Analysing Revenge Films/trailers…’Dead Man’s Shoes’…

Posted: September 4, 2010 in Media

So now I’m moving on from just revenge trailers a little to compare the revenge film to the trailer that promotes it. Hopefully this’ll give me a bit more of an insight into what parts of the film itself should and shouldn’t go into a trailer….

So I’m going to start with the gritty ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ starring Paddy Considine. Probably my favourite film which also happens to have very strong revenge themes…

The trailer I’m using in this film/trailer comparison is featured below…

Instead of analysing every little bit of the trailer like I have done before, I’m going to take a more general route: Analysing the trailer bit by bit and explaining each part as I come across it…

God Will Forgive them…

Well first things first I noticed right from the very off that the trailer opens the same way as the film does (minus a big montage of old family clips but we’ll leave that out for now) which is with Richard’s statement of vengeance: ‘God Will forgive them. He’ll forgive them and allow them into heaven. I can’t live with that.’ I like this technique as from the very beginning of the trailer it has the audience hooked on wanting more information- who is this character? Why is he so angry? Who is he angry at? etc..and as well as this they can figure out  just what genre of film is being promoted: a revenge film. We can establish this because by stating that he ‘can’t live’ with the fact these ‘characters’ will eventually be forgiven by God for what they did, Richard’s character is insinuated to want to do something about it. I also liked the use of shots that show us the two brothers walking through an empty field. Similar to the films opening scenes, this establishes that these two characters, Richard and Anthony, have a close relationship without actually having to tell the audience anything verbally. It also establishes the fact they’re travelling somewhere and we begin to wonder, from seeing the shots, where they are going and why. A few shots is all the trailer needs to establish this to the audience when in the film this lasts for about 5 minutes, probably to build tension as to who the characters are and where they’re going.

And at the very same time as Richard’s rage driven statement, we have many other shots given to us: most of them flashbacks that quickly tell us that this is what the protagonist is angry about and who he is angry at. It appears a group of  men are messing about and hurting a young boy- but who are they and how does this link into the plot? This is what the audience begins to wonder and what makes them want to watch on. Linking back to the actual film, this is speeding things up a bit-  in the feature film the other characters introductions are drawn out over a much longer period to build tension as to why Richard is after them and what he is going to do. But I like how the trailer quickly manages to establish a hint as to what happened and who was responsible in such a short amount of time- the black and white tells us it links to the past, so probably therefore has something to do with what the protagonist is seeking revenge for and the quick flashes of close ups instantly establishes characters and tells us they are all linked to whatever happened. But who are they? And more importantly what did they do to get Richard so annoyed? And also: will Richard be able to get his revenge on them? Or will some escape?

Going back into town…

A few shots of Richard and Anthony standing in a quite town tells us that they have arrived at their destination.Although it’s only a few short shots I love the use of the two shot in the trailer (above) which shows Anthony looking confused and wary, and Richard with his eyes closed in deep thought- it also looks as though what he is remembering is painful. I like this choice of shot for the trailer as it quickly tells the audience the two characters  have made it to the town and that this is where the ‘incident’ occurred. And Richard’s facial expression tells us whatever happened is still haunting him today- which makes audiences eager to know just what did happen. And what he is going to do about it? Interestingly this is cut short from the actual film in which the sequence is a lot longer and gives us some more flashbacks hinting to what happened. But I think the trailer doesn’t need to include this as it would be giving too much away and a trailer wants to lead the audiences wanting to know more, not left feeling they already know how the film is going to play out.

The dialogue we hear in the trailer when Richard stares at an unseen building states: ‘I’m gonna have to go back into town in a bit mate, to sort some business out’. said by Richard to Anthony, this piece of dialogue is actually exchanged at a  later stage in the film when Richard has already confronted one of the men he is after (Herbie) and it is established in the film that Richard is after the men for something they did to his brother Anthony. The piece of dialogue is said in the film as Richard and Anthony discuss the town and then Richard declares he is going back- but why? And what is this ‘business’ he needs to sort out? I think it was a good choice for the trailer at this time as it confirms that Richard is closer to getting his revenge and we want to see what he’ll do.

The Elephant Makes an Impression…

OK, sorry for the odd subtitle but if you’ve seen the film you’ll know what I’m on about. Anyway..

I like this part of the trailer. We have cuts back and forth two scenes in near enough  the same part of the film (when Richard goes ‘back into town’)- we see two of the men staggering home, laughing, and then another man (Herbie), alone, smiling to himself as he walks down the stairs to go back home from his friend’s flat. All three characters seem happy and totally carefree, but the audience knows that they are the men Richard is after (established from the close ups at the beginning of the trailer) and the scary music played in the background tells us something bad is about to happen to them. It makes the characters out to be vulnerable and ignorant while the audience is in a state of understanding- they know what is going to happen. But the characters don’t. And this helps build tension and fear in the audience as they wonder how Richard will make his presence known and what he has in store for them all.

And then we have a threat. The disruption in the equilibrium. Walking down the stairs and about to go out of the door to the flats, Herbie is confronted by a man in a gas mask. A bit freaked out to say the least, Herbie stands, frozen to the spot, staring at the man. Heavy breathing can be heard, and this builds even more tension- we can be pretty sure that it is Richard behind the mask but is he just trying to scare Herbie, or is he going to do something much much worse? As he points at Herbie and beckons him over, Herbie can do nothing but stare at him, frightened out of his wits. At this point we wonder what Herbie will do and how Richard will react if he doesn’t do as he is told. A violent punch on the glass paired with some high-pitched, loud music and flashes of red should frighten the audience let alone poor Herbie. And this lets us know that Richard is angry. Very angry. So what will he do? Will he finish Herbie off? Or is this just a threat to warn them the worst is yet to come? Well we want to see how Herbie and the other men will react to this threat, so we have to watch on. Interestingly I don’t think there’s much difference in this scene in the trailer to the one in the film– just that the swearing is cut out and that it is a little shorter because of that. But I think that it’s all for the greater good as it gets the message across to us and the characters that Richard is not someone to be messed with.

The Aftermath…

 So, after Richard makes a big threat to the men he’s after- they are seen to be rattled. Herbie is insinuated to tell the rest of the men what happened when he was threatened by Richard and reveals to another man (Sonny) that it is ‘It’s Anthony’s brother ain’t it?’ ‘It’s Anthony’s brother.’ Now this is interesting as upon hearing who has actually been making the threats the men appear frightened and the background music goes quiet. This makes the audience tense- so the reason Richard is seeking revenge is because of something they did to Anthony- his brother. But what did they do that was that bad that he want to go to that much extreme lengths to get his revenge? And how will the men react to his presence and threats? We want to know, so all we can do is watch on…

I’d like to add that the trailer is very clever, as it appears that Richard has only threatened Herbie. But in the film he threatens them all in that one night. He steals Sonny’s dr*gs and paints his face with spray paint, Spray paints Al’s hair, wrecks Tuff’s and Soz’s flat, and ruins John’s jacket.  Although there is a tiny hint in the trailer of what he did to the flat, there is a clever change of dialogue to confuse how the men react to what Richard has done‘I mean, how clever is that?’ by saying this it seems as though Soz and Tuff are baffled by the words ‘Cheyne Stoking’ spray painted on the wall when in fact, in the film, they are outraged and they actually say this piece of dialogue in Sonny’s house the next day about a completely different subject.

 Oh and something that probably has no relevance but I want to add anyway is the fact I like the use of the words: ‘Cheyne Stoking’ which Richard spray paints on the wall of the flat as a warning. Cheyne Stoking is otherwise known as a last breath. The pattern of breathing you go into before you die. And once you go into Cheyne Stoking there is no going back. So I’d say that it was quite a big threat to anyone who knows the meaning of the words. And it also sets the tone of the film: for these men there is no going back. They are dead men. What they did cannot be taken from Richard’s memory and so they will all pay for it one way or another.

 The Confrontation…

And then there is the confrontation. One of my favourite parts of the film. Sonny, who seems to be group leader, confronts Richard by saying: ‘The lads had this ridiculous idea that’this makes us wonder whether he believes what Herbie and the other men have been saying. That Richard is the one who has been threatening them and messing them about. He also sounds quite calm and casual, as though he isn’t afraid of Richard and we think that perhaps, he should be. I think it’s interesting in the trailer as the confrontation seems to come straight after they realise it was Richard when in the film it is dragged out a little while longer as they wonder who told Richard of their whereabouts and we learn a bit more of what happened to Anthony all those years ago. So how did the group find him? And why is Richard agreeing to talk to them? Will there be a confrontation or agreement of some kind? Well we can only watch on and find out….

but shockingly, Richard cuts Sonny off by immediately saying ‘Yeah it was me.’ By immediately admitting it was him it tells us Richard is completely unafraid of what Sonny or any of the other men might try to do to him. It intrigues the audience as we want to know how Sonny will react to this unpredictable reply from Richard. He even goes on to say‘I watched over you when you were asleep and I looked at your neck and I was that far away from slicing it.’ while pointing to a very wary Sonny’s neck. Sonny’s posture and expression tells us he has realised that Richard is not someone to be messed with and certainly isn’t going away until he gets his revenge for what happened. So what will he do? Will he try and get rid of Richard? Will he try to negotiate with him? Or run away? We don’t know…

And also we hear later a bit more ont his conversation, with Richard uttering the words: ‘I get outta here man, cos I’m gonna hit you all.’ making it very clear what Richard intends to do to them (although in the film this vow for vengeance is a lot longer, with a lot more swearing).

Although I think the trailer gets the confrontation just right…it is much much shorter than the one in the actual film. Obviously the trailer doesn’t want to give too much away, and I think the three parts they do give us tell the audience the main and most important points of the confrontation: Sonny at first is confident he can get rid of Richard, and then realises Richard is much stronger and much more determined than he first thought, which scares him.  And then, Richard makes his threat clear. In the film, the confrontation goes like this:

Sonny walks up to Richard after he and the other men spot him while driving by. ‘Hey man, how you doin? Rich?’ he goes to shake Richard’s hand but Richard doesn’t move a muscle. It implies Richard is standing his ground and definitely can’t be compromised with.

‘You OK?’ Sonny asks Richard as he looks around at the rain Richard has been standing in. It seems like a casual,everyday conversation between friends– so how will Richard react to Sonny’s cool and casual techniques to get him to back off?

Richard says nothing, but smiles and nods. It’s clear he’s not giving anything away and he is not playing along with Sonny’s ‘let’s chat like we’re old friends’ technique. And although he smiles and nods, there’s something cold about it. Like he knows something Sonny doesn’t…or is messing Sonny about.

‘You know the lads had this ridiculous idea that-‘ Ah, here’s the line used in the trailer, linking back to what happened the previous night and showing Sonny getting straight to the point of why he is confronting Richard.

‘Yeah it was me.’ No hesitation there. He clearly doesn’t care if Sonny and the others know it was him. If anything, he seems happy they know just who is threatening them. Which seems cold and dark…Richard clearly is something else.

‘Oh it was. Thought so.’ despite being cut off by Richard, Sonny’s reaction seems calm and relaxed. He’s keeping his cool. But of course he, like us, wants to find out more… ‘What are you up to?’

Richard appears to casually think it over before coolly answering: ‘Mooching about.’

‘Mooching about? In my house?‘ despite the fact most would be very annoyed at someone who just admitted to have broken into your house, Sonny seems to still be keeping his cool. Probably because, like us, he wants to know just what Richard has in store for him and the others.

Richard nods. Again, he admits to everything he’s done, when usually any other character would be denying having anything to do with what happened. So this tells us Richard is afraid of no one and if anything, they should be afraid of him.

‘Do you always paint men like women?’ this links back to what Richard did to Sonny the previous night (spray painted his face while he slept so it looked like was wearing makeup). Linking back to the past, it seems clear Sonny is trying to dig up any hint of apology or explanation from Richard but is getting none of it, which seems to annoy him.

No reaction from Richard. It’s like he ignores him completely, and this tells us that he has more determination and strength than Sonny or we, first thought.

‘What are you doing lad?’ now he seems a bit edgier or annoyed than before. Like he was expecting answers or a reaction or anything from Richard. He gets in closer to Richard which seems like an attempt to scare or intimidate him but Richard still doesn’t move, telling us it will take a lot more than Sonny to scare him.

‘That’s my concern.’ Richard isn’t telling Sonny anything. He’s standing his ground.

‘Not when you’re in my house.’…’Where are you staying?’ Now it’s here where Sonny has lost his cool. He lets Richard know that he doesn’t like anybody sneaking around in his house and anyone who does so should suffer the consequences. But this doesn’t scare Richard but then again, what would? He even demands to know where Richard is staying, hinting that he is going to try and get rid of him before he does anything else.

‘Motson’s Farm’  well Richard’s quick to tell him. Unafraid indeed. He doesn’t seem to care whether Sonny knows his whereabouts. He’s still in control. ‘Gonna come and see me are ya?’ this is where Richard starts to fight back. Belittling Sonny’s confidence and threats.

‘Maybe I will.’ well he doesn’t seem very sure about that but one thing is for sure: Richard’s remarks have made him lose his cool.

Richard then makes a sarcastic gesture that implies he is not at all phased by Sonny saying he is going to ‘pay him a visit’. It patronizes Sonny and shows him Richard cannot be pushed around by his threats.

‘You’re not afraid of me are ya?’ now he gets it! Although he’s smiling, Sonny finally realises Richard is not scared of him in the slightest…ah, now he has a problem doesn’t he?

Richard shakes his head. Nope he’s not. So how’s Sonny going to get rid of someone who can’t be threatened??

‘You’re making me very nervous Richard.’ now Sonny seems quite vulnerable– like he has realised that Richard is a bigger threat than he first anticipated. And Richard has turned the tables around- at first it seemed as though Sonny was a threat to Richard but now, it is the other way round completely.

‘Well you should be. If I were you, I get in that f*cking car and I’d get outta here man. I’d gather them goonies and get whatever you’ve got comin’ mate…’cos I’m gonna f*cking hit you all.’ Oh….now THAT is a threat. Richard makes it clear that Sonny should be afraid of him, and that he’s clearly not stopping his revenge here. He advises them all to just wait for what they’ve got coming to them– which implies that they cannot escape his path of revenge. They cannot run and they cannot hide. They are dead men. Clearly this part was kept out of the trailer because of all the swearing (which is why I’ve used *’s by the way…)

‘I don’t like being threatened Richard.’  well he doesn’t sound very defensive. Or threatening, if anything it sounds like Richard’s words are eating into him.

‘I’m not threatening you mate. It’s beyond f*cking words…I watched over you while you were asleep and I looked at your f*cking neck (points to Sonny’s neck) and I was that far away from slicing it.’ OK, slightly different to the line in trailer, to cut swearing and of course to make it work without the rest  of the conversation. I very much like the fact that Richard doesn’t regard what he is saying as a threat, but as something utterly indescribable. It makes us think that what he will do to these men will be horrific and we want to know what it’ll be, and just what caused Richard actions

‘You’re f*cking there mate (Richard points to his open hand and then clenches it tight) so get it that car, and f*ck off.’ Oh I love this part too- it shows that Richard is far more in control than the audience and Sonny, first anticipated. He has them all, all of the men, in the palm of his hand. And when he clenches his hand, he is implying that he can and will, kill them all. And then he literally ends the conversation, ordering Sonny to leave, further showing the power he holds over them all.

As Sonny quietly goes to leave, shocked by Richard’s cold words, Richard remarks:‘You get to me first.’ as if he is advising him to try and kill him before he kills all of them, like a race of some kind. It also seems as though he is taunting him– saying that if Sonny doesn’t kill him, Richard will kill them all.

‘I just might.’ now this is a quite sheepish reply. The way he says it, as if he has no power or strength behind it, makes it clear he is shaken by the reaction he got from Richard. So what is he going to do? And will he get to Richard before he gets to them?

Oh and Something Bad Happens…Or does it??

 Ok I’d like to point out that this REALLY confused me when I first watched the film. And I thought it was a brilliant example of how trailers can be deceitful to their audiences. So, let me explain…in the trailer we see a scene where one of those responsible (Herbie, otherwise known as the one always wearing a hat) is confronted by a very wired Richard. So, this is where I got confused: in the trailer Richard apologizes to Herbie for something that happened earlier (that we don’t see in the trailer) and Herbie shakes his hands but seems frightened of him. When they are shaking hands Richard then gives a violent tug at Herbie’s hand, and then violent, scary sound effects are played along with a flash of red. This implies Richard does something bad to Herbie at this very moment, just when he thinks Richard is being calm and friendly. But…yes but, if you watch the film you’ll see that in fact, nothing violent happens at this moment. Nothing. Richard shakes his hand, apologizes and Herbie walks off, and then runs off when he realizes just who he was confronted by. Clever!

Also, in the trailer this appears quite late on, which will confuse audiences when they go to actually watch the film as it actually happens quite early, before Richard starts threatening everyone.

So in the trailer it seems Herbie has met his maker….

And then in the film we see him walk away unharmed, though it’s safe to say Richard’s presence has rattled him to say the least…

The Reaction….

Now in the trailer it’s made clear who Richard is after. We’ve seen him threaten them and seem completely unafraid of their reactions and threats afterwards. So we are left with the question: what are they going to do? Are they going to put up a  fight against Richard’s rampage of revenge? And to answer this we are quickly given the image of all of the group huddled around a table, appearing to be discussing what to do with Richard and how to get rid of him. Sonny declares that: ‘He’s got to get it done.’ which personally I think insinuates they know that they have to kill him before he kills them all. So that leaves us wanting to know whether they will go through with this, or will Richard be able to cheat death and get his revenge?

Seeing the men all packed into a car and Sonny brandishing a gun, seeming like he is aiming it towards a careless Richard with his arms outstretched, we see that they DO go ahead with the plan– but will it work out? And if it doesn’t, why not? It’s confusing and clever as I think it is good to hint at the fact the men retaliate to Richard’s threats but we aren’t told exactly why they don’t end up killing Richard (I think it’s pretty obvious he survives). And I have to say the scene int he film surprised me too…

And since in the film the truth is that Sonny winds up killing Al (one of the men) instead of Richard (who was forced to go and distract Richard so that Sonny could try and shoot him). I think it was a good move for the trailer to leave that out. Afterall, if we see that in the trailer, what’s the point in watching the film?

Oh dear…it’s all getting dark now. Que Montage Number 1….

So, the trailer makes it clear that Richard doesn’t die so we are left wondering whether he will get his revenge on the remaining men, how he will do it, and whether we will find out the true extent of what the men did to his brother Anthony. Thankfully for the trailer, secrets are kept secrets and vital plot points are not revealed to the audience to convey a sense of mystery and make them want to watch the film itself to find out the answers to some much-anticipated questions.

So as M Ward’s ‘Dead Man’ plays in the background of the trailer (which in the film, is played as the credits role), we are given a montage of shots and dialogue from all different places of the film. This helps build tension as well as hinting to what is going to happen in the rest of the film without of course, giving too much away.

Above is a shot that well, confuses us- why is Sonny wearing what seems to look like make up? Is he aware of it?

It’s a strange place to put this shot as it is actually from near the beginning of the film, where Richard sneaks in Sonny’s house and spray paints his face, so putting it here I think helps confuse audiences into insinuating something that is perhaps wrong.

 And then of course we have these shots of Herbie, Soz and Sonny looking vulnerable and totally unaware of what is going on. This makes us confused and we want to know just what is going on here and whether Richard has anything to do with it. It seems as though they are in a spot of bother as Soz seems to rake his face with his hands and Sonny is dragged off against his will by an unseen character. I think this is useful as it hints that something bad is happening to them but the person behind it is cleverly kept a secret and the extent to what he is doing to them also is left untold. So naturally, we want to know.

In the film this scene truly is the hardest to watch. Having previously stolen Sonny’s dr*gs, Richard spikes Herbie’s, Soz’s and Sonny’s drinks full of them. In turn they begin to hallucinate and are in Richard’s power. Seeing his opportunity to get revenge when they are at their most vulnerable, Richard then begins to mess with their minds. He spits on them, frightens them, taunts them and threatens them and they cannot do anything about it. It was vital for the trailer to include bits of the scene and I think it was the right choice not to show it was Richard who was responsible (though it is quite obvious) or the full extent as to what he’s doing to them. A hint is all the audience need to make them want to know more.

And then we have titles, well parts of  two reviews praising ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’– one calling it: ‘Comic, touching, and drop-dead terrifying.’ and also ‘Disturbing, uncompromising and completely gripping.’ and I found this technique very interesting as it gives the audience a bigger depth into what the film is like or what others thought of it than just the plain old boring ‘5 stars’ or ‘brilliant’ that you usually get in trailers. It goes deeper and gives us a real insight into what the film’s like and makes us want to watch it ourselves. Which is why I like this technique very much.

I also liked the use of Richard in the background of one of the reviews as it looks as though something bad has happened or he is regretful or upset– and we instantly want to know the cause to this and whether it has anything to with what happened to Anthony or maybe what he himself has done.

I also liked the use of that shot as in the film, this where we realise one of the biggest and most shocking parts: that in fact, Richard is alone. He doesn’t have Anthony with him. (I REALLY want to say why he’s alone but I’m not going to spoil it) It’s after all has been revealed about what happened to Anthony and we see why Richard has been driven to such extreme revenge. But of course the trailer isn’t going to reveal any of this because then, well, it wouldn’t be a trailer then would it?

Even More of the Montage….

And then we have small and fast snippets of Richard, seeming to have reached the end of his tether, saying: ‘What did you do to him? What did you do?’ which I love the use of as it makes us intrigued to know just what they did to Anthony. And it also makes us wonder why Richard is asking the same question…does he not even know the full extent of what happened to his brother? And if so, why is this that? And cleverly, in the trailer, we can’t see who Richard is directing his question to, so this makes ask who he is talking to also. I think this is a good choice of dialogue for this montage as it adds tension, as though Richard is desperate to know what happened to Anthony and that whatever happened has not been told fully, making it seem all the more worse.

The use of black and white flashbacks to that day, when whatever happened to Anthony happened, also heightens tension in the audience as we get a glimpse and hint as to what happened but, like Richard, aren’t told the entire truth. And we want to know what happened to him, and the only way we can do that is to watch the film.

Ah now, we  go back to the group and see that they are getting very agitated though there’s not much hint as to the extent of what has happened, it’s quite clear that Richard is the person they’re running from. The group are seen, standing around together silently, deep in thought as to perhaps what they did to Anthony or something else that has happened in the film but we haven’t seen yet. As it’s a trailer, we can only guess. But when Sonny mutters ‘It was an accident’ I think it’s right to think that most audiences will instantly link this to whatever they did to Anthony. And it implies they never meant to do whatever they did.

But, of course, trailers are deceitful things. Very deceitful. Because when you watch the film you’ll see that Sonny isn’t talking about Anthony at all. No, he’s talking about the fact he just accidentally shot friend Al through the head. Whoops.

And then we hear Tuff yell ‘OH COME ON! YOU WANNA DIE WITH HIM??!‘  which really makes us tense. The group are scared senseless. They can’t run or hide. So what are they going to do? Will they stick together and try to fight Richard off? Or will their nerves and fear get the better of them, like it seems to do with Tuff? And more importantly, if they do run off separately, will that make their punishment all the more severe?

In terms of how this relates to  the film I’d say it hits the nail on the head. The group are scared but think if they stick together they’ll have a better chance of survival. But Tuff disagrees. Totally scared of going back home in fear of Richard killing them all, he attempts to persuade the others that if they go back, they’re all dead men. When this doesn’t work, he runs off alone. His friends leave him and go back home. Later it is revealed that Richard found Tuff and killed him, proving that none of them can get away.

And Lastly…Yep, More Montage…

And then we’re given more hints as to what is going to happen to the men and how far Richard’s revenge is going to go. We see the men looking absolutely petrified in different scenes and as though they have got themselves in a tight spot without actually telling us too much. For example, we see Richard ask Soz: ‘Don’t you know who I am??’ To which Soz calmly replies: ‘Are you the Devil??’ which confuses us a lot. Why is he saying that? Is he messing about, excepting his fate? Or does he really not recognize Richard? And we also want to know- how will Richard react to be called the devil himself?

Of course in the film it is revealed that Soz says this because his drink has been spiked with dr*gs by Richard. In truth he probably has no idea of what is going on. But calling Richard the devil and then thinking that instead, maybe he is Jesus gives us a big ultimatum: What part is Richard playing in the film? Is he the good guy or the bad guy? or maybe both? He is killing all these men in the most terrible ways possible but in the end is he just giving them what they deserve? Well, we can only watch the whole film to find that out. And by hinting to it in the trailer audiences can already start to think about what Soz’s words imply about our protagonist.

And ironically, as we then hear a piece from the confrontation earlier :

Sonny: ‘You’re making me very nervous Richard.’

Richard:‘You should be.’ a good piece of dialogue to end the trailer on. It leaves us feeling that Richard is not going to be stopped easily and we want to see what he’ll do to get his revenge. It also makes him seem completely unafraid of how the men will react, which makes him seem in control of everything we will see in the film.

We see Richard laying down alone, staring at his hands. In the trailer I think it is a beautiful shot to end on as it looks as though the protagonist has had a lot of time on his hands to consider just what he is going to do and this is not just mindless violence. The men deserve just what’s coming to them. It looks as though Richard is in deep thought, planning what he will do to the men, and we want to see just what he has in store for them. Which makes us want to watch the film.

Linking to the film, I like the fact this is put at the very end of the trailer. As it is pretty much the opening scene of the film and the first time when we are first properly introduced to our protagonist, Richard. So aside from being just ironic, I think it’s clever as it tricks the audience into thinking the trailer has put all the scenes in order of how they play in the film when in truth they really really haven’t.

And what the trailer doesn’t tell you…

I think what’s great about the trailer is that as much as you think you’ve got a good idea of what the film will be like after watching it, really you aren’t told a lot. And a lot of the time you’re tricked into insinuating something when it’s not true– so it’s fair to say this trailer is good for not giving too much of the vital stuff away. Later on in the film, for example, we learn there is another man, Mark, who Richard is seeking revenge on who is barely mentioned in the trailer at all. And I think it is useful to keep it out of the trailer as at this point this is where things really start to get tense and secrets are pushed out into the open.

The man Richard is after to complete his revenge has a good life: a wife and two kids. And Richard really, in his heart, doesn’t want to hurt them…but will he be able to stop himself?? This is where Richard’s Motives really come out into the open. A heart to heart with Mark tells us that Richard’s revenge isn’t really all about what the group did to his brother– but more about his very own guilt. Richard joined the army because his mentally disabled brother was an embarrassment to him, and to get away from the responsibilities he had which meant he had to look after Anthony every hour of every day. And because he went away, Anthony was vulnerable to the group, who picked on him because of his disabilities. And because Richard wasn’t there, because he wasn’t there to protect his brother when no one else would, he could not forget what happened to him. And he couldn’t shake away the thoughts in his head that told him if he’d looked after his brother, instead of leaving himnone of it would have ever had happened. That it was his fault. 


  1. Leone says:

    That was an amazing analysis, bravo! I’m reading this some 6 years after posting (looking for DMS script, funnily enough), but still relevant. I was just so impressed, had to leave a comment to say so

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