Thursday, 24 November 2011

Essex Boys Opening Scene Analysis


  • Director-Terry Windsor
  • Released 2000
  • User rating (Imdb) 5.9/10



The credits are the first thing that the audience see's at the start of Essex Boys, plain black and white connotes that the film could potentially be quite gritty, it also sets the mood to the audience. The white lines could be scratches, the use of non diagetic sound creates a tension that makes the audience aware.

    The first shot is a medium establishing shot of the car in the confined garage which presents elements of claustrophobia and is also a generic signifier that it is a thriller. The use of non-ambient, noir, chiaroscuro lighting  creates a triangle shape, in the Third Man the light is used to do the same thing, it represents the thriller genre. The garage light is then turned on by the young man and as soon as the light switch flicks you can see the cobwebs and a lot of other
gritty things that again confirm that this film is a thriller.                 

This then cuts to a medium close up shot of the young man in the car, the inside is grimy again which represents that the film is gritty. It is also another confined space which reinforces the fact that this is a thriller film. There is then use of diagetic and non diagetic sounds when the young man does a voice over explaining his current situation. The man's accent   is significant as it backs up the fact that this film is called Essex Boys. The young man then proceeds to clean his window.

This then cuts to a point of view shot from the car of a tall male, wearing a very flamboyant and colourful shirt with a big black leather jacket, these factors connote that he is a gangster, the slight use of low angle also backs this up and also implies that he is an important character in the film. 

This then cuts to a sort of following shot as the car is driving down wet, bleak streets which yet again represents the thriller genre. This cuts to a point of view shot from the car as the men are entering the vanishing point, Dartford Tunnel. It is another confined space and from this shot you could also say that is was like looking down the barrel of a gun. In the first few minutes of the film it has been established that the film is very Essex and gritty, could this be the representation Terry Windsor wanted to create of Britain? 


This then cuts to a close up of the gangster in the back of the car, you can tell he is confident and could lead to the thought that something was going to happen shortly. This then cuts to a close up of the young man, his facial expression says it all really, he looks confused and a little bit sad. The bars of light that were created in the foreground of the frame are a representation of a prison cell, this is showing that he could be heading somewhere potentially trouble or danger.

This then cuts to a low angle following shot of the car, the road is wet and the whole frame is dull and very bleak. The bridges and such sort of create a notion of confinement again, representing the thriller genre. The camera then pans to the right to show the Welcome to Essex sign, this is ironic as it backs up the audiences thoughts of what Essex is Like, the director uses this again to give a bad representation of Britain. 

This then cuts to an extreme close up of Jason the gangster. His facial expression is angry and menacing, the use of a voice over again from the young boy explains what the situation is, but doesn't know entirely what is going to happen. He then gets out and walks confidently  through the fishmongers holding something that looks like a bat. This cuts quickly to a close up of the young man still in the car, watching, again he looks puzzled and uncertain of what is about to happen. 
This then cuts to shot reverse shot of Jason and then his victim, this lets the audience know something is about to go down. Then Jason starts to beat up the guy, the camera angles in this part are varied but they all signify Jason's significance and confidence, he is a key character. The fight appears to seem natural to the people at the fishmongers and it suggests that it is just part of everyday life and reality for Jason. 

This then cuts quickly to a close up of the young man's face, he is clearly in fear of Jason and this is shown by his facial expression. The lighting is still bleak and dull which could imply what the characters life is like, gritty all the time? This then cuts to a point of view shot of the young man looking out of his left wing mirror to see Jason with his victim, Jason then proceeds to throw acid in the man's face, this is a pretty dark thing to do and it again signifies the harshness of Jason, or the harshness of Britain on the whole? The enigma of this particular scene is focused on the man in the suit getting beaten, it makes the audience think what did he do to deserve that etc..

This then cuts to a close up of Jason putting the man in the suit into the back of the white van, white vans are often a signifier that the film is a thriller, Jason is still acting menacing and this imprints the fear into the young man's mind. 

This cuts to a sort of low angle shot of the white van driving, the lighting has slightly changed, it is now brighter as you can see by the blue sky, this could represent Jason as he is in the process of revenge and he is happy with it? 
It then cuts to a close up of the two men in the cab of the van, the young man driving is still clearly in some sort of fear and Jason is looking confident as he checks his knuckles for wounds. Screams are then heard from the man in the back of the van, not phased by this Jason his looking at his shirt from marks, he then finds a mark and says "shit," this is important because it tells the audience that Jason is used to doing this sort of thing and that he is not scared. Shot reverse shot is then used to capture both of the characters expressions, it seems kind of awkward as you can see the fear the young man has. 

The young driver then gets out and a low angle shot of him opening the back is used, you can tell he is quite tense about opening it when he listens in, the back opens and out runs the man with acid all over his face. 

This then cuts to wide angle shot of the Essex Marshes, you can see another vanishing point at the end of the marsh, which could signify the end for the man in the suit. The marsh is completely isolated, it is a predatory hunting ground for Jason. The lighting has gone back to being bleak and harsh, representing Jason's character. The marsh appears to be a wild, primeval landscape that has no morals. The shot on the right captures the meaning very well, you can just see the victim isolated, with no where to go, Jason then gets out and a medium shot is used to show Jason kicking him once more to the ground.  

A medium shot of Jason is then used, he is in the foreground but the slight focus of the frame is the background, the marsh. Jason is looking relieved that he has got his revenge, again his importance stands out here.

This shot suggests that Jason has no moral
 boundaries whatsoever, Terry Windsor portrays it to be a 
wasteland, one that Jason might know very well, it could also represent Jason's isolation from society. This setting is very much part of Essex as well as it being a no man's land. This long shot of the white van driving back along the dirt track captures the utter grittiness of the Marsh, however Jason is used to it. The non diagetic sounds used here amplifies the bleakness of reality, it also creates a slight suspense, what will Jason do next? 



  1. Some strongly proficient-excellent analysis here. Your use of media terminology develops confidently throughout the analysis, particularly with your interpretation of the connotations of the Essex Marshes and how this reflects Jason's moral landscape!
    Towards the beginning of your post (2nd paragraph) you say...
    a lot of other gritty things that again confirm that this film is a thriller. ..... Ouch "things" - instead "signifiers such as....

    To improve media terminology, I am pleased you've identified the importance of Jason's accent and aspects of the negative representation of contemporary Essex. These aspects are called "cultural signifiers".

    Well done, a pleasure to read.