Going deeper, it was found that the protagonist of each movie is a dynamic character, which alters throughout the course of the story. To top it all off, each of these movies had a soothing conclusion, leaving the viewer fairly comfortable with the story. Although these films are from different time periods, and directed towards different audiences, multiple relations have been found to connect them together, ultimately leading towards a better understanding of all four movies. Each of these movies revolves around dramatic and mysterious characters. Strangers on a Train, said to be film-noir, had its dramatic and mysterious moments.
For example, Guy doesn’t know a thing about Bruno, and they are apparently strangers to each other. Mysteriously, Bruno is at the right place at the right time, in a train alone with Guy, who also has thought about murder. To the viewer, it is a mystery whether Bruno planned being with Guy on the train, or if it’s all just a coincidence. Also, when Bruno commits the murder, the entire scene is full of drama and mystery. Bruno creeps up on Miriam and follows her all night, leaving her to wonder whether he is just an unusual and creepy individual, or if he is just coincidentally ending up at all the same places at the fair that she’s at.
After Bruno strangles Miriam, he shows up across the street from Guy’s building, dramatically breaking the news of the murder to Guy before he gets to answer the phone. Black Swan includes an entire mysterious and dramatic series of events. Throughout the film, there are several scenes where the viewer cannot distinguish between reality, a dream, or a hallucination. Because of this, it is impossible to know Lily’s intentions for Nina and the play. At one point, Nina believes that Lily is going to steal her spot as Swan Queen, o she kills her before performing. With this scene came a lot of mystery and confusion, on whether Lily was even a real person or just someone made up in Nina’s head to help her get in touch with her dark side. Nina herself is an exceptionally dramatic character; therefore, the viewer has the chance to feel the dramatic emphasis and the weakness in her portrayal of Nina. In the Double Life of Veronique, the entire movie is mysterious in a sense that the viewer does not really know who Veronique, or Weronika, really is.
It cannot be differentiated why Veronique and Weronika exist simultaneously, and why they are essentially the same person with the same life. To include drama, Veronique feels pain and shows weakness when Weronika dies. The viewer is unsure as to why this happens, but plenty of drama exists when Veronique says, “I feel like I am grieving, as if someone close to me has died. ” To conclude, the role of Alexandre is also mysterious, because he seems to know a lot about Veronique without ever meeting her, leaving the audience to wonder whether he had known Weronika before meeting Veronique.
Three Colors: Red consists of an entire story line, and a side story, which can be interpreted as mysterious and dramatic for the viewer. Both the judge and Valentine are especially mysterious people. The whole side story of Auguste, who finds his lover cheating on him, shows mystery by allowing the viewer to interpret their own understanding of what could be going on. Some could think that Auguste and Valentine are actually perfect for each other, but never get the chance to meet. It could also be said that Auguste is the judge, and although 40 years apart, Valentine would have been his perfect mate.
It is difficult to understand what the judges true intentions are in Red. When the judge says “I want nothing”, Valentine says, “Then stop breathing”, where the judge responds “Good idea”. This shows that the judge didn’t care about much, not only making him a mysterious character, but also making it difficult to comprehend his intent. In all four of these films, the protagonist has an occupation which requires some sort of talent. Although none of these characters have the same exact lifestyle, they don’t necessary have normal jobs either.
In Strangers on a Train, Guy Haines is a professional tennis player, and he’s wells known and famous for what he does. In Black Swan, Nina is a ballerina and is the lead role in a very famous set, produced by a well known and famous man in Thomas Leroy. In The Double Life of Veronique, both Veronique and Weronika are opera singers, and use their talents to perform. Although it could be argued whether modeling is a talent, we will give Valentine in Red the benefit of the doubt, who is a model, and has a photograph of her blown up and used on a main street as an advertisement.
Another interesting similarity between these movies is that all of the protagonists have innocence revolve around their character, making the viewer sympathize for them. In Strangers on a Train, Guy is basically framed for the murder of his wife. Although he had talked on the phone about strangling his wife, probably jokingly, he told Bruno, “I may be old fashioned but I thought that murder was illegal”. Guy never really has bad intentions, but good things don’t always happen to good people. Anne even thinks that Guy is the one who killed Miriam until she confronts guy and finds out the truth.
Because of this innocence, it can be said that Guy has a delicate personality. This delicacy that lives inside Guy eventually gives Guy the pathway to prove his innocence in the murder case. Nina, in Bla ck Swan, has the viewer sympathizing for her throughout the movie. Her innocence is emphasized when Lily is introduced, who is dangerous and seductive. Nina can be viewed as a woman who never got the chance to grow up because of her overprotective mother. Because of her innocence and delicacy, it is natural for Nina to play the part of the White Swan.
Thomas says, “You could be brilliant, but you’re a coward”, and Nina apologizes, “I’m sorry”, where Thomas yells “Now stop saying that! That’s exactly what I’m talking about, stop being so fucking weak! ” When playing the part of the Black Swan though, Nina finds is difficult to release the tiny bit of evil which is found somewhere deep inside of her soul. In Red, Valentine is known to the viewer as a genuinely good human when she stops and cares for the dog that she almost killed, and continues to care for the pregnant dog, even though the owner doesn’t seem to care for her.
Valentine is shown to be innocent and delicate when she finds out about the judge eavesdropping on others lives. At first, she won’t even bear listening to the phone calls, and attempts to plug out and stop the machine. Because the judge lives such a corrupt and carefree life, Valentine’s innocence is emphasized. Veronique, in The Double Life of Veronique, shows her delicacy when she begins grieving when nothing has really happened to her. Also, Veronique is innocent in the sense that she had good intentions when meeting with the puppeteer, even though he didn’t truly care for the meeting the way that she did.
Because of this, the viewer sympathized for Veronique when she left the meeting early, because she thought it was going to be someone important, and at first, it wasn’t. A dynamic character can be defined as a character that goes through an important inner change, as a change in personality or attitude. Each of these movies has a protagonist who fits this description. In Stranger on a Train, Guy wants his wife dead, because he wants to be with Anne. When his wife is killed, he calls Bruno a “maniac” for going through with it.
Although Guy starts out liking Bruno, there comes a point where Guy smacks Bruno for approaching him. In Black Swan, for almost the entire movie, Nina is a soft, gentle, and scared girl who takes no risks. Her first change is when she curses her mom out, goes out with Lily, does drugs, and fantasizes about bringing Lily home with her. The next major change in her personality is when she literally takes form of the Black Swan, and finishes her performance by kissing Thomas. In Red, a personality change in Valentine was that she wouldn’t even bear listening to the phone calls of the judge’s neighbors at first.
After a while, she becomes curious, and listens to what the judge has to say about it. The first time she was over, she stormed out, feeling horrible about what the judge had been doing. I label her as a dynamic character because she came back. She became interested and even though she could have just kept the extra money from the judge out of anger, she returned with curiosity which she didn’t have at first. In the Double Life of Veronique, the change in Veronique is that she started out as a talented singer, then has a change of heart and quits her job to become a teacher.
She began grieving, for reasons she could not explain, and changed her outlook on life. Instead of striving towards being the great performer that she had the potential to be, she gave it up and downgraded her occupation to teaching. Each of these movies had a soothing conclusion for the viewer to enjoy comfortably. In Strangers on a Train, Guy Haines proved his innocence in the murder case and ended up celebrating. In Black Swan, Nina comes out of her shell and gives up her greatest performance yet. Although it looks like she probably died of the wound, her last words were “I felt it.
Perfect. I was perfect”. This leaves the viewer feeling confident about Nina’s struggles to be perfect. In Red, Valentine was involved in a tragic hurricane accident, but to both the judge’s and the viewer’s pleasure, she was one of the survivors. In The Double Life of Veronique, the conclusion of the movie has the puppeteer make two dolls of Veronique, just in case one breaks, leaving the viewer in a comfortable spot with the life of Veronique along with the death of Weronika. According to the book Looking at Movies, narrative films are directed toward fiction.
Even those narrative movies that purport to tell a true story adjust the stories they convey so as to better serve those principles of narrative structure that filmmakers use to engage and entertain audiences. Through this definition, it can be said that all four of these movies are narrative films. Strangers on a Train, Red, Black Swan, and The Double Life of Veronique are all directed towards fiction in order to entertain and engage audiences. Strangers on a Train, a Hitchcock film, is the oldest movie of the bunch.
Many argue that Hitchcock was one of the greatest and most influential directors of all time. In Strangers on a Train, Hitchcock uses his technique of having two very flawed characters, one evil and one weak. Guy Haines is weak because he wanted to get rid of his wife so bad that he told that to a stranger, and Bruno is evil because he actually went out and completed the murder. In Black Swan, this can be also seen; a weak character in Nina, and an evil character in Lily. This was also portrayed by the story of Swan Lake, with the two swans, one being evil, the other being good.
In Red, the weak character is Valentine while the evil character is the judge; being depicted as evil for his eavesdropping behaviors. In The Double Life of Veronique, Veronique is obviously a weak character, as she quits singing without a real reason. The evil character was more difficult to find, but I believe the evil in the film was the puppeteer for using Veronique as an experiment instead treating her feelings with care at first. With all that being said, it is easy to say that Hitchcock has had a huge impact on these directors when making this film and assigning roles to their characters.
Continuity editing, now the dominant style of editing throughout the world, seeks to achieve logic, smoothness, sequential flow, and the temporal and spatial orientation of viewers to what they see on the screen. As with so many conventions of film production, the conventions of continuity editing remain open to variation, but in general, continuity editing ensures that what happens on the screen makes as much narrative sense as possible. In all four movies, all editing is continuous. All of the stories unfold smoothly, even in The Double Life of Veronique, when Weronika dies. The editing is ontinuous there because the editor made it flow by moving onto Veronique’s life without cutting back and forth, limiting the confusing of the audience. Each of the four movies had an incredibly thunderous soundtrack, giving the diegetic and nondiegetic noises plenty of volume. The diegetic, or what is originated from the films world, in all four movies were very useful in making the setting more energetic. The nondiegetic, those coming from an outside source, were also very powerful in the sense that the soundtracks made the dramatic scenes of these powerful movies much easier to watch.
In Strangers on a Train, on the last scene with the Ferris wheel, the music became seemingly more powerful, basically telling the viewer to pay their most attention in this scene. Also in Black Swan’s last scene, with Nina dancing the part of the Black Swan, the music became faster and more emotional, giving the scene more emphasis. In The Double Life of Veronique, the last scene is with fading music, giving the viewer an understanding that everything is ending on a positive note. In Red, we see the same idea of music fading, leaving the viewer assured with positivity.
All four of these movies explore their own respectful ways of bringing the sound, but eventually come together to deliver a positive message. The text also states that it is important to distinguish between suspense and surprise. Although they are often confused, suspense and surprise are two fundamentally different elements in the development of many movie plots. Alfred Hitchcock is the known master of suspense and surprise, and that is apparent in Strangers on a Train. The scenes leading up to Bruno killing Miriam is full of suspense, and then the viewer is shocked with surprise when Miriam is actually strangled and killed.
This method of using suspense to build up surprise is also available in the rest of these films. In Black Swan, Nina builds up suspense by thinking that Lily is going to take her role. Then the viewer is shocked to see Nina kill Lily. In the Double Life of Veronique, the entire movie is building suspense with the viewer trying to figure out what the deal is regarding Weronika. When Veronique sees the picture of Weronika, and distinguishes that she doesn’t own that coat, both she and the viewer are shocked.
In Red, the viewer is built up to the suspense of Auguste, and whether he will ever meet Valentine or not, and the shock comes in to play when the ending is open to interpretation, as to whether Auguste was the judge, or just another man. Using the method of suspense versus surprise was played almost perfectly according to the definition used in Looking at Movies. Looking deeply into all four of these movies, several similarities can be found. It can be the technical aspect, connecting the various types of sounds in the movies to being diegetic or nondiegetic.
Also, it can be simply connecting the characters, and realizing that all four of the protagonists in these movies have an occupation which requires some sort of talent. By looking into these little details of these films, I learned a tremendous amount about both the films themselves and about filmmaking. Although Hitchcock only directed one of the four films, with a little digging, numerous Hitchcockian techniques were found to be used in all four films. Just by thinking about these films, my knowledge of film has increased vastly.
Strangers on a Train, Black Swan, Red, and The Double Life of Veronique were all incredible films to watch, but treating them like a puzzle and connecting them in multiple ways was an extraordinary learning experience. Bibliography Barsam, Richard. Looking at Movies. New York: WW Norton &, 2012. Print. Berardinelli, James. “Reelviews: Berardinelli Sees Film. ” Reelviews Movie Reviews. N. p. , n. d. Web. 07 Dec. 2012. Black Swan. 20 Century Fox, 2010. Ebert, Roger. “The Double Life of Veronique :: Rogerebert. com :: Reviews. ” RSS. N. p. , n. d. Web. 07 Dec. 2012. Ebert, Roger. “Red :: Rogerebert. com :: Reviews. ” RSS. N. . , n. d. Web. 07 Dec. 2012. Ebert, Roger. “Strangers on a Train :: Rogerebert. com :: Great Movies. ” RSS. N. p. , n. d. Web. 07 Dec. 2012. Guthmann, Edward. “FILM REVIEW — Journey Of Heart In `Red’” SFGate. N. p. , n. d. Web. 07 Dec. 2012. James, Caryn. “The Double Life of Veronique (1991). ” NY Times. N. p. , n. d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012. La Double Vie De Veronique. Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski. By Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz. Perf. Irene Jacob and Philippe Volter. [s. n. ], 1991. Red. Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski. An MKI Release, 1994. Film. Strangers on a Train. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Warner Bros. , 1951. Film.