10 Cloverfield Lane

Film Review 10 Cloverfield Lane
This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a scene from “10 Cloverfield Lane.” (Michele K. Short/Paramount Pictures via AP)

By Robert Berroa

10 Cloverflield Lane, directed by Dan Trachtenberg is the successor to Matt Reeves’s 2008 film, Cloverfield, is thrilling, suspenseful, and entertaining movie. The film’s genre transitioned multiple times from suspense, to horror, and eventually settled into a sci-fi, or a mystery & suspense drama. The film follows in a third-person narrative a young woman who is held in an underground bunker with two men, one of whom insists that a catastrophic event resulted in the surface of the Earth to become uninhabitable.

The film begins by depicting the protagonist, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), in a bedroom, packing her luggage hysterically. While Michelle is packing her luggage, the audience learns that she was in the process of leaving her boyfriend, due to an argument they previously had –That is according to Michelle’s boyfriend. The following scene shows Michelle on the road, but then dramatically transitions to show a driver crash onto her car. The man who purposefully crashed onto her car was the antagonist, Howard Stambler (John Goodman); the crash resulted in the slight fracture of Michelle’s leg.

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The next scene depicts Michelle regaining consciousness –She is confused and restrained by handcuffs to the wall of a sparse. The director’s choice of having directional light, and a high contrast, informs the audience that Michelle is in trouble. The high contrast invokes an anxious feeling because it prompts the audience to want to know who, or what kidnapped her. The camera then switches from a close up, to a full shot of Michelle’s body, so we can see her struggling to acquire her phone. The injury Michelle received in the car crash was covered to prevent infection, and further damage; suggesting that she had received some aid for her injury. Once she retrieved, and checked her phone, the camera began to pan until slowly focusing on the door; dramatic music plays to indicate that Howard Stambler is approaching the storage room that Michelle is retrained in, and to indicate that he is dangerous.

Once Howard entered the storage room, the tension was broken. During their exchange, Michelle asked ‘What are you going to do to me,’ Howard responded by saying ‘I am going to save you.’ Howard abruptly leaves, and the track transitioned into an upbeat tempo, which insinuated that Michelle was getting mentally, and physically prepared to confront her kidnapper. The camera also began to alternate into shots rapidly to indicate movement –the rapid movements made the situation exciting.

When Howard entered the room, the camera made fast movements to show their confrontation. Once he restrained her again, he explained to her why she was there. Michelle’s questions were your typical victim, and kidnapper dialogue, but Howard’s dialogue made it palpable that he believed that he saved her; rather than kidnapped. According to Howard, she cannot leave the bomb shelter because ‘everyone outside is dead’ due to toxic gas dropped by the ‘Russians,’ or an ‘alien invasion.’ Since she had no prior knowledge of her alleged attacker, she struggles to trust Howard, given that the rescuer could be mistaken, completely insane, or worst of all –intentionally holding her hostage under a false pretense.

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As the film progressed, the audience discovered that there was another man in the bomb shelter, Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.), who worked alongside Howard to build the bomb shelter, came to the bomb shelter to escape the catastrophe.

While Emmett, Howard, and Michelle were having dinner, in the dining room of the bomb shelter, Emmett began to converse with Howard, and Michelle in a lightheartedly manner. As he jokes about how they should play Monopoly because they’re going to be in the bomb shelter for a long time, Howard becomes aggravated, and tells him that his jokes are annoying, and disturbing his and Michelle’s peaceful dinner. Howard’s outburst informs the audience about his bipolar mood, thus making him untrustworthy. To depict Howard’s anger, the camera was positioned at a close up angle. Moreover, a suspenseful sequence of dramatic sounds was started to inform the audience that trouble was about to start.

Michelle was plotting to take Howard’s keys, so that she could attempt to escape her current situation. Once the tension between Howard and Emmitt ceased, Michelle began to continue the conversation with Emmett, which she knew Howard disapproved on. Michelle was plotting on taking Howard’s keys. To do so, she slowly caressed Emmett’s hand, and act that infuriated Howard. As Howard relentlessly stood, the tension increased. The increase in tension was accomplished by a close up on both Howard and Michelle’s faces. The angle of the camera made it seem as of Howard was reprimanding his daughter. A close up of her hands reaching for his keys revealed her plan. At the same time, a spontaneous dissonant upbeat beat began to play to let the audience know that they should be wary of what is about to occur. Once she had the keys, she deescalated the situation by complying with his regulations. While she complied, the camera was angled above her head, so his superior physical power could be juxtaposed over her smaller body.

clover4When they sat back down to eat at the table in the dining room, the dim lighting, yet dark contrast of the scene kept the suspenseful and mysterious mood present. The beat was ephemerally gone; the lighting was strong –Michelle stood out because more bright light was pointing in her direction. Rapidly, Michelle grabbed the wine bottle on the table and smashed it on Howard’s head; when he realized that his keys were missing. To intensify the pain that we believe she inflicted onto Howard, the scene that she smashes the bottle on his head doesn’t have any beat or music, but audio of a swift movement to accentuate damage of the strike. Then, the moment the bottle touched his head, a loud audio of glass shattering was played. A second and a half later, the music abruptly came back with an upbeat tempo. The camera focused on Michelle’s running to the inside of the front door, but it also switched back to where Howard, and Emmett were, so that the audience could root for her to escape. The sense of desperation that Michelle felt was created by focusing the camera on her opening the locks of the first door, and by the constant back and forth between Michelle and Howard, so that we could believe that she was running out of time to escape. When confronted by a woman with scars indicating chemical poisoning, Michelle didn’t know what to do. She saw the woman through a glass peep hole while standing inside the hallway connecting the front door, with the second protective door. The light was slightly blue, and the lights were also dim, plus the upbeat beat created a sense of mysterious, and suspenseful curiosity. A mysterious, and suspenseful curiosity created by the eerie beat, and low pitch audio that made the scene appear even more shocking and baffling.

The following scene depicted both Emmett and Michelle having a deep conversation on what their life has become. Emmett reminisces about moments in his life that he took for granted, and Michelle shares how she didn’t truly appreciate the things in her life, until they were taken away. The scene was shot with dim light, and the color of Emmett’s room was blue, while the room that Michelle was in was a soft pink. A soft pink and blue that are meant to be juxtapositions of their characters. The tranquility of the scene was set in order to show how they are both similar characters when it comes to their acceptance of the fact that the world they knew is over.

10clover1A black screen comes up to signalize halfway point of the film. It also allowed for there to be a montage depicting the everyday activities that they will have as time progresses. The clips in the time progression sequence showed them cooking food, making snacks, playing board games, and so on. Essentially, they became a family. The lighting during these sequence of shots is brighter than the others, and there is the song ‘I think we’re alone now’ by Tommy James & The Shondells begins to play. The song is warm, and welcoming, thus describing how their relationship has evolved to a more family like bond. Additionally, the brighter light is an indication that trouble is not near.

After there is problem with the filtration system, Michelle is sent to go through the filtration system because she is the smallest, so she is more easily capable of reaching the other side, so that she would be able to fix it. While in the filtration system, the lighting is dark; the only light present is the light of the flashlight. Low light adds to the claustrophobic effect that the director was aiming towards. Additionally, the eerie soundtrack added to the claustrophobia, and made the audience interested at what was going to occur next. The brief summary of the scene is that Michelle finds a broken earring piece, which belonged to Howard’s ‘daughter,’ Megan, but it turned out that the girl in the photo that Howard said was his daughter was actually a girl who was kidnapped. While Michelle showed Emmett the photo of Megan, and the broken earring piece the camera was at a close up of both their faces. The high contrast of the light on their face, and the serious, yet mysterious soundtrack added to the seriousness of their conversation. From then on, Michelle, and Emmett lost all the trust they had for Howard. Instead, they decided to plot their escape. They would build their own hazmat suits, so that they could leave the bomb shelter that they are forced to be in.

As Michelle and Emmitt gather the materials they need for the Hazmat suits, there is a determinant, and steady beat that lets the audience know that they are planning their escape. There is a montage that depicts Michelle taping, sewing, taking leftover fabric, and basically getting serious about their willpower to persevere.

The following scene depicts Howard talking to Michelle, and Emmett about a corrosive barrel. The purpose of the corrosive material was unknown, but became know once Emmett confesses that he was planning on killing Howard by building a ‘weapon’. A weapon that never existed. The room’s lighting was bright, but it was brighter on Michelle compared to both Howard, and Emmett, so that Michelle stand out. Suddenly, there is a silence, a silence that is seconds later interrupted by a loud gunshot. Michelle couldn’t believe what had occurred, her flabbergasted expression valuable. The close up of her face, directly showed the audience what her character was feeling.

Michelle becomes less trustworthy of Howard. She now knows that she must get the hell out of bomb shelter. After murdering Emmett, Howard shaves, puts on nice clothes and offers ice cream to Michelle. The scene pertained a calm beat, and bright lighting, but that was just to show how eerie and unpredictable Howard can be. In the following scenes, Michelle goes frantic, she takes her hazmat suit, ties it around her hip, and fights her way to freedom. Michelle threw the corrosive acid on Howard, resulting in a fire, a fire will cause an explosion. Throughout their fighting scene there is an exhilarating beat that prepares us for more action. The lighting is kept the same way that is has been since the beginning; there is a contrast, with dim light.

Once Michelle escapes, she is surprised to discover that there are birds flying freely throughout the landscape. The birds assure Michelle that the air isn’t contaminated. By now, the mood is no longer the same. She is no longer confined by the underground bunker, now she is outside, and the world seem to be at peace. The lighting is bright, the grass is green, and the sky is blue. But, that is only ephemeral, the reality is that Howard was right, there was an alien invasion. Soon enough, the mood, and lighting drastically change. The light gets dim once more, and there is eerie music, with an upbeat tempo playing to indicate that she will begin to need to fight again. She did, she ended up fighting with a giant alien ship, and with an alien dog. Since it is an American film, of course she defeated the monster. Well, it gets you thinking who the monster is, Howard or the alien ship? The film ends in darkness, and with a dark and suspenseful soundtrack. Michelle disappears in the darkness to go and help the rest of the survivors. The camera zooms out to show her departure onto the city.

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Miracles from Heaven

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By Marlene DeJesus

 

Miracles from Heaven (2015) is a drama film, based on real life events. Directed by Patricia Riggen. Ms. Riggen is known for films like Under the Same Moon (2007) about immigration, Girl in Progress about growing up, and The 33 released this year about the Chilean miners. All of Ms. Riggen movies show a connection to real life issues, however, this movie conveys a compelling story of an 11 year old, Anna, who is diagnosed with a rare digestive disorder, who by a miracle is cured from such disorder. This movie underlying message goes further than just a miracle from heaven. It illustrates a family’s struggle in unfortunate troubling times and how they try to handle it.

In this film adaptation the director casts Jennifer Garner as Christy Beam Mother of Anna), Kylie Rodgers as Anna Beam, Martin Henderson as Kevin Beam (father of Anna), Brighton Sharbino as Abbie Beam (sister), Courtney Fansier as Adelyn Beam (sister), Queen Latifah as Angela a friend in times of need, and Eugenio Derbez as Dr. Nurko (world renown specialist) among many others all whom play an important role in this feel good movie.

Story/narrative– This movie was filmed in a simple straight forward fashion that chronologically explains the sequence of events objectively. Based on a linear structure the film’s exposition starts with a family who are middle class live in a small town in Texas, in a farm and are of Christian faith. The interrelationship within this family is close knit and highly based on faith. Every Sunday the family gets all dressed up and goes to church. The church is this upbeat musical high energy setting that engages the audience before Pastor Scott begins his sermons. Complications begin when Anna keeps waking up in the middle of the night vomiting and with stomach pains.

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The conflict intensifies, when after having been at the ER four times for the same issue. Both parents Christy and Kevin had enough with the superficial prognosis of Anna (she had been previously diagnosed lactose and tolerant but being lactose free kept giving her pains) and they demand the doctor to figure out what Anna has because it is not normal. After several exams and an X-Ray doctors diagnose Anna with Small Bowel Motility Disorder- an abdominal disorder that prohibits the body from processing any food. It is a rare disorder that has no cure. As a result doctors give Anna short period of time to live and recommend Anna to see world renown specialist Dr. Nurko. The film then makes a shift from the merry happy family to that of a concerned desperate family in search for answers. The film projects this by making a shift with dull lightning, night settings and un-shapely costume changes.

miracleshospitalsceneThe plot thickens when in the midst of dealing with the financial medical issues Christy desperate to help her daughter decides to fly to Boston with Anna and personally present her case to this specialist. In Boston when receptionist finds out that Anna does not have an appointment the film takes an emotional intensity and by manipulating the camera and shooting close-up the audience is able to identify with Christy in her absolute desperation to help her daughter get better. This following scene is emotional and raw; Christy desperately and using an urgent tone, explains to the receptionist every single medication Anna is on at every hour of the day and how the dramatic shift has changed the life of a little girl that loved to run, play sports and climb trees. The receptionist touched by Christy’s desperation tells her she will call if there is any opening. In comes into play Angela’s character a funny uplifting waiter that discovers that Anna and Christy are from out of town feels and perceives the stress this family endures and are in need of an uplifting friend.

What is interesting to see is the symbolism and foreshadowing of a painting Anna becomes mesmerized with, a lengthy horizontal abstract canvas that iridescently shows a mix of calming colors of blue, white, grey, green, all portrayed from what seems to be…water refection that is disturbed and as a result creates ripples of a beautiful mix of colors. Ironically viewers later discover that this painting illustrates part of her journey through Heaven. This painting also represents an amulet of good luck since the next day Christy gets a call that Dr. Nurko has agreed to take Anna’s case. At this point one can see that this movie was filmed using a tight structure, where every single action and every single word of a dialogue advances the plot.

The climax is presented when Anna spends the rest of her days admitted at Dr. Nurko’s hospital trying to make her condition bearable till she dies. Anna character goes into depression and is projected by a sickly image of dark eyes, saggy bags and whitewashed lifeless skin the setting outside the hospital is cloudy and foggy portraying the characters depression further.

image_1447362589_jd_godvine_miracles_from_heaven_trailer_FBThe high point in this plot is when Anna decides to climb an old hollow tree following a white butterfly. Anna ends up falling down the trunk of the hollow tree. She spends over three hours unconscious while firefighters and EMS try to get her out of the tree trunk. Throughout this whole period the white butterfly stays next to Anna. Once again we see how Riggen has incorporated symbolism in this story. This white butterfly represents transformation, resurrection, time and vulnerability, the metamorphosis of a butterfly implies keeping faith, lastly the color of the butterfly represents purity and innocence. This all translates to Anna’s condition and her current state in the plot.

In a desperation Christy character breaks down and calls upon faith through prayer which starts a chain of prayers from everyone present at the scene until Anna’s body is taken out of the tree lifeless. For religious viewers the power of prayer brings cure but also the standing bowing position used for prayer symbolizes reverence, worship, readiness to serve and preparation for battle. In this case Christy humbles herself as the absolute desperate mother who seeks God’s help so her daughter can overcome such fall.

The whole emotional drama ends in a denouement when audience finds out Anna is alive without any broken bones and just a scratch, after several tests doctors diagnose Anna’s condition as a spontaneous remission when there is no scientific explanation to an incurable cure.

queen-latifah-miracles-from-heavenCharacters- The developing characters or round characters are Anna and Christy (who are deeply affected by the action of the plot). Garner- who’s emphatic, emotional, desperation and maternal performance struggles to find a cure for her daughter while trying to maintain her faith. Yet undergo internal psychological conflict with Anna’s condition, feeling helpless as a mother while her daughter’s days are counted. She also suffers external conflict with her personal struggle with faith; within her desperation in trying to find answers she loses her faith because she cannot explain why a little girl full of life has to endure excruciating pain and a life threatening condition. Her character alienates from her church as ironically some church ladies suggest Anna’s condition is a result of her parent’s sin an irony depicted in the story. Anna on the other hand struggles to maintain her cheerful personality and a positive outlook of life with her condition and unlike Christy’s character Anna never loses her faith, ironically, in spite of depression, she peacefully comes into terms with death. Her character shows a remarkable resiliency despite her condition. Yet we see her go through an internal psychological conflict with her image. Her disorder causes a protruding stomach that consequently makes her look she is pregnant at 11 years of age; which gives her trouble getting dressed. She can’t wear jeans and she has a hard time finding shirts that fit her without her bulging stomach showing. Her character becomes self-conscious of her image.

VIJfGV3Nrp16MQ_1_hdOn the contrary to round characters Kevin, Abbie, Adelynn, Pastor Scott, Angela and Dr. Nurko are flat or static characters who remain the same throughout the film, do not undergo internal psychological conflict at least not as intense as Christy and Anna characters do. The audience saw Kevin’s struggle when he has to take care of his daughters while Christy is in Boston with Anna; while working longer hours in an effort to make more money and make amends. Abbie’s character struggles when her aspirations to play for her school’s soccer team are not possible because her dad forgets to take her to the tryouts a result of his long working hours. Adelynn’s character pretty much stays the same throughout the movie. Pastor Scott character helps Christy restore her faith in God and be there for the family in times of need. Angela’s character is introduced as the friend you need in times of need. Dr. Nurko’s character is the upbeat humorous doctor that lightens the plot and intrigues everyone with his Elmo tie.

Setting– Setting has a lot of symbolism with the sky and clouds- as a form of divination, metaphorically translates to the future, change and foreshadows anticipation of problems. Throughout Anna’s hospital visits skylights are widely referenced in the movie, which symbolizes enlightenment and guidance certainly a connection to spirituality. A lot of the movie is shot outside the Beams house which makes reference to the hollow tree symbolizing the tree of life, but also foretells instability.

In Anna’s trip to Boston she insists on going to an aquarium, where fish makes an interesting presence in the movie. Fish in an ancient symbol of Christianity that implies spirituality, luck, energy and nourishment. All of which compliments Anna’s faith during her terminal condition. The water fish swim in are in admittedly Anna’s state of mind. Moreover in Anna’s visit to heaven she is exposed to a garden of hydrangeas which is a Japanese flower with a historical tradition for apologies and gratitude in addition to the tradition they also represent love and genuine emotions. Besides the garden she also crosses a lake in order to get closer to a ray of light (Symbolizing God), this brings allegory to a sense of calmness, piece of mind and security. Last but not least Dr. Nurko’s famous Elmo tie is a metaphor for a promise, unfinished business, or obligations he has as a physician to care and cure his patients.

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Conclusion– The ending is a tying up of loose ends giving it a sense of completion. Has an upbeat ending with strong uplifting music and speech. Film teaches you that besides God and the heavens life is full of little miracles every single day and we are so wrapped up in monotony that we do not see them. Hence the term, Stop and smell the roses.

Cinematography- Movie was filmed using objective point of view- when dealing with family matters. A subjective viewpoint- as plot is introduced and thickens and indirect subjective viewpoint- with close up showing intensity in climax of the film giving the audience the feeling of closeness to the character and make them part of the action.

Camera work- this movie used an objective camera approach causing it’s’ audience to feel like a sideline observer. The audience see the plot unravel from a distance as this is a memoir and therefore allow a concentration on the actor’s performance. In fact at times there was a mix in the use of static camera and close up shots as it produces the window effect and emotional distance between camera and the viewer but when characters dealt with intense emotions close up shots were used in order to emotionally and intellectually viewers identify with the point of view, and see the story through their eyes.   Director uses natural, normal positioning of the camera for a fluid blend of image, sound and motion.

Music/sound- The composer Carlo Siliotto, showcased music by religious band Third Day. The music approach was diegetic where it was present throughout the action on the scene for church and heaven. An instrumental piece managed the pace of the film. The actors’ dialogue gave the film a natural rhythm with human speech, by accelerating speech, intensifying the plot and bringing out pulsing life to the story.

Color- the use of color in this movie reflects psychological and emotional strain, for instance Garner’s 3-dimentionality can be shown in her choice of clothing; muted and cold when climax approaches, and colorful and warm for church. To intensify an actors’ emotions the house would show dull low lighting; yet the outside was always bright vivid colors always sunny good weather giving a lot of importance to the outside setting. Colors are used as a transitional device to point out the changes in the plot but also matches the mood of the characters in the film. Heavens play a surrealistic use of color whether it is seen from Anna’s subconscious, the heavens presents itself as a garden with a lot of harmonizing blend of colors that makes it symbolic, a field of hydrangeas, trees, and water transparency.

Directors style- Riggen plays well the emotions the strain and the desperation facing the family. She exposes how intimidating hospitals and medical procedures can be for young kids. Dr. Nurkos performance brings humor and light to an otherwise frightening setting. Riggen use of the supernatural is evident and her use of divinity anchors small miracles though friends and the kindness of strangers. She makes a distinct division between reality and illusion and changing of time.

My Analysis- Although I respect the director for making realistic films (based on true life events), I dislike the Hallmark cookie cutter type of approach she used which did not elevate the film; on the other hand the film was too long. For instance Angela’s only role as a character was to provide friendship and light-heartedness it neither helped nor did it alter the plot, her character was just static. In my own view Dr. Nurko’s performance already brought the film buoyancy and Adelynn humorous spark was not exploited enough. However I did appreciate the overlying ending message of the movie, that life is full of little miracles.

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Spotlight

Spotlight

By Vallery Maravi

Spotlight is a dramatic-thriller written by Academy Award-nominee Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, and directed by Tom McCarthy himself. The film is based on the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local catholic church. A story about a team of journalists going after the catholic church in search of justice and getting the truth.

Tom McCarthy didn’t want to give a sense of a documentary since it was a very sensitive subject. He says he even passed the opportunity to direct it at first, but it was brought to him a year later with a different pitch on how the movie should start: “…because the movie opened very differently from what they pitched. This idea of Marty Baron arriving at The Boston Globe–there was just something really interesting and compelling about this outsider arriving in Boston, taking over this city newspaper in a very Irish Catholic city, and asking some very straightforward but tough questions about the Catholic Church. I was immediately like, ‘yeah, that’s interesting’.” McCarthy says he felt sensitive to the subject and maybe more empathetic to it which was already a challenge to direct it since the story touched many levels that dealt with faith. Although, the more he asked questions and the more digging there was into the story the more material he noticed he had. He felt fascinated and engaged with the process of the investigation that he found important and helpful tools to tell his story.

The movie portrays a small and very talented group of journalist working for the Spotlight news paper in the early 2000. The new editor of the Boston Globe, Marty Baron, played by Live Schreiber, happens to read a column where he finds out about a lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, Stanley Tucci, who knew and represented the victims of sexual abuse by a priest named John Geoghan. Baron comes to meet Walter Robinson “Robby”, played by Michael Keaton, the editor of the Spotlight team. Baron comes to an agreement that the Spotlight team should drop everything and start investigating Mitchell Garabedian. On the team, other journalists jump in the investigation played by Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo and John Slattery.

Looking at the set of the conference room, I was taken away by it. I thought they did a magnificent job on the set design and I even thought the production used a real building to shoot the film. William Cheng is a master of details. He and his co-set designer John MacNeil were in charge of building the set of The Boston Globe, and I could say that it was perfectly replicated. The team came across with an old abandoned store warehouse about to be tear down. The team was lucky enough to get inside and be able to re-do the whole interior. Stephen Carter was the production designer, and he went to Boston exclusively to take pictures of the real building of “The Boston Globe” and take photos of the details that they needed. The production designers also made their investigation through old pictures of the building since the movie was done recently and the building didn’t look the same anymore like it did 15 years ago. Since the production had to come with a different layout for the set to make it fit into the new built set, some shapes and chairs weren’t exactly the same, but they did come up with new furnishing, colors and materials ideas to evoke as much of that era as they could.

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I thought the colors were a great picked, but what do I know. I wanted to start analysing camera angles and colors as soon as I started watching the film. So when it came to the colors of the set environment that were used I noticed a great deal of light blue and maroon along with black, white, green and wooden brown. I couldn’t help noticing the color of the clothing picked for the actors, which was a very simple style. The production didn’t want to overwhelm the actor’s performances by distracting the audience with the wardrobe. Both Baron and the reporters seems to wear a light blue shirt in different tones. Sasha Pfeiffer, Rachel McAdams, would go with mostly dark colors. Their small work place outside Baron’s office was a bright room. The news room had a soft light and clear, it felt like a peaceful workplace besides the pile of papers and the mess. It didn’t seem to be a stressful room but instead a very united team motivated to work. Their tables and the shelves had a touch of a light blue almost turquoise. Even the pens, the curtains, folders were light blue. Throughout the investigation when collecting clips of newspapers, the books they were looking through to find photos of the priests were also maroon and light blue, almost all of them. The conference room, the aisles and the main character’s offices were pretty much bright. It felt almost like a fresh and clear place to work at. Once outside the news room building, when shooting at the characters’ home, the lighting got darker. The lighting at Pfiffers’ house, one of the reporters, the colors were more maroon, felt almost warmed, cozy and homey. It seemed more of a personal situation since her husband and grandma were there. When shooting at Michael Rezendes’ house the lighting wasn’t that soft. It didn’t give a feeling of a home. He was kind of in and out, the place was almost empty, and the lighting wasn’t as bright. At the church, the set of course was mostly reddish and maroon, and the lighting wasn’t so much bright. So I thought, does the reddish/maroon had any significance with the blood of Christ as suggested in the bible? just as the red curtains, the red carpet and some churches red doors. Maybe this was an idea to maintain the reddish color on the set throughout the film while the turquoise and white colors represents purity? I suppose. Also, I thought it was interesting how the director had these people spread out sitting in mass wearing red and turquoise. The team was really defining those colors everywhere. Even at the houses of the victims. The all had some decorations with these colors, even on the streets and coffee shops. I never saw such a combination on the sets, or perhaps I never paid attention before but this was definitely something that the production designers wanted us to see very clear.

The original motion picture soundtrack of Spotlight was, I thought, absolutely beautiful and elegant. A soundtrack score by veteran Hollywood film composer Howard Shore. The story was even more intriguing while listening to these soundtracks. There were a beautiful set of them, and my favorite was “Legacy”. The opening of the film starts with “Spotlight” a piano melody giving an elegant and smooth tone. “Deference and Complicity” plays over the opening scenes where we see a priest in 1976 being questioned by police but released after intervention from the higher-ups at the Boston Archdiocese. “Investigative Journalism” is a more nervous-sounding piece, reflecting the tension-filled newsroom where the Spotlight team was working. I think these soundtrack really helped us feel more the process of the case. There was a lot of suspense along the dialogues.

When it comes to editing, here is the magic touch. This is what the whole story is about. Is about how much does the director wants you to know and how he/she wants you to perceive the story. There is so many elements that play an important role on a story, and editing/cuts are the key. Editor Tom McArdle had the challenge of keeping the material interesting and moving. He said to a magazine: “We spent eight months editing and we spent a lot of time thinking about pace and clarity.”  “We would have screenings every three weeks and sort of feel where things were playing well and where they might be lagging. We ended up cutting out five complete scenes and then pieces of other scenes. A lot of scenes we would just cut out a line or two of dialogue just to keep it moving, but it was definitely a concern, to keep it interesting to people.”

The film was developed chronologically and there wasn’t any flashbacks, so everything was up to the cuts. Since editing is the guide to maintain audiences focused it is important for the editor to keep it neat and clear, and that was what McArdle wanted to do. McCarthy and McArdle agreed to keep the audience involved on what was happening so the editing had to be done and redone to refine the footage. “Some of the scenes were scenes of the reporters’ personal lives, and it just sort of seemed later in the edit that we wanted to stay focused on the investigation and we didn’t want things to sort of throw us off that course.” “On [McCarthy’s] other films there were scenes we would have had a concern about losing, but not this one.” – Vanity.com

Along the editing, camera angles also tell a story. One of the scenes that really called my attention and I thought it was very creative was when Robby and the reporters are sitting down in the office while on the phone speaking to Richard on speaker, as soon as that scene starts the camera starts to zoom out from them very slowly, then the camera stops and they finish talking, but the make it look like they are about to continue but they only paused for a second looking at each other, then the cut jumps into another scene and the other actor finishes the sentence. I really liked that.

Camera shots used were wide, full medium, medium-close and panning. Panning was noticeable in the shots throughout the film since the reporters were constantly entering into a room, walking and talking in the aisle on their way in or out, and also walking around in the city.  Another scene I noticed all these shots combined in one was when Baron awaits in his office for Bobby and his partner, the couches are in the middle where they will sit down, the camera is behind Baron, so when the two journalists walk into the room the camera follows them panning to the right, then they sit. There is a full shot of the room cutting it to a medium shot and over the shoulder while they speak.

From the five main characters, only two of them were round characters. At first, we all see the team very much interested in following every detail in search of the truth about what happened and who are the priests involved later to realized that they had all they needed five years ago, but they never supported that, not until now. Michael’s character had a pitch moment when he wanted to fight justice for those people affected, and he was building that up from the moment he started it. Wasn’t until the end the Bobby also realized why they waited so long when he knew, as a journalist, they had the power to help and the voice to speak up for the victims.

This movie was a new different experience from others that I have analyzed before. I liked it, but it wasn’t as extraordinary as I thought it would be perhaps because it was a sensitive story they kept it simple and just emphazise the work of the journalist based on the true story. There is so many elements to keep in mind, and every single one of them also tells a story.

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