Arlington Road (1999)

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In Film
  • 0:12

    0:12
    This is the first thing we see in the introduction of the film. It's based in a hospital so we, as the audience, are automatically worried and scared of the consequences. We see a middle aged man, running and shouting, covered in sweat and blood. This creates a good enigma code as we are unaware what has happened or why he is there.
  • 0:18

    0:18
    When the nurse confronts the man, he doesn't reply. She has to get his attention by touching him and he quickly loses his temper, shouting in her face. He seems very distant as though his mind is not focused.He repeatedly refers to a boy as "he" and screams that he mysteriously does not know "him".There is a close up of the two and a slight over the shoulder shot, showing the back of the nurse but the main character's face and expression. It's a low angle, showing vunerability and their power.
  • 0:20

    0:20
    The scene instantly changes to this close up of a fence. The background is bright red, perhaps connotating blood, danger or warning. The opaque fence in the foreground is a solid black and seems like a prison fence - but we're unaware of it's significance in the story so far. Black and red are normally paired together in casinos, whick are based around luck and chance - or used in scary instances. It sounds like someone's breathing deeply and we can hear a heartbeat.
  • 0:25

    0:25
    The mood changes to a long shot of 5 houses - perhaps a village or maybe Arlington Road? The audience is not sure. The colours are inverted and negative, making it seem mysterious and eery. The lampost in the foreground is present but isn't on although it seems like night time - this could show negativity or that the place is always in darkness. The music sounds like someone talking or whispering strangely.
  • Period: to

    Arlington Road (1999)

  • 0:45

    0:45
    Next, we see an extreme close up of a baby's face. Having children, especially a baby in the opening to the film, worries alot of the audience. Children are seen as innocent, vunerable and harmless - they are unable to protect themselves and it seems as though he is looking up and focusing on something, possibly meaning it's unfamiliar or a stranger. The fact he's staring upwards shows that it could be a person, much bigger than him - showing he has no power against them.
  • 0:50

    0:50
    50 seconds into the introductory sequence we see the sign to "Arlington Road". This lets the audience know that the title of the film is infact a real place - but we're not sure what is happening there. We can hear wind blowing and whistling eerily. The music beat increases shortly and another sound is laid over the top, almost like a helicopter.
  • 01:00

    01:00
    Next is another low angle shot. This could be from a child's point of view or something with great vunerability. It shows a house with a fence surrounding it - usually to keep people out. In this case we are lead to believe that the house is suspicious, as though it's being watched, and that perhaps the fence is keeping people in. It's coloured with reds again, connotating danger. The music becomes grainer and repeatative, almost like a spell or a prayer.
  • 01:02

    01:02
    Another negative image of what looks like another broken fence and trees is next. The broken fence could show that someone or something has tried to escape and the trees look eery and creepy, especially against the black night sky. Around this point it sounds like a large gust of wind or a car driving past quickly.
  • 01:04

    01:04
    We see an extreme close up of a sepia toned electric metre. I'm unaware of what exactly this is or what it's used for but the measurement underneath is "kilowatts". This effect could be what the director/writer was aiming for - another enigma code. We can also hear multiple children's deafening screams. They sound terrified and painful.
  • 01:11

    01:11
    Here is a very extreme close up of the flag of the USA. It's so close up that it's almost unrecognisable, especially as the reds from the flag blend in the editing of the shot. All this leads us to believe is that the film is set in America, along with the character's accents. We're anable to work out much more from this shot.
  • 01:13

    01:13
    Here we see a blak and white close up of a dalmation, struggling to chew something which is obviously very tough. Domestic dogs are usually family pets, often bought after the request of the children, so it seems unusual to have it here. After thinking of it's significance, the audience start to wonder whether the dog is infact not "good".. but "bad" and concentrate on what he is gnawing - could it be a body part? We hear a deep sigh or breathing and what sounds like a train passing.
  • 01:25

    01:25
    This medium shot of a mysterious figure lurking around street corners raises suspicion and tension in the short scene. It's only on screen for approximately 3 seconds but it has a large affect - noone knows who he is or what he's doing. The colour also inverts so he appears black and shadowed. He is carrying an umbrella although the weather is fine, probably to hide his face or disguise himself. We cannot see his face which is another enigma code, urging the audience to continue watching.
  • 01:26

    01:26
    Here we see another extreme close up of a keyhole - which looks as though it's upside down. This could show that the person living inside the house is twisted or mentally unstable. The lock represtents inprisonment, suggesting, again, that it's not only there to keep people out but possibly also to keep them in. The angle of the shot is almost at eye level to a child - meaning someone could be looking in.. or out.
  • 01:28

    01:28
    Next we see sepia toned clothes on what appears to be a washing line blowing in the wind. They seem to be hung and ordered accordly, but there's alot of the same thing in the same colour. This could show they belong to someone who is very suited and repetitive to what they wear and hate change. Or perhaps loads of people could be dressed in the same clothed - the audience does not know.
  • 01:34

    01:34
    Next we see a colour distorted, mirroed image of one house - twice. This could be a long shot of the house we have been seeing close ups of until now. There is a young boy riding a bike past the house but he appears four times. We he reaches the centre, where the house meets, he disappears. Maybe many children's disappearences are connected to this house. We hear a buzzing, supernatural affect.
  • 01:39

    01:39
    As the two other girls run out of view of the camera, the third little girl turns around and looks chillingly at the camera. She does not appear remotely happy or comfortable, but is looking unfamililarly at the person behind it and seems quite confused. Again, she is focusing upwards. It makes the audience fear for her safety as she appears so vunerable. We hear a large gust of wind and more deep breaths.
  • 01:37

    01:37
    Now we see a black and white image, taken from a high angle point of view shot, looking down on three young children - who are all girls. This shows us that an adult could be watching them or following them whilst possibly filming them. The 3 girls run away - as if they're playing - but maybe they're trying to escape who ever is behind them. All the girls are dressed similarly, in the same dresses. This could relate to the matching clothes earlier on - on the washing line.
  • 01:41

    01:41
    Another negative medium shot of swings, stilling swinging in a children's playground give quite a creepy feel. It still seems like a point of view shot, like someone is watching them. The movement of the swings suggests that 2 people at least were playing there but now it's empty and we don't know where they've gone.
  • 01:47

    01:47
    It's hard to understand this shot because of the high contrast but it is taken from ground level, inside bushes and shubbery, as though someone is hiding and spying on what is on the other side - which is a house. You do not see much of the house but just enough to recognise it and make out the features. This makes the audience wonder why it's so secretive - and who's watching? The camera moves in slow motion through the plants.
  • 01:52

    01:52
    Here we see another red coloured shot, almost like it's showing heat to track down people. This time it seems like it's taken from a house window. We see a woman and a young child on a bike ride past together. It suggests that they are unaware that someone is watching them closely. There are more faint screams in the background.
  • 02:02

    02:02
    Next is a low angle close up of a wind chime, blowing in the wind. It's black compared to the white ceiling so it stands out. It looks like it's in someone's porch by their front door but we're not sure of it's importance or who is looking at up at it. Again, the shot is upwards - hinting it could be a child. The windchimes make an eery sound and we hear more children's screams.
  • 02:10

    02:10
    Again, another inverted homely object. Bird houses are not usually seen is public places, plus we can see a house roof in the background. It is in the centre of the shot so all of our attention is focused on it and the birds. The person who owns it is obviously caring for animals - or at leasts wants to seem to be. Perhaps this could be the same person who owned the dog from earlier.
  • 02:11

    02:11
    Here shows another red negative close up shot of a dog which appears feral and untrained. This is the second dog shown in the clip so the audience begin wonder what their relation could be to the film.
  • 02:12

    02:12
    This close up shows another inverse shot of two extremely young children. The effect has made them appear red with white eyes, almost making them seem devilish and evil. They are clinging on the bars which they appear to be locked in - like a prison. They look unhappy and seem as though they are there against their own will and look trapped and neglected as well as mistreated. It is a disturbing and sickening shot.
  • 02:13

    02:13
    Next we see the third dog so far, also behind bars. He runs up to the gap and roars wildly - more than a lion than a domestic dog. This makes it seem feral and vicious. The fact he is protecting the land suggests he is a guard dog although he could just be trying to protect himself and the person who is approaching him could be intimidating him, or has previously injured him before. The dog growls loudly and barks ferociously at the camera.
  • 02:15

    02:15
    Yet again, a fourth clip of a badly behaved dog is shown. Similarly, this one is locked up too in a cage and is unable to escape. I get the impression that this could be what the two children are seeing from behind their bars. The dog is barking and growling furiously in protection. He appears malnourished and unhealthy as well as dangerous.
  • 02:19

    02:19
    Here is another black and white image of the same house and window. It seems to be at night time which is automatically more spooky. The windows are shows throughout the whole open sequence, possibly trying to show what's on the other side. They always seem to be boarded up, the blinds shut or the curtains drawn so the insides must be isolated and dark - like a prison.
  • 02:20

    02:20
    After almost two and a half minutes of enigma codes and wary short scenes, we are back to a shady figure of a person at the end of a corridor. We automatically suspect that this could be the person that we want to find out more about and is the suspect in the case.
  • 02:23

    02:23
    When the figure becomes clearer in the long shot we realise that it is the same man from the hospital earlier. The camera editing returns back to normal and the music stops, becoming more calm again. He bends over in exhaustion and the audience are made to wonder why he's there and what he's doing - as well as his relation to the story. The bright white background makes the black figure in the foreground stand out more.
  • 02:26

    02:26
    An extreme close up of his face and him drinking water shown after the eventful title sequence is a good way to ease into the beginning of the film. We see he even struggles to drink water from the fountain and sighs with anguish whilst doing so.