Feedback on Ashes to Ashes

  • Use terms: realism / verisimilitude / privilege / side-lined… denote / denotations / connote / connotations.
  • Expectations of gender etc: conform to stereotype / adhere to conventions / challenge or subvert expectations.
  • Answer the question: women are shown to be / the role of women is / Alex Drake is constructed as… and as a result the audience’s expectations of her are…
  • ‘The representation of women adheres to the stereotypical expectations in this case Alex Drake is constructed as a prostitute: short red dress, stay ups, low cleavage and heels and with gaudy jewellery, makeup and hair style. However she subverts our expectations when trying to calm the man who has taken her hostage. She also subverts the expectations of the policemen as seen in the shot reverse shot from Alex to the two shot of Ray and Chris’ quick look at each other.’
  • She adheres to the classic expectations of that era in her style of dress, the way she faints and her confusion. She is also ignored by the police raiding party.
  • However her use of psychology to calm her captor and calm demeanour convince him to do what she suggests.
  • Also her seeming lack of fear in a man’s world. She is confused but not made timid. As seen in the long shot of her forced entry into Hunt’s office.
  • What do the shots tell us? What information is given to us by each of the technical aspects?

Don’t try to write about everything pick a selection of the most important points from throughout the extract if possible and explain their significance.

  • Camera:
    • Her outfit – c/up, pan up
    • Her confusion – c/up, reaction shots
    • She is ignored – pan shot to mid shot to see how she reacts to for her an unfamiliar situation.
    • Taken hostage – close up of her reaction to the arrival of Hunt becomes her reaction to the man taking her hostage
    • Long shot through her legs of red car
    • Reverse shot of hunt looking at her legs
    • Tracking of car arriving at speed – connotes the status of those arriving
    • Low angle on exiting policemen from car – importance
    • Close up on Hunt’s boots – non regulation
    • She faints – mid shot out of frame – more typical reaction
    • High angle-shot of her lying in car – sexualised as heard in Carling’s comment.
    • Wide shot of her carried into police station – damsel in distress, reaction shots of those they pass
    • In office and on her feet low angle mid shot looking up at chequerboard ceiling, camera revolves around her to emphasise her confusion.

 

  • Mise en scene:
    • Boat – wealth – male power domain – low level lighting – connotations of illicit / subversive activity
    • Abandoned warehouse and wasteland – limbo? Power changes hands – her clothing vs males’
    • Heroes seen approaching in the distance set up like a western! Connotations of the cavalry to the rescue / dust!
    • Police stations ceiling – of chess board – pawn – game…?

 

  • Editing:
    • Slow in early stages to emphasise confusion and waking up
    • Slow straight cuts as she walks through boat shows her attempt to understand – intercut with men reaching out to her, emphasises her status and their expectations of her.
    • Jump cuts as raid begins adds speed and urgency
    • Shot reverse shot points of view behind and through Alex’s legs of Gene Hunt then from GH looking at her legs shows different reactions and expectations.
    • Slower pace of editing during Alex’s talking to man in hostage scene to increase intensity but also her control of the situation.

 

  • Sound:
    • Ultravox’ Vienna – 80s classic anchors action in 80s also ironic lyrics ‘ it means nothing to me!’
    • Older viewers will know it!
    • Loud urgent action music as car approaches accompanied by diegetic screech of tyres and accelerator.
    • Lots of diegetic noises to create sense of realism but non-diegetic music often overwhelms it as if to emphasise Alex’s confusion.
    • Diegetic at police station and commented on by Alex as if to show ‘this is real’ to her.

 


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