Misgiving Textual Analysis

This drama/thriller film is about a married couple who kill someone for money… but when they get pulled over by the police will they be caught?

Textual Analysis:

A tracking shot shows a male pulling a dead body along the floor to a car and putting them in the boot. This immediately raises questions in the audience’s mind such as, “why did they kill them?”, “surely they can’t get away with it?”. Furthermore, the sound score creates and eerie atmosphere.

In the next scene, it shows flash backs highlighting the guilt that the woman is feeling as well as a ECU showing her not being able to take his money… the whole reason they killed him which is revealed through the dialogue later on. The camera zooms in on the male trying to take his mind off of the situation but the female keeps asking questions about the victim.

When the police pull them over, slow motion is used to make it more dramatic. Their sheer panic is illustrated by her shouting “he knows!” and “what are we gonna do!” as well as their body language portraying that they are nervous and terrified about being caught. When the officer comes to the window, the male nearly gives him the victim’s wallet instead of his own, conveying that he is breaking under pressure. Furthermore, a MS shows the woman scrambling to find the documents for the car, mostly likely making the officer suspicious and a CU of the characters whispering reveals to the audience that the documents are in the boot which puts the audience on edge and creates tension.

The tension increases when the officer finds blood on the boot shown through a CU HA and eerie music is played to add to the tension. As well as this, a POV shot shows the shovels in the car, making the officer suspicious. His suspicion is confirmed when he calls in a “possible 187” (which defines the crime of murder) making the audience believe that the couple has been caught.

A LA on the officer before opening the boot conveys that he has authority and power. The eerie music intensifies, creating suspense for the audience. When the boot opens a jump cut shows the male jumping out of the car to stop the officer whilst a MS shows the woman trying to get to the boot before the officer sees it.

The sound score changes and become very loud and dramatic as well as shorter shot durations, speeding up the pace of the scene. When a sound of a bottle dropping on the floor alerts the officer, he turns round, causing the male to touch him, resulting in a gun being put on him. A pull focus is used to highlight the danger of the gun, and making the male get back in the car. A MS shows the female shut the boot and give him the documents just in time, reducing the tension in the scene and a CU of the female smiling illustrates her happiness for deceiving the officer and getting away with it.

A OTS shot shows the car driving away free, however how long will that last? Especially when a ECU reveals that a camera had recorded the whole thing… revealing the body in the boot. However, unaware of this, the female is ecstatic – changing her emotions completely about the situation which is highlighted by her not feeling guilty anymore and taking the victim’s money as well as shouting in joy “yes we did it, we finally did it, we’re free! We did it! We did it!”. Whereas, the male is silent, showing his shock, worry and guilt, especially when the female throws his money in celebration and a ECU revealing a picture of the victim and his family, causing him to now be having flash backs. The music intensifies, but stops when the male stops the car. Finally, the camera tracks a piece of money with blood on it, revealing the title of the short film “MISGIVING” written in blood on the road.

My opinion:

This short film had me shouting at the screen and keeping me on-edge… which every thriller should do. All areas were considered and completed to a high standard making the film advanced overall. The mise-en-scene was fantastic, making the short film extremely realistic mainly due to the props, including the (what seems VERY real) dead body, police uniform as well as the basic things such as facial expressions and lighting. The sound score helped set the tone of the film and added suspense in the film, whilst having a vast range of camera angles and shot types to add hidden meaning. My favourite part of the film was the cliff hanger as I was (and still am) desperate to find out what happens the characters, do they get caught? I will definitely finish my own film on a cliff hanger as it is very memorable.

Media theory:

  • Levi Strauss (Binary oppositions) – GOOD VS EVIL, the murders vs the law.
  • Roland Barthes (Enigma theory) – The theory which suggests any text (e.g tv and film) makes the audience question something and intrigues the audience, drawing them in. The audience are left with questions unanswered which will keep them guessing as to what happens next.
  • Propp’s Narrative theory – Typically has the hero (police officer), villains (the murderers) and the princess (the victim).

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