Blake Goddard AS Level Film Studies “An analysis of editing and sound in the final scene of The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer 1995)”
The scene I have chosen for analysis is the final scene in ‘The Usual Suspects’ when the US Customs agent, Dave Kujan discovers that Verbal Kent has been lying to him, by using information on a notice board and that he himself is Kaiser Soze. I will be studying the sound and editing within the scene.
The scene begins with a long take which slowly pans into the character of Dave Kujan, as he is drinking a coffee. The shot cuts to another shot which pans to the noticeboard directly in front of the character. This suggests to the audience that he is looking at the notice board, so it is a point of view shot, we see the scene from this point of view. The sound at this point contains diegetic sound only, no music or voiceover. This gives the impression that the events are ordinary and mundane and create realism.
At the point where Dave Kujan begins to notice something in the corner of the board, music begins to play over the images. This signifies this something has caught his attention and the scene is about to change from the mundane, to something else, setting up anticipation within the audience.
Dave Kujan then drops the cup and it smashes and breaks. This is repeated three times in three different shots. This breaks continuity editing and the
purpose could be to show that Kujan’s world or understanding has now shattered. One of the reasons an editor will use jump cuts and break continuity editing is to enhance a situation in the film, to make the audience notice. Also the sound of the cup smashing is not present; this again emphasizes the breaking up of events. The loss of sound suggests that we are leaving the mundane world previously shown and entering Kujan’s mind.
These shots are cut together with asynchronous sound, dialogue from earlier in the film creating a sound montage. These sounds are cut...