Analysis : Panic Room

Following on from ‘Fight Club’, I decided to watch another David Fincher film – ‘Panic Room’. ‘Panic Room’ is a 2002 thriller film starring Jodie Foster; a perfect film for me to analyse since the thriller genre is the genre we would like to portray in our film opening. Even though ‘Panic Room’ is seen by some as a “weaker” film that Fincher has made in comparison to his other films, the film has many aspects in which create a tense atmosphere which fits perfectly with the thriller genre. Here is what I found out:

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  • Fincher uses his infamous aesthetic to create an unsettling and tense atmosphere in the film. This includes: high contrast lighting and a cool toned colour palette. The rooms tend to be dimly lit, occasionally with a pop of colour from a yellow lightbulb or a machine. For example, this can even be seen in the film poster: a dark setting (the man in the doorway and the surroundings) with a pop of colour (the red writing). The colours also can be used as a metaphor or a symbol of a certain feeling – the red writing could symbolise danger.
  • Like ‘Fight Club’ the film’s storyline is very fast paced. Instead of using still, extreme close ups and focus pulls like Fincher did in ‘Fight Club’, Fincher uses a steady and slick camera movement. The action takes place all inside a house so, a steadicam is used to show a character’s transition into another room. This can create the effect that the action in the scene is rapid and it has intensified.
  • The soundtrack is also a major part in this film as it too, creates emotion and an atmosphere for the audience. The non diegetic composed score is definitely foreboding – this adds to the tense atmosphere.

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