Dream a little dream.
This trailer opens with a question that is the basis for the journey that this trailer will be taking us on. Rosario Dawson’s character asks is James McAvoy’s character if he has ever been hypnotized before to which he answers “No, at least not that I can remember.” From this point on, we enter a world blends reality with the world of a dream almost seamlessly to keep us guessing which world we are in, or even questioning if there is a world of reality at all.
In this trailer we are guided through the world by Rosario Dawson’s voice as she takes James McAvoy through the world of hypnosis. Quiet and calm and accompanied by a simple xylophone track easily allows us to enter into the hypnotic state thorough a beautiful country side drive. But, on this ride we are given glimpses of the troubling things that clearly on McAvoy’s mind, allowing us to easily enter his hypnotic state, but to also quickly understand his biggest problem that is a missing painting. The music drops out and we see McAvoy being torchered and now understand his problem is even bigger than we thought. At this point the intensity is ramped up by seamlessly introducing Porter Robinson’s track Spitfire to the xylophone track that introduced the trailer. While getting deeper into the story, and the heavy crime drama that is unfolding before our eyes. The new music track is still keeping a subtle tone allowing for Rosario’s hypnotic technique to dive deeper into MacAvoy’s conscoious. And the introduction of punctuating sound design really helps to amp up the intensity during this point. The trailer crescendos, as many good trailers do, but ramping up the sound design and speed of edits, showing our main character reaching a breaking point until BANG… McAvoy shoots another man in the head, this particular man being Vincent Cassel. Now, here is the point where the red band trailer is so effective. We can see Vincent Cassel with half of a head telling McAvoy that Rosario has been using him from the start. Now as the viewers, seeing Cassel talking with half a head, makes us question weather or not the images throughout the trailer are real or all just in McAvoy’s dreamy hypnotic state. But not only that, with what Cassel says about Rosario, we then question the motives of everything she has been saying, because with this new information, we now believe that she is just using McAvoy to get what she wants. Is she trying to help? Is she working for someone else? Is she trying to get what McAvoy has? Is she really a bad guy? We just don’t know anymore. And just at the point when the Spitfire track is about to ramp up and get into it’s powerful dub step anthem allowing the trailer to break into a montage that will help answer these questions, we are given the title of the movie and the end of the trailer. That is the epitome of well crafted trailer. Just when you start questioning everything, you are left with those questions and a longing for more.
The use of a subtle music track and a telling monologue is one of my personal favorite ways to make a trailer. If you are blessed with a movie that has a character giving a monologue that can subtly, but accurately take you on the journey of the film, you really can’t go wrong. There is no need for VO or title cards having to explain what you are seeing and there is no greater tool than having a character in the film be able to describe the film by using their dialog from the film. Plus, Rosario Dawson has a very sexy voice which makes it very easy to pay attention. And using a subtle music track also allows for the monologue and imagery to really be the driving forces of the trailer. And the imagery used in this trailer which ranges from crime to torture to gun violence to sex to man talking to you with only half a head, it is needless to say that this trailer really didn’t need any help from the typical trailer devices to sell this film. This is a film where everything you need to get people in the seats in already there.
This was a very effective and well crafted trailer that had a subtlety and ease that I can’t help but admire.