So I think my favorite part of putting my knowledge to the test was noticing how creepy the Joker actually is. Like he is so creepy and attention-grabbing and volatile and just plain unpredictable (comes with the crazy territory) that these different mobsters won’t mess with the guy. I feel like my whole movie watching experience has been changed just by listening for all the sound effects and searching for those high versus low angles.
- Analyze the camera work.
- Weird- So throughout almost this whole scene, the Joker is on the right. This is weird because according to Ebert, the positioning on the right is “good”. Maybe by “good” here it just means that is the most favorable character of the scene. Which even though he is the villain, come on now, it’s the Joker. He is 5 times more interesting than these basic mobsters. When the Joker makes his first full appearance in the scene he sits still for a minute, facing the camera, like the “mugshot” Ebert referenced. This is like saying, “Here I am. Yes, it is I, the one and only Joker.” Almost for the mobsters to get a full view of his crazy.
- When the Joker speaks it feels like the camera is at a slight upward angle, like the Joker is slightly above the audience (dominance explained by Ebert). This also happens with the Asian boss man mobster. There is a slight angle here that you don’t see with the other mobsters. The other mobsters are typically on the same plane as the audience, or even at a lower angle (makes them seem small). Then towards the end one boss mobster stands up to the Joker to try to assert dominance and try to take control back, and here he is shown at an upper angle like the Joker. Now the boss mobster and Joker are on the same level, and this throws the Joker off so much he exposes his weapons.
- Lighting: The Joker is of course super white because of his makeup but there also doesn’t seem to be a shadow over him like the rest of the mobsters. This could be a show of the Joker becoming dominant over the mobsters (probably because he is violent, spontaneous, volatile and simply crazy). The shadow makes the mobsters seem less important than the Joker. This could be either due to the fact the Joker is a main character of the movie or because at this moment the Joker is dominant over the others.
- Camera: The camera seems to shake on the Joker, maybe because he is so close to it that he almost leaves the foreground and becomes the entire screen. I mean let’s face it, he stole the show as soon as he walked up to the table. The camera sits still on the mobsters. This could be another show of how they are all kind of background characters, or maybe they are just more stable.
- Analyze the audio track.
- The Jokers long drawn out “laugh” at the beginning of the scene sounds just like ha ha ha. This probably was to grab the mobsters attention because they were having a serious conversation and now some random person is laughing? And it adds to his crazy, because who laughs at mobsters?
- The Joker speaks slower than the mobsters and his voice wavers up and down while the mobsters speak steadily. This makes him sound unpredictable and makes you really pay attention. I think of this like how someone might speak to a baby: a high pitch and wavering voice to grab the babies attention.
- Sound effects: slamming on the table, falling of a body onto the ground sounds more like a bunch of people stomping, ticking of “bombs”, banging open of door.
- “You’re crazy” “I’m not. No. I’m not.” The Joker sounds extremely menacing and threatening just by saying these words. I got the same feeling in my chest here as I did when my mom used to scold me for trying to touch something dangerous in the kitchen. You back away slowly and never try that again!
- Put it all together.
- I honestly didn’t realize that the guy the Joker killed to grab everyone’s attention was the mob on the right’s “boy” (aka the muscle). The Joker took him out to exert his dominance and make the mobs pay attention and listen to him. I never even saw him walk towards the Joker before this!
- The sound effects also help to emphasize the sounds (typically violent in this scene) to help them sound more realistic and threatening.
- When the Joker says “I’m not. No. I’m not.” he also has a little eye twitch (stereo-typically done when someone is deemed “crazy”) and he does this little creepy thing with his mouth. The Joker also emphasized the “t” in “not”. This is something that shows he is getting agitated but is trying to keep cool so he can maintain his dominance. It also makes the Joker seem a little scarier. A little more menacing. Like a starving wild dog. Who would mess with a crazy person as unpredictable as the Joker?
- The sound of the ticking almost sounds like a heartbeat, maybe to add to the suspense of the audience? Like just watching this, my heart is racing wondering what is going to happen next. Who or what will go off next? (Which is ridiculous because I have seen the movie many times before!)
- The sound of the door slamming open and shut almost sounds unrealistically loud. Like the door opens and swings so fast it looks like it could be made out of cardboard but it somehow makes such a loud noise! If I didn’t know about Foley sounds then this would probably just sound like a really loud door instead of the option of it just being a sound effect.
I think I noticed more in the angle, facial features, sounds and just so soo much more in one scene of the movie by getting rid of sound and then vision. I could hear so much more and see so much more it was ridiculous. I don’t think I will ever see a movie the same again!