Narrative Theory on The Usual Suspects
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narrative Theory on The Usual Suspects
The Usual SuspectsAnalysis of narrative in the opening two minutes
In the first two minutes we have identified that the film begins with:• Non linear• New equilibrium• Disequilibrium• Restricted narration• The hermeneutic code- ‘what is the significance of the water?’
Non linear• Non linear- used to make the audience feel excluded from the storyline, and makes the film feel fast paced, as they feel they have missed something.• This creates a state of confusion for the audience, this is a typical convention of a psychological thriller.• It is non linear as it begins with calm water but then jumps into ‘last night’. This makes the audience feel disorientated, as they do not know what has happened in general; let alone last night.
New equilibrium and disequilibrium.• We decided that it starts with the new equilibrium (water) then goes into the disequilibrium from ‘last night’.• Music- sad contradicts the calm water. Juxtaposed the water and can also be said to be paired with it – the water could represent something melancholy.• However this is deliberately left pretty ambiguous so as to confuse the audience and keep them on their toes, leaving them wondering. The Usual Suspects opening soundtrack
Restricted Narration• This creates suspense and tension amongst the audience as It makes the audience feel involved.• The view point of the man is significant because there is nothing to connote a typical convention at this point of the film, which generates questions in the audience as to what film genre this could be.• The gasoline on the floor, could be misinterpreted by the audience as water – as hinted at in the titling sequence. But through his point of view, we see that he is sinister and it is gasoline that he has ignited with fire.• Because it is from his point of view we see the dead man which shocks the audience and creates tension and unease in the audience as they begin to question what has happened, we can tell that the two men are linked and it creates questions as to how this situation has developed.
The hermeneutic code• Because it is from his point of view we see the dead man which shocks the audience and creates tension and unease in the audience as they begin to question what has happened, we can tell that the two men are linked and it creates questions as to how this situation has developed.• The titling being filmed over calm waters isn’t typical of a thriller, and is not obvious as to what genre the film is.• This then questions why the water is there and what significance it holds in the film.
• The hermeneutic code also raises questions such as why is the other man we are introduced to urinating on the dead/unconscious man and lighting him on fire; this is not what normal people do and we as an audience start to wonder what occurred for the man to act so drastically and if he is mentally stable, as this is a psychological thriller.