It is the opening of a film where the responsibility of establishing setting and sentiment is bestowed.The opening of a film is integral with creating a relation between the film viewer and the environment within the film. The emotional core of the film can be expressed in the opening minutes, to which foreshadowing may be hinted or the genre could be announced to the film viewer. Most importantly, the opening functions as the foundation, especially if the film’s setting is detached from contemporary society. Below are five examples of film openings that both established the film’s setting and tone effectively.
Jackie Brown (1997)
Sometimes the opening credits of a film can both set the film tone, but also establish the inner strength of lead character without a word being ever being uttered. That is precisely what is achieved with the opening of Jackie Brown that showcases Pam Grier with Bobby Womack’s “Across 110th Street” as the perfect backdrop to the visual.
Children of Men (2006)
The achievement of the opening scene of this film is that it establishes a dystopian setting by portraying a grim world that is collectively depressed over the world’s inability to have children. The opening scene quickly establishes this grim world as a possible future to the film viewer by crafting a relatable setting, but also injects the vulnerability of society with the visual evidence of violence.
Amelie is a fantastic foreign film with a narrative that mirrors the creative imagination of the film’s central character. The opening scene introduces this creative mentality and gives the film viewer the understanding that the plot and characters will be quirky, yet compellingly colorful to watch.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The opening of A Clockwork Orange has become iconic film-making with the eerie electronic score that creates the impression of a disjointed world, followed by the diabolical image of Malcolm McDowell staring directly into the camera. This makes the film viewer feel a sense of discomfort as he stares directly at the viewer, almost as if he were planning the viewer’s own demise. As the camera backs away and establishes the dystopian environment, it further makes the viewer more aware of being displaced and being transplanted within a world that is devoid of morality.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The second film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise starts off with its feet running, establishing the adrenaline rush and momentum that lasts throughout the entirety of the film. The opening bank heist scene further functions as both evidence of the ensuring violence in Gotham City, but also as evidence of The Joker’s ability to orchestrate a well-organized crime while also manipulating the very criminals he has employed to turn against each other. With the opening scene concluding with the introduction of The Joker, it functions as narrative evidence that he thrives off of violence, manipulation and chaos, which is the very foundation of the character.
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