Hi, I'm an AS Media student, and this blog contains research into the different aspects of film and media, specializing in the Slasher genre. The research has all been put towards the development of my coursework production 'Camp Ivy', which I co-produced with Poppy and Millie. Our coursework has been influenced by the rural locations and mise-en-scene in Friday the 13th and Eden Lake.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Opening EG6: About A Boy

DVD credits
About a Boy (Chris Weitz & Paul Weitz, 2002)
PRODUCED BY: Tribeca Productions, Working Title.
DISTRIBUTED BY: Universal Pictures, Studio Canal, Mars Distribution (click here to see more)
BUDGET: $27m.
BOX OFFICE: $41m (USA), £16m (UK).
RATINGS: 7.1 (IMDb).

I am going to analyse the opening sequence of this film. As the company credit for Working Title appears, there is a voice over of 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire'.

'A Paul Weitz and Chris Weitz film' (directors)
Make-up/hair designer
Costume designer
Production designer
Director of photography
Executive producers
Directors (again)

0:55, shot 1
1 - The very first shot is an overhead shot, which appears at 00:55 (after idents), showing the floor board as the camera is on the ceiling. A man walks past, but we do not see his face which is a use of narrative enigma.
2 - We then see the TV, and the same man walks past. There is a question asked on the game show, and the answer comes from a voice over, not from the contestant. We can tell this voice is Hugh Grant, because he is an extremely famous British actor. This makes us wonder if he is the man we are seeing, even though we have not yet been given any information as to who this character is.
1:07, shot 3
3 -  The next shot is of the man turning the TV off. Non-diegetic music begins to play and who we believe to be Hugh Grant narrating, continues to speak carrying on the answer to the question from Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The first credit also appears at this point; it is Hugh Grant. This confirms that the voice over is Hugh Grant and because is name appears first, this suggests he is the main character. We still have not seen the characters face.
1:18, shot 4
4 - The shot then switches to a fish tank, and another two names appear individually, suggesting these are also main characters. The film title 'About a Boy' also appears. The camera begins to pan across the room, as more credits appear. This time, they are grouped, suggesting these characters are less important. The mise-en-scene suggests this man is wealthy and well-off.
5 - The camera then changes to follow the unknown man who is making his way across to the microwave. He reaches for a mug in the microwave, holding a piece of toast which tells us it is most likely the morning.
1:39, shot 6
6 - At this point, we still have not been shown the mans face, but the voice over is still on going. The phone beings to ring, and the camera zooms into a close up of a note on the coffee table. There is a woman's name and a number on the note. This suggests this note is important, but the mans screws it up.
7 - In this shot, the man is putting the note in the bin, and in the background, the phone goes to answer phone and a woman is leaving a message about the night before. We are then told that the woman's name on the note belongs to the woman leaving a message on the answer phone, which tells us this man is not in a relationship, and is perhaps a casual outgoing character.
1:45, shot 8
8 - The character still hasn't been revealed, and as he walks past we only see his shadow on a large bookcase. This suggests he is intelligent.
9 - We then get a medium long shot of the man walking away. He is going to put his coat on, telling us he's going out somewhere.
10 - At 1:54, he walks up to the mirror, however it is positioned so we still cannot see his face, only the clothes he is wearing.
11 - At this point, we see a face, but it is not clear what the actual
1:54, shot 10
features are, as he is looking into something round.
12 - At 2:01, there is a swipe transition to a young boy laying on a bed in his pajamas. His arms are folded, and his expression appears to be slightly sad.
13 - Hamster running round a wheel which is squeaking.
14 - The boy rolls over, and the narration from the man turns into the narration from the boy. The narration is sad, as he is talking about not fitting in at his school. This tells us this boy is unhappy and is maybe being bullied. We also get the idea that he has moved around a bit, as it is a new school he is talking about.
2:01, shot 12
15 - The camera goes to a close up of a clock, which is saying 5 o'clock. We do not know if this is night or morning, but from the previous scenes of the man getting toast, we presume it is in the morning.
2:13, shot 16
16 - At 2:13, there is an extreme close up of the boys face. Although it is dark, we can see the light shining on his eye, and it looks like he is about to cry.
17 - The boy goes to pick the hamster up out of its cage and puts it in the sink. He fills up a tray of water and begins to wash the cage. This suggests that this hamster is very special to this little boy, perhaps his only friend from what he is saying. He mentions something about being home-schooled, but he would have to pay his mum as it's only them. This is very different to the man in the first scenes, as he seemed rich and well-off.
2:48, shot 19
18 - The mise-en-scene is quite basic, and the lighting is dark. We see the boy sat on the stairs at 2:45
19 - The alarm clock goes off at 2:46, and the camera goes back to how we first saw him, lying on his bed but this time he is in uniform.
20 - There is a close up of the boy opening the door. He is wearing a hat, telling us it is cold outside.
21 - We then go back to the man at the start. There is a close up of his hand holding car keys, then he opens the car door and gets in. The man begins to narrate again.
2:55, shot 20
22 - The narrative enigma ends here, as the characters face is revealed. It is Hugh Grant, who we now known must be one of the main characters, along with the boy.
23 - Hugh Grant is driving an Audi TT, which also suggests he has a lot of money.
24 - The ending ends at 3:13, when the scenery changes to an entirely new setting and new characters are introduced.

3:03, shot 22. Character is revealed

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