2. The beginning of the movie opens with the company credits. It
shows us the 20th Century Fox logo which is the studio which
produces the film.
This is then followed by ‘Regency’ and then the opening credits
begin. The font used is a bright electric looking blue with important
information in a bold font to emphasise companies, actors and roles.
This can be seen to the left with ‘Linson Films’ in a larger and
bolder font than the words ‘a’ and ‘productions’.
The screen being black with just the bright font central makes it
stand out to the audience and the dark background creates a sense
of mystery and sets the tone of the film which in turn has dark
themes and characters.
The music playing in the background of the opening sequence of the
film is fast and upbeat with a very dramatic and aggressive tone.
This sets the tone of the film as quite violent and action-packed. It
also builds tension towards the beginning of the film to make the
audience interested in what is to come.
3. The first name on the credits is the director ‘David Fincher as he has
the most important role for the direction of the film and this is his
portrayal of the story and plot in an artistic way. The background also
changes from black to revealing a mysterious shape/texture in the
background. Although this is not identifiable from the first bit of
credits, it still indicates a change.
Then the main cast members begin to be revealed. All of these names appear on the screen in a certain way following
the theme of the credits. In the same font used previous the name flashes on the screen, this is a quick flash but if we
look closely, the background lights up and reveals a background of cell type images in the style of an x-ray. The screen
then goes dark again (we can still faintly see the cells and the background but the darkness of it makes it less
distinguishable. The name then dissolves into the background lighting up the small area of background surrounding it
and disappears and leaves us again with the dark mysterious background. This is effective as the text stands out boldly
from the background making the names and information given is more noticeable to the audience so they are more
likely to remember it.
4. Focusing on the background of the titles, we can clearly see scientific related imagery as spoken
about in the previous slide. The background appears to be moving and weaving around a part of the
body showing us the cells. The background also reveals that the plot may contain something scientific
related or involving chemical reaction in the body which could indicate a psychological aspect. This is
important to the actual plot of the film as we learn the main character (narrator) has insomnia and is
later revealed to have multiple personalities.
Once the director and main actors have been revealed , the
title of the film appears on screen in the same font and style.
Although it is the film title, it doesn’t stand out as much as it
could have. However the music gets more intense when the
title appears on screen which makes it more dramatic and
emphasises what is on the screen
5. The background of the credits then zooms out to reveal the forehead of the main character which we can tell from the shot
because we can see his eyebrows in the close up. We can also see beads of sweat which indicate he is scared or in a
compromising situation. This shot tells us that what we had seen previously were the cells in his brain and indicates that
perhaps psychological aspects are important to the plot and the film as a whole.
Once the directors name is shown for the final time before the movie begins, the camera pans from the characters face to the gun in his
mouth. It then pans up the gun and stops at the ammunition and we see the character in soft focus behind the gun. This then switches so
the character is in focus and the gun is in soft focus. This shot draws our attention to the main character and is the opening shot for the
film which is effective as it introduces the character immediately and the music ends in time with the opening shot to show the story has
began and builds tension.
6. The next shot is a side profile close up of the narrator with the gun in
his mouth. This sets the story at a high point of tension from the
beginning. As this looks like a murder/threatening situation it is
conventional to the theme of crime in a thriller movie. The use of a
weapon is also conventional and immediately establishes the tone of
the film. The shot is effective as we view the happenings from another
When the gun is removed from the narrators mouth, we see an over
the shoulder shot from behind the holder or the gun in which we see
the narrators scared facial expression. This builds more tension as we
are not revealed what the antagonist looks like.
While this is happening the narrator is talking and it switches between
voiceover and the conversation in the scene so we see what is
happening and the thoughts going through the narrators head.
The scene is also set with dark/minimal lighting with the main colours
being black and ice blue (which is also the colour scheme of the title
sequence) this again, sets a dark tone and eerie mood as the dark
colours have negative connotations which link to the situation and
events to come
7. We learn that the antagonists name is Tyler Durden and about the plan
that was hatched by his character and others to blow up the major credit
card buildings in the city. This sets out the outcome of the film as it
begins with an extract from the final scene. This is effective because
although the audience knows information about the end of the film, they
are unaware of how the narrator got to the situation he is in which creates
mystery and suspense which is a convention of the genre thriller.
This first shot is a close up of the narrators face looking over at the
antagonist. The use if shadowing is effective here as half of the narrators
face is a silhouette and only his main features are illuminated by the
fluorescent blue light. This shadowing is effective as the characters
profile is hidden much like his background information. We don’t know
anything about his character yet so his identity is unknown.
The next shot shows Tyler Durden standing by the window looking out
onto the skyline. We see the reflection of the buildings on the glass
(relevant to the plot) as well as the narrator sitting in the background
looking at Tyler. This is an effective shot as it not only shows both
characters and their situation/power (narrator is sitting, Tyler is standing
to establish dominance and power) but it also reflects the narrative and
plot of the film which is important for later on in the plot and explains the
8. The next section of the scene is very effective and an interesting way to portray a section of
the plot which once again will be important. While Tyler is talking, the camera pans down to
the streets and through the city (while Tyler's voice continues as a voiceover)to the parking
lot of one of the major company buildings ‘Project Mayhem’ are planning to blow up. The
camera pans through the parking lot to a white van, it then zooms in on a bullet hole in the
window to show the contents in the van. This is large bottles of nitroglycerin and a timer. The
shot then zooms back out again and through the city till it returns back to the opening scene
This section of the scene was effective as although part of the plot has been revealed and
‘Project Mayhem’s plan has been shown to the audience, they are still unaware of how the
narrator got into that situation and the motives of the characters who are going to be blowing
up this building.
The scene was shot also with low minimal lighting which gave it a mysterious edge and builds
the tension to the outcome of the crime. The plan revealed is also very conventional to the
genre of a thriller as crime is a common theme. The lack of focus and stability of the shots
could also reflect or foreshadow different aspects of the films plot further along, for example
the outcome of the crime scene just shown or the characters (eg. mental state).
Lastly, the bullet hole which is shown relates to a scene towards the end of the film, this is a
technique used in many films which are only noticeable when watched a second time. It
shows the future of the film and small sections of the plot without giving away anything too
important too early on.
9. A close up of the main character (narrator) is shown and the lighting is still dim but we can hardly see his facial
features which could reflect how little we know as an audience about the character, this is because the opening
scene starts by revealing the plot rather than the character. The next shot shows the narrator looking over at Tyler
who is still standing by the window but is shown in a sense like a silhouette due to the lack of lighting as previously
mentioned. This shot shows the power/status and relationship between the two characters in the scene which
reflects later on in the plot because although the narrator is sitting and Tyler is standing,which would initially make
the audience believe that Tyler has the power, we can clearly see that both characters are at the same height on
the screen which could be in relation to the later part of the plot when it is revealed that Tyler is a figment of the
narrators imagination which is why although he has the power over the narrators mind (which is why he is
standing), he is still the same person as the narrator and cannot be physically above him.
10. The narrator then says that this whole situation ‘is really about Marla Singer’ and then it cuts to the beginning of the story
and where the narrator began indicating that we are going to find out how he got into the situation that was shown at the
start of the film. The close up shows the narrator pressed against the chest of a character name ‘Bob’ which we can see
from his name tag, he is an important character later although introduced at the start. Then a wide shot reveals that the
narrator is at a support group and this tells us that he is struggling and conveys him as a ‘flawed’ protagonist to the
audience. These shots establish where the narrative starts and the place that the narrator deems important as to how he
got into the situation we have been shown, this also tells us that he meets the character ‘Marla Singer’ in this environment
because when he mentions that the situation is really about Marla, this is the first place he thinks of. She is introduced later
but this establishment of setting sets up part of the narrative to the audience quickly. The lighting in this shot is also very
low which could foreshadow the bad events that are to come in the film or perhaps just the fact that a support group
generally has negative conniptions attached to it due to them supporting people with issues.
11. An over the shoulder shot from behind Bob (the man the
narrator was previously hugging) shows the narrator looking
out into deep thought as the voiceover says “wait, back up,
let me start earlier” which shows the audience that he
realises the viewer doesn’t know enough about him yet. This
shot cuts to an aerial shot of the narrator in bed looking
distressed and the audience is told that he has insomnia. As
the narrator reveals his issue and how he ended up in the
support group, we as a viewer get to know the main
character which will later help us understand his motives and
how he works/thinks. The aerial shot gives the character a
sense of vulnerability and the darkness in half of the scene
once again represents the negative aspects of him and his
The placement of the ending scene of the film at the start and
then flashing back to the beginning of the narrative is
effective as although the audience is aware of somewhat
how the story will end/where the characters will end up, both
the narrative and character are explored which allows the
audience to understand what is to come in the film much
easier and gives it a unique edge without spoiling too much,