Since I was inspired by Paul’s intricate pulling apart of the elements from the volunteer scene in Taxi Driver in last week’s lecture, I have been intending to do a blog post centred around the deconstruction of a film that I like. One week later, this is that post. I decided to choose a scene from Richard Ayoade’s directorial debut Submarine, one of my favourite films from last year.
This short scene that I have selected, which shows Oliver’s dad, Lloyd (Noah Taylor), dishing out some parental wisdom on the topic of first loves, is interesting not only in terms of analysing eyelines and editing techniques as just technical things you must get “right”, but also in terms of what Robin was discussing about how these aspects shape the story of the film itself.
The scene begins with Lloyd pacing awkwardly around Oliver’s room, looking down at his son who sits at the desk opposite him Having Lloyd’s eyeline directing downwards signifies his position as the parental authority figure.
This stance breaks slightly when he sits on Oliver’s bed to meet his eyeline after Oliver doesn’t offer any information on his current romantic situation. This
suggests Lloyd is trying to level with his son. As this lowering of the eyeline is happening, the camera shifts downwards as well, further implying Lloyd’s desperateness to connect with his son. However, when the shot cuts to a shot of Oliver, the camera is tilting downwards again, suggesting that this attempt at father-son bonding is perhaps unsuccessful.
After Lloyd hands Oliver the mixtape, there is a somewhat awkward cut to him bumping into a model plane that hangs from the ceiling. This action indicates not only that Lloyd is clearly sensing that he can’t seem to fit in his son’s eccentric personal space, but the awkward framing of the shot – having only Lloyd’s neck and upwards being shown – further emphasises the distance between the two characters.
It is not only the camera shots and framing that suggest the uncomfortableness of the situation, but also the editing and camera handling. The shots were filmed on handheld cameras, giving the scene a shaky feel which matches the tentativeness of the characters. Furthermore, the editing is choppy and almost disjointed, further emphasising the awkwardness of both the situation and of the two characters and how they interact with and respond to each other.