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Explore the use of genre and narrative conventions in the opening sequence of Guy Ritchie(TM)s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

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Introduction

Explore the use of genre and narrative conventions in the opening sequence of Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The first 10 minutes screen time of Ritchie's 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' allows the introduction of the characters and a description of their role without the gangster hierarchy and the narrative thus it operates quite conventionally as an opening in terms of narrative. 'Bacon' has just set up his suitcase in a high street and we now see in plot time that he's enticing buyers and selling his evidently stolen goods. We do not know the exact location of the scene but it seems to be 90's London from the character's appearance and the fact he has a south London accent, a conventional cockney sort of voice. We can predict that what the character is doing is illegal from the seedy location, a derelict looking road with garages behind them and from the fact he's selling from a table and suitcase in the middle of the street with no other stalls or shops are around, also the goods are being sold from a suitcase, the suitcase is an icon within crime movies representing an illegal exchange and therefore suggesting for the audience the idea that nothing about the events here is legitimate or legal. ...read more.

Middle

At this stage there is a level of enigma of the film as information is restricted for the audience. We see the characters collect another �25,000 from the new kitchen based chef character 'Soap', but we do not yet know why they are collecting this money, or what they plan to do with it. We can only assume it will be something illegal given the locations, the screen action so far and our knowledge that this is a British crime movie from director Guy Ritchie. The voice over provides a back story for this new character and as he does the shot of this character freezes in close up. This freeze frame links in with the use of slow motion earlier as these editing techniques, combined with the voice over and on screen intertitles/text, are conventional devices for character intro in crime movies for example again we see use of freeze frames in ' Football Factory' which is a typical technique used by directors such as Danny Boyle. We are also establishing here that all the characters so far seem to be pretty normal, with jobs and everyday lives, but that they have underlying criminal tendencies. They are still 'dodgy' because of dealing with stolen goods and committing petty crimes but they don't appear dangerous or threatening like most conventional gangster movie male protagonists. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is evident he works for Harry as someone who 'teaches people a lesson' for not paying him and his physical appearance and the ' whoosh' sound which indicated serious threat as far as we the audience were concerned. Reinforced when we realise he is Harry's henchman. For an important, high up member of the gangster/criminal hierarchy in this genre of movie it is a convention for them to have some kind of henchman/men to do their bidding for them when people have wronged them or owe them money. In conclusion the locations for this film fit the genre very well, the seedy locations such as where Bacon is selling out of a suitcase and Harry's sex shop. The characters are a mixture of very conventional and not so conventional and the locations and characters combined make us predict a complex, intense plot in which time and space are going to be very important. The construction of the four protagonists and their personalities, them being seemingly ordinary, everyday men plus the contrast of Harry's character lead us to predict the conventional crime genre theme of conflict between the these two sort of characters as well having a comedy side to the story because of the four protagonists not being real 'hard' criminals but more the 'loveable rogues' sort of characters. ...read more.

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