The Use of Narrative in Film
The use of Narrative in film and other forms of media is commonplace; it has become such that the media viewer has not only come to expect it but rely on it somewhat. There are two elements in narrative film today that combine in the engaging of the audience; 'story' and 'production' elements. One example in the Australian film industry of the use of production and story elements in such a way as to engage the audiences' attention is the film 'Two Hands'.
The film Two Hands was directed in 1999 by Gregor Jordan, a then virtual nobody. The film boasts an all-Australian cast and is full of Australian humor and irony. It is a film that was loved by critics and the public alike and has been affectionately dubbed 'The Australian answer to Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'. The film isn't your standard linear narrative in the sense that the beginning, middle and end don't necessarily go in that order.
In the film the lead character Jim (Heath Ledger) gets himself mixed up with Pando (Brian Brown) and his gang of King's Cross thugs when $10,000 of Pando's money goes missing, money that Jim had been given to deliver. Jim is then forced to rob a bank in a desperate attempt to replace Pando's money however he still manages to fall in love with the sister of one of his friends, Alex (Rose Byrne).
THE OPENING SEQUENCE
The opening sequence to the film establishes through both Production and story elements the following:
By showing us the characters of Pando and his gang in what appears to be a secluded section of scrub late at night, holding a bloodied and bruised Jim at gun point sets the scene for the genre of film we are about to see. The lighting, more accurately the lack of proper lighting, further implies that the people we are seeing aren't your average clean-cut businessmen; as the majority of this lighting is being provided by a handheld flashlight.
The dialogue in this scene is the most helpful in terms of establishing the storylines and grabbing the attention of the viewer. We learn that Jim owes Pando $10,000 for which he will soon be killed, we learn that Jim will give Pando $15.000 if he lets him go ("I'm doing a job tomorrow. Let me go and I'll give you 15"), we learn that Pando is willing to give Jim a chance by letting him try 013, and that Pando really doesn't want to have to kill him but it seems like he has little choice ("sorry Jimmy").
The next section of the opening sequence takes us back to what is seemingly the beginning of the film, to the heart of King's Cross. Jim is standing out the front of a strip joint with a friend of his. It seems the two are employed by the club to entice male passer-buyers into the club. Through their dialogue the viewer can deduce that Jim intends on doing some work for someone name Pando, who incidentally is someone 'you don't want to get mixed up with'. The viewer may also conclude that Jim is unhappy with his current line of work and wishes to...