Sunday, 4 March 2012

Psychological Gesture 3

It's hard trying to decide on what clips to analyse for this presentation. Especially as I need to find suitable for analysis and comparison.

I've decided to have a look at Jack Nicholson's Jack Napier/Joker character from Batman (1989). The Joker is one of my favourite villians because he's impulsive, unpredictable, obsessive and truly insane. I chose a Jack Nicholson character because it is said his acting is influenced by Michael Chekhov's psychological gesture method.

In the scene I'm about to post, we, the audience, know that Jack Napier (the character Jack Nicholson is playing for that character turns into the Joker) has been set up by his boss, Carl Grissom, over Jack's affair with his mistress. Jack was sent to raid a chemical factory, the police were tipped off and attempt to arrest him. Batman arrives at the scene in his aim to establish himself as a vigilante. He deflects a bullet fired by Jack, which strikes him in the face and knocks him into a huge vat of chemical. Joker later emerges from said vat.

The part of this clip that I want to concentrate on is Jack/Joker's entrance into his now ex-boss' office.
We know that Jack is, understandably, pissed off. The only reason he would be back at the office is for revenge, which is exactly his aim here. He wants to get his own back on Carl for setting him up. This scene is also important as it is the introduction of the Joker, as this will be the first time the audience sees his face after the accident.

So Jack enters the scene. The end of the room he is in is dark. There is light coming from the door behind him and there's light where Carl is standing (other end of the room in front of his desk), however it is not enough to reveal Jack's face. Carl thinks he is someone else, calling them 'sugarbumps' but Jack replies in humour 'It's me, sugarbumps.' Carl recognises Jack's voice and awkwardly feigns relief that he is alive and is about to say what he had heard when Jack finishes the sentence for him with 'Fried?'

Jack is clearly dominating the scene here. He squarely walks closer and closer to Carl every time he speaks. Carl's voice fails him a bit when he tries to say what he has heard so Jack takes up the verbal space by daring to say he was killed with dark humour, filling the mostly empty space between them with confidence and threat. His presense is large and dangerous and growing more so, setting up the audience for a murder scene.

Jack tells Carl what he did - 'You set me up over a woman'. Jack's not asking, he knows Carl was responsible and is telling him. His shadow is increasing in power and dominance. Jack repeats 'woman!' louder and with more venom. He stops walking and flicks his arm slightly as he shouts 'woman!'. The flicking of the arm is the psychological gesture. Jack Nicholson allows his character to unleash his anger for a second but is keeping control of himself and the situation. An over-gesture, for example, would be to have Jack slash the air with the arm by his side or aggressively point at Carl, accusing and directing his anger at him. But instead, Jack flicks his arm as if flicking a small whip; he still wants the word to sting. He still puts the energy he would have used in a more extreme gesture into his voice though, emphasising the word 'woman' ("bro's before hoes" as they say. Either way, jack is clearly angry to be pushed aside as he sees himself being more worthy than said woman, he is the second-in-command after all). He finishes with: 'You must be insane' and chuckles, returning to the tone he had before.

This is all I want to show up to.
Carl tries to gain some power back by drinking his drink and pretending to get another, reaching for his gun. Jack tells him not to bother and pulls out the gun he'd been hiding behind his back the whole time. Carl tries to intimidate Jack and re-gain some power/control by telling him his life isn't even worth spit. Jack calmly replies that he's been killed already and found it rather liberating, downplaying Carl's threat by making it seem a pleasant experience. He takes more steps forward, holding the gun at Carl, swallowing Carl's attempt at a threat. Carl instead tries to bargain with Jack, calling him by his name. Jack merely tells him that Jack is dead and, stepping into the light revealing his face, tells Carl he can call him Joker.

Joker then proceeds to shot Carl over a circus soundtrack. Accomplishing this aim, Joker finds a new one; Batman.

No comments:

Post a Comment