Film Trailer Analysis - Shutter Island

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Film trailer analysis - Shutter Island

Text of Film Trailer Analysis - Shutter Island

  • 1. Film Trailer Analysis Shutter Island Trailer
  • 2. Film Trailers The purpose of a film trailer is to advertise and attract and audience. They are also designed to give the viewer a taste of what is to come with a film. A successful trailer will attract the correct target audience through techniques such as music and visuals suited to certain genres, age groups and more. Lisa Kernan stated that trailers do, however, retain their particular function of withholding the fullness of the cinema event, even as they display a unique sense of heightened presence. Jonathan Gray also wrote trailers have become an important part of the cinema going experience and ritual explaining that they navigates the audience from just a loud theatre to the world of celluloid dreams and spectatorial, narrative pleasure.
  • 3. Titles The titles in the Shutter Island film trailer are very basic with just a plain block san serif white font on a black background. This creates quite a mysterious tone in the trailer as it doesnt seem to give much away, a common convention of thrillers. The dark colours also suggest this. They first introduce the director, Martin Scorsese, and then the main character, Leonardo Dicaprio appearing as an overlay title. This helps attract the audience as both are extremely well known for making good films. The title that displays Shutter Island appears suddenly on screen in a larger font fading out after a few seconds along side intense music slowing down. This creates a feeling of unease at the end of the trailer which makes the audience want to see and know more. The black and white suggest a binary opposition of good and evil which is a common thriller convention.
  • 4. Characters The film has a very good cast holding various star actors like Leonardo Dicaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley and more, who are shown constantly through the trailer. This helps to attract a large audience as many will see the film for the cast. Leonardo Dicaprio is portrayed to be a male protagonist throughout the trailer. Propp described this character as a main or central character usually seeking out something or someone in the story.
  • 5. Vladamir Propp Vladmir Propps theory of character types suggested that there are 7 main character types within every text: the hero/protagonist, villain/antagonist, helper, donor, false hero, princess and the dispatcher. The protagonist is the major character within a film and therefore the key person around which the story is told. Although this person is often a Proppian hero in some sense, they may also take another form, such as a Proppian victim or a seeker after some treasure or knowledge. Or maybe they are all of these. In the case of Shutter Island, Teddy Daniels does just this. He is portrayed as the protagonist for the most of the trailer however is shown to be battling against the danger and insanity around him which in the full film we find is his own mental illness. Protagonist Antagonist
  • 6. Locations, Colour and Lighting The colours used throughout the trailer are mainly very dull and dark. This helps to suggest that the film is a thriller as they create a tense and unsettling atmosphere. In parts of the trailer there is a slight blue filter on the clips which make it look cold and mysterious. The colours used in the titles suggest a binary opposition of good and evil through black and white. This is a common convention used in thrillers. The trailer is set on an isolated island which is shown through an establishing long shot at the beginning. This location is interesting as it is clear that nobody can escape. Fog is used in the opening scenes of the trailer to create an atmosphere that makes the audience feel uneasy.
  • 7. Shots and Editing The shots used at the beginning of the trailer are a range of close ups, establishing long shots, medium close ups and more. This creates a natural view for the audience. As the trailer goes on the shots become more intense with a lot more close and extreme close ups being used. In between most clips is a fade to black which builds tension and mystery due to the darkness. A few of the clips involved are flickering. This creates an intense and distressing atmosphere as not much is being given away. Throughout the trailer the editing pace picks up increasingly creating suspense. This pace however slows down for a short while in the middle of the trailer creating a fairly uneasy feel, until the title of Leonardo Dicaprio shows and it picks up again. Here the clips become extremely short alongside quick and intense music.
  • 8. Sound The trailer opens with slow deep non-diegetic music and the sound of waves overlapping. This creates a tense and mysterious atmosphere which along with the mise-en-scene create a feeling of unease for the audience. The music stays slow but builds in volume before changing to a quieter clicking noise. Exaggerated sudden sounds and screams accompany extreme close ups. This is a common convention of horrors as it shocks the viewer creating a tense feeling. The non-diegetic music then builds to a high pitched screechy sound which is quite unsettling. When the music builds to a crescendo it then stops and slows again whilst the picture becomes dark and as the clips begin to quickly increase in pace, so does the sound. It becomes quicker and louder until the words Shutter Island appear. This seems like the end of the trailer however an unexpected clip shocks the viewer with a loud screaming sound, also a technique used often in horrors.
  • 9. Genre The trailer for shutter island uses enigma codes to highlight the genre of the film. It does this by displaying unanswered questions, for example when showing the female patient with no explanation. The trailer uses many conventions of horror films as well as thrillers, for example the darkness, jumpy music and the fact that it leaves you guessing for most of it. The trailer almost makes the audience feel as though there is some kind of monster in the institute, where in the full film we see this is not the case. This is known as Barthes hermeneutic code which is used to establish the story by creating mystery and raising enigmas.
  • 10. Audience Right at the start of the trailer Leonardo Dicaprio is introduced which attracts an audience of young women, until the words it is a mental hospital for the criminally insane are spoken and the tone in music changes. This strange and unsettling opening would attract a much wider audience of both males and females of all ages above 15. The thriller can be seen as interesting as well as entertaining to watch as it shows shocking images, which emotionally attach an audience because it relates to real life issues.
  • 11. To Conclude.. The trailer is effective in advertising the film and drawing an audience in however it is not accurate in the way it portrays the genre. Even though the trailer false advertised it as such Shutter Island is not a horror film. It is a thriller with pretensions of being psychological. The twist in the tale is a swerve worse than anything in the wrestling industry; the surprise is there is no surprise. A review made by Jeffrey Westhoff states Shutter Island is second-tier Scorsese, but not one of his misfires. It does the horror genre proud, but fails to transcend it. suggesting that he believed beforehand that the film would be of the Horror genre. Many conventions used in the trailer could suggest the film is a horror rather than a thriller for example the creepy lady shown outside the institute and the sudden loud sounds intended to scare and shock the audience. The film grossed a total of $294,804,195 worldwide however suggesting that the trailer was successful in encouraging a large audience to watch it. Opening Weekend: $41,062,440 (#1 rank, 2,991 theatres, $13,729 average)