A Comparison Of The Establishment Of Genre And Narrative In Two Crime Films

3734 words - 15 pages

A Comparison of the Establishment of Genre and Narrative in Two Crime Films

In this essay I will compare how genre and narrative are established
in 2 crime films. The main iconography of this genre is fairly easy to
identify; props such as guns, latex gloves, sirens, rain are used
frequently in Hollywood crime films such as Se7en (1995). The
conventions of this genre are also fairly easy to recognise:
detectives with long trench coats, the killer being the least likely
character, huge urban settings and signifiers like dead bodies have
successfully been used in films like Training Day (2001) and Along
Came a Spider (2001). The crime genre has been most successful in
creating hybrid and sub-genres. For example, a film such as Lethal
Weapon 4 (1998) is hybrid with action and has a romantic subplot. Bad
Boys (1995) uses both action and comedy as hybrid elements with crime,
as does Rush Hour (1998).

Crime is a mainstream genre. However it appeals to both mainstream and
independent producers. This is because genre can be dealt in different
ways: it can be used to explore universal themes such as good vs evil,
‘crime doesn’t pay’, etc. or it can deal with hard-hitting and
controversial subjects for example Pulp Fiction (1994). Either way it
is successful with the mainstream and niche audience.

The box office hit of such films as Minority Report (2002) are clearly
mainstream, produced by major studios, 20th Century Fox and Dream
Works; and stars Tom Cruise, which suggests it has high production
values. The film also incorporates themes of good vs. evil and right
triumphing over wrong. Another explanation for the film’s mainstream
status is that it uses hybrid genres: action, sci-fi, thriller, and

Historically, Hollywood studios have always been interested in crime
films. The first ever crime film was director D.W. Griffith’s The
Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912) which examined urban violence and
police corruption. Hollywood has continued to make crime films, many
sub-genres emerged from this genre; heist, juvenile delinquent,
gangster and detective.

The two films Ocean’s Eleven and The Bone Collector are both crime
films. Ocean’s Eleven was released in the UK on the 15th February
2002. It was directed by Steven Soderbergh and produced by Warner
Brothers, which suggests high production values. This film’s cast
contains several A list stars such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia
Roberts, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Bernie Mac. This film does not
clearly have evidence of typecasting but George Clooney appears to be
typecast to starring in mostly comedy films. This film does employ
comedy elements but essentially this is a caper/heist film. George
Clooney and Brad Pitt usually play the leading roles, although not
often as criminals like in Ocean’s Eleven. It is not...

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