Analyzing The Joker

For my next assignment I picked a movie scene from The Dark Knight and analyzed the scene in three different ways. Once watching it without audio, playing it again with only audio (not watching the scene), and then again normally, all while taking notes on different observations I had.

Analyze the camera work:

Start: the camera pans around from person to person in the beginning, it shows everyone in the room watching the Joker enter the room. Throughout the entire scene the camera is constantly switching views from person to person, and it happens quite frequently, but the Joker gets the most camera time, you can tell whatever he has to say is the focal point of the scene. Based on the characters reactions you can tell it’s a very serious and intense scene. about halfway (I think) through the scene, they start to zoom in on specific characters (I believe they would be considered to be the “bosses” of their gangs), in a way to add an element of seriousness and drama to the scene, almost as if the camera is trying to catch subtle reactions to whatever is being said. The camera continues to pan around the room, going from person to joker, person to joker, and is catching different reactions to whatever the Joker is saying. When things start to get really intense towards the end all of the camera shots are close up on the Joker and one other character and it really shows the tension between the two. The Joker leaves, and end scene.

Analyze the audio track:

Start: The scene starts with the iconic joker laugh. The conversations are immediately tense. The scene is almost like a monologue from the joker with feedback and input throughout from the other characters. At first the only noises you hear besides talking is footsteps, chairs being moved, or just normal noises from movement in a room. Every so often you hear subtle background music. There’s flowing conversation from the Joker proposing a plan and the other characters responding with either laughs or words. You can still occasionally hear subtle background music. Things start to get tense, you can tell by the music the intensity and the tone of voices throughout. The pace of the dialogue was paced pretty well for the intensity of the situation. End scene.

Put it all together:

Start: It begins with a shot of the room and you hear the jokers laugh and everyone stops what they’re doing and looks because they know he’s coming. The chair movements line up well with the intensity shown by the characters doing it. The zoom techniques really zero in on the seriousness of their meeting and what it means for each individual character. The last observation I made that didn’t stand out the first two different ways I analyzed the video is the Jokers reaction to being called crazy. As soon as someone calls him crazy you can hear that he’s annoyed but doesn’t create much of a reaction to act like it doesn’t bother him, but he makes subtle facial expressions that show it truly does bother him. I think that right there shows the acting genius that was Heath Ledger.

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