Monday, June 9, 2014

A Long Kiss Goodnight

    This movie is about a women who was once a trained killer but has a total memory loss of her past of violence. She now has a family (or really a boyfriend and daughter) and they all live happily together. Throughout the movie she is trying to figure out what she used to do or what she use to professionalize in. In the scene I'm honing in on, she is in the kitchen and it cutting up vegetables for dinner. All the sudden she starts cutting really quickly and the family starts to question if maybe her past consisted of the culinary profession. She starts chopping faster and faster to an insane rate. Then the finale of the scene ends when she tosses up a tomato and pins it to the wall with a knife when the ending line, "Chefs do that." The book Understanding Movies by Giannetti states that "The Frenchman Rene Clair believed that sound should be used selectively, not indiscriminately. The ear, he believed, is just as selective as the eye, and sound can be edited in the same way images can. So at the beginning of the scene when she starts to chop quickly and uncontrollably the music is slow and high pitched but monotone to the point that it almost sounds mysterious. Not only is the music giving the audience a mood or tone but the loudness of the chopping has not reached its maximum volume at this point. She keeps chopping and chopping and the chopping starts to become louder along with the music. Then once you think something bad may be able to happen, the music takes a total turn and becomes "happy go lucky" as the family laughs in amazement at her awesome "chef" skills. The tone is upbeat but not super fast paced. The pitch is high and happy. Then once the end of the scene hits and she madly throws the tomato in the air and pins it to the wall with a knife the music completely cuts. There is silence for a good 5 seconds with no movement from the family who is completely dumb founded and probably a little freaked out until the woman comes to say, "Chefs Do That." Even though there was a complete cut of music, the silence was very loud because that one last action sliced the happiness out of the situation and left all three of them in shock. The silence itself is what adds the tension.
    Understanding Movies by Giannetti says "Both words and music convey meanings, but each in a different manner." I use this quote because a very crucial scene in this movie involves both lyrics that sort of explain what is happening throughout the scene and the end of the scene uses the music to add intensity to the situation. In this scene, she has gone through a lot and found out that her alter ego (or the person she used to be) was a trained assassin. The old her is beginning to come out, almost as if she has a split personality and the old one is beginning to take over. This scene consists of her cutting off her light brown soft, long locks of hair and then her showering (symbolizing washing away the old her). She looks in the mirror and begins to apply dark eye and lip makeup, unlike anything she ever put on before. Lastly she is looking in the mirror and she opens it and grabs something and as she closes it, her hair is back to the platinum blonde short and sporty look it used to be as a killer. In essence, this scene captures the transition from her coming across as an innocent women with a kind heart and family to her old self as a hard nosed assassin. The song used in this scene is "She's Not There." Some of the lyrics say "Well let me tell you 'bout the way she looked, the way she'd act and the colour of her hair. Her voice was soft and cool, her eyes were clear and bright, but she's not there." These lyrics are very powerful in this scene. They can relate to is because the soft, bright, and level headed person she used to be is changing into someone completely and totally different. This says that the person she used to be is no longer there anymore. The tone of the music starts out calm and somewhat happy which creates a little irony because what she is doing is not quite clear yet to the audience. The only see her showering, snipping a little of her hair and going through some makeup. As she begins to apply the dark makeup the music gets louder. As it shows her in the mirror with her sleek blonde hair, the jazzy music all the sudden adds in an electric guitar making it more intense and pretty much telling the audience, "Hey, this girl is bad-to-the-bone now." I would say this scene isn't extremely intense or anything so the music isn't giving them a whole new mood, but it's really using the music for descriptive purposes to tell the audience what is going on. Without the music in this scene the audience may just think she wants a whole new look or whats to be pretty and blonde but the music really argues that assumption with its lyrics, loudness and intensity (with the use of the electric guitar).
    I would give the music in this movie the rating of 3. I really enjoyed the way it used its lyrics and the tone of it to explain what is going on in the scene in the second scene I described. The music was catchy yet intense and descriptive in this scene. The first scene did a good job of giving the beginning of the scene a sense of mystery but the catchy and happy music was huge and very important when it came to abruptly turning the mood into a more happy tone. But the music cut off at the end of the scene brought the most intensity of the scene to me. It made the audience feel shocked and surprised just as the boyfriend and daughter were feeling in the movie. Also, the action scenes in the movie had really great music. This movie is action packed and the music during these scenes were appropriately loud and fast-paced.

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