`Brick` opening title sequence analysis

‘Brick’ opening title sequence
analysis-mise en scene
• Sewage pipes at the beginning where the boy huddles near the dead body
of a girl.
• The school where the boy and girl both attended
• Road and small town/ village where the boy answers a phone call from the
girl (Emily)
How is it typical of the genre?
• All of the settings in this opening title sequence illustrate that
extraordinary events occur in ordinary locations. This connotes that
nowhere is completely safe, making the film ‘thrilling’.
How does it contribute to the representation of the characters?
• The locations show that the protagonist characters are in their youth. The
audience may therefore feel that they are too young/ innocent to be
wound up in murder-connoting the unfairness of life.
Lighting/ Colour
• Dark lighting by the sewage pipes/ tunnel ; the location of the girl’s dead
body by the water-The darkness in the sequence with the dead girl is used
to introduce a menacing threat in the film to the audience.
• It is lighter in the school where the note is passed on by the girl using the
boy’s locker-The lighter school is used to connote a place of safety and
friendliness, contrasting with the previous scene where it is dark by a
tunnel with two characters-one of whom is dead.
• It is also broad daylight in the scene on the road by the village but
seemingly in the middle of nowhere-The daylight is used in the shot by the
road to connote that there are evils in the world that act at any time, day
or night.
• The very fast black car that passes the boy on the road- death and danger
are connotations of the colour black.
Costume and appearance of characters
• The boy wears glasses and everyday clothing such as jeans. He also has
long curled hair-the boy’s appearance connotes a stereotypical geek
(extremely intelligent). His clothing suggests that he is quite casual in what
he does.
• The girl wears high-heeled shoes and blue bangles on her wrist-the highheeled shoes and bangles suggest that the girl is fashionable, popular and
outgoing. The blue bangles could also represent water, freedom,
protection, optimism and strength, however only water seems to apply to
the girl as her body is lying in it; the others do not apply due to the fact
that she is dead.
Girl’s bangles on her wrist
The note that the girl puts in the boy’s locker
The telephone (box) where the boy receives a call from who the audience
presumes to be the girl
The car that passes the boy in the phone box
The cigarette that is thrown out of the car as it passes the boy
How are they typical of the genre?
• Each seem to have a significant purpose in the film.
• The bangles are focused on by the camera rather than the rest of the girl’s dead
body like her face to convey a hidden identity which is typical in thriller films.
• The volume of the car engine as it passes the boy is very loud- as it becomes
increasingly loud , the audience realize it is a significant symbol of danger and
• The cigarette has negative connotations-only the ‘cool’ characters and antagonists
seem to smoke in thriller films.
Props continued
How do they add to the action?
• The telephone box inclusion makes the audience think that something dramatic is
about to happen.
• The note is significant as the audience subsequently believes it holds importance
to the action in the film.
• The car adds to the action because as it appears, the engine volume increases, the
conversation on the phone becomes more tense and the boy reacts by exiting the
phone booth to partly follow it.
• The cigarette that is thrown out also shows the car and the people inside it have a
great importance to the narrative.
What additional information do they give us about the characters?
• The cigarette shows that the character inside the character is popular (‘cool’) or in
fact is a false hero (antagonist).
• The note suggests that the two main characters are secretive, or that the narrative
involves a big secret.
Actor’s performance-character
• The boy is huddled against a wall at the scene of the girl’s dead body. It
looks like he is thinking about what he should do-tell someone/ hunt the
culprit, etc
• The boy is never seen in company
• There is hesitation at the start of the phone call
• The boy checks his watch
What does it tell us about the social status of the character?
• The fact that the boy is never in company shows detachment and suggests
that he is not good socially. However, the hesitation at the star of the
phone call showed tension, suggesting a previous romantic relationship
between him and the caller.
What does it tell us about the personality of the character?
• When he is huddled against a wall, this also suggests loneliness.
• The checking of the time suggests he is precise and organized; that he
does things his own way.
Camera shots
Extreme close up of boy’s eyes-shows emotions of character (bewilderment and
Long shot of the boy looking at the dead girl-shows the audience what has
Close up of boy’s face when he is on the pavement-shows emotions (suggests the
boy is thinking of what he should do about the situation)
Extreme long shot of boy approaching phone booth-shows boy’s surprise (through
his hesitation) that someone has called the phone in the booth; also shows casual
attitude and emphasises calmness of character
Medium close up of boy answering phone-shows sadness/regret in the
Point of view shot as the boy looks for the girl-shows bewilderment and builds up
tension within the sequence
Long shot of car driving past the boy-suggests an importance to the narrative and
danger concerning the people in the car
Camera angles
• Low angle shot of the boy looking at the dead girl-this
connotes power of a situation; it suggests he wants
vengeance for what has occurred to the girl who the audience
now presumes to be someone he knew well
• High angle shot of the dead girl-this angle illustrates the
helplessness in her death; it couldn’t be prevented and the
angle connotes that she had a weakness
• High angle shot of boy sitting on the pavement-this angle
connotes a sense of helplessness concerning what is about to
happen; it also suggests a lack of power or a weakness (which
is common for protagonists in films)
Camera movement
• Camera tracks along the wall to the crouched boy leaning against a wallintroduces the protagonist/ main character
• Camera ‘peds’ down as the boy walks towards his locker and this shows
the note fall onto the floor-this shows that the note has an importance to
the narrative
• Camera pans left as the boy looks for the girl in a POV shot-this movement
emphasises a sense of urgency in looking for the girl and builds suspense
• Camera pans right as the car goes past-this emphasises the car’s speed
(power); this rapid panning motion automatically makes the audience see
the car as a representation of evil contents
• Camera zooms out from the car to look at the cigarette-this suggests that
the cigarette can now be seen as a clue to the discovery of the people in
the car
• There are some fade ins/outs in the early parts of the
• Faster edits towards the end of the sequence to build up
tension of the narrative
• Relatively noticeable editing in the early stages of the
sequence, yet they always support rather than dominate the
• Continuity editing is used- the edits are motivated by events
on screen
• Eye line match is used to show what they boy was looking at
when he was searching for/ looking at the girl
• Soundtrack is slow, high pitched and loud (xylophone); strings are
later used-soundtrack seems to imply calm after an eventful
• Dialogue between the characters is hesitated-this creates tension as
it suggests they had a previous romantic relationship
• The girl becomes scared; in despair as the car passes the boyscared, fast paced dialogue from the girl creates suspense
• Quiet, high pitched background music during the phone
conversation-this creates tension as it suggests the revelation of a
dark secret
• Loud engine as the car passes the boy-this creates suspense as it
suggests that danger lies within the car; the car is representative of
Conventional images in the film-clues to
forthcoming narrative
• Blue bangles- they are key to the victim’s identity
• The black car- colour connotations are important as this one suggests
danger and death; the fact that the car itself suggests danger also suggests
a thrilling narrative-genre
• Ordinary characters and location- these show that it is more realistic,
creating psychological thrills-conveyed to the audience as they feel they
are not (ever) completely safe
• Cigarette- stereotypically negative connotations-the audience guesses the
antagonist will smoke, therefore the cigarette is also representative of evil

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