Bullet Boy: Scene Analysis Essay

Bullet Boy, a 2004 British Social Realism film, directed by Saul Dibb has narrative that portrays a distressing an emotional tale of race, gangs and gun crime London. The film follows the life of a young man named Ricky, who has recently been released from prison, and portrays effect he has on the lives of those around him. The scene I will discuss is a montage between the main character named Ricky, and his friend Wisdom. The scene is about Ricky, planning an escape from his reputation along with his girlfriend Shea, while skating with his little brother Curtis, whom idolizes Ricky.

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Although, Wisdom is alone in a corner shop, unaware that Godfrey and another of his rivals are destroying his car. One of the most important elements of this scene is the use of crosscutting between both Ricky and Wisdoms narratives. This scene exaggerates the contrasts of their lives and is cut in order to create an underlying foreboding and tension.

By adding short clips of Wisdoms tense plot, within Ricky’s longer, more upbeat shots, it drags out and intensifies the audiences’ anticipation as to how Godfrey will take his revenge after he is shown with weapons and an accomplice.

The sound throughout this scene is mostly non-diegetic, a soundtrack piece, however diegetic sound can be heard in a discussion between Ricky and Shea. Ambient/diegetic sound is noted during the vandalism of Wisdom’s car, as well as laughter and skates from Ricky’s shots. An upbeat track is used to establish a sense of pace to the scene, while keeping up with the action of the sequence. The music that begins in Ricky’s first shot continues throughout each of Wisdom’s, also known as a sound bridge, thus creating a smoother transaction between both narratives.

By using a sound bridge to keep continuity in regards to sound, it makes the action seem uninterrupted helping the audience follow. The scene begins with a close up Ricky conversing with his girlfriend. Over the shoulder and close up shots are used to increase audience involvement with the characters. Seeing the characters close up gives the viewers a greater understanding of their emotions, while also helps to establish the position of each character, and give the feel of looking at one character from the other’s point of view. After their discussion a pan shot of Curtis is shown as he skates towards the glass.

This keeps up with the speed that Curtis is going, consequently keeping him in the centre of the frame, making him the main focus of this cut. The scene then cuts to a medium-long handheld camera shot of Ricky and Shea entering the ice rink, and this is where the non-diegetic music starts to play. Many medium and long shots of the couple are used throughout the scene, through this the viewers gain a better understanding of how strong their relationship is by seeing the majority of their body language, e. g. holding hands and laughing.

Handheld camera shots also express a certain kind of realism, and can make the audience feel as though they are part of the scene, rather than viewing it from a frozen position. After a few cuts shown of the three on the ice, the scene cuts to the first shot of Wisdom. The lighting and scenery change dramatically and also Wisdom’s body language in the way he is walking, giving a sense of uneasiness. The medium shot also reinforces the tension as it suggests the intensity of the drama. Subsequent to this, another few handheld camera shots of the ice rink are played, which then cuts to a short clip of Wisdom in a corner shop.

As Wisdom picks up the Pot Noodle a focus pull is used, focusing from the Pot Noodle onto Wisdom himself. This is done to subtly direct the viewers’ attention to a specific part of the screen. Further medium and long handheld camera shots are taken of Ricky, Shea and Curtis before it again fast cuts to Wisdoms narrative, this being Wisdoms final and longest shot in this sequence. A two shot of Godfrey and an associate come into frame, the use of a medium shot on the first character, then cuts to the second, intensifies their stern emotions, making the audience aware something potentially grave is going to happen to Winston.

Cut to a medium-long handheld camera shot of Godfrey, and it is now very clear that they are holding baseball bats and are about to destroy the car. The clip fast cuts between both characters adding to the action, while changing the viewer’s perspective and seeing the event unfolding from all angles. The scene cuts to a long shot of Wisdom in the store, confirming that Wisdom is still unaware, while adding to the suspense. Shots of Godfrey and his partner again follow, fast cutting between the two on either side of the car. Fast cutting in this energetic clip gives the scene a sense disarray and urgency.

Both characters then exit the scene. The soundtrack music then ends indicating the climax of action has passed as it cuts to Ricky and Shea laughing on the ice. While this scene clearly ends on a high note for the couple as they embrace each other, the same can’t be said for Wisdom as it cuts back to him finding his car vandalised. Through his choice of editing, camera angles and sound, Dibb makes this sequence a pivotal scene in the film. Its underlying tension and contrast to both Ricky’s and Wisdom’s lives suggest that Ricky and Shea’s plans will not be followed through.

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