Gattaca Film Essay
Gattaca 2. 10 Gattaca by Andrew Niccol Robbie Bentley In the film Gattaca by Andrew Niccol, an important scene that conveys meaning in the film is the night club/alley scene. It shows us Vincent’s feelings towards Irene and how desperate he is to not getting caught. I chose this scene to write about because it uses multiple aspects of film to convey meaning in the text. The aspects I’ve chosen to analyse are Mise En-Scene, Camera, Sound and Editing. In the night club/alley scene, an important aspect used to get across meaning is music and sound effects.
When Jerome and Irene are sitting in the night club there is relaxed, low-tempo music playing which gets progressively louder whilst they dance, until it builds up to the kiss which is interrupted by the detective. This is a good use of music as it fits the elegancy of the scene. Nice easy going, almost dreamlike as it builds up, drawing in the audience audience into the moment. The music cuts out, snapping everything back to reality as the detective walks in. Another important example of sound is when Jerome and Irene are escaping through the alley.
The use of both music and amplified sound in this part of the scene helps build tension. When they start running, a sort of low aching strings music comes in which sounds almost tortured and off-note. This gradually gets louder the longer they run to help the audience understand the tension in this part. Also their footsteps are amplified to emphasise the desperateness in their escape. After Irene slips and they hide in the alley, the music cuts out and Anton yells “Vincent! ” The cut out of music shows the seriousness of this part due to the very sudden cuts of music.
Another important aspect of film in the alley scene is camera work. An example of this is when Jerome and Irene are escaping through the alley. When they start running, the camera starts tracking their feet. This is to show the audience directly they’re running away. The camera slowly pans up to an almost point of view shot, trailing behind them. This is a good film technique because it makes the audience feel as if they’re being chased by the camera, which in this shot symbolises not only the detectives but Jerome’s fear of being caught.
It then moves into a shot from the front of them, still running they pass the camera into another follow shot. I think this is a good shot because them passing the camera shows the speed at which they are going. A third effective film aspect use in the night club/alley scene is editing. In the night club scene, the length of each shot is very stretched out. This a good use of editing because the slow transitions of shots and the relaxed music makes the scene seem very relaxed.
It also lets the audience stop and take in the environment of the night club. This contrasts well when the scene changes in the alley. In the alley everything picks up pace, with the shots transitioning much faster as Vincent knocks out the bodyguard and they escape. This sudden speed up from the previous scene draws the audience into the moment as the tension lifts dramatically. After Irene trips over and they go to hide in the alley, the shots start to drag out again. This helps show that they’re safe.
A serene sort of music comes in which supports the slow transitions, taking the feel of the scene back to that slow sort of romantic feeling. A useful film technique used in conjunction with sound, editing and camera work is mise en-scene. The set in the night club is made to look very elegant, with chandeliers hanging from the high-arched beautifully decorated ceiling. The lighting fits into the look as well with a dim low yellow light. The night clubs seat really compliments Irene’s dress.
This is done on purpose to show the audience Vincent’s feelings that he has towards Irene and to highlight her significance to him in the film. The contrast moving from the elegant night club to the dark, gloomy alley is quite a significant one. This transition helps change the mood of the audience from being happy/lovey dovey to a more serious, tense mood. The use of the alley being lit by the green light from the cop car is a good example of effective lighting because as Irene and Vincent are running it looks like a fog light almost, chasing for them.
The walls of the alley almost look wet, this gives it a gloomy, cave like look. I think this is used to symbolise Vincent running into a big dark cave in which he can’t turn back in. The night club/alley scene is an important scene in Gattaca because it shows the audience how Vincent feels towards Irene but also how desperate he is to not get caught. I think Andrew Niccols purpose of this scene is to show the passion between Vincent and Irene to the audience by using several film techniques used to pull the two parts of the scene together and convey meaning.