In class we watched a program called 'watching' documentary. Through watching this, i realised just how important the opening of a thriller movie is in order to draw the audience in to the story.
In the documentary, a media critic Thomas Sutcliffe said "films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. While there are many types of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistible" I think that by saying this, he means that for the audience to want to watch the entire film, they must first be drawn in and exited by the initial moments of the film.
According to Director Jean Jacques Beineix, the risks for "instant arousal" through the opening are that it will leave many questions in the audience's mind which will have to be answered through the rest of the film, sometimes making it rather confusing. Also, the film will most usually not be able to live up to the excitement and interest that an amazing opening will produce.
"A good beginning must make the audience feel that it doesn't know nearly enough yet, and at the same make sure that it doesn't know too little": in the opening, the audience needs to know enough about the story to be interested and not feel confused, but at the same time, there must be certain gaps in their knowledge of the story; questions that can only be answered by watching the rest of the film.
Stanley Kauffmann describes the classic opening to a film: an establishing shot of the city in which the film will be set, an office, a receptionist. This is effective as it brings the audience into the characters' lives (keeping them interested) without giving too much of the story away.
Director Orson Welles wanted the opening to his film 'A touch of evil' to draw the audience into the story right from the beginning, but Universal studios put music and titles over the opening which ruined the effect Welles was hoping for as it distracted the audience from the story going on behind it.
The opening of the film 'The Shining' creates suspense by showing a car; tracking it from a high angle, and from behind which creates the illusion that the car is being followed. The audience are being given subtle hints that something bad will happen to the people in the car.
I will use all of the techniques i have seen in this documentary as inspiration for my own thriller opening.