Joe W’s-Swordfish Essay

Man With No Future

The lead male character in the movie is the most conventional male character that can be used in a film noir/neo-noir film. He is first shown in the movie hitting golf balls off the top of his trailer in nothing but a towel.  it then turns out it is his house and lives in the middle of no where in this trailer. This signifies that he is the “male with no future” as he lives on his own in a trailer; in the middle of nowhere with no clear job or aspirations. It then goes slightly deeper into the story where he explains that he is divorced with a child who he’s not allowed to see as well as his ex-wife taking all of his money and re-married to a “porn king” with a lot of money. Around 20 minutes into the movie, the lead male character seems to be extremely down on his luck as he is faced with near impossible task of hacking a computer in under 60 seconds while a gun is pointing to his head.

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Femme Fatale

swordfish followed the convention of having a clear femme fatale throughout the story line. she is introduced very early on to the lead protagonist and it was quite clear that she knew what she was doing and did so in a confident manner. Furthermore, the femme fatale was very sexual throughout the film, to begin with she was giving subtle gestures to her sexual nature “i’m not here to suck your dick” as well as later on in the movie where you see her topless as well as being in half naked with only pants and a bra in. In this specific scene, it is made known to the audience that she does indeed have a “past” which is extremely conventional of a classic film noir film. This past turns out to her being an undercover cop which excites the storyline as it significantly twists the plot. As well as the femme fatale being very sexual, so were a large proportion of all females roles within the film. whether they are extra’s or small named characters, they all acted in a sexual manner and/or behaved and looked in one.

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Mise En Scene

The mise en scene was partly challenged from a classic film noir film. To start with, the main character did not own a suit which was ironically mocked midway through the film “so you don’t own a suit?”. Many other characters, mainly the “villains” in the film are seen to be wearing suits for large parts of the movie which then lives up to the standard convention. Furthermore, the location is on the fence on whether it is classically conventional or not. The location of the film was in an American city, Los Angeles, but was not in areas that were heavily populated or completely urbanised which then challenges the convention. As well as this, at no point during the movie it rained, which completely subverts the very stereotypical dark, rainy night scene commonly found in classic film noir films. Adding onto the list of mise en scene are the props. There were many props that were used that were extremely conventional. To begin with there were many people smoking cigarettes and even in some cases, a cigar. As well as this, all female roles were dolled in make-up as well as conventional lip stick to accentuate the females provocative manner. Also, the use of guns was prominent which is also conventional in a film noir film, there was also one point in the movie where there was a car explosion at the same time of a gunshot which exaggerates the fact that the a gun can be very powerful.

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Lighting

lighting was in my opinion the convention that was most challenged. Throughout the film, it was very light and sunny, mainly due to the location of Los Angeles. Even in night time scenes where they could of made it very dark and sleazy, they instead lit up most dark corners with large, bright neon lights which did not really create any dramatic shadow casting on walls which are conventionally scene in old film noir films. The majority of scenes shot outside in the city or in the LA hills were shot during the day therefore being light and sunny and not dark and eerie.

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General Conventions

In conventional film noir films, they have there main protagonist to narrate over the top of a scene that is being shown. In Swordfish, the very beginning scene is what turns out to be the “villain” in the movie, talking directly towards the audience by looking straight at the camera. This obviously followed that specific convention but then slightly manipulated it by having the villain be the narrator instead of the man with no future. This beginning scene is also foreshadowing as it highlights slight outcomes from the actual ending.

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