Research and planning shutter Island

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Research and planning: Shutter Island trailer analysis

Research and planning: Shutter Island trailer analysis

Codes and conventions of the thriller genreYou can tell from the trailer that Shutter Island is from the thriller genre as it abides by the codes and conventions of the genre. It has all of the codes and conventions that you would expect from a thriller like:Quick cutsLow key lightingTension musicShadows Diegetic breathing/ sounds Montage of shotsChanges of shot angles Protagonist is weak and at the mercy of the antagonist

Codes and conventions: Quick cuts/ montage of clipsQuick cuts are used in the trailer to build up suspense and also show the chaos of what's going on in the film. There is a large plot twist in the film and the whole tone is chaotic and like no one knows what's really going on. This chaos is reflected in the trailer by the quick editing as it makes everything seem faster and more confusing than it actually is. This is common across all thriller films.

The 6 clips above are all played in a span of 2 seconds and in the order they are played make no sense from a narrative point of view. This is common for thriller trailers as at the end a montage of clips is used and the chronological are used at the start. The montage of clips also adds to the chaos and confusion of thriller movies, and links to the idea that in a thriller the equilibrium has been disrupted and the protagonist needs to restore it. To further add to the chaos and match the theme of the film (which is set in a mental institution) the transitions between theses clips are black bars which come up and down from the top and bottom of the screen, like someone blinking.

Codes and conventions: Low key lighting/ shadowsThese add mystery and suspense to thrillers as its harder to see what's going on. The shadows also hide things creating tension as the viewer doesnt know what's in the shadows. The low key lighting also reflects the tone of the film which is dark.

Shadows hide danger and also conceal the known to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat. Light shines on protagonists to show that they are good. Also makes them look out of place and vulnerable to create suspense.Low key lighting and dark areas surround the protagonist , making them look weak and vulnerable. The shadows could also represent that dark path the protagonist has to go down in thrillers to achieve their goal. The electric lights are out, also showing vulnerability as the power could be out, meaning the protagonists have no escape.


Music:The music played at each part of the trailer matches what's happening on screen.At the start of the trailer the music is much slower and low in tone, to slowly create tension and unnerve the viewer. When the protagonist gives away his gun it temporarily speeds up to show without a weapon he could be in danger.After the protagonist says screw their sense of calm the music starts to pick up, like things are becoming less calm, matching the idea of disruption and chaos in thrillers. As we then get more exposition on the story through dialogue, it becomes more confusing and the music gradually becomes more intense to match this, adding to the idea of mystery and suspense in thrillers. At the end when the clips are moving very fast the music is also most intense to show how none knows what's really going on, continuing the idea of suspense and mystery in thrillers.

Sounds:In the trailer certain sounds are also used to match what is happening on screenAt the start a high pitched noise can be heard, to keep the viewers attention and create tension, as this sound is unsettling. When we see a needle on the screen we hear a screaming sound, which is also to create tension but also add to the narrative. If someone is screaming at the sight of a needle it makes the viewer think if the asylum is really trying to help these people or if something more sinister is going on. This further adds to the idea of mystery and suspense in thrillers.There is also a breathing sound which is used to unsettle the viewer as it makes them feel like someone is near them and they are not alone. This is mainly used in horror movies but its also used in thrillers. Codes and conventions: Tension music/ sounds

Establishing shots are not normally used a lot in thriller trailers but one is used here. This could be to show the isolation on the island, meaning there is no escape. This is also mainly used in horrors but is in thrillers as well.Codes and conventions: changes in camera angles

Close ups are used to show character emotions and thoughts. This is important in thrillers as we normally want the character to succeed more than in other genres of films as the whole film normally revolves around and them and we become attached to the character. These close up shots help us understand what there going through more.

This birds-eye-view/ pan down shot shows the protagonists vulnerability. In thrillers the protagonist is normally at the mercy of the antagonist and in this shot he's trapped in a small room and surrounded by people who we know are actually working against him but trying to help at the same time.

Cut aways to shots of weapons or dangerous objects are also used a lot in the trailer and thriller trailers in general. This is because thrillers want to build suspense so instead of showing the action they show hints of it and dangerous items so we know there's danger but we cant see it, putting the viewer on the edge of their seat.


From the trailer we dont actually see an antagonist or get any direct hints of who could be one. However we still see the protagonist like he has no idea what's going on and like someone is controlling what he is doing. From the actual film we know that the protagonist is actually a mental patient who's making everything up and this works with the trailer and the thriller genre because its like he's at the mercy of himself. This still fits the idea of a antagonist controlling what protagonist does but it adds greater mystery which works well for a thriller film. Codes and conventions: protagonist is weak and at the mercy of the antagonist

From the trailer we know that a U.S. federal marshal Teddy Daniels, played be Leonardo DiCaprio, has been sent to mental institution called shutter island. We the find out that the island is only home to the staff and the most mental and violent asylum patients on the plant, most of which have murdered people, already creating a sense of danger for the protagonist. To further create danger, the protagonist is then ordered to give them his firearm. We then learn that a prisoner has escaped without any clues as to how they did it and they have absolutely no idea how she got away or where she has gone. The protagonist then decides that there is something bad going on , but no he cant get any clues as to what's happening as no one will talk. The trailer then picks up and the rest of the narrative delivered doesnt make sense in the order in which it is given. This narrative conforms to the idea of thriller movies as a patient has escaped which is the disturbance in the equilibrium which the protagonist sets out to fix. The plot is also surrounded in mystery which is also common for thrillers as they revolve on a story where the protagonist needs to figure out what's going on and why. Finally, through the dialogue, tension and danger is created as we know the protagonist is trapped on an island surrounded by dangerous people.Narrative in the trailer

Romantic subplot:We can see that there is a romantic subplot in the trailer as there are frequent shots of a women which we can tell that the protagonist cares for by the way she's dressed and the way he interacts with her. Romantic subplots are common in thrillers as they make us want the protagonist want to achieve his goal more. Notable dialogue:Youre a rat in a maze- this is said by a patient to the protagonist. This further emphasises the chaos as its saying that the protagonist us running round in circles, unable to unravel the mystery in the film. Also, if even another mental patient has realised that the protagonist is getting no where and is at someone's mercy, it further hints at the fact that the protagonist is actually the bad guy in the film. No one will talk, its like their scared of something- cant unravel the mystery. Its all down, all the lines. Even the radio- protagonist is trapped.

Narrative in the trailer

Protagonist: He conforms to the hero stereotype as he is a white, heterosexual male which is generic protagonist format. For mise-en-scene at most points in the trailer he is dressed respectably or in white, which has colour connotations of good. He is also shown to be in the light when other characters are in the dark. For dialogue he says things like let me help you or there's something going on here which are normally what heroes in thrillers say as they want to save people and figure out and stop what's going on. Antagonist:At some points in the trailer he is also hinted at being the antagonistFor mise-en-scene sometimes his eyes colour is enhanced and his hair has propped, making him look crazy and emphasises the fact he is actually the one causing the chaos. For dialogue when he shouts let me see your dam face and dont move what he's saying and the way he says it sounds to evil for something a good guy would say, further hinting at the fact he could be evil. Representation: protagonist/ antagonist In the actual film we know that the protagonist is also the antagonist as he is the disturbance in the equilibrium and the cause of the chaos. However the trailer does not directly show us this but it does hint at the idea of him being evil through dialogue and mise-en-scene.

We can tell the island is a dangerous place because of the way it looks. Th