The use of special effects is controversial when it comes to creating movies in 3D, but more subtle special effects are appreciated and further reinforce the events in the movie. Giannetti stated in Understanding Movies, “ The world’s screens are dominated by soulless movies full of sound and fury, signifying nothing: pointless chases, explosions, gratuitous violence, explosions, lots of speed, explosions, and just for good measure, more explosions” (34-35). A lot of the time people don’t even realize what constitutes a special effect. In Life of Crime there are many scenes where subtle effects are added to make the scene seem real. The slightest bit of make-up, sound effects, and stunt scenes are all subtle ways that effects are used without the audience even realizing the falsity of the moment.
One scene where effects are used is when a police car hits a man. Without special effects carried out it would seem like a fake hit-and-run and create a lack of credibility in the scene and movie. The ethos has to be prevalent when effects are added. They need to seem as if they are actually happening in the movie. This scene is turned too dramatic when the driver of the car appears to pass out just from hitting a fat man in the road. With no signs of bruising or hard hits it seems impossible that the cop goes unconscious for the time he does. The clobber the running man takes by the car is possible though, as it knocks him down and injures him an appropriate amount. By being consistent with real-life scenarios, pathos can be built because people are emotionally drawn into what is happening. If it weren’t for the injured man being a bad guy, people would feel pain for what happened. Since it is an antagonist that is hit, the audience can let out a laugh in the thought of this man running in the road with his gun and ironically getting hit by a cop driving by. In Everything’s an Argument, Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz say, “Humor also makes otherwise sober people suspend their judgment and even their prejudices, perhaps because the surprise and naughtiness of wit are combustive: they provoke laughter or smiles, not reflection” (49). Using this idea, the scene could be used to keep the movie light and in the comedy category it barely lies in. In this scene, the effects could have been improved in they way that they were reacted to. Besides that, the idea was needed overall to carry out the realism of the situation.
One of my favorite scenes seems real because of the use of make-up. The peep hole is continuously brought up in different clips as Jennifer Aniston’s character parades around her room and bathroom near by. The audience is disturbed by the idea of the man watching her every move. The man is creepy enough without the added spying, but that tops it off. Emotionally the movie goers feel bad for the lady as she is being watched. Viewers are excited as she takes a cigarette, sneaks up, then plants it right through the hole. It then goes into the creeper’s eye and burns him. He pulls away from the hole and a red eye with burn marks all around it can be seen. When watching the movie you don’t even think twice if it was real or not. The scene flows so nicely and the make-up that is added reinforces the logistics of what had just happened. The logos is spot on because an eye would truly look like that if burnt.
Overall the movie needed the effects that were added but they needed to be carried out better. I give this movie and its use of special effects three pickles. While some instances went on without second guessing the credibility of the effect, some scenes take the dramatics too far and make the viewer question why the effect was added, if it was for integrity or to act as a joke to make the viewer laugh. Without this being clearly understood it leaves the audience in an uncomfortable place trying to figure out the genre of the movie.