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Narrative & 12 MONKEYS

Extreme close-ups in 12 MONKEYS

There are a number of extreme close-ups of James, both as a kid and as an adult, in 12 Monkeys. These shots are focused on his eyes, which virtually fill the screen. What is the significance of these shots, and, even more particularly, what is the significance of using this shot for both versions of Cole? The film makers also feature one, similarly composed, extreme close up of Kathryn. She is waking up, shortly after having been "rescued" from James. What is the significance of this shot? (Looking back over my notes, I was thinking of the use of canted angles for Kathryn).

NOTE: I will try to get screengrabs posted by the beginning of next week. Now, see below.




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Justin W

I think the extreme close ups help not only with the emotion that is implied but also with a little bit of intrigue. The first of they say the eyes are the windows to a person's soul and I think they try to use this in film. Also when all you see is the eyes and they are giving some kind of expression it makes the viewer wonder what is causing the reaction. Why is the character scared, excited, shocked, etc.

Connor Courtney

To me the extreme closeup showed me the fear the little kid was feeling, and what it was he was seeing that made him feel that way

Mohammed Alsalman

the close up shot I think have good influnce to complete the views . how Cole close up connected to the kid looks there both fear feelings together. it translates the expressions for Cole's and the kid look on colse up. also is way to makes viewers thinks whats next.

Zack Brandsen

I enjoyed how the extreme close up of James Cole as a child was used to bookend the film as the same shot filled both the opening and closing frames. It really allows the audience to get up close to the child's emotionally witnessing of his own death at a very intimate level.

Drew E.

These extreme close ups show you exactly how the character is feeling in that moment. Without even knowing what is happening in the film at the time, you can look at the kid's eyes and see that something has shocked him. In the picture of him as an adult, you can see that he is drowsy, that he isn't all there in the moment. The eyes are giving you the full image in those moments.

Alexander Bellairs

I think the significance is in the focus on the eyes. The eyes have a number of connotative meanings, and an extreme close-up on the eyes really emphasize those meanings. When James is a child, focusing in on his eyes impresses that what he is observing is a meaningful event that will stick in his memory for the rest of his life, which it does. The eyes also can embody a person, and when James wakes up on a hospital table, an extreme close-up on his eyes can give the audience the impression that he is thinking and reasoning to himself, not really noting the world around him because he's trying to sort things out in his won mind first.

Aurea Escobedo

I think this is a way for the film to say how they can see into a persons soul and also to show that the boy and Cole are the same people. The sadness in their eyes also give you the feeling that they both know what is happening.

Brandon F

I had a thought similar to Alexander. I think that the extreme closes ups are used to signify significant events in Cole's life and maybe how these significant events have caused a psychological problem for him. they can be used to indicate that what is happening my all be in Cole's mind.

Kathleen Olmstead

I think that extreme close ups were not only effective in showing emotion but also for linking young Cole and older Cole together, like Aurea said, since this shot is not used often in the film.

Sultan Alkhelaif

Extreme close-up reflect the internal emotions experienced by the imaged person. The close-up unveiled the fear in the kid and the great level of disappointment in the young man eyes

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