Blog #4 Scene Analysis: Smokin’ Aces Final Scene
In this scene from the 2007 film Smokin’ Aces, the ending is shot in a non-dialogue narrative, much like the short films we had to create. The movie, centered around the Las Vegas Police Department protecting a mob informant, features Ryan Reynolds who comes to terms with the real reason he was forced to protect Jeremy Piven’s character. Realizing that the entire day has gone to hell, Reynolds decides to end his career as a Detective along with the lives of those who have caused his partner to day earlier in the film.
First, we get an intense shot (00:00-00:07) from a medium angle, depicting who the victim is and who is the one responsible for it. This is shot in a very contrasting manner because the victim isn’t the man in the stretcher on life support; instead, it’s the one who is standing in an authoritative stance overlooking the man on the stretcher (Reynolds). From here, we get a close-up (00:07-00:10) of Reynolds locking the doors, signifying that this is the end of the road and the end of the film. Reynolds then proceeds to sit down next to the two villains and plots his revenge. Then, my favorite scene, which comes at 00:36, is a wide shot of Reynolds seated in between the two, on the verge of pulling the plugs to their life support. As he pulls them, we get back-and-forth close-up shots (00:40-00:50) of the two men dying. From here, the shot pans out and captures the raw emotion of Reynolds as he succombs to the ways of a murderer, something a lawman isn’t accustomed to. Through his tears and heavily scarred face, we see the dismay in his eyes. In addition, we see the full transition of his character as he willingly turns in his gun and badge at 01:09, implying that he knows he’s done wrong for the right reasons. Following this, we zoom out and see other characters outside the surgery room panicking and begging for Reynolds to let the two men live. Doctors and other officers are trying to bash their way in but Reynolds’ defiance is caught through the panning out shots of his face (1:41-2:12).
Another significant factor which makes this scene so dramatic and enthralling is the score by Clint Mansell, famous for his orchestral score, “Requiem For A Dream.” Mansell uses his song “Dead Reckoning”, which builds up from a single beat to a crescendo to capture the actions and emotions going on in this final scene. The score in particular picks up at 00:36, when Reynolds pulls the plugs. Also, we hear a high-level beat once the life support is gone to convey the drastic measures that had to be taken. The music itself captures the dismay, panic, and relief that goes on throughout the entirety of the scene. Clint Mansell’s “Dead Reckoning” almost feels as if it is the dialogue for the final scene of Smokin’ Aces.
Although the movie itself isn’t perfect by any means, the score and cinematography of the final scene speaks volumes for the characters and their motives for the film.