Data & Analytics
Institutional contextThe opening titles of American Psycho starts with displaying the production company - Lions Gate Films. This is in black text against a pale gray background. It appears around 9 seconds into the clip with appearing in a fade in fashion. It then fades away between 14 and 15 seconds into the titles. The text is placed just to the left of the center allowing room for animation. The text is in black capitals and in a typewriter/business style font, possibly hinting towards a professional industry. The text is spaced out, separate lines used for the name and what they did. This is followed by titles for edward R. Pressman productions who also made the film. This is displayed in the same way as the lions gate films title. The film is also in association with Muse Productions and Christian halsey solomon, these are also shown in the same style showing between 16-20 seconds into the opening titles.
In the open space whilst the titles are being shown there is animation, starting with red dots of what seems like blood (this could be used as foreshadowing) these red dots then become a red sauce on a plate. A large piece of meat is then shown being cut vigorously in an almost aggressive fashion suggesting violence. The camera moves over several plates of food before then showing a restaraunt where the characters are introduced
NarrativeA narrative is introduced at 1.40. The spoken text is describing food. The food being/offered (as it is waiters serving customers in a restaurant) is fancy, for example the waiters tell the customers about the specials like squid ravioli and swordfish meatloaf whilst using fancy words to impress the consumer. The way the waiters are speaking also portrays wealth as they are speaking in a ‘posh’ dialect, in a professional manner. At 2.11 four businessmen are introduced, of which include the main character, who are moaning about the restaurant being girly and not a place for men like themselves to be at.
The scene is all set in the restaurant, this restaurant looks upper class, the food being fancy and the walls being painted light pinks and greens creating either a trendy vintage feel or a pretentious rich upper class restaurant. As described by the four men as ‘girly’.
The conversation between the group of males is in a joke-ish way using slang words creating a feeling of ease between them. They also come across as they are better than the rest of the people in the restaurant from making jokes about it.
RepresentationsThe first representations from the opening scenes is that it is placed in a expensive upper class restaurant, with as what would be expected in such a place, rich people in. Quote ‘only 540’, this is said after the clip i'm analysing, when the men pay the bill suggesting that that is a small amount of money for 4 meals. The people shown in the opening are all well dressed, the males 3 piece suits are monochrome colours and the females suits/dresses are slightly more adventurous colours however still refined. As the group of males are all in suits it portrays business like event however the location suggests a lunch break.
American Psycho is a thriller film. The original titles before the restaurant scene, suggest a horror/thriller from the red dots of what originally seems like blood then to the vicious chopping of the slab of meat. However then a false sense of safety is introduced from the fact that the blood is a sauce it's actually a restaurant. The pinks and greens of the restaurant create a chilled mood contrasting from the original severity first portrayed.
Use of cameraIn this opening lots of different camera distances have been used. For the first minute it is mostly composed of close ups which show off the food, these shots are very steady, allowing the viewer to see all the detail. After this until around 1.40 panning medium shots are used to look down upon the tables, showing of the rich designer foods, in these shots the camera movement is smooth and steady. After 1.45 the shot type changes using a long shot panning around the rooms, showing off the class of the people and the decor of the restaurant, the camera pivots between objects in a smooth steady fashion. At 1.51 The shot style changes to a upwards looking medium shot showing the waiter's face central, This then cleverly cuts to an almost exactly framed shot of another waiter, who carries on the sentence who the original waiter was saying. At 2.05 the shot changes to a medium pan shot which tracks on a waiter, keeping him on the right hand side of the shot. This leads into the shot introducing the main characters which is an over the shoulder shot letting you see two males on the other side of the table. In this shot the camera is less steady and it bobs slightly about which keeps the shot interesting. All the panning shots move left keeping everything flowing in the same direction.
This is a close up of a meal. The colours used are clashing and vibrant creating a feeling of richness. The white plate contrasts against the red and the green. The slab of meat is placed in the left hand of the shot, whilst the raspberries are dropped on the right hand side. The shot is lit well so you can see everything. All these things add up to making the shot visibly pleasing.
This shot is laid out so the camera can move from one meal to the next (in a left direction). The pink table cloth softens the image rather than having a harsh white one. The angle of the cutlery against the plates shows that it has been carefully laid out. By having the moving shot it means more of the luscious food can be seen which creates a more impressive feeling to the shot.
This shot is composed of a women in the right foreground out of focus, a poshly written menu in the center of the screen which focuses the viewer's eyes on it emphasising that it is an up market restaurant. In the background it shows a neatly arranged table which is in focus.
This shot is framed so the hand in the right hand side of the foreground is out of focus, which draws more attention to the fork ripping apart the desert. The desert is central on the plate surrounded by the red dressing. The colours of the white and red could hint towards something pure being destroyed later on in the film.
This shot is based around the waiter whilst he is reading out the menu. It is frames so he is just left of center, filling the entire height of the screen with his head and shoulders. He is in focus however the surrounding background isn't which focuses the watcher on the waiter's face. He is wearing a smart white tuxedo with a black bow tie so he stands out against the background clearly.
This shot is composed so you are looking over the man on the lefts shoulder, he is placed in the foreground whereas the other two men are in the middle. The man in the foreground adds depth to the shot. The other two are sat so the screen is split up into 3 sections meaning there is no empty space, making it an appealing image.
SoundFrom the beginning until 0.24 there is a light backing sound which is a mixture of a hum of a machine and what may be a faint orchestral sound, creating a haunting sound This sound is played whilst the black titles appear. When the what looks like blood drops fall a pizzicato violin sounds breaking the tension. This builds getting faster until the backing soundtrack begins at 0.24. The backing track is played by string instruments in what seems like a minor key, which is a standard entry for a horror/action film. This backing track plays throughout the clip. At 0.46 there is a clip of a slab of meat being cut, this is exaggerated by a non diegetic whooshing sound of the knife being moved through the air. At 1.19 background chatter is introduced to the soundscape making the restaurant feel busier. The waiter's voice is introduced at 1.47 setting the scene that it is a fancy restaurant by using pretentious language and complex words. The three men are introduced talking at 2.09. At this point the backing chatter fades out however the soundtrack is still playing but it is quieter than before.
EditingThe editing of the scene is simple but effective, using straight cuts in a chronological order. The lighting is similar throughout with the use of natural and dispersed light making everything lit but nothing too bright which makes sense for indoors. The shadows also add to the scene making it look realistic. It is edited so that all of the shot movement is going in a left direction which keeps everything continuous.
To transition out from the plate the camera zooms outwards changing the white background into a plate in someone's hand which smoothly moves between the titles and the actual beginning of the scene.
Througout the scene i have been analyzing there are 19 different clips of video, some only lasting 2 seconds to some which last around 6 or 7. This depends on the type of shot, the panning shots often are longer than the standing shots as they keep the watchers attention for longer.
Mise-en-sceneThe setting portrayed in this opening scene is a restaurant which is described as girly by the 3 men introduced. The walls are painted pink and light green, the windows are covered by multiple layers of shaped curtains and the table cloths are pink. The restaurant looks classy and expensive due to the art work, bouquets of flowers and the fact that all the diners are dressed up.
The attire of the diners are either in dresses or suits. The three men introduced are wearing suits but they are using different colours like light blue white and light pink. The suits aren't in a dinner jacket fashion but are in a business style making the men look like they have come on an expensive lunch out. However the men come across as arrogant due to their wealth. One of them states that $540 isnt much for there lunch.
The waiters are dressed in white tuxedos making them look professional and stand out against the customers.
The genre isn’t accurately portrayed throughout the opening through mise-en-scene, but i believe that this is cleverly done to make it seem a lot calmer than the film will be later on.