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trc

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  1. This is another opening that prefers expressionism to realism. There are credits over the first image, pans, a zoom out, a crane shot, and the high contrast lighting. At point I'm wondering what distinguishes noir from expressionism, or if noir is just type of expressionist film.
  2. For better or worse, this meeting of adversaries reminds me of Columbo meeting one of his wealthy targets, right down to just one more question. The wall of masks is an obvious reminder that people are not always as they seem. The switch from voiceover to dialogue, and the rapid pan to the tub, are both breaks from the typical reality effect film style, but they are also subtly disturbing. This is not how things are supposed to be, which supports the plot.
  3. I find the first person pov as artificial as any unnatural camera angle, and in this case possibly more so as we don't start with it. The first shot is a more conventional angle on the hands in the barrel, and the second shot is also relatively conventional. Moving to first person as the barrel is rolling down the hill draws attention to it. However, artifical doesn't necessarily mean bad - it just means made by human skill as opposed to naturally occuring. Great use of sound, and the car stops with the road sign nicely positioned in the background. Also signs of artifice, but all suggesting a story told with lots of attention to technique. I don't find the camera movement too stiff. Our brains stabilize what the eyes see - a camera that reproduces actual eye and head movement gives an image far shakier that what we 'see,' but lately that shaky image has been used to claim realism.
  4. Two shots stand out, and don't quite match the documentary style. The opening shot with the close up of the firebox and the screaming whistle before zooming out is an obvious one - lots of possible meanings for that. Then at the end of the sequence, an arrival at an empty train platform, contrasted with recently introduced slower movement and processional music.
  5. A number of people note that the children's counting game, used to tag people out, is morbid. In context it is. However, I find myself wondering if I'm the only one that used similar games to tag people out, in an otherwise relatively innocent childhood. One was "My mother punched your mother in the nose. What colour was the blood?" The person you were pointing at on the word blood would give a colour, and you'd continue counting. "R E D spells red and you are out." Many of the elements of this sequence are relatively neutral in isolation. They get their creepiness from accumulation and context.
  6. It's almost impossible to come to films without some knowledge of subject, and the industry works to create a mood in advance of seeing the film. The design of posters, the content of trailers, the perfomers and film makers, reviews, ratings, and even the title all set our expectations. So we are expecting creepiness. The question then becomes, how well does the film meet our expectations of creepiness? I find if a film seems creepy despite advance knowledge and repeated viewings, that is evidence that it comes from the film itself.
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