Movies have been advertised on websites since the dawn of the world wide web. Now, offering movie search databases, fan sites or blogs, industry blogs and the trade press websites; movies and their discussion has become a salient feature online. Last night I was looking up show times for the AMC cinema at Mayfair mall. After seeing a listing for a film I had vaguely heard something about, I hit up a link to the official movie site. This site blew me away. I can honestly say it is one of the most complex (in terms of layout and amount of content), well produced (in terms of multi-dimensional facets), publicity sites I have ever come across. I ended up spending over an hour checking out all the goodies it had to offer. Trailers & teasers, clips & behind the scenes extras, story background, cast & crew, and downloads.
The movie is based on a true story, set in 1970s Harlem. The narrative is a classic good vs. evil plot with two main characters from each side. On the home page of the site we are shown these two men: one white, one black. These two sides of the story are very different but similar at the same time. The most impressive aspect of the film’s site is the possibility of a self-lead exploration via these characters. This is the feature that made me go from not knowing anything about this true story or the film, to greatly wanting to see it as soon as possible. Next to both of their names there are links in red that say “explore”. This is exactly what I did. Starting with the “bad guy” played by Denzel Washington, I discovered the plot, the conflict and since I was patient and looked at everything, eventually I learned the resolution. Although, even after knowing what happens to the main characters I still wanted to see the movie more than ever. Each “page” opens and leads with a few key lines, which become links, and thus lead to more pages of content. The viewer gets to check out the plot from both angles and even though there are plenty of clips and sneak peaks throughout nothing seems to be explicitly given away; which of course would spoil the intrigue.
The film, American Gangster, is directed by Ridley Scott and was made by Universal. To learn more, check out the incredibly designed, awesomely produced, official site.