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Narrative Form of The Big Heat

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Narrative Form of The Big Heat The initial problem of The Big Heat is of the suicide of Tom Duncan, a police officer, connotes the break down of law and order in world fuelled by violence. The opening sequence captures the audience's attention straight away and keeps him/her watching. From that point onwards, the central point of the narrative is to do with Bannion's investigation of Duncan's death. The killing of Lucy Chapman and Katie Bannion and the burning of Debby Marsh's face highlight this problem as the investigation carries on. Crises accumulate in intensity, suggesting a world that is not stable or safe. It is always threatening to change. The involvement of Lucy Chapman with the married Duncan signifies the declines of morals in society. Bannion's resignation from the police after his wife was murdered highlights the corruption and weakness of the justice system. ...read more.


The closing sequence provides a "happy ending" with new stability resulting from the resolution of the investigation and Bannion reunited with the police department. The new equilibrium in The Big Heat is reached obscurely since Bannion begins a new investigation and the cycle begins again. The open-ended conclusion implies that crime and corruption are part of everyday life and that they will always be part of society. Bannion is the main protagonist who advances the narrative. The investigator is the typical hero who is on a quest to beat corruption and to defend the social order. During the investigation his action involves breaking the law. Bannion infringes legal rules and begins to seek justice outside the law. The inconsistency of Bannion's character is consistent with the lack of clarity about the motives of the film noir heroes. Debbie is at first seen as the classic gangster's moll, whose role concerns general threats to the social order to the specific threats of the sexuality of women. ...read more.


The audience sees the events from Bannion's point of view. They are then in possession of substantially more information than Bannion and audience pleasure derives from watching him work out the crime. Time is in chronological order. There are no flashbacks but there are dissolves to indicate the passage of time. This fits in with the investigative structure of the narrative - going through the procedures stage by stage. The events being organised thought a cause and effect linear format makes it easy for the audience to follow the story. Although the space is 3D, the frame is often cluttered and composed with diagonal and oblique shadows. The irregularity of the space in The Big Heat creates a world that is never safe, that is always threatening to change drastically and unexpectedly. Objects such as lamps placed in the centre seem to be stamped on the frame and a sense of depth is lost. These foreground objects seem at once constricting and symbolic of the precarious situation Bannion faces. The feeling the space generates also creates tension in the audience. ...read more.

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