we see the alien’s hands but it looks to either be its shadow or just covered in ink? Without knowing the context of the movie, we don’t have much information. But that wasn’t the point of this particular scene. The point was to set the stakes of the situation and make us, the audience feel uneasy. The director and every department that helped craft this scene delivered.
Shaharaim: I’ve watched this scene multiple times, and I’m still impressed.
Damilola: Well that is the end of this short analysis. Thank you for watching.
For our anatomy of a scene, we decided to do it based on the memorable scene in the movie. In this scene, as we know Rashad & New New ends up becoming a couple, but after the night before at cascade, Rashad ends up seeing and finding out something that really makes him upset, so he decides to end the relationship with New New. She then used the quote “The only thing different about me is my address!” but Rashad finds that hard to believe. He’s angry at the moment so he ends up kicking all his friends out and realizes his best friend Benjamin knew about the secret the entire time so ends things with him too, so Rashad felt betrayed.
Script: Treyvon: Today, we will be representing our movie ATL for the anatomy of a scene benchmark, so would you like to tell them what the movie is about.
Bishop: For People who don’t know what ATL is, it was a movie directed by Chris Robinson. Released on March 31st, 2006. Rashad, a teenager living in ATL with his Uncle George and his little brother Ant. Rashad and Ant were both raised by their Uncle George after their parents died in a car accident, they must work with him as part of his custodial company. When not working or finishing his last semester of high school, Rashad spends most of his time with his friend’s roller skating at the Cascade, a popular skating rink.
Bishop: For our anatomy of a scene, we decided to do it based on the memorable scene in the movie. In this scene, as we know Rashad & New New ends up becoming a couple, but after the night before at cascade, Rashad ends up seeing and finding out something that really makes him upset, so he decides to end the relationship with New New.
Treyvon: Getting into the scene, you can first see where Rashad and his friends are sitting on the step, Rashad talks about the situation that happened the night before, and the first Film Terminology the director Chris Robinson uses is Close Up. When he uses close up, you can see the expression of how frustrated Rashad is, how he feels, he feels like he’s been lied to the whole time.
Bishop: She then used the quote “The only thing different about me is my address!” but Rashad finds that hard to believe. In the scene, Rashad snatches the necklace off of Erin’s also known as New New’s neck and tells her he doesn’t forgive her, and he doesn’t care.
Treyvon: A few minutes goes by, and they’re waiting for Erin aka “New New” to pull up, after she pulls up, the guys see a flashy car, at first glance not knowing who it was, and then they see her getting out the car. After that, Rashad walks up to her and the film terminology “dolly tracking” is being used, it is being used as an angle behind Rashad so you can see his back, and the camera follows his movement as he’s walking up to Erin, as if he’s surprised. Erin then speaks, and Rashad is like “oh I don’t know this person, it’s Erin right, he asks her about the car, and they get into a huge argument. Rashad gets heated, snatches the necklace off of Erin’s neck, and she says “the only thing different about me is my address, but he finds that hard to believe.
Bishop: He’s angry at the moment so he ends up kicking all his friends out, and realizes his best friend Benjamin knew about the secret the entire time so ends things with him too, so Rashad felt betrayed.
Treyvon: In the last part of the scene, Rashad then storms in the house after snatching the necklace off of Erins neck, Benjamin ends up following him in, asking him if he’s ok. He confronts Benjamin about the situation. He knew that Benjamin knew the whole time, that’s his best friend, and he didn’t tell him about his girlfriend’s past, or other life. Erin wants to live the gossip girl life, and not her spoiled girl life. Without her daddy’s money, she wants to do her own thing, but Rashad doesn’t know about it. Chris Robinson ends up using about 3 film terminologies, he uses eye level, low angle and close up and you can really see the anger on Rashad’s face. He then says, “you still here” to Benjamin, he’s telling Benjamin “get out my house I don’t want to see you no more” and then he kicks the rest of his friends off the step.
Treyvon: Going off a 5 star Rated Review, they recently watched the movie and it was and they claimed it was AMAZING. Finding old movies that involve sports and drama with a good plot, is a hobby for them and they claim that ATL reminds them of Coach Carter which is one of my favorite films. He believed that ATL’s main character Rashad is written so well for this movie, but he didn’t enjoy Rashad’s uncle. Another favorite character of his was Benjamin, he loved his fuel to get into a good school and his interactions with other characters in the movie. It was a 9/10 movie for him, and he highly suggests it.
Treyvon: Another rating, a more so short one, but it’s the most recent. This person Loved everything about the movie, the plot, the characters etc.! They say they Watched it over and over again! . She even loved the Cascade, which is a real skating rink in ATL. So I haven’t got anything under 5 star reviews about the movie, it’s a must see.
Tashon and Fudayl 5-20-22 Reel Reading Ms. Pahomov
Dope Scene Analysis
Hello, my name is Tashon and I’m Fudayl and today we’re going to review a scene from the movie Dope by Rick Famuyiwa.
Tashon: Dope is a film about a high school senior named Malcolm and his friends Diggy and Jib as they grow up in Inglewood, California. They aren’t your typical inner city teens however as they bond over things like school and good grades, old-school hip-hop culture, and their punk rock band. Things get real one day though when an encounter with the local drug dealer goes wrong and leads them on a wild adventure as they try to save themselves.
Fudayl: The scene we will be discussing today is the scene where Malcolm meets Nakia, another important character to the story.
Tashon: In this scene a lot of different camera angles are used to show the relationship forming between Malcolm and Nakia as they meet for the first time.
Fudayl: The scene first starts with a full shot of Malcom rolling with his bike into the apartment complex that Nakia lives in. Malcolm is shown to be pretty far away from where the camera is at but as he gets closer to the camera it immediately cuts to his perspective of him seeing Nakia which then cuts to a two shot of Malcolm and Nakia. (Cinematic)
Tashon: Malcolm’s outfit and hairstyle is a lot different compared to the other people in his neighborhood. While most of the men in his neighborhood wear dark t-shirts and have low hairstyles while Malcolm has an afro and plaid collared shirts which shows that he is out of touch with the society around him. (Theatrical/Literary)
Tashon: The scene then cuts to another first person view shot of Malcolm looking at Nakia with the camera tilting upward, which tells us about Malcolm’s lack of self confidence when it comes to talking to women. (Who wouldn’t be nervous though while talking to Zoe Kravitz?!?)
Fudayl: As Malcolm and Nakia have their first conversation, the movie uses over the shoulder shots to show how Nakia isn’t even batting an eye at Malcolm the entire time until he mentions Dom (the local drug dealer of the neighborhood Malcolm lives in)and his party. This shows us that Nikia really isn’t interested in Malcolm, at least for right now and maybe there is some sort of weird relationship between her and Dom.
Tashon: Once that conversation ends the scene then cuts to Malcolm talking to Dom again; this scene uses a combination of over the shoulder shots and shot reverse shots to show the conversation that Dom and Malcolm have. Malcolm while talking to Dom is shown to have a fear of Dom as he frequently looks away from the camera and stutters over his words while talking to him.
Fudayl: The scene then makes another cut back to Nakia’s apartment to where this time we see a close up of her hand holding a pencil writing in a notebook which shows how Malcolm is paying attention to what she is writing which he then tells her about on the next cut. There is then a series of shot-reverse-shots showing that she is listening to his advice which we can also see in the next close up shot as she writes in her notebook then shows it to Malcolm for confirmation. This showed us that she has some type of interest in him.
Fudayl: An over the shoulder shot was then used showing how Malcolm has now gained the attention of Nakia as she is looking at him instead of looking at her notebook. As Malcolm and Nakia continue to have their conversation about Dom inviting her to his party The film uses a series of shot-reverse-shots until the conversation finally ends on a two shot of Nakia accepting to go to the party but on the condition that Malcolm must be there showing that she has taken an interest in him.
Tashon: So this scene did a great job at using different camera angles and acting choices to convey several different emotions. It was a good segway into the plot of the film.
Vincent Ochwo & Cameron Booker: Film & Literature
Vincent: Hello, my name is Vincent and today we’ll be reviewing a unique clip from the movie Inception. This clip starts off with the characters Cobb and Ariadne in a dream that Ariadne is having. The two characters are being dolly tracked with an unstable camera movement while they’re walking down a city street. This two shot stays at an eye level view with a medium close- up. A lot of background movement is involved in this scene with background characters and vehicles. A quick transition is used that now shows them walking on the sidewalk, when they were initially in the street. Cobb and Ariadne come to a stop along with the camera, as it seems something intriguing in this dream has caught their full attention.
Cam: The sky begins to flip and Cobb and Ariadne are watching as it flips. You can see a lot of dolly/tracking going on in this scene, not much dialogue but throughout this particular clip as Cobb and Ariadne walk around look at the visual there is a camera in front of them tracking them at eye level.
Vincent: The two characters walk up a flipped street, while the camera remains stationary. As they now walk down the street, a birds-eye-view shot is used with an upward tilt to a long shot of Cobb and Ariadne. A quick transition to the next shot was filmed from the point of view of the two characters in the dream. They walk down the street led by a shaky camera movement panning back and forth to strangers in the dream staring at them. A combination of Medium shots and close-ups are used to display the strangers. Ariadne walks ahead during her conversation with cobb, leaving a single medium close up shot with just cobb being shown. A staircase appears in this dream, and a long shot is used to show the two walking up. Shaky camera movement is used again as they walk past more strangers on a bridge. And Finally, this unique clip ends off with a long shot reflection of Cobb and Ariadne. This series of reflections was used to represent Ariadne discovering a way to create changes in the dream that Cobb’s mind could accept.
Two Verified Reviews: https://www.vox.com/2020/7/18/21328590/inception-review-rec-still-slaps-ten-years-later “Inception is the most imperfect of perfect movies. 10 years later, I still love it.” https://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/16/movies/16inception.html “This Time the Dream’s on Me”
Julian: Part of me thinks, since Adrian is always in control(particular, one step ahead, orchestrated) he knows Cecilia is wearing a wire. Once she starts crying, he gaslights her, saying she’s insane which is another form of manipulation. When Adrian says, surprise which is like his trademark thing at this point, to me that further insinuates that he’s in control. To me it looks like he knows that Cecilia is wearing a wire.
Bintou: In this scene, Cecilia had put on the invisible suit that we’ve seen throughout the film. Cecilia takes the knife(like what happened to her sister) and cuts Adrian’s throat which kills him. In this scene, everything is being recorded from a home security camera and we can see that it says there is no audio. If we fast forward, we can see that Cecilia runs out crying that Adrian is on the floor. Here we have Cecilia manipulating Adrian in the form of giving him a taste of his own medicine. Her moving out of the view of the camera to reveal her fake crying as well as saying, “surprise,” is showing Adrian that two can play this game. Both of our scenes show Cecilia using Adrian’s form of manipulation and gaslighting as gains him.