Textual Analysis Recap

When analysing a film it is important to understand the micro and macro features. The macro features are the genre, narrative & critical reception of the film. The micro features are the cinematography, editing, mise-en-scene and sound.

The sequence (embedded below) starts with the sound effect (T) of a train rushing by (E). This is effective as it instantly establishes the setting (A) – a poorer area of India, establishing the theme of poverty.

Later in the sequence there is some non-diegetic sound in the form of the film score. This happens when Jamal and Salim find the boy dressed as God Rama and the sounds of the riot fades out and is replaced by a version of the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? score. This is effective as it acts as a bridge between present day and the past. It also places more emphasis on the God Rama, which is the subject of the question which started the flashback.

Horror Narrative


Film Title: Nosferatu (1922) Mernau or Let the Right One In (2008) Alfredson (Delete as applicable)
The characters? 

Who are the central characters in the narrative? 

Central Protagonist(s)

Oskar (bullied school child)

(Monster) Villain

Eli (vampire)

School bullies



Jocke, Virginia

Donor / Helper

No one (kids against the rest of the world)


Where does the story happen?

Is the setting important to the story?


School, protagonist’s home


Everyday setting makes the relationship between them more believable. Showing Oskar as the odd one out even at equilibrium makes us understand why he leans on Eli so easily


Which character do we identify with?

What do they learn & how do they change?


Oskar, begins as a weak school child who feels unwanted by his parents

What do they learn?

Learns to stick up for himself & gains bravery, comes to terms with the darker side of his personality


What event / character’s action upsets the world of the story?

What is the significant event, early in the film, which changes the world for the central protagonist?

Meeting Eli. New arrival in town = murders start. Oskar has a new goal, befriending Eli, this gives him hope.

Rising Action

How does the situation get worse for the characters towards the midpoint crisis?

What is the midpoint event in the narrative?

Oskar attacks Conny

How does the situation get worse?

upsets the school environment and changes the dynamic between Eli and Oskar (Oskar is now less fragile & is grateful towards Eli, this emboldens them both and sets up the vampire reveal)

Falling Action

How do the characters work towards a resolution to the problem

How do the central protagonists try to protect themselves and fight the monster?

Monster (Eli) isn’t fought, Eli successfully grooms Oskar into taking their side. However, Lacke, who was a threat to Eli, gets murdered by Eli (with help from Oskar)

Resolution (Denouement)

How is the world of the story fixed? 

What event in the narrative fixes the world for the central protagonists?

The school bullies (who are even stronger during the climax scene with the arrival of Conny’s older brother) attempt to disfigure Oskar, Eli protects him and eliminates the threat against Oskar. New equilibrium – Oskar finds a new life with Eli


The moral to the tale, an underlying message or theme?

What is the audience supposed to learn?

What ideas are revealed in the final outcome? How is evil defeated and how is the world a ‘better’ place?

The importance of friendship – Oskar’s loneliness made him a perfect target for Eli to attach to

Horror Genre


Generic Feature Your analysis of Genre
Story being hunted by supernatural/paranormal creature or murderer, isolation, loss of control
Themes isolation, fear, madness, loss of life, complexities of human nature
Characters innocent human, morally grey character, supernatural/paranormal creature or murderer, possessed character/doll, damsel in distress, heroic character (usually male)
Setting haunted mansion, city streets at night, woods
Mise-en-scene (Iconography) mansion silhouette, blood, crucifixes, blades, black cloaks, fangs, coffins, corpses, ghostly attire (white nightgowns, messy hair, pale complexion, sunken eyes), flickering lights
Production Techniques strong backlight to cast shadows, screams to play in the background, colours are mainly black, white, grey, red and blue, sharp cuts, extreme close ups to show emotion (fear, sadness), long shot to show enemy creeping up on character, heavy breathing, intense music

Editing Textual Analysis

Top London policeman, Nicholas Angel is sent to a quiet country village as punishment for being too good. But the village is not all it seems! Numerous deaths lead Angel into a final showdown with the villagers in ‘God’s Country’. The sequence is from the end of the film – the final shoot out between Angel, his sidekick Danny and the villainous villagers.

Continuity of screen space

The scene begins with an establishing shot, this follows the convention of shot sequences. This opening shot, ”Welcome to Stanford”, sets the scene for the audience telling us where we are. The audience needs its spatial awareness in order to not feel jarring. 

Continuity of time

The scene begins with a fade into the establishing shot, this is a gentle transition into the scene and implies a passing of time. When the school children get out the cans, there is a jump cut between the other cuts to create the craziness of the children grabbing at the cans. 


At 01:13, there is a montage where Angel gets suited up for battle, it gives us a quick visual representation of the character and his motives, also implying a passage of time. The music playing also excites the audience and increases tension and expectations for the battle. 

Rhythm & Style

Majority of the action sequences in the scene use a rhythmic 4/4 beat to cut in time with the music which keeps the audience in sync and keeps up the pace in the scene. A couple of hidden wipes by people walking through the frame also keep rhythm and passes time easily without having to spell out everything to the audience. A wipe when it cuts from the police station to the protagonist on his horse shows the time passing best.  

Editing Analysis Table JOJ

Batman context and critical reception.


Significant Event in Politics / Society Details Relevance to The Dark Knight
Al Gore won the popular vote, but Bush won the electoral votes (Bush v. Gore controversy) Bush ran instead of Clinton. Began a missile program and started to drill in Antartica. Cut taxes in an attempt to stimulate the economy. In theory people should have gained a larger amount of proportional income, however, class inequalities still existed on a large scale
9/11, brought America together (through patriotism) and the ‘war on terror’ Redefined ‘freedom’ in the US.

Bush doctrine – go to war with terrorists (started an ‘with us or with them’ ideology)

General public has a harsher view on terrorists / anyone who threatens the American view of the status quo
‘Axis of evil’, countries that supposedly harboured terrorists More animosity / less care towards other nations Batman (and many of the viewers) had no qualms breaking international law to bring Lau back to the US, to be tried on American terms.
USA PATRIOT Act – Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism USA Patriot Act allowed people to be spied on and detained and introduced ‘Advanced Interrogation techniques’ Batman uses both ‘Advanced Interrogation techniques’ and a sophisticated surveillance system, jarring to watch and worse when you realise they are both things the government can legally do in the name of ‘freedom’.
Hurricane Katrina exposed inequalities Showed class divisions Gotham is home to both billionaires and the impoverished, class inequality is the most striking here (Gotham = microcosm of US?)

CrashCourse. (2014). Terrorism, War, and Bush 43: Crash Course US History #46. [Online Video]. 30 January 2014. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/. [Accessed: 11 December 2020].

Dark Knight, Dark Ideas

Turner, P., 2020. Dark Knight, Dark Ideas: The Ideology of Nolan’s Batman Trilogy. Media Magazine, [Online]. Available at: https://www.englishandmedia.co.uk/media-magazine/articles/16916 [Accessed 11 December 2020].

The Ultimate Villain (The Joker)

A large part of what makes the Dark Knight such a compelling story is the dynamic between Batman and his perfect opposition – the Joker. A large part of what makes the conflict between the two so riveting is that the Joker is amazing at targetting Batman’s weaknesses (which he wasn’t even aware that he had). The closest thing to a superpower that Batman has is his ability to scare his opponents (Bruce Wayne chose the symbol of the bat as he has a fear of them). The Joker appears to have no fear, making it difficult for Batman to fight him. The Joker is delighted when Batman fights him physically, evening wanting Batman to kill him (turning Batman’s moral code into a weakness).

The Joker also pressures Batman into difficult choices (whether or not to reveal his identity and whether he should rescue Harvey Dent or Rachel) in an attempt to reduce him to his most desperate state and pushing him into revealing his true character. Batman’s unwillingness to reveal himself and his inability to stop the Joker’s destruction turns public opinion against him. With his reputation in shambles Batman is ready to give up and fold to the Joker’s demands. Harvey’s intervention is the only thing that stops him from turning himself in.

Another thing that makes the Joker so compelling is that his goals mirror Batman’s, bringing the two of them into direct conflict. Batman fights to create a Gotham without crime. The Joker wants chaos, wanting the civilians to show their own ‘true colours’. The very nature of their conflict means that only one of them can win, which is a daunting propect as the Joker has just as much power as Batman. The Joker forces Batman to question all that he thought he knew about criminals and vigilantism (Batman previously believed that the root of Gotham’s crime was money). Batman has to learn to stop underestimating his opponents (and therefore stop overestimating his own abilities) due to his previous strengths becoming weaknesses.

In the competition for ‘the soul of Gotham’, Batman learns from the Joker.

Batman becomes the Dark Knight because of the Joker.