April 14th, 2007

Fenster (The Usual Suspects)

"Give me the keys..."

It was completely pointless for me to have come into work today, but it was a nice day and I found a spot on the street (I went to my CoinStar bucket for some quarters for the Muni-Meter), so it isn't terribly expensive. It actually wasn't that annoying, for a chance. Plus, it gave me a chance to hit Midtown Comics and pick up the third Fables book as well as Whedon's Serenity.

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I have discussed this film and scene several times, but the ability to embed videos in LiveJournal now allows me to show the scene. What is interesting here is how much information is being conveyed in this sequence. This moment is the introduction to all of the characters (and the lineup image became iconic of the film) and how they deliver the line on the piece of paper tells you something about them. More, in fact, than is apparent on first viewing of the movie. Furthermore, the following interrogation gives you certain clues as to how this film will play out (including, as schpydurx points out, the identity of the person who did perpetrate the crime in question, which is revealed in a scene later on in the film). Moreover, the sense of humor apparent in the sequence endears the audience to them despite the fact that they are being introduced as criminals.

Interestingly, while this part of the movie definitely showcases the acting talents of the cast, this clip also illustrates the power of good editing. The idea of the characters cracking up while reading the line wasn't planned. It was something that occured in the film only because the actors couldn't keep a straight face while performing the scene. Editor John Ottman saw potential in the exposed footage, however, and put together the scene as it appears in the film now. While it works, if you look closely, you'll see that there are some minor continuity errors (mostly centering around Gabriel Byrne), but they do not effect the scene dramatically.