2. Establishing the Protagonist
Protagonists are characters who play the ‘lead’ role. However, they have to
maintain qualities about them which are likeable so that, as audiences we
stay on board.
-I have found, that protagonists have to be able to connect with us deeply, so
that we strive for their best outcome and are perhaps saddened when the
outcome is not what we want.
-Possibly the character with the most screen time, but more so a character
where we are exposed to their personal side and we are able to follow their
-Films establish their protagonists in different ways, just because they are
playing the ‘likeable’ role doesn’t necessary mean that their role within the
film is morally ‘good’.
3. Challenging the Audience
Many films portray their protagonist as the ‘bad guy’ however they have a level of depth
which, we as audiences connect with and we find ourselves supporting the typical ‘villain’.
Leon: The Professional (Opening Sequence)
The opening of the film, challenges our perceptions
because we witness a shoot out between three men.
We instantly associate this with the villains of the
movie, however as you watch on we realise that the
protagonist is in fact the hit man, Leon. Through this
Besson was able to establish his main character
through an action scene, and without the need for
dialogue. By the action he is associated with and the
chosen costume, we already have a perceived notion
of his characterisation as an antagonist but as the film
develops we see him become a man with a good heart
and as audiences we strive for his outcome to be
4. Submarine – Opening Sequence
This film uses great examples of mise en scene to illustrate Oliver Tate’s character:
• The books and posters on the wall indicate an intellectual and creative personality – and we begin to
recognise his age before we have met him, possibly as a growing teenager. By the use of smaller
furniture, it is clear he lives with his parents and that this is the bedroom he grew up in.
• The skeleton and tripod gives his character a new depth suggesting that he has a interest in
science and film, this goes against the stereotypical teenager, who usually dislikes work and is
5. Antagonists don’t necessary have to be the villain of the film – some are good
people who happen to just play along side the protagonist.
-However, they shouldn’t be AS powerful forces as the protagonists – we as
audiences must believe that they can be eventually defeated.
- Typically films establish antagonists as someone who is in conflict with the
protagonist, and we either don’t care or wish for their outcome to be bad.
-Similarly to how films challenge who we think is the protagonist they can
challenge who we believe is the antagonist.
Establishing the Antagonist
6. The Dark Knight Rises – Opening Sequence
• The use of masks, adds a hidden identity which contributes towards the tension of the
movie, and the fear of the unknown. Initially we consider them as the antagonists of
• The bright bold colours of the masks go against their actions of violence which
heightens the unsettling nature of the film. However, our initial predictions of what is
to come, is switched when they all plan to kill one another. Here is a prime example of
how films challenge our first judgments and keep us interested to see who is the