Case Study: Heat/Pulp Fiction


Director: Michael Mann


Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight



  • There is a medium close up of a characters face as they walk off the train
  • This character feels that he maybe the centre of the film
  • As the character is travelling down the escalator the camera picks up his face through the metal bars
  • Low angle shot of his feet gradually travelling up his body this low camera angle to the audience portrays that he is a more important character and creates an atmosphere of levels
  • High angle shot of the character walking past, only a couple of people in the same shot which creates an atmosphere of creepy.
  • Medium close up of the characters face as he walks through the hospital building, with the location travelling fast behind him creating the atmosphere of
  • When he is outside of the building over the shoulder shot there are shadows cast on the vehicle outside
  • Character on building site creates shadows on the ground
  • When the male character is standing in the bedroom there is a shadow cast against the camera which creates a mysterious atmosphere to who he may be
  • Woman smoking on the bed creates a sexy icon which is portrayed frequently in film noir femme fatale?
  • Man climbs into a truck giving a secret password which portrays the typical gangster feel which creates atmosphere and mystery about what it will lead to
  • Changes back to the character in the ambulance that was seen at the start of the film using walkie talkies  to another character in a different vehicle as he is following another car
  • All of the characters in all of the car have some sort of link with each other through the walkie talkies

Mise en scene

  • Man is wearing a jumpsuit which can reflect his occupation not the normal suit costume that is shown in film noir
  • Travelling down escalator lots of other people creates a busy atmosphere
  • Set in a busy train station which adds to the atmosphere
  • Seems to be a hospital scene with people walking around with stethoscopes  while the camera angle is and over the shoulder shot
  • Sound of hustle and bustle with many talking at once creates the busy atmosphere.
  • Scene changes to what appears to be a building site of some sort wearing scruffy clothes which gives the impression
  • Dusty and busy location reflects a building site
  • Woman in bed smoking cigarette creates quite a sexy icon.
  • The man in the bedroom is dressing in a suit which is creating the atmosphere of sophisticated
  • The camera focuses on the character that was seen at the building site dressed in a similar outfit as the character at the start of the film
  • The blond haired character has a black mask on compared to the other who have white ones which could reflect his characters role in the film.
  •  All of the characters in the cars wear an ice hockey mask which is to cover their faces which creates to the audience that some sort of violence is going to happen.
  • Character pull out machine guns which is a typical weapon type for film noir which creates  an apprehension of killing
  • Hostages wearing police uniforms
  • The use of machine guns and killing shows the amount of violence used however it does show the killings unlike film noir.


Sound music composed

By Elliot Goldenthal

  • While credits are slowing appearing and fading there is subtle music in the background which adds tension and mystery to the films content.
  • The music increases in volume as the title of the film is revealed.
  • The music continues to increase in volume as the audience is revealed to the train station, the increase in volume is a popular convention used in film noir to create tension to the audience.
  • When first character is seen getting off the train, the camera focuses on his face and the music intensifies informing the audience that this is a main character off the film
  • The music changes in tone as there is a medium long shot of him travelling down the elevator.
  • When the camera is at his feet travelling up his body the music uses darker tones which gives the atmosphere of that this character isn’t trustable.
  • The bleeping of machines and hustle and bustle and people are trying to get past
  • When in the building site there is a close up of Val Kilmner  face as he is showing ID the close up on his face the music starts to play creating dark tones creating a tense atmosphere
  • When the man climbs into the truck as soon as they shake hands and establishes their names the music begins to play with subtle tones which creates atmosphere that something is up.
  • The car following scene has a dramatic drum  sound and other subtle tones which adds to the chase
  • The blond haired guy who is in the ambulance as soon as he turns off the radio the camera focuses on his face as the dramatic drums and violins begin to play which creates a tense atmosphere as it gives the impression that this is the anti-hero.
  • The music continues to play the dramatic tones as the characters begin to enter their ‘mission’ with drums and violin tones
  • The same music continues throughout the scene.
  • Dramatic music continues to play and becomes louder when the hostages are shot which adds to the tension amongst the audience.


  • The start of the film the screen is in darkness creating at tense and mysterious atmosphere.
  • The scene opens up set in a dark night showing what appears to be a train station with the only light source being that of the train and the various street lamps
  •  The scene has steam flowing across the tracks which dramatically
  • Camera angle changes to the back off the train as it leaves away into the distance
  •  As the camera changes to the back off the character walking down the stairs the city infront of him is lit up which is a popular convention
  • The dark night creates a dark and scary feel as not many people are out.
  • When he comes through the door lighting is much brighter not the usual film noir content.
  • On the building site bright day which is not the typical
  • The light shining through the windows cast shadows of the characters creating atmosphere.
  • The man in the truck (blond haired guy) there is a shadow cast on his face which portrays that he is a bad character
  • The idea of shadows being created by the robbers, heist being set in the open day when in film noir would be set at night


Pulp Fiction

Director: Quientin Tarentino

Stories: Roger Avary

Cast: John Travolta, Samuel. L. Jackson, Uma Thurma

Pulp Fiction Poster


Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega are two hitmen who are out to retrieve a suitcase stolen from their employer, mob boss Marsellus Wallace. Wallace has also asked Vincent to take his wife Mia out a few days later when Wallace himself will be out of town. Butch Coolidge is an aging boxer who is paid by Wallace to lose his next fight. The lives of these seemingly unrelated people are woven together comprising of a series of funny, bizarre and uncalled-for incidents.


Vincent Vega

Vincent Vega is a character in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, portrayed by John Travolta. Vincent is a hitman working for mob boss Marsellus Wallace. He is usually partnered with Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) when he is ordered to kill someone. Vincent is an “Elvis man”. He wears a bola tie with his suit, he has long hair pulled back into a ponytai. Despite being a hitman, Vincent shows some signs of humanity, such as scrupulous loyalty and a general concern for the few people he cares about. He is also a heroin user.

Jules Winnfield

Whether he was working for gang boss Marsellus Wallace or not, for years one thing that gangster Jules Winnfield is known for is his constant reciting of the Biblical chapter Ezekiel 25:17 to his victims before he killed them. Jules Winnfield is recognisable for his white shirt, black suit and thick black tie.

Mia Wallace

This character is the typical femme fatale that Vincent is ordered to protect over her while his boss is away. She has the classic features of this type of character, the bright red lipstick, the tight clothing in this case a tight fitting white blouse along with the feature of her smoking adds to the whole femme fatale image.



The film begins with it being set within a cafe with the the illuminating through the blinds putting the male and female character in a lit environment which can show the audience that they look inoccent. Its strange as the cafe scene is in a lit area when usually it would be in a darknened area, this lit theme seems to carry on all the way throughout the scene. After the cafe scene it cuts to darkness when the credits come rolling up.



When the credits end the scene cuts straight to a lit scene where we see two characters driving in a car, in daylight which again is non-stereotypical for this sort of film genre. The daylight lighting illuminates their faces giving them the impression that they are trustable towards the audience. Once the car pulls up to its destination it shows a low angle shot from the car’s boot as it is opened showing the characters in darkness due to the angle of the lighting, it creates shadows against the back wall that the car has been parked up against. This dark shadows effect can give the impression towards the audience that they might not be the innocent characters that the audience thought that they were before. Once the character start to approach the building/apartment the walkthrough is shadowed out with small beams of light shining through the overhead canopy of plants and bushes, this type of lighting effect gives the scenes somewhat a tense feeling that this place may be dangerous towards the characters thst the audience have been lead to believe are trustable. Once inside the building, the long corridors that the characters walk down is put into darkness apart from the small amount of beams illuminating the floor from the side windows creating another shadow effect on the back wall of the building. The camera changes to a medium long shot as the character walk up the corridor but this time they are placed into darkness due to the limited source of sunlight form the windows placing the characters in darkness and creating a tense atmospheric feel.


At the beginning of the film there is the café scene with a man and a woman sat at the table, in the background there is a light piano music which fits perfectly with the light subtle light beaming in through the window creating a very relaxed feel. The dialogue of the two characters is very relax calm as they talk about robbing a store, but with the impression that they are only joking due to the fact that the woman is always laughing as she is talking.

However, their dialogue suddenly changes when the man and woman starts shouting at the people within the café and then the audience are shocked when the realised that they were actually telling the truth all along. The frame freezes as the dramatic music starts from the composers ‘Dick Dale & His Del Tones’ as the screen changes to darkness and the credits start to roll up. Halfway through the opening credits the music changes to ‘Jungle Boogie’ by ‘Kool & The Gang’ to a more upbeat 70’s music.

Yet when the music alters it switches as if someone was changing the radio channel which links up well when it changes to the scene within the car as the sound carries on as if it was on the radio. The music continues to play throughout the car scene with the two characters giving it a relaxed feel and along with the characters dialogue which is quite jokey adds to the trust that the audience feels, with the slight sound effects of the traffic outside. Once the two characters enter the apartment building the dialogue and tone of their voices remains quite jokey and comical, while there is subtle music playing that dies down into the background as the characters pass the room.

Mise en scene

  • Guns
  • Cigarette
  • Hawaiian shirt and black t-shirt
  • Woman has plain brown top with short blond hair with silver necklace.
  • Plate and food
  • Coffee
  • People walking around
  • Blinds and plants
  • Quite a fancy house with fancy wall detail
  • Lobby with fancy chairs and furniture.




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