Throwback Thursday: Crank and the Digital Age

Still from Crank (2006)       

        Crank was absurd.  Totally, completely, utterly absurd.  And amazing.  I decided that if I could become any man in the world, I would become Jason Statham.  In class a few weeks ago, we learned about films in the past ten years and how much movement they feature; a specific detail of these films was the extremely short length of camera shots per second.  I think that Crank embodies this shift in films towards frequent camera movements, as well as films that center around motion, movement, the digital age and an overwhelming of the senses.

        Right from the beginning, Crank creates an all-you-can-eat Las Vegas size buffet of sensory overload.  The opening credits are bright, flashing colors, changing from neon green to bright purple to another over-the-top color while pixelated letters make up the word Crank onscreen.  The brightness of the colors coupled with the switching from one extreme color to another creates a sense of constant motion, illustrating not frequent camera motion specifically, but frequent motion in general.  It is almost as if the motion of these colors is a foregrounding to the extreme motion and angles of the camera that will be present for the duration of the film.  The big, pixelated letters that read Crank onscreen seem to indicate the digital age that exists today and at the time of the film’s release, as these pixelated letters are reminiscent of computers and video games, both significant aspects of the digital media and technology that surround us at every moment.  I think that the fast-paced nature of the film, and the constant movement of the camera and the characters onscreen create a sense of inundation of visuals.  I believe that the inundations of appeals to the visual sense are a great way to illustrate the features of our extremely technology and digital media oriented age.  The simple times are over, it is rare to just simply be, we usually have a smart phone or some type of screen at our fingertips where we can, and usually do, access something that allows us to see a moving image, play a game that displays or requires interactions with a moving image, or look at something that requires us to move in order to continue to look at the source (i.e. scrolling to the bottom of a news story).

        This is not a critique on technology or our digital nature, I believe that technology is the future and can do and does great things; I am simply saying that I think Crank is perfect for this day and age where movement and moving image is a very significant and sought after part of daily life.  With the technology in our age, we can overwhelm (in a good way in some cases, a bad way in others) our senses, our sense of touch (text messaging), our sense of hearing (listening to headphones on the go daily) and our sense of vision (looking at anything and everything on the web whether it is on an iPad or an iPhone).  Crank echoes these daily aspects of life through its overwhelming and incredible visuals, camera angles, positioning and movements.  Additionally, Crank offers to us another way to feed our ever hungry senses that would rather be full than satiated, by simply being what it is; we have Crank as a way to engage all of our senses past the point that we had ever thought possible.

Works Cited

Crank. Dir. Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor. Perf. Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Efran Ramirez, Dwight Yokham. Lions Gate Films, 2006. Streaming.


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