Monday, 31 January 2011

ALL - Update to Running Title

We have decided to edit the running title of our production to Torment: Dreamscape. This is because we found out that the title we had chosen prior to this one, Dreamfall, had actually been taken by a game development team who had made products within the cut-off point of 7 years, so it was void. Both "torment" and "dreamscape" were chosen by us unanimously because we thought both choices fitted with our psychological theme very nicely. We couldn't pick just one as we liked both the same amount, so we decided to incorporate both words into our title.

We also thought of some possible layouts, and taking inspiration from the band TesseracT's logo, we started designing ideas. The band's logo is stylized to have two capital T's, and we thought of using this idea to design the word "torment" with.




This is only a quick draft to prove the point, but the finished title should look something similar to this: 


BH - The conventional use of flashback/foreword

Flashbacks are often used to explore a characters origins and how they became who they are during the film, in fact films such as Memento (2000) , by Chris Nolan is a great example of how a film adapts, it uses black and white to portray the difference between the past and the present. It is chronologically told in black and white scenes, but the coloured scenes are out of order, making the viewer think.






Vantage Point (2008) is also a great example it recalls the main event of the film from several different angles, and this is a very original take on the plot of the film. The new take or approach is jumping right into the moment (everything is already planned out, people and weapons in place, etc.) of the action and then telling it from eight different points of view. This is where some people may be mildly irritated because after you see one point of view everything is suddenly rewound and shown from the next person's point of view (this is done six times) before they all converge into a thrilling finale filled with one massive adrenaline-fuelled car/chase sequence.

CO - Scheduled Vodcast(s)

This week we will be doing at least one (possibly two) detailing points important to our production. These will include crucial points, such as influences, e.g from various directors and films, and why it is relevant to our production and vodcast. We will also talk about how watching and deconstructing these films has helped us to research and understand our chosen genre, and how we have incorporated the knowledge gained into our own production.



ALL - The Group


Ben Hudson

Nickname: Benji
Favourite Film: Lost Highway (1997)
Hobbies: Video Games (Planescape Torment, Alan Wake), trollin' like a badman (problem?)
TV Show: The Shield
Idol: Trent Reznor
Notable Quotes: " ...that's what SHE said."







Conor O'Loughlin


Nickname: Meme expert
Favourite Film: LOTR: Fellowship of The Ring (2001)
Hobbies: Gaming, Music, being awesome 
TV Show: Scuzz TV, South Park, Family Guy
Idol: Ben Hudson
Notable Quotes: "I worship the ground Ben walks upon". "...Check 'em"







Connor Coulthurst


Nickname: CJ
Favourite Film(s): Big LebowskiZoolander,Harold and Kumar films
Hobbies: Basketball, guitar, henching about 
Tv shows:  House, Seth macfarlanes schizzz, Breaking bad, True Blood, Simpsons, South park and ANTM 
Idol: Keith Richards
Notable Quotes:  "F*@k Yea"











Hey guyz



check my dubs

Saturday, 29 January 2011

ALL - Updates to filming plans

We've reviewed our footage and having seen it we've realised through audience feedback, that it's not clear enough that it's a dream i.e everything is far too normal and the lighting is a tad too dark, so with this in mind on 06/02/11, we will be reshooting/shooting our FINAL shots.


ALL - Updates to filming plans

We've reviewed our footage and having seen it we've realised through audience feedback, that it's not clear enough that it's a dream i.e everything is far too normal and the lighting is a tad too dark, so with this in mind on 06/02/11, we will be reshooting/shooting our FINAL shots.


BH - Psychological Thrillers - Audience and Budget


The audience for a thriller generally seems much more skewed towards an older audience with many of the characters being in their twenties onwards, the characters themselves often going through some very adult trauma, for example shutter island, the main characters wife drowned their three children and he killed her but felt to blame so he retreated into psychological delusions, where he is the hero.
They often let the audience put together what they think happened throughout the film, or to interpret the ending how they see fit.
Most often they feature twist endings, built to shock the viewer allow repeat viewings of the film to better understand its meaning or what it is trying to put across to the audience. Quite often these 'twists' feature extensive foreshadowing throughout the film, requiring the audience to pay attention to not just the character but the things happening around them to ensure maximum understanding of the events that take place throughout the film, with these twists that

Often films in the genre are limited on budget for example Donnie Darko.












Yet other films such as Shutter island and Vanilla sky have much larger budgets and yet Vanilla sky as a film didn't preform as well as Shutter Island in the box office, despite having several big name stars involved. Most films in the genre tend to show patterns of being received better by the public than by critics. This could be because of fans of the genre being more interested in the genre as a whole than the critics, however some films are positively received by critics and yet preform poorly in the box office and don't really become all too popular until the have finished their initial box office run, for example Fight club, but I would be hoping to capitalize on the teenage audience that Donnie Darko would have been aiming at rather than the more mature audience of Fight Club, Lost Highway, Clockwork Orange, Dressed to Kill and Blue velvet.














The BBFC rating for psychological thriller tend to follow the trend that the viewers are more mature, with very few being under the 15 certificate, and several such as Lost Highway andFight Club being 18's, with Fight Club even recieving cuts.

Guidelines for 15's

BH - Bright Falls




Bright falls (2010) - the short series released via Xbox Marketplace and YouTube to promote the game Alan Wake, served as a huge inspiration for our media film- originally released to promote a video game, I thought that the episodes where well produced and really played to the audiences emotions, obviously made on a fairly modest budget it still manages to unnerve the audience- making them wonder what's really going on; is the protagonist going crazy or not?
Only several minutes long it provides a great plot with some great cinematography and it's short format means that it's easy to watch whenever the viewer would feel like it, especially given the fact it's on YouTube, but what's amazing to me about the show is the fact that it was produced as advertising for the video game Alan Wake.

You can watch the first episode below with the full 6 episodes on YouTube.


CO - Props and themes used in our production - Knives

It just wouldn't be a thriller/horror without a massive knife. This prop is used to anchor the film as such a genre, and it is also incorporated to make it obvious where the blood in the film is from and how it has been shed. Although, the knife is introduced after quite a while, so the audience wonders where the blood has come from. In addition, it also shot in black in white when portrayed, reminiscent of the classic Alfred Hitchcock moments. The black and white also represents the dream and flashback in which the knife is shown.

Friday, 28 January 2011

ALL - Podcast 2 - Updates to Production

Dreamfall - Rough cut 1

The first edition of our film, using shots primarily taken inside the main character's house. This is not the whole thing, and there are more parts to be added.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

CO - Ident Updates

We have successfully completed working on our first out of the two idents for our production. For the completed one, for Experimental Studios, features a technical transition background, behind some attractive, green glowing text. It also features some extraterrestrial and science-fiction style sound clips, used on iMovie.  As for the second ident, Weathered Productions, the writing is in front of mysterious grey smoke, with opaque white text. Both will be finished by tomorrow, and uploaded to YouTube.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

CO - Updates to our Project

This afternoon, we resumed filming for our production, Dreamfall. After producing a rough cut of our collection of shots taken at Ben's house, we started filming the rest of the shots at school, primarily in the E - D floors, and parts of the 6th form centre. This certain location was chosen by everyone in the group because it would be an ideal destination for recording the rest, as it is used when the main character wakes up, in a dream. The school setting provides massive open spaces and long corridors ideal for use within a psychological thriller genre, and will add to the element of the character slowly slipping into insanity.

We utilised the use of fake blood, as we did in the scenes shot in the house. However, we did run into a slight problem with how we made it this time, and we used too much corn syrup, which resulted in the blood looking too opaque and thick, and too purple (thanks to too much blue food colouring being added). However, we are editing it to be in black and white rather than colour to signify a detachment from reality. This means the colour of the blood won't be as clear.

Monday, 24 January 2011

The Shining Intro Deconstruction CC

The Shining 
IMDB rating 8.5/10
Dir Stanley Kubrick
Budget 22,000,000  
Gross 44,000,000
  • The camera starts panning on a large panoramic shot 
  • Island in the middle of lake shows isolation
  • Light on the right side and darkness on the left shows good vs bad 
  • Music starts immediately, eerie and suspenseful. The music is low and has a lot of bass.
  • Dutch angle covering landscape 
  • Aerial view of car travelling through long deserted roads, very rural and isolated, emphasises how far away from civilisation they are
  • Plain credits in light blue
  • Music becomes creepy and gets higher in pitch
  • Light and dark contrast again
  • Broken down cars could signify fate and death
  • Tunnel heads into darkness signifies a decent into madness
  • Same shot shown over and over
  • Credits in sans serif font 
  • Slight change in setting, they are travelling to snow
  • Hotel again shows isolation as it is in the middle of no where


Saturday, 22 January 2011

BH - Feedback on rough cut

(video)



From the target audience:


-Good use of lighting although too dark in some places i.e the shot before the stairs.

-Good use of symbolism with the screensaver.

-great use of sound so far, but the screaming at the end couse use work.

Treatment

AS Media coursework:

Group:



Task:
To create the opening two mins of a feature film, including soundtrack and company identities.

Synopsis:
A cross between Donnie Darko, Vanilla Sky and Inception with a strong focus on the nature of dreams and ideas, questioning the cross between reality and the sub-conscious.


Target Audience:
The general audience for the genre tend to be skewed towards the older age group, mostly twenties to middle ages, this means that there are very few films under the rating of BBFC 15, because most of them do tend to be aimed at the older audience, who wait for the film to reveal its plot with less focus on action than that of a traditional horror film or action film which often feature big showcase sets and lots of different locations, whereas Psychological Thrillers tend to focus less of external physical violence and more on the internal mental struggle, as such the audience is almost always older than average. However with Donnie Darko, it tried to reach out towards a slightly younger audience, however it didn’t do all too well in the box office, however I think that this film opening would focus on mainly on the late teenage audience.



Genre:
The Psychological Thriller genre has been pioneered by directors such as David Lynch (Lost Highway, Mulholland drive) but has been strongly used by directors such as Alfred Hitchcock (Vertigo). David Lynch films often make the viewer question the aspects of the main character such as credibility, more often than not they are proved to be showing a distorted version of events- different from what really happens, this creates the element of the unreliable narrator, This is often part of the twist elements in the genre, like Shutter island, it’s revealed in the end to be all the main characters delusions and really he is in a role play designed to show him just how crazy he is. Also in Mulholland Drive we’re shown a very different sequence of events from the characters perspective, which is key- to understand the plight of the main character we are very rarely taken away for the perspective of the main character- we, as the audience experience everything that the main character experiences throughout the film for the unreliable narrator aspect to work properly. Cinematography wise the films feature strong elements of light and dark mixing together, close-ups of the main character to capture the emotion and use dutch angle to imply the unreal aspects of the film and to create tension- which is what every aspect of the film should strive to create, a consistent and sustained atmosphere- often achieved through sound, jarring notes on piano, a distant scream, the sound of dripping, lighting that creates a strong sense of contrast and dread.

Films such as Vanilla Sky rely strongly upon the dreams of the character as they begin to hinder his reality, Shutter Island is about a man trapped within his delusions and unable to even accept reality. In American Psycho we’re given the twist at the end suggesting that the entire film is a construct of the main characters imagination despite the vivid killings that take place the films begins to get more and more surreal as the film progresses.

Location & Props:
We want to film in a suburban area, a fairly middle class area, in a typical street, we want everything to appear normal and mundane which is why we chose this initial location, because it conveys and shows this aspect of normality. We want to show a fairly average teenage boy so in the initial shots we show him on a computer play some game or listening to music fairly loud- we try to show this so that as the opening continues we are able to contrast this with the mundane and normal shots, showing how fast everything deteriorates. To dress the character we would simply use jeans and a jacket or hoodie- casual wear, nothing to indicate that the character is anywhere else than home, we want to show this home and then turn it into a nightmarish place unlike what it is initially shown to be. Like Donnie Darko we want a teenager who might be troubled in some way but we don’t want the audience to immediately guess as to what is going on. But Like Vanilla Sky’s introduction dream we want a distinct feeling of isolation, which we want to achieve with an entire empty city.



Cast & Crew:

Main Character: Ben H
Camera crew: Conor O & Connor C
Editing: Conor O, Connor C & Ben H
Add-ins: Conor O & Connor C

CO - The Orphanage Desconstruction

Release Date: 2007
Director: Juan Antonio Bayera
Budget: €3,000,000
Opening Weekend:  $338,024 (USA)



  • After a long sequence of silent credits, the film begins with a panoramic shot of a picturesque sky that fades in from the blackness. It uses diagetic sound of a natural environment, and we hear birds chirping and the wind rustling through the trees, to help capture an ideal world.
  • The camera pans down from the sky, and we see the titular orphanage in the background of a serene, picturesque view. There are innocent children playing in the foreground, and bold colours, mainly consisting of green and gold, creating a beautiful backdrop.
  • The camera then zooms in to the main girl playing a game against a tree, and the shadows of the tree darken the mood slightly, hinting at the theme of mystery and fear. Then, as the children play, hands start to approach one of the girls, in a fairly creepy and intimidating way, signifying that it's a horror/thriller film.
  • Throughout the introductory scenes, calm, soothing and tranquil piano plays throughout, adding a sense of peacefulness to the scene, which may or may not add to a false sense of happiness before the horror starts to kick in. However, it does add to the serene beauty of the location in the introduction.
  • As the children play in the picturesque setting, the camera flies upwards diagonally to reveal a scarecrow at the end of the field. This scarecrow is particularly crucial to be included as soon as this because not only is it an omen of horror and the supernatural, but it's face is mirrored later on by the main antagonist of the film, who wears a sack over his head due to horrific deformities.
  • After this brief introduction, the title scene appears. This is done phenomenally well, and is portrayed by a child (namely the antagonist)'s hand ripping wallpaper away to reveal the stylised, serif-font title. 



2010 Microdrama: Hunted

Although I have deconstructions of my microdrama and even deconstructions of other ones, I realised that my own microdrama was missing from my blog, even though I could have sworn I uploaded it earlier. Here it is, Hunted.

Friday, 21 January 2011

CO, BH - Soundtrack ideas for our Production

The ideas that we have proposed for background music during our production was picked because it would strengthen the theme of the supernatural and the theme of horror. For this, we brainstormed musical ideas mainly from the rock and metal end of the spectrum, since these are the two best genres suited to the idea of death and murder. The songs chosen would be re-recorded, to avoid copyright issues.


  1. Ripe (With Decay) - Nine Inch Nails


We considered this lengthy instrumental track because it creates a brooding, dark atmosphere, which would perfectly suit the production. We would use the parts from roughly 4:45 onwards, as the long, bass notes help create the scary atmosphere.

    2. Samsara - Parkway Drive


As this song is the introduction to an album, it fades in gradually, making an eerie, mysterious and somewhat nautical noise. It features heavy breathing, which would add to the tension if it was used in the opening of our film.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

CO, CC - Blue Velvet Deconstruction

  • The blue background of the introduction screen signifies a possible low temperature, but it's main purpose is to link with the title, as it has a blue velvet backdrop
  • The credits are in a regal and elegant font
  • Stately music begins to play, although it has an essence of fear hiding behind it, a possible sign of what yet's to come
  • The shot pans downwards to a bed of contrasting flowers, all of which are portrayed in really bright colours. There are different types closely positioned however, which could signify conflict.
  • One of the strongest points to note in the opening scenes of Blue Velvet is that, contrastingly, there is a flowing theme of red, This notion is manifested in objects seen in the intro, such as a red lamp, a red car, people wearing red clothes, a red fire engine, a crossing lady with a red sign, roses and more. This has two possible meanings, either one of blood/death/murder, or romance, both of which have a large part to play in the film
  • Throughout the opening, plenty of bold, striking colours are used to catch the reader's eye. 
  • There is a quick cut to a point of view shot, presumably through some animal's line of vision. This adds suspense as eerie music plays throughout


CO - Sound/effect ideas

For the introduction of our film, the main character is first aroused from what he is doing. The sound in question is going to be a mysterious dripping noise from inside the house. To achieve this, we may rip/impersonate and take inspiration from this video of Icarus Lives by Periphery. The music video feautures a 16 second long introduction of water dripping everwhere before the music starts playing, and we plan to do something similar in our production.

CO - Photos from shooting

These are pictures taken while we were shooting, and show examples of prop and lighting techniques. 




 Fake blood, used at the end of the film.


 Artificial lighting used in the waking scene, to shade some parts of the room, whilst maintaining focus on the main character.


The main character applying the fake blood to himself.


The main character holding the blood in his hands, ready to wake up and see it.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

CO, BH - Fake blood (props) [DFT]



For our film we decided to use fake blood to add some slight gore and a sense of discomfort to make this we decided to use 2 part red food colouring to 1 part blue food colouring and then mix with 100ml of water, it gave a strong dark red colour similar to blood. To thicken the blood we used one spoonful of golden syrup to really try to achieve the texture of blood aswell as the colour. 

CO - American Psycho Intro Deconstruction

  • The opening credits are set in simple and black text, on a clean white background
  • There is stylised blood dripping on-screen, to denote the violence that impacts the film later
  • There is a somewhat eerie and suspenseful music, whenever blood drips down from the top of the screen, a staccato of music pronounced 
  • The writing of the credits fates subtly in and out 
  • Classical music starts playing louder and less subtly. This adds a more elegant theme to the opening credits
  • The blood becomes even more apparent, striking and bold, and begins splattering on the base of the screen as the title of the film begins to fade in
  • The blood fades away from the screen and a plate of meat appears, and is promptly chopped by a knife. This hints at the idea of murder and killing which is the main theme of American Psycho 
  • There is food being served, and it becomes obvious that the setting is that of a restaurant 
  • Waiters are presented, and talk to unidentifiable people about what the restaurant has to offer
  • The camera cuts to three characters talking, one of which is Patrick Bateman, the main antagonist and main character of the film 


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

BH - Updates to production

Updates to planning and production:

Filming was unable to take place on the 16th of January. Because of this we have now decided on the date of  19th January. We are planning to shoot the whole thing in one day- probably after dark because the film takes place at night. We can do any extra shoots in the following months.

BH - Storyboard

Monday, 17 January 2011

CO - Inception Notes

  • The film gets straight into the action and storyline, in this instance, a dream. The opening shots will not make any sense to a new viewer, e.g why he is washed up on a beach and why other characters are there. There is both diegetic and non-diegetic sound used here to create an important establishing scene and a surreal atmosphere. The opening scene is seen at the end however, with a defining twist.
  • Another point is that the viewer is made to think about what's happening immediately after the film starts. There isn't much explanation to the plot until after the opening scenes, so it is the viewer who has to work out what's going on initially.
  •  The plot of the story develops as it progresses, and it is made clearer what is happening. However, it is still ambiguous and somewhat confusing to an extent, such as the concept of inception itself, or a dream within a dream within a dream. 
  •  As for the look of the film, the special effects used and computer graphics involved are absolutely stunning and incredibly well done, with the best examples below. These enhance the film's aesthetics and make the viewer want to see more. These shots are taken from when Cobb is explaining to Ariadne the concept of extraction, whilst in a dream.





  • There is a strong mathematical element in the film too, for example where the team are about to enter a dream within a dream within a dream and they describe the way way it goes from a week to three months to 10 years at different stages in the dream sequence. 
  • A strong theme of love also plays a part in the film, mainly portrayed through the main character and his deceased wife. Cobb accesses memories rather than dream sequences, which is dangerous. Arthur and Ariadne also have a small part to play that contributes to the romantic theme.
  • Because of the links between dream sequences, memories and reality, there are constant jumps and cuts where the location and time period changes rapidly. The viewer has to keep with what's going on if they're to understand the fascinating storyline.


BH, CO - Podcast 1

Friday, 14 January 2011

Company Title

We have chosen our company title that will echo throughout each of our productions; Icarus Studios. We will begin creating title sequences for the chosen name, using programs such as Flash, Fireworks and PhotoShop.

CO, CC, BH - Updates to the project

We have strongly considered the removing of the whole drug use part of the opening, due to the lack of possibility of connecting it with past movies and themes, and we want to tie it more strongly to the human psychological aspect of the film, and to leave a greater narrative enigma as to why the main character suddenly experiences what he's feeling. In addition, we DID consider a party scene, but we realized that it need a lot of extras and props, which would be hard to achieve and would therefore consume a lot of time.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

CC - American Psycho Notes











American Psycho
Dir. Mary Hannon
Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis
Rating on Imdb 7.5/10



Budget:

 $8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

 $4,961,015 (USA) (16 April 2000) (1236 Screens)

Gross:

 $15,070,285 (USA) (30 July 2000)



Patrick Bateman, a young, well to do man working on wall street at his father's company kills for no reason at all. As his life progresses his hatred for the world becomes more and more intense.


The pace of the film follows the main character Patrick Bateman's decent into madness. The was the film starts involves him narrating his own life in disturbing and illuminating detail. The pace of the film increases as we see his murders ranging from the simple stabbing of a homeless man to chasing a woman through his hotel with a chainsaw. A shootout at a later point in the film highlights his bloodlust and the surreal elements in the film, is it real or imaginary? The film can also be considered a dark comedy because however gruesome and brutal the visuals are they still aren't real and is just the characters way of coping with life which the narration in the first few minutes of the film explains and further shows elements of this imaginary world he lives in "And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable..I simply am not there."




This film is relevant because it highlights the narrative aspects of a psychological thriller, Patrick Bateman is clearly an unreliable narrator but throughout we only see from his viewpoint- never from any of the other characters so the fact that Patrick is mentally unstable, isn't revealed until the end.

BH - Psychological Thrillers: Audience and Budget


The audience for a thriller generally seems much more skewed towards an older audience with many of the characters being in their twenties onwards, the characters themselves often going through some very adult trauma, for example shutter island, the main characters wife drowned their three children and he killed her but felt to blame so he retreated into psychological delusions, where he is the hero.
They often let the audience put together what they think happened throughout the film, or to interpret the ending how they see fit. 
Most often they feature twist endings, built to shock the viewer allow repeat viewings of the film to better understand its meaning or what it is trying to put across to the audience. Quite often these 'twists' feature extensive foreshadowing throughout the film, requiring the audience to pay attention to not just the character but the things happening around them to ensure maximum understanding of the events that take place throughout the film.

Often films in the genre are limited on budget for example Donnie Darko, and yet other films such as Shutter island and Vanilla sky have much larger budgets and yet Vanilla sky as a film didn't preform as well as Shutter Island in the box office, despite having several big name stars involved. Most films in the genre tend to show patterns of being received better by the public than by critics. This could be because of fans of the genre being more interested in the genre as a whole than the critics, however some films are ( add films+ IMDB info) positively received by critics and yet preform poorly in the box office and don't really become all too popular until the have finished their initial box office run, for example Fight club.
The BBFC rating for psychological thriller tend to follow the trend that the viewers are more mature, with very few being under the 15 certificate.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Shutter Island Notes

Shutter Island (2010), Martin Scorsese, IMDB rating: 8.0/10

Shutter Island (2010)
Dir.: Matrin Scorsese
IMDB rating: 8.0/10
Budget: $80 million
Gross R  $294,803,014 

Set in the 1950's, it features a federal Marshal ( Teddy Daniels) who's been called in to search for a missing patient at the mental facilities on the island. Throughout the film it's shown that he is still mourning the loss of his wife two years ago in a fire, caused by someone who may or may not be on the island. Teddy sees visions and hallucinations of his dead wife as the film goes on and she urges him on through the film, but Teddy soon decides that there is something else afoot on the island and decides to search for what he believes are  disturbing experiments taking place on the island.

The film is a typical psychological Thriller; it features a strong contrast between the light and the dark, often teddy finds himself walking in the darkness of the islands facilities, and his dreams are often done with slight continuity errors in the edits done to intentionally make the viewers think that there is something wrong with the scene and its contents. For example when one character is smoking in the dreams, the smoke flows backwards and in another scene his wife is holding a bottle of whisky which disappears in the next shot. Edits and errors like this take place throughout the film and often to make the viewer feel that there is something wrong. Also the sounds in the film are often pronounced like the dripping of water in the darkness and the screams of the patients in the hospital. The music in the film often takes the form of piano notes, often long and drawn out-  quite jarring and isolated at points for example:





Also the lighting plays a key role in the film for example:

 Teddy is in a dark corridor  that is scarcely lit- he is using matches to navigate his way through the darkness.








Here we have the use of a blue filter, to make the world seem colder that it is to our character, the entire film is from the view of Teddy, so the audience only know what he knows through the film. That is typical of the genre, we only see what the main character sees and this plays into the aspeact of the unreliable narrator.

Also note the use of editing, the jump cuts made during the following dream sequence- to make it appear jarring to the viewer, also watch the qhisky bottle that Teddys wife is holding.

Important Themes in Donnie Darko

  • There is a strong theme of paranoia and schizophrenia throughput the film, especially characterized by a central character called Frank, a figment of Donnie's imagination (although this point is debatable, as there are often scenes were Frank materialises in the real world. It conveys the point that the main character is troubled. Another point about Frank is that he only appears in the darkness, adding to the elements of fear and the supernatural and increasing the enigmatic storyline.
  • The main character has a very jovial and casual way of speaking, especially as he describes what he's done, eg in therapy; "I flooded the school, and I burned down that pervert's house" and then smiles and laughs. This means that Donnie has serious mental issues, yet he isn't particularly shaken or worried, even by Frank. However, there are scenes where Donnie's mood changes and he becomes extremely upset and distraught with the situation he's in.
  • There is a strong chronological theme that ties the plot together. It is set into motion at the beginning when Donnie is told by Frank that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. At frequent points there is a countdown on the screen, giving the viewer a sense that time has passed in the film, and that the end is coming.  
  • A strong supernatural theme runs throughout the film, such as the theory of time travel being constantly talked about and related to on many occasions, mainly when Donnie is introduced to it by his teacher at school. Another instance on the supernatural and science-fiction is the way of locating vectors along which people will travel, in essence seeing the future, which is utilised by Donnie near the end of the film. 
  • The final point to make is that important themes and points that occur throughout the film are often left extremely unresolved, open and ambiguous. This means that important points such as the aspect of time travel, paranoia, schizophrenia and reality are intentionally left unanswered for the viewer to try and work out for themselves. It is also a clever move by the director as it leaves the viewer wondering, and therefore watching the film again and again to try and unravel the mystery left in the story.