IFC on ‘Vacillating Voiceovers’ in Film

IFC.com has an interesting piece highlighting 12 films which have been “controlled, manipulated, and sometimes illuminated by unreliable narrators.”

Be warned, though, that if you have not seen some of the films mentioned, you click the link above at your own risk as they do contain spoilers.

I was surprised to see that the psychological thriller Memento (2000) was not mentioned — to me a perfect example of an “unreliable narrator” in Guy Pierce’s guarded, suspicious VO performance.

On a semi-related note, IFC.com also did a feature recently on “The 50 Greatest Trailers” with commentary by various film experts. Here are some which gave props to the voice-over narration:

The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001): “incredible use of voice-over.”

Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000): says Melissa Disney‘s voice “sets this trailer apart.”

Time Bandits (1981): Scott Goldman, head of theatrical for mOcean calls this trailer “one of [his] favorites” because it “breaks all the rules”:

It almost looked like they cut a trailer and said, “you know, this isn’t that funny.” I don’t think that’s how they did it, but that’s the [idea] -they did a trailer, it’s not that funny, let’s just rewrite the narrator and pretty much from about 15 seconds in, it has nothing to do with the movie. It’s just a combination of these very quirky, odd images of midgets running around and space and fantasy elements and [the narrator is] just rambling and mispronouncing words and complaining and it was just a really funny, self-aware trailer.

Not sure who’s voicing the narrator in this one, but it sounds like Michael Palin as the voice of the annoyed director.

Spinal Tap (1984): Rob Reiner rambles and grovels because he has no footage to show, and instead shows a documentary narrated by Harry Shearer on a Scandanavian cheese-rolling festival:

And for you movie trailer aficionados, click here for IFC’s full list of the 50 greatest.

Related post: 6.06.2009 — Corey Burton Honored With Golden Trailer Award


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