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Textual Analysis

Introduction
I am analysing the first 6minutes and 23 seconds of The
Town. I chose The Town because it is a very good
example of a thriller film and the opening is very good.
I liked the opening because it has a good amount of
action for the length of the opening and it was filled
with suspense and tension. You also felt sympathy for
the old man who was being hit with the gun. The town
is about a group of four strategic bank robbers and one
of them falls in love with one of the hostages they took.
The two meet in a launderette after the other three
robbers tell him to take care of her. The two fall in
love and plan to go away together until she finds out
that he was one of the robbers that robbed her bank.
Enigma Codes
An enigma is a mystery in a film that makes us ask
questions like: Who? What? Why? How? In the opening
there are four guys talking to each other, planning out
the robbery. Theyre going through details such as who
the men are delivering the money. The first question we
ask ourselves is how do they know that information
about the men? We also wonder why theyre robbing
the bank and is there someone theyre working for? We
also wonder why they took her and dropped her off at a
beach. The woman they took hostage is someone that
works at the bank and they made her open the safe.
One of the robbers could tell she was very scared and
he felt sorry for her so he took her away from the crime
scene and took her somewhere calming.

Characters
At the start we are introduced to four characters all of
them male, we cant see where they are but it is dark
and confined. We have close ups of their faces, only
one at a time but we can tell who the more powerful
character are because only two of them are talking.
Another character we meet is the woman who works at
the bank. When we first see the woman she is seen as
a damsel in distress, we can see this from the scared
look on her face; we see this in a medium shot of her
face. The characters are typical thriller characters
because theyre aggressive and co-ordinated. In most
thriller films there are people who are taken hostage
and are in danger and there are people controlling the
main characters. The bank worker taken hostage is a
typical damsel in distress because she was directly
involved in the action and she was always scared about
what was happening. Also, she was taken hostage
which would have made her more scared and which
means she needed rescuing but the robbers let her go.
This is typical of thriller because in thriller films there
are always innocent people that get caught in the
middle of the crime.
Locations
In the opening sequence we see the view above the
whole of Charlestown. The city looks very big which is
typical for the thriller genre because in big cities there
is always a lot of action which takes place, lots of high
intensity car chases, gunfights and sometimes bank
robberies. Another location we see is the inside of the
bank. This is typical in some thriller films because

either a bank robbery takes place or someone goes to


the bank to check their money and they find out its
been stolen. The last location we see is the beach. This
isnt typical of thriller films because beaches are a
place where you can relax and have fun. You wouldnt
think of a beach as somewhere that has a lot of action
and violence.
Camera and editing techniques
In the opening there is a lot of fast paced editing,
cutting between peoples faces, to show their emotion
and show the intensity of whats happening. This scene
took place hallway into the opening in the bank. You
can see the concentration and the fear on her face
when she is asked to open the safe when she clearly
doesnt want to.

There are a lot of medium shots and close ups used.


Those types of shots are usually used in films to show
the emotion and make those watching feel sympathy
for the characters. In this low angle shot the bank
manager is looking up to the robber and he is looking
down staring at her. This shows the power that he has

over her and the mask he has on makes him even more

intimidating.
Bordwell and Thompsons theory was that chain of
events within a media form causes effects on a
relationship occurring in time and space. At the start
the main character (played by Ben Affleck) shows that
he has a caring side when he tells the hostage that
everything is going to be alright and that he wont hurt
her. This motivates the rest of the film because he
starts to develop feelings for her and he becomes a
more caring person. This creates a chain of events that
leads to him wanting to stop robbing places and live a
normal happy life.
Use of sound
In the opening there is non-diegetic music in the
background, while we are seeing people walking
around, going to work, waiting for a bus etc. The music
we hear is calm and quiet to indicate that the town is
also calm and quiet and it shows that nothing major is
really happening. This connotes that the town is quite
vulnerable and something bad is likely to take place
there. As soon as the action starts the non-diegetic
music stops playing and we only hear the diegetic

sound that the robbers are making. The effect of this is


that it makes the audience feel like they are there while
its happening. It makes the audience feel the pain and
feel how the characters are feeling. For example when
the robbers started hitting the bank worker over the
head with the gun, you could almost feel it while it was
happening. It made me feel a lot of sympathy for him
because he hadnt done anything and he was having
his head caved in by a gun.

Titles
The first title that appears is the word Charlestown in
bold letters; this tells us that, thats where the film is
set in at the start. Then more words fade in from the
background and appear around Charlestown forming
a quote. The quote tells us that crime has been
happening from a long time and it is passed down

through the generations of families passed down

father to son.
The second set of titles is in the same colour and font
and still in the form of a quote, this time by a different
person. They appear on the screen like that to tell us
where the film is set. It also emphasises the fact they
that is where they were born and raised and they never

leave.
Intended target audience

In my opinion the film is aimed at ages between 15-40.


I can tell it is aimed at that audience because children
under the age of 15 shouldnt be watching films with
guns and violence. I can also tell that its aimed for that
audience because those who are of an older age dont
watch action films with car chases, gunfights etc, which
is what this film has in it.