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'Show how the genre and narrative are established in the opening five minutes of Pulp Fiction, The Krays and Goodfellas.'

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Introduction

Natalie Hale 10W Media Coursework 'Show how the genre and narrative are established in the opening five minutes of Pulp Fiction, The Krays and Goodfellas.' In this piece of coursework I am going to study, compare and evaluate three films in order to show how the genre and narrative are established in the opening five minutes of each. The three films I have chosen to study are 'Pulp Fiction', 'The Krays' and 'Goodfellas'. Pulp Fiction was released in 1995, it was written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and was star studded with the likes of John Travolta (Vincent Vega), Uma Thurman (Mia Wallace), Samuel L Jackson (Jules) and Bruce Willis (Butch). Pulp Fiction has a non-linear narrative; the film follows Vincent's life and the scenarios he transpires within just a few days. Along with him you meet Jules, Mia, Marcellus and Butch. Martin Scorsese directed the second film I chose to study. 'Goodfellas' was released in 1999. The film's main stars are Ray Liotta (Henry Hill), Robert De Niro (Jimmy Conway) and Joe Pesci (Tommy Devito). The film follows Henry's mafia life, from when he was 15 and just making drinks for the gangsters until he is a true gangster himself with a wife and family, having kids make drinks for him. The film's tag line is 'Three Decades of life in the Mafia', without even watching the film you can tell by this that the genre of the film will be gangster. The enigma behind this slogan also gives you an insight to the narrative as you, the audience, think, who has spent three decades in the mafia? The final film I decided to study was 'The Krays'; Peter Madak directed this film. ...read more.

Middle

In Pulp Fiction the dialogue shows you that the genre of the film is gangster, because 'Hunny Bunny' and 'Pumpkin' are speaking about illegal activities. The background sound in Pulp Fiction was parallel to the opening scene as you can hear traffic, a duke box playing and other people's conversations. The film is quite misleading though as from watching it you may be under the impression that the film is a comedy as the characters who are both obviously criminals, use comical nicknames such as Hunny Bunny and Pumpkin, but you become conscious of the fact the film is of a gangster genre when the couple start talking and making ideas. It is at this point in the film when Hunny Bunny's voice becomes a lot more ominous. The effect of having her voice change is that you can tell these are serious criminals; this helps to establish the genre. Funnily enough though, these are not the central really dangerous gangsters we don't see them until later. Sound is also important in Pulp Fiction as it helps to put the narrative in order, which is essential for a non-linear narrative, because you might not follow or understand the film otherwise. In the first scene Hunny Bunny shouts out "Garcon Coffee" which is a diagetic sound, but also in the last scene while Vincent and Jules are eating you hear "Garcon Coffee" being shouted by Hunny Bunny too, so this helps understand the narrative by putting the events in chronological order. All the sounds in the diner in Pulp Fiction are diagetic creating a sense of realism therefore you can only work out the genre and narrative by the dialogue between Hunny Bunny and Pumpkin. ...read more.

Conclusion

I also found that all the films were realistic but the ones that were more shocking were the Krays and Goodfellas, as they showed more violence, I think the directors in each film chose to portray their film like this, as they wanted to show their views of a gangster lifestyle. In Pulp Fiction I believe Tarantino wanted to take the edge of the gangster lifestyle and make the characters seem real and show emotions, he turned the violence into humour. For example, when Vincent blows that boy's head off, he turns it into an accident and makes a joke of it, he made the characters appeal to us. This contradicts Madak's style of showing the unglamorous side of the gangster world as you see the people getting shot and killed, in a way it makes you loose respect for the characters. I believe this is done to show the narrative as you get an insight into who the characters really are, you get to understand why they are as ruthless, brutal and cold-blooded as they are. The iconography in the films showing the guns, wealth and costumes sets up the genre as well as the standard conventions of a gangster film such as murders, crimes and violence which also appears in all three. The dialogue in Pulp Fiction and Goodfellas also establishes the narrative because it sets the scene of the story. The final thing that adds to defining the narrative and genre during the first five minutes of the three films are the colours used. All three films have black and white credits, which is a classic convention of a gangster film, also the juxtaposition of the red blood and white sheets tells you a lot about the narrative and what the twins are going to bring into the world and all the trouble they are going to cause in The Krays. ...read more.

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