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Submarine Film Extract Analysis Film Studies Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Nowadays, when our living pace is so fast there are a lot of temptations and sometimes you start thinking about your own death, divorce and other somber feelings. ”Submarine” directed by young director Richard Ayoade in 2010 is a perfect example of how can happen in a real life. The movie has various ratings between different people. Some of them liked, some not, but this is just a quite personal opinion. Director was inspired by Joe Dunthorne novel [1] and successfully accomplished to reveal and show how Oliver Tate fought and solved occurred problems. This essay will try to interpret a short extract from the beginning in details and explain what viewers can expect later in a movie.

In the first scene we have a chance to get familiar with a main character’s environment and actor himself. From hundreds of pictures and abundantly designed room we can understand that Oliver Tate is not an adult but middle age adolescent. From a lot of books in a cupboard it is possible to guess that he is not some kind of tomboy, but a cleaver and perceptive teenager. While listening internal diegetic sound in this case a voice from Oliver minds, a possible movie location becomes clear – action takes place somewhere in the England. Also very imported role in the first scene plays a typewriter machine because it lets us understand that story is happening before era of computers (about 80s) and that Oliver is creative. Later in the film typewriter machine appears again and it is fear to call it one of the props. [2] Panoramas of ocean in the beginning has a several meanings: First, it helps us to realize that Tate lives near the sea and something will be connected with water. Second, a boy is looking in to the ocean and that perhaps means, that he is lost in his minds about death or sadness and finally this view sets a joyless mood for part of story. In this short clip, we see that Oliver Tate is studying at school and has a sympathy – Jordana Bevans. Interesting fact is that Oliver is always wearing a tidy uniform with a shirt, tie and jacket and is more or less neat guy but his friend Chip with bare jacket and crooked tie as it becomes clear is a rude boy. In movies red colour normally symbolizes a love, death or loss and in this film, costume designer made a good choice. Red coat of Jordana’s Bevan shows us that we can aspect a love story or something more between Oliver an her. Actually later we will find out that every of those meanings of red colour happened. They became in love with each other, Jordana’s dog died, they broke up etc. Lighting during these first 7 minutes is not quite crucial because most action took place outside, where was enough of daylight. However, in the first scene of Oliver’s room very soft additional light was used, because it really would not be enough for a good image look and also to show that he is closed person. In the classroom director of photography tried to imitate a day light coming from the windows. It is quite obvious because there are no strong shadows on faces and light is soft.

It was a huge surprise that this movie was shot on Kodak colour film. [3] While watching a movie there was no doubt, that this is a digitally recorded film because of many scenes where setting was quite dim and dark. With digital cameras it would not be such a big problem nowadays. From the very beginning, it is easy to recognise that almost every shot has some kind of various movements. Cameraman often uses slow and smooth tilts, pans, dolly track and even a crane in the end of this extract. All these mobile framing features adds extra cosiness, nicer look to the movie and makes a viewer to concentrate deeper in the whole story line. In the first shot, while exploring Oliver’s room cinematographer uses a wide angle lens for a wider view because a room is not such a big and more things could be captured in the same cut. Viewers became part of that room and are able to explore together. [4] Later in the extract cameraman used only a couple of times zoom lens (in the classroom after dolly movement to the left and while reading a note) and most of the other shots were taken with a prime lenses for a best possible quality. Also, cameraman lets us to feel the whole action and atmosphere while shooting of the hand-held camera. It is well reflected in the scene near the bog while playing with a bag. During the ‘possible’ flash-forward (Possible, because viewers does not know about further story line and they do not know if Tate is going to die) Oliver imagines how his friends and other people would react to his death. For a stronger and more realistic feeling, cinematographer decided to use an old fashioned looking television mask and yellow tint while reporter was talking with his classmates. This decision makes us think, that Oliver Tate has a absolutely clear vision about his death. Moreover, in the beginning main character looks to the sea and as we look closer, Oliver was placed in the centre of frame and in the next shot showed in the close up. By using such framing director helped us to understand that he is a very important character in the story. [5] 

While looking at this extract story line seems to be not very fast because of the lack of fast cuts. Film action flows smoothly. From this point of view, viewer can aspect a calm and not an action or thriller movie. From ‘Prologue’ and ‘First Part Jordana Bevan’s it is common to think that this film will have different parts. The most interesting place is again in the end, when Zoe falls into water. After looking that place again and again, decision has been made that this scene was shot from a different angles with very big frame rate and later slowed down as much as possible. Camera’s fake movement was created with computer, because without frozen Zoe’s and her bag, there were minor movements in background, such as water, Oliver’s eyes blinking, leaf falling etc. In such case, it cannot be a frozen frame.

Main aspect of sound straight from the beginning in this extract falls into internal diegetic sound – Oliver’s minds. In such way, director tries to show boy’s understanding about world, what he is thinking about his life and how reacts to different feelings. [6] It helps viewers to understand the story also. Besides non diegetic sound when music and sounds is playing in the background viewers has a chance to get the idea of an overall mood. During first seconds while in the room we hear shrieking seagulls what makes easier to understand about possible location. Later, more or less external simultaneous diegetic sound takes longest part in the extract.

In conclusion, ”Submarine’s” director Richard Ayoade has successfully ”build” the whole story about two adolescents Oliver and Jordana and their parents. From a plenty of hints it was not a big headache to get an overall film idea. Jordana’s lighter in the class and matches outside, her red coat and also a red letters on ”First Part Jordana Bevans” really uncovered all of following themes – love, death, passion and lost. Director of Photography gave us possibility to understand, who is the main character and from a sounds choice, composer set an overall film mood. The vicissitudes of love story and problems in family life are showed realistically .

Bibliography

Bordwell D. and Thompson K. (2008), Film Art: An Introduction ,Eight Edition, New York,

McGraw-Hill

Bordwell D. and Thompson K. (2003), Film Art: An Introduction , Seventh Edition, New York,

McGraw-Hill

Brown B. (2002), Cinematography: The Theory and Practice, USA, Focal Press.

P. Wheeler (2005), Practical Cinematography, Second Edition, USA, Focal Press


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