The Stuka bombing scene

"Atonement" Film Study Assessment Task

I have chosen the Stuka bombing scene which was one of the scenes omitted from the movie for this essay. This particular scene includes Robbie Turner, a French lady, her son and Mace.

The setting is a small town in Belgium. The town contains one main road, a few buildings, and farmhouses. There is a field and a forest besides this small town.

The scene will start with an onboard medium-shot of a pilot in one of the many black Stuka bombers spiraling over the small town. Tense music will be playing to create tension. With use of prominent black colours and back-lighting on the pilot's face, it will give him a menacing look. The audience will feel something evil or threatening is going to take place.

After the medium shot there will be a cut to a bird's eye view from the Stuka bomber of the entire town. This will show the audience what the town looks like. The tense music will speed up. From the bird's eye view the camera will zoom into the crowd below and into a close-up of Robbie's face looking up at the bombers. This will create an extreme high angle which shows the huge vulnerability of Robbie at that particular moment. The music will come to its climax while zooming and stop at the moment the camera stops zooming. Then the camera will tilt downwards to eye level and zoom out to create a long shot of Robbie. The long shot will show us the crowd behind Robbie so the audience can see how unaware they are of the bombers up above. The colour red will be enhanced in clothes, buildings and cars here to indicate imminent danger to the audience.

Staying with the long shot of Robbie a sound of a diving bomber will be heard by everyone around him. Panic will overcome the crowd as they will know what is coming. They will flee in all directions as far as possible from one another. The camera will track Robbie running through the streets and pushing through crowds to get to the field situated besides the city. Robbie will be tracked using on dolly from the front. Adding differential focus will help create confusion and chaos. There will still be no music only real sound of people screaming, babies crying and the engine sounds of the diving Stuka Bombers. This makes the whole sequence seem realistic.

Then Robbie will notice a confused and struggling French lady and her 6-year-old son. They were unsure whether to go to the farm house or the field. He makes a decision for them to go to the field. At that moment the camera will cut to a low angle of Robbie which indicates better knowledge and understanding of the situation and cut to a high angle of the lady and son which indicates their vulnerability.

As the three of them continue running to the field, the camera will track them from the front and use differential focus. It will cut rapidly to close-ups of all of their faces and back to medium shots of them running. The audience will be able to see their emotions on their faces and the confusion and chaos the bombing has caused.

As the first bomb is about to hit the ground the camera will cut to an extreme long shot looking down upon the field. This shot is used to show the audience the explosion of the bomb and the destruction that it will cause. The camera will then cut to Robbie and the French lady with her son diving and lying on the ground as the shockwave of the blast gets to them.

The camera will cut to a high angle long shot of the second bomb falling to the ground. As it is about to hit the ground the camera will film Robbie and the French lady with her son running in slow motion. All sound will stop and then there will be three flashes of Robbie being flung in the air by the force of the bomb. Each flash will be accompanied by a heart beat sound then the shot will fade out into darkness. All these editing techniques and shots will add dramatic effect to the scene.

The camera will cut to close up of Robbie's face and show the audience the dirt stuck in this mouth and nose. When Robbie gets back to his senses and makes his way to the woods he will be shown in a long shot so we can see the crater the bomb created.

When Robbie arrives at the woods a medium shot will show him sitting against a tree. His clothes will be torn and his face filled with dirt and blood. The camera will swoop around the woods to show all the injured people. Then it will look for Mace and follow him to Robbie. When Mace gives Robbie water he will appear almost God like with a low angle and soft focus. (Robbie calls him an angel) When he drinks the water his mouth will be shown in an extreme close up from the side. The water will be sparkling like diamonds to show how precious it is to him at that moment. This also brings in the relationship between Robbie and water which is evident throughout the whole movie.

When the bombing stops and Robbie regains his energy he will go back to check if there were any remains of the French lady and her son but they were completely vapourised. He is instantly overcome by shock and sadness and the camera will zoom in from a medium shot to an extreme close up of Robbie's eyes where the audience will be able to see small tears forming. (This is an incident that will show Robbie's sensitive emotions)

The scene will end off with Robbie and Mace meeting up with Nettle and the final shot will be of the three of them walking over the horizon on their way to the sea where they will be looking to be rescued.

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