I am still not 100% sure if I grasped the idea of this reflection. I had a hard time figuring out what constituted as space.
However, I did notice a lot of scenes that didn’t have the dark, mysterious space of the noir we have become so familiar with in the past four weeks. There was actually some sun…whattttttt? Brightness? What is that? Take it away.
There also seemed to be a lot of open spaces. During audio week, we had a reading that talked about the use of space, the office being a primary effect of noir film. It is supposed to illicit a feeling of uneasiness and suspense. However, in Double Indemnity, the offices seemed to have more of a spacious element. There were a lot of zoomed out pans and not just individual offices but the insurance building as a whole had the same all encompassing portrayal. I noticed that this was more of a flashback effect. While everything was being hashed out, there was sun and space but….
when we got glimpses of Walter confessing, it was back to the dark, minimalist approach. There was one scene in which Walter’s face is zoomed in through the darkness. It slowly lightens to show him speaking into to the mic, but doesn’t add that cheerful brightness that has been reminiscent of the past. In this case, it is the less is more angle. His arm is limp, he is narrating his part in the murder and his face is full of regret. There is no pacing, there are no cries of pain, there is no movement, there is no space. The darkness has numbed those senses. It is strictly focused on Walter sitting, reflecting.
There also seemed to be quite a lot of dominant focus scenes, such as the one below. Normally, one would focus on the person closest to the camera, but in these scenes, the person closest was always blurry, making the background the focus of the scene. It was an interesting way to show which character was the central point of the scene. It made it appear that the man had the power when in reality, Phyllis was always the one holding the gun, literally and figuratively. That allusion seemed to be present every time one of the insurance men thought they had figured out the case.
In this next capture, there seems to be a mixture of minimalism and unity. Having Phyllis crouched behind the door and Walter pressed against, makes the space seem smaller and more cramped. This provides the feeling of tension mixed with fear. Additionally, while their hands are not touching, they are strategically placed a short distance from one another giving the appearance of being united in their crime.
Finally, the grocery stores scenes were always interesting to me, especially this one in particular. The balance between Phyllis and Walter on either side of the aisle makes their relationship connected. They are in step, same place, same stance and yet they fight to acknowledge each other. You could cut the tension with a knife. However, it is also a cluttered, small space, maybe to provide a distraction?
As I stated earlier, I wasn’t 100% sure what I was doing with this movie, but it was interesting to try and focus on the design and space as a way to decipher meaning instead of pieces of dialogue or facial expressions.