Friday, 8 January 2016

Momento Opening Sequence

Camera work-
At the opening of the clip the camera is at a extreme close up of a hand with a Polaroid picture of a man lying dead on the ground with blood spattered everywhere. The extreme close up creates an intimacy with the picture and blocks our view of anything else making us focus directly at the picture and what is in it. The stillness of the entire shot is incredibly unnerving and was most likely used for that exact purpose. Most of the opening is in close up, either of the Polaroid, the blood spattered wall, the bullet, the glasses and the dead man’s head. This furthers the idea of the audience’s intimacy in the murder.


The key prop in the scene is the Polaroid picture. By focusing on the picture for such a long time it is clear that the picture and its contents, a dead man, are incredibly important to the plot. The picture relates to the title of 'Memento' as pictures are usually seen as mementos of events, and the dead man is clearly a very important character in the narrative, as is the holder of the photograph. The glasses of the dead man stand out against the blood spattered tiles in the location, as this holds connotations of intelligence but also of innocence. This makes it appear to the audience as if the man was an innocent victim. This is contrasted against the young looking murderer, who looks incredibly upset.

In the opening scene the audience is presented with non-diegetic strings tone that is used up until the point where the camera flashes. Over the course of the opening, this tone builds up as more and more instruments join in and this builds up a sense of expectation, something that is always expected of thrillers. The nature of the strings creates an incredibly melancholy feel to the clip and this works as an unsettling contrast to the violent imagery seen in the shot. This could suggest the killer feels guilty and ashamed of what he has done. The strings also get gradually higher in pitch which also works to increase the sense of expectation, but also to heighten the emotion of the scene. Other sounds that Nolan uses to add effect are the Polaroid being shaken, the camera noises, the bullet rattling across the floor, the grabbing of the gun and the man shouting “What?!”. These are all used together to create an unsettling atmosphere with built up tension throughout. Each of these sounds stands out because of the way they contrast the background music. This makes the sounds more clear and obvious to the audience setting them on edge during the opening sequence. The consistent sound of the Polaroid being shaken is incredibly unnerving because it feels so constant. The scraping of the bullet is unnerving because of the high pitched screech it creates as it moves across the ground. Finally, the unexpected loud bang of the gun shot is shocking and because it seems louder, thanks to the quiet background music at that moment, it adds a thrill factor to the clip. 

The most distinctive piece of editing that is used in the opening of the film is that it is in reverse. This creates a rather surreal experience for the viewer but forces them to stay focused on what is happening in order to understand it. Despite being a short opening, this scene gives important information for the viewer. The scene makes it evident that Polaroid pictures are important to the plot of the storyline; it also will make the audience pay more attention when they see another Polaroid later on in the film. Every single cut is simple and quick to give off a sense of tension to the audience. It could suggest emphasis on the brutality of this scene with short sharp and simple cuts.

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