Twisted Conventions: An Essay On Film Genre

18 10 2007

Twisted Conventions

            The detective genre is often classified by its double mystery structure and its femme fatale.  However, as the genre has progressed, its conventions have been tweaked and warped.  Revisionist detective films are common, such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Her Alibi.  Who Framed Roger Rabbit? bent the conventions of the detective genre through its animation, humor, and its clever use of characters.

            In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, many techniques are used to set it in the revisionist part of the genre.  Animation is the most obvious of these techniques.  The animation gives the film a different aspect, much like the romantic aspects of Her Alibi.  In normal detective films, the detective is a jaded personality.  In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Eddy Valiant is jaded, but at the same time, the movie has a lighter mood than that of the other detective films because of the animation and outright humor.  This is similar to Phillip Blackwood of Her Alibi, which is, too, brightened by its obvious use of humor.  Also lending light to these movies is an aspect that many detective films lack:  high key lighting.  These movies are fairly bright, mostly shot during the day with bright lights.

            The detective genre is well known for its femme fatale, the pretty woman with a shady side.  Detective movies often portray these femme fatales as having two sides until the end when they reveal the woman to be truly bad.  Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Her Alibi also stretch this rule.  Jessica Rabbit is seen as the villain, and Eddy Valiant suspects her up until the end of the movie.  This compares closely with Phillip Blackwood and Nina, who is suspected to be a murderer until the last few minutes of the movie.  While these two detectives try to find the answers in their world, their surroundings seem to trap them and the truth seems to be in the distance.  This is one of the conventions that these two films do apply themselves to.

            In Her Alibi and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the detective genre finds a new light as a blend of comedy and mystery.  These films seem to find innovative ways to express a mystery, through an animated aspect in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and a romantic angle in Her Alibi.  This pair takes the genre and twists it to make it their very own.

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One response

25 10 2007
shields

What a great essay. I’m proud!

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