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The Untouchables - Train Station Scene

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Untouchables Essay Discuss how tension is created in the train station sequence in 'The Untouchables' (1987) 'The untouchables' is a film which is based on a true story. It was made in 1987 by Brian de Palma. It is about Elliot ness, an officer for the treasury department in Chicago, who needs to pin Al Capone for tax evasion. With the help of his three companions, Jim Malone, George Stone and Oscar Wallace, he comes up with a plan to get Al Capone! But with the unfortunate ness of both Malone and Wallace being murdered, Elliot and George must continue their mission together to find a way to catch Capone. The only way that they will find Capone Guilty is to get a witness. The best witness they can get is the book Keeper. He is the only one who knows how to un-code the account books. But, Al Capone tries to get the Book Keeper out of the country by train to stop Ness using the book keeper as a witness. So, Ness and Stone must go to the train station to intercept the book keeper. In the union station scene, there are many things that build up tension. ...read more.


they could shoot an innocent person or even accidentally shoot the Book-Keeper, who they need alive so they can take Al Capone to court. So far, the only non-diegetic sound has been low lying undertones played on a cello with a bow. But, with all of the people coming in quickly, Ness sees a lady struggling up the stairs with a pram. This puts Ness in a dilemma. This adds tension to the scene because Ness is in a dilemma, because he feels a need to help people, he can't just stand back and watch this lady struggle up the stairs and possibly get caught in the middle of a shoot out. But also, he needs to keep a look out for the book-keeper; otherwise he could just walk by. When the baby is shown on camera, a non-diegetic lullaby is played; this shows the innocence of the baby. But then, the audience are reminded of the danger and sinister situation with the low undertones behind the lullaby. After deciding to help the young lady up the steps with her baby, a group of men come in. One of these gangsters immediately recognises Ness. ...read more.


But luckily, just as the gangster is about to pull out from behind the pillar, (which he was using as a shield) Stone runs across from the side and throws a gun to Ness, who shoots the gangster and then catches the pram. This is relief for the audience, because the main threat is over and the lullaby music starts again. But, then, the camera focuses in on the last of the gangsters who is holding the book-keeper hostage. This causes a lot of tension because if the book-keeper dies, then the remaining untouchables can't take Al Capone to court. The gangster has a really sweaty face which would indicate that he is nervous, but both Ness and Stone look very confident. The book-keeper begins to shout madly which shows that he is obviously in a lot of distress. But Ness and Stone still seem very confident. The Gangster threatens to kill the book-keeper. By this point, all non-diegetic sound has stopped. The camera flickers in-between the gangster, Ness and stone. As the gangster begins to count, Ness and stone still look confident. After the gangster has called the number 'one' the camera switches in between the three of them slightly faster. The suspense is at a climax .When the camera reaches Ness, he gives Stone the command and Stone shoots the Gangster. ...read more.

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