The film Die Hard was released in 1988 and directed by John McTiernan. The film is a fast-paced action thriller. The movie involves police officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) trying to stop a terrorist organization lead by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) which has infiltrated a large sky scraper and taken the building’s employees hostage. One of the last scenes of the movie shows McClane confronting Gruber for the final time. Only Gruber and one of his men remain and they are in the company’s vault, stealing money and bonds along with they’re last hostage: McClane’s wife. In this scene, McTiernan expertly uses lighting, sound, and camera to bring this film’s climax to its highest potential.
One element which McTiernan uses well in this scene is lighting. In order to help defeat the terrorists, local authorities have cut power to the building, so the vault in which the scene takes place, which one would expect to be well lit and clean, is dark and almost seems dirty. However, this darkness, which greatly adds to the mood of the mood of the scene, does not prevent the audience from seeing what is happening. Also, when McClane first appears in the hallway, bloody and gun in hand, the audience is only able to see his silhouette in the dim light from an emergency exit sign in the hallway behind him. The red light behind him combined with his silhouetted figure conveys his anger as he screams “Hans!” When the terrorist turns to face him, we see a momentary expression of fear on his face. This emotion is intensified by the pale light on his face from the police search lights outside of the building. This is how McTiernan effectively used lighting in this scene.
Another element which the director uses to make this scene effective is sound. The dramatic music comes in just as McClane enters the scene. Then as he and Gruber enter their dialogue, the music dies down to the point where it is barely audible, which actually causes the audience to listen more closely to the...
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