Thursday, August 30, 2012


The trailer for the 2008 movie Taken is extremely intense, to say the least. In only 1 minute and 52 seconds it effectively uses pathos and ethos to grab the viewer.  Watching the trailer, I experienced a whole range of emotions, quickly moving from happy to anxious, nervous, scared and sad as my heart beat faster and faster.  Thoughts ran through my head such as:  What if I were abducted by strangers? What would I do if a child of mine were taken? Would I fly overseas with little to no information to try to personally track him/her down? Would I do everything that I possibly could to get my child back safe and sound, even if it meant taking the law into my own hands?  Not only did the trailer evoke a strong emotional response and make me question how I might respond in such a situation but it also made me curious about the movie’s plot.  Why was this young woman taken and who took her? What will happen to her? What skills does her father have that will make him a “nightmare” for the kidnappers? How can he be so confident that he will find her? Will he find her in time?

Liam Neeson is the only actor that I recognize in the trailer and he is very convincing in his role. He is clearly on a mission and you can tell by the very deliberate statement he makes to his daughter’s abductor on the phone, moments after he has heard her be taken away by force, that he doesn’t care what he has to do to get his daughter back. “I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” (IMDb.). That alone made me want to see this movie. “Acting styles are determined in part by a player’s energy role. High-voltage performers usually project out to the audience, commanding our attention” (Giannetti, p.275). Liam Neeson is definitely a high-voltage performer.  I don’t think I blinked once during the whole trailer, especially towards the end when you see all these flashes of Neeson going after people to rescue his daughter.  Liam Neeson has been in a number of movies where he played serious roles and he has always done a fantastic job and really gets into his characters. I have enjoyed watching him in other movies so I imagine that I will like him in Taken.

The suspense and all the action in the trailer really draw me into the movie. The pace is normal in the beginning as you see the dad and daughter at her birthday party and when she asks him about taking the trip to Paris with her friend. The shocking and pivotal moment comes when the daughter, while on the phone with her dad, is grabbed from behind and pulled away.  From there the trailer speeds up, interspersing the dad’s threatening statement with flashes of scenes where Liam Neeson is going after the bad guys.

The use of light is also very interesting. In the article about color, Columbia Pictures is quoted saying “Bright colors tend to be cheerful, so directors often desaturate them, especially if the subject matter is sober or grim” (Giannetti, p.24). In the beginning we see things are very bright and the colors are vivid. Once the daughter is taken though the lighting dramatically changes, going from bright to dark. You can just tell that the rest of the movie is going to be intense because of the color change.

From the look and feel of the trailer, Taken is a thriller / action movie. I think it would appeal to people who like those sorts of suspenseful, intense movies.  Unlike some action movies, this one does not appear to be geared toward just one gender.  Because of the subject matter, I think this movie is going to be a little too intense for an audience younger than teenagers. I would guess the intended audience for Taken would be high school age and older.


Giannetti, Louis D. “Color.” Understanding Movies 12th edition. NJ: Pearson, 2011. P.24 Print.
Giannetti, Louis D. “Styles of Acting” Understanding Movies 12th edition. NJ: Pearson, 2011. P. 275 Print.

"Taken (2008)." IMDb. Web. <>.

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