Have you ever wondered what it was like behind the scenes while watching one of your favorite movies of all time? Well, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that some individuals never even think to think about. In the film Training Day, there are many fascinating aspects that all went into use to make such a terrific film. Everything from great storytelling, acting, characters, cinematography, and editing techniques to the sound, genres and how the directing and styles personally told the story of the cop thriller drama.
Below is a list of what goes on before the movie becomes “the movie”. Storytelling Training Day was a film that was centered on two Los Angeles Narcotics Police Officers over the curse of a full day in the roughest neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Ethan Hawke played a rookie Los Angeles Police Officer who is sent to become Denzel Washington’s partner upon a 24 hour evaluation by Washington to see if the rookie detective is fit enough to join Washington in the Narcotics division.
The storytelling was very great in that the film was extremely unpredictable from scene to scene. That is the goal of every writer and anyone else associated with the movie industry when making a film is to make the movie as less predictable as possible. A lot of critics in the film industry gave this film a decorated review and Washington went on to win an Academy Award for Best Actor for the film.
Denzel had a plan in place to frame Hawke by having him take drugs (which were later known to Hawke as PCP), shooting and killing his old partner and colleague (which Denzel was going to pin on Hawke in which Denzel would say that Hawke did not kill them in the same house at the same scene, which means he was rogue), and with Hawke throughout a lot of questionable incidents never consulting or alerting the Internal Affairs Bureau of the Department, which s an obvious no go in the field of law enforcement. The storytelling was also coincidental in many phases as well. During the sexual assault scene with the gang member’s female cousin, Hawke fights off the attackers and before he got around to arresting them, Washington comes on the scene and dismisses the men and let’s them get away freely to the dismay of Hawke, who then picks up the girl’s photo identification to keep as evidence of an incident.
Now, the coincidental aspect of all of this is when Hawke and Washington later went to the home of the girl’s drug dealing cousins (which Washington had already planned to have Hawke killed as he went to the bathroom and escaping out of the window). Before the guys were about to kill Hawke, they cleaned his pockets out and found a photo identification of the drug dealer’s cousin and ultimately, that saved Hawke’s life. Acting The acting was stellar in the film as well in that it garnered an Academy Award for Denzel Washington and garnered Ethan Hawke a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Denzel played a role that was very different than the roles he had previously taken in his career and his acting in this movie is generally looked upon by a lot of critics as his best acting role outside of Malcolm X, while being completely new to the kinds of roles he had taken prior to this film. Denzel played a rogue narcotics officer for the Los Angeles Police Department who is evaluating Hawke and pushing him to become rogue throughout the film as Washington was.
Washington’s acting was phenomenal in that he was a terrific villain and very easy to root against, while Hawke was the polar opposite. Hawke was a rookie detective who was squeaky clean and wanted to make a real difference in the bad neighborhoods of the city of Los Angeles. Hawke’s acting was more of a serious character to Washington’s cut throat, dirty, and ruthless nature and Hawke was often the butt of Washington’s slick comments and jokes (mostly challenging and pointing to Hawke’s “manhood” to get him to do dirty things or to “look the other way”).
Hawke mainly played the role with a serious and upset demeanor by having to be subjected to such a corrupt system and culture of the LAPD. The acting was probably the strong suit of the film along with the Cinematography. Cinematography The Cinematography of the film was also very strong in this field and this was one of the biggest reasons why this film worked so well. The cinematography of movies is often one of the most underrated aspects of them.
Training Day’s cinematography worked so well because it is a movie about cops and the setting was in really bad neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and due to the “street drug culture” concept of things, the cinematography had a sort of “grimy” look to it which made this work so well. Part of what made that work so well is that the streets can be a grimy place and a dark place for many and the film resembled that throughout most of it, which is always a plus when you are telling a story about what goes on in the real world.
What also made this work so well was that the cinematography adjusted to the characters and depending on the situation or circumstance, gave you an inside look into how they felt at that moment in time. A great example of the film’s cinematography is when Washington and Hawke both are driving around in the neighborhood and Washington pressures Hawke to take a drug known as PCP and soon after for the next couple of scenes in the film, the cinematography is switched to Hawke’s point of view and has him looking in a very blurred way as far as vision and having slurry speech mixed with the blurriness of the eyes due to the drug’s side effects.
That scene pretty much opened the floodgates for a terrific adjustment of the cinematography to the character as it also did when Washington was on the ground dying after being shot many times. Editing There were quite a bit of editing work done with this film. Most of the editing was done to scenes with Washington and Hawke driving around in the squad car talking and there is over 12 minutes worth of scene editing that was not included in the film, at least as far as cuts and deleted scenes are concerned.
Also, the film has an alternate ending to it as well, yet separate from the film (it is on the DVD version though). The editor of the film was Conrad Buff. Sound The sound throughout the movie was also one of the bright spots and hinged on a lot of hip hop (which was perfect for a film in that setting). The individual in charge of the sound was Russell Williams II and he was also the sound mixer of various other films such as Dancing with the Wolves and Rules of Engagement, which according to a lot of critics also had soundtracks that were very impressive.
The sound in the movie is presented in Dolby Digital 5. 1. The sound from this film could have been “too much” easily, but the mixer was very productive in keeping it near perfect and not so “too much” with the sound. Besides, the sound was very easy to understand. Style and Directing The style of Training Day was unlike a lot of other crime action films. The style was more “in your face” and had a “gloomy” kind of vibe to it with the angles of the cameras and most importantly, the lighting as well in which Antoine Fuqua (the director of the film) had a great habit of in his films.
The style of the movie resonated with the viewers in particular that know how dark and gloomy the streets can be at certain points in time. The style bordered between those aspects and how individuals were portrayed, dressed and etc. , which worked so well for the movie. The “in your face and getting dirty” style of this movie is what made it what it was in that it did not divert from a lot of reality and never over the top (just solid acting across the board). Impact of society on the film and vice versa
The impact of society on the film stemmed from police corruption and brutality of not just citizens, but innocent bystanders as well. This was filmed in relation to the allegations and facts over the years about the system of the LAPD and how corrupt and violent they can be at times. This movie reinforces that stigma attached to the LAPD and attempts to show the world how some in the department can be at times, especially dealing with constant criminals on a daily basis.
On the other hand, the impact of the film on society was that it opened up a lot of eye into how corrupt many departments all over the country can be at times when it comes to drugs and criminals. It shows that sometimes even the bad guys get a break in order to catch a bigger fish and how there are many pawns in the game (crossfire in this case). This film also let the people in on what a cop’s normal routine on the job is like and how stressful and sometimes erratic it can make an individual turn into. Genre The genre of Training Day is divided up into five distinct categories.
For one, the movie is a thriller, drama, crime fiction, crime thriller, and adventure film. It varied between all of those genres throughout the course of the film. The film easily is a thriller in that it had you on the edge of your seat as it was so unpredictable from scene to scene. Of course, drama played a huge role and that is what drove the characters and story throughout the duration of the film. Last, but not least, was the crime involved in it all which made this a crime film (as with anything usually with cops).
Application of at least one approach to analysis and interpretation The realist approach definitely defines this movie and it takes multiple viewings of this film and real world experience to really get to the root of this film. The director grew up in neighborhoods such as which is portrayed in the film and has a lot of experience writing these kinds of roles. This movie attempts to explain that corruption in the past has been rampant in cities like Los Angeles and how corruption is really easy to be caught up in when dealing with the people of the neighborhoods and city higher ups.
The film maker is essentially trying to say that corruption happens and it happens in a lot of other places in the country and sometimes, there are good guys willing to bring down the bad guys (or cops in this case). Overall textual themes There were quite a bit of textual themes in this film. Most of the textual themes were corruption, power, and greed. A decorated, veteran police officer with everything to lose succumbs to power (which was his favorite), greed (which was unfortunate because he had a good career already) and corruption (the entire department up top was full of dirt).
The central textual theme in this movie however was the seriousness and effectiveness in a lot of cases of peer pressure and how easily one could be reeled in to various things, even when they have everything to lose. Washington and Hawke both had great careers, children, family, and a lot going for them on the job, but due to the lust for power, peer pressure and greed, it eventually tackles both men to the point that recovery can be long and hard for Hawke, while too late for Washington.
Courtney from Study Moose